Journeying: A Step Ahead: Haseena’s Healing Time

بسم الله

They say that time heals all wounds. Time was a factor that stood in the way of me feeling complete again.

At this stage in my life, a mere few months after losing our Qasim, I was still wondering about that theory. How much more time would I need to ‘get over it’? I doubted that I would ever completely forget the pain.

Life had soon returned back to normal, and after Bilal’s wedding and Laila’s dramatic experience with the car hijacking, our lives slowly took a turn for the better, revisiting the times where we could just relax and be content.

We had settled into the lull of life. Umar and I were closer than ever before, especially after everything that had happened, but the topic of kids never came up again. I was still dead set on not trying, and avoided the topic completely. Umar would sometimes give me a look and shake his head, but he didn’t say a word.

Besides that, we had bigger things on our plate. The impending Hajj trip was a definite awaited climax in our lives, and I found myself looking forward to it more than ever.

It just reinforced for me the plan of my Rabb. In His infinite wisdom, He knew that I wouldn’t have to leave behind a little baby and go. As difficult as it was to lose my baby boy, I was glad that I wouldn’t have to go, knowing he was at home. I was content in the knowledge that he was in the best of places.

So, as time went by, I gradually learnt to focus on other things. I had started Hifdh classes from home, in an attempt to fill my day up a little. I didn’t realise just how good it would be to take out my time for Deen. It was definitely an eternal reward, that made me feel like I was doing something a little useful.

With Umar finishing his Aalim course that year, it made me all the more excited about what lay ahead for us. Umar had always wanted to open a Madrassa the following year, but he suddenly seemed hesitant about it, and I wondered what had changed for him. He barely spoke about his ambitions anymore.

On the other hand, as we prepared ourselves for the journey of a lifetime, I could literally feel my anticipation mount. As the last months of the Islamic year dawned, Umar psyched me up, as his own excitement overflowed.

Those months were the months in which Nabi Ibraahim (AS) was the hero. After all, it was him who was given the title of ‘Khalilulallah’, the friend of Allah Ta’ala. He had pleased Allah in such a way, that Allah blessed his progeny with the light of our last Nabi (SAW).

And as I read up on what to expect and do for my Hajj journey, what really amazed me was the ultimate sacrifice that they had made. I mean, when I looked at how Bibi Haajar (AS) dealt with being left alone in a desert, with little food and drink, I could barely understand the strength of a woman.

But she was chosen, because of her faith and piety, to be the blessed mother of Isma’eel (AS). According to a narration, it is said that before she was given the priviledge of being the wife of a Nabi, the master that she had previously belonged to as a slave girl would get paralysed when he would touch her. And if that wasn’t enough to recognise the piety of this woman, her simple words to her husband as she left is enough to ascertain her calibre. Though her husband refused to tell her why he was leaving, her own words were an assurance.

If it was Allah’s plan, He would take care of them. Her faith was so intense, that she had no doubt that her Lord would provide for them.

But the sacrifice, even for the Friend of Allah (AS), was barely an easy one. While leaving his wife and son in Makkah, Prophet Ibrahim prayed to Allah:

“O our Lord! Surely I have settled a part of my offspring in a valley unproductive of fruit near Your Sacred House; our Lord, in order that they may keep up prayer; therefore make the hearts of some people yearn towards them and provide them with fruits; maybe they may be grateful…” (Surah Ibrahim, Verse 37)

But with the life that Haajar (AS) established in Makkah with her son Isma’eel, a nation was born that would last until the end of time. The story of this nation begins with a woman who was willing to bear great burdens to establish it. And imagine, to honour her and the efforts that she made, we perform this ‘Sa’ee’ in every Hajj and Umrah throughout history up to the end of the world.

It commemorates the pure strength, struggle and determination of this woman, but as a woman, it also shed a new light on things for me.

Trusting in the plan of Allah Ta’ala was what struck me somewhere deep within. This woman was so sincere and persistent in her efforts, that she ran those great lengths in an attempt to provide for her baby. All she knew was that her frantically crying baby was hungry, and Allah Ta’ala would provide.

I could never compare to that. I thought of my husband going away, leaving me with little food, and I wondered how my faith could ever compare. I was truly in need of some spiritual reformation.

So, as the trip dawned on us, my first Hajj, I felt a great sense of excitement. There was a long road ahead for me.

It seemed like everyone else was just as excited as I welcomed the plentiful Du’aas and well-wishes of family and friends. I also felt a little sad to be leaving, as I wondered about how much I would miss everyone.

I worried most about my sister, though, wondering about what really went on in her head at times. I made a note to make special Du’aa that she finds someone worthy of her, and who could honestly put up with her. She was a lot to handle at times, but as I witnessed her grow up in so many ways that year, I wished that whoever was her match would appreciate her.

“Don’t worry about me,” she said to me, about a week before I was due to leave. “Just make Du’aa for me. Insha Allah, when you’ll are back, I’ll be done. We can have a Jalsa.”

She was due to finish her Hifdh soon, and I was so proud of her. I could see how much of commitment she had put into it in the past few months.

“I’ll miss you, Has,” she said, a tear visible in her eye. I gave her a tight hug, completely overwhelmed by her affection. Lately, I had been feeling like my little sister was no longer there. It was like there was just a shell, after everything that had happened.

Getting over what had happened with Tasneem’s brother-in-law must have been difficult. Tasneem had been keeping a low profile, gladly, and after months of witnessing Laila’s mood swings, my baby sister finally seemed okay again. My parents were a little more patient now, and tried to understand her, though extremely complicated.

I still had a lot on my mind later that evening as Umar and I sorted out our travel arrangements for the following week, and sat up that night, just getting excited.

“I feel like we’re never going to get there!” He confided, shaking his head. Umar really had no patience!

“Relax, Umar,” I said, smiling at him lovingly.

“I feel like I won’t ever want to come back!” he exclaimed, clearly excited. “But Imraan is postponing his wedding date, just so we’re there for it. He’s a crazy guy, ey.”

Postponing it for us? I wasn’t sure if that was a good idea. After what had happened with Bilal, Saaleha was bound to think that she was up for another evasive groom.

I didn’t say anything, though. It wasn’t really any of my business.

“Just a week left, babe,” Umar sighed, literally jumping up to fetch something. “Can you believe it?!”

I shook my head, still in awe of the journey that lay ahead. I honestly couldn’t imagine. I smiled at my husband, amused at his behaviour. It was the first time that I had seen him so excited about anything.

I gave him a peck on his cheek, telling him playfully to calm down.

He grinned back at me as he locked up, ready to go to bed. We had just switched the lounge lights off when the doorbell rang, and he looked at me, confused.

“Visitors?” He asked, frowning. It was getting a bit late, but we didn’t mind.

Umar went to the intercom and hastily answered. I watched his expression change as I put on my pardah, and he finally put the receiver down.

“Has,” he said, looking a bit surprised. “It’s your cousin.”

My cousin? I looked at him, confused. Which cousin?

“It’s Tasneem,” he said. “She’s coming up.”

 

Author’s Note: As family and friends prepare themselves for the journey of a lifetime, I’m sure that many of us also get that longing to be there. We all feel that natural inclination to the Holy Lands, to hear the resonating chants of ‘Labbaik’ and sleep under the sky at Muzdalifah. Though our call may not yet be there, remember that our Allah is Most Merciful. He will not deprive us, even if we are not on those planes of Arafaat in body, we can still gain those rewards. 

SubhaanAllah. There are no other words.

The Reward of Haj

There are several deeds  which Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam has equated to the reward of Haj. Those who are not undertaking the Haj journey, may reap the reward of Haj by virtue of the following deeds:

 1. Wudhu at home before attending Congregational Salaah:
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam has stated: “One who purifies himself (makes Wudhu) and leaves his home to attend the Fardh Salaah in congregation, receives the reward of a Haji in the state of Ihram, and if he leaves for the Salaatud-Dhuhaa (Chaast), he gets the reward of Umrah.” (Abu Dawud)

 2. Salaatul Ishraaq:
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam has stated: “Whoever offers his Fajr Salaah in congregation, and then remains seated making the Zikr of Allah until (approximately 15 mins after) sunrise after which he offers two Rakaats of Salaah (Ishraaq), will receive the reward of one complete Haj and one complete Umrah.” (Sunan Tirmidhi)

 3. Going to the Masjid to acquire Knowledge:
 Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam has stated: “Whoever goes to the Masjid for the purpose of learning or teaching Knowledge, receives the reward of a Haji whose Haj was perfect.” (Tabarani)

 4. Serving one’s parents:
Sayyiduna Anas Radhiyallahu Anhu reports that a man came to Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam and said: “I wish to participate in Jihad, but I cannot afford it.” Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam enquired if any of his parents were alive, to which he replied, “Yes! My mother is alive.” Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam said: “Show Allah how you serve her. If you do so you will be like a Haji, a Mu’tamir (one performing Umrah) and a Mujaahid.” (Targheeb)

Note: The promises of “Reward of Haj” are restricted to the reward only. It does not mean that the compulsory Haj will be fulfilled by these deeds. (Sharh-Nawawi)

Mashaa Allah!

Reminder for Mission Sunnah Revival. We hope that everyone is trying to implement, Insha Allah.

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofAwakening

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#RevivetheSunnahofDressing

#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter

Tweet @ajourneyjournal

P.S. Insha Allah, next post on Monday. 

Journeying: Stepping Up: Bilal’s Beating the Odds

بسم الله

I opened my door slowly, a bit hesitant about what to do. Speak to him? Drive away?

It was a bit of a challenge to look into the eyes of the guy who purposely tried to keep Shazia away from me. A little bit of resentment surfaced as I greeted him. After all, didn’t he say that I wasn’t good enough for Shazia?

Despite the harbouring feelings and insecurities, I put my pride aside and managed to smile at him, and shake his hand. He looked a little misplaced, standing outside the building. I wondered to myself how the heck he had got here… How did he even know where we stayed?

It was quite a concern, since Shazia and I had purposefully moved  a little away from town, just so that we couldn’t be easily located.  I faced my fears as I looked him straight in the eye, asking him what he was doing here.

“Don’t worry son,” he said easily. “I just wanted to come and see my granddaughter. But if you’re not comfortable with it, I’ll head straight back to the B&B I’m staying at… Shazia’s granny doesn’t know I’m here, by the way… So you can trust me.”

I looked at him sceptically, wondering what it was about this guy that irked me. Was he being genuine, or did he just have the gift of the gab? He was certainly very convincing. I was actually beginning to feel bad for him.

“Err,” I started, for lack of anything better to say. “Sorry, Uncle Moe, but Shazia’s not here.”

“Oh,” he said, then looked at me expectantly. Was this guy waiting for an invitation to my home? Like, really?

“Err, listen,” I said, looking at my watch. Fajr time was slowly going. I didn’t want to miss the first takbeer. “Listen, maybe we can meet you somewhere later? I’ll give you a call.”

He looked at me, unconvinced, as I took his number. He was probably wondering if I really was going to call. I too, wondered about it myself. I mean, was I really willing to risk it?

I jumped into my car quickly afterward, before he had the chance to convince me to give him my new number.

My concerns were obvious, and after I read my Fajr that morning, I felt a cloud looming over my head. I just wanted what was best for my wife and I. I wasn’t really sure about what to do about the situation, but as I picked up Shazia that day, I temporarily forgot about her grandfather as I remembered our parting words. Seeing her grandfather had brought back a lot of the insecurities I had felt when I had gone to propose. Maybe we were too different.

She smiled at me as she got into the car, looking honestly glad to see my sullen face, with the ton of worries on my head. And despite me feeling the cloud above our heads, I couldn’t help but smile back at her.

“So,” she said, looking at me enquiringly. “You’re feeling better now?”

“Hmmm.”

“You want to talk about it?” she asked

“Did you think about what I said?” I answered her with another question. It was like we were going in circles.

She sighed, but didn’t say anything immediately.

“Bilal, why can’t I just carry on as we are?” she replied. “I know you don’t expect me to just throw away my hard work for good, but I want to specialise…”

She wanted to specialise? This was the first time I was hearing about this. I gripped the steering wheel a little tighter, trying to keep in my frustration.

How could she just decide that without even speaking to me about it?

“Bilal? Are you okay?”

“When did you decide that, Shazia?” I finally asked, glancing at her with a frown.

She shrugged her shoulders, speaking normally.

“I didn’t think you’d mind,” she replied. “Until last night. Then I realised that maybe you expected me to change my priorities when we got married. I’m sorry.”

Yes, I knew she would be working when I married her, but I didn’t think it would be forever. Our upbringing was different. I wasn’t used to this. She sounded like someone completely foreign to me.

“So when does it end then?!” I snapped at her. “You’re going to carry on studying, then it’s going to be more working, and then… What’s the point? Where’s the time for anything else?! I can support us both Shazia, don’t you see? You don’t need to work! “

“Bilal, don’t you get it?” she replied, clearly annoyed. “It’s not about the money! I don’t care about that!”

I could see I wasn’t going to win here. Maybe she had a point. Maybe I should have put it down from the beginning, but I didn’t think that far ahead. Maybe I wasn’t thinking straight then. Maybe I had been thinking about the monetary part of it, without realising the actual point of being in this profession. As Insaan, we often get carried away with the superficial things.

We were silent for a long while, before she finally spoke again. Her words were unexpected.

“Bilal,” she said, speaking calmly again. “I don’t want to fight. I’ll do what makes you happy, okay? Just stop making me feel like this… Don’t make me feel like you’ve made the wrong choice.”

Now I felt really guilty.

Was I doing that? She was giving in now, not because she wanted to, but because I was making her feel like crap because of it. Because Shazia knew that fulfilling her duties to me were priority.

I shook my head at her, instantly apologising.

“No, Shaz,” I said, taking her hand.

I didn’t want to be that type of husband. I needed to win her over, not force her into a decision she didn’t want to make.

I wanted to make her understand that she could be what she wanted to be, and still make me happy.  She had worked hard to get where she was, and I also needed to compromise a bit, and understand where she was coming from. I had to learn to handle this a bit better.

So, with Divine intervention, I put forward a proposal that would enable us to work as a team, so we could ensure that there would be no sin in the workplace.

After all, that was my greatest concern. The intermingling and constant worry of earning Allah Ta’ala’s displeasure was becoming a reality as Shazia progressed in her field. The risk was always there.

Because even the women of Islam, the women who conducted business in the workplace, had a way about doing it. There were no compromises when it came to Allah Ta’ala’s law, but business went on. Females, if the need be to interact, would conduct business through their Mahrams, so as to ensure that it was done the Halaal way.

With the partnership of our Nabi (SAW), and his beloved wife, Khadija (RA), Islam rose to a great degree.

And I remembered the Sunnah of our Nabi (SAW) and how he dealt with his wives. How he would treat them when they were upset, and offer comfort when they were in need of it.

“I know I made the right choice, love,” I assured her, as we stopped the car. “But I want you to think about what I said, and let me know what you decide.”

I smiled genuinely at her now, glad that she was looking a little bit at ease now. She smiled back too, and I felt a little bit better as I consoled her.

And then I remembered about showing my wife affection, as I thought of the mercy that Allah Ta’ala bestowed on a couple when they were on good terms.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “When a husband and wife look at each other with love, Allah looks at both of them with Mercy.”

Our Nabi (SAW) would console and comfort, and was never shy to display his affection. If the Best of Creation (SAW) could humble himself to pamper and love his wife, with no reservations, so could I.

And I tried to make an intention to never part on bad terms with her again. At the moment, no matter what our differences, I was assured that somehow, we would find a way out.

And then, like a pending rain cloud, I remembered my earlier meeting with her grandfather, and felt myself panic a bit, as I thought of how she would react when I told her. Why not just forget about it and carry on? I didn’t owe her grandfather anything.

But then, as we stopped to visit my parents later that morning, I spotted something in her eyes that made me completely rethink the whole sitaution. As she sat there, there was a flicker of longing… Of something that she was missing in her life.

Shazia felt lost without them. They were like her parents…. How could I just snatch that away from her?

So, as I would usually do, whenever I felt a little confused about what to do, I knew there was somewhere where I could get the right advices.

I made Du’aa to be guided in this predicament, and called my brother-in-law to find out his opinion on it. He was nearly done with his studies, and though I knew he was busy also preparing for Hajj, he would always find some time for my problems.

“Salaam Maulisaab,” I greeted him cheerfully. “How’s everything?”

I could practically picture Umar grinning from the other end of the line. Honestly, no matter what life threw at that guy, he always emerged with a smile.

He sensed something was up as I spoke, and as expected, didn’t hesitate in letting me know exactly where I stood.

At the end of the day, I couldn’t be the one to promote Shazia breaking ties with her family, no matter what I might think about them. I knew all that. I couldn’t be the one to do that.

Her grandfather was trying to make amends, and I was doubting his intentions.

And then Umar told me something that really made me think.

In the time of Ibraahim (AS), he had refused to entertain a guest because the guest was a fire-worshipper. After the guest left, Hadhrat Ibraahim (AS), the Khalil of Allah, got a revelation saying:

“Ibrahim, you did not feed a non-Muslim for a night until he accepted your faith, while I have been feeding him for the last seventy years, notwithstanding his being a non-believer. It would not have mattered much if you had given him a meal.”

So Ibrahim (AS) rushed out to find the man, bringing him back as his guest. Upon hearing why he had returned, the fire-worshipper accepted Islam.  (Ihya)

SubhaanAllah.

So imagine, though he was a Mushrik, Allah Ta’ala was so merciful in His ways. The invitation served as a form of Dawah, and the man was finally brought to Allah Ta’ala… To worship the One and Only.

And it hit home, because Shazia’s grandfather might have been against us for the wrong reasons, but he was neither a Mushrik nor a non-Believer. By treating him kindly, we could win him over and get him on our side. Though it was hard, I had to put my doubts aside and be a good example.

“Do the right thing and leave it in Allah’s hands,” Umar said, playing on my conscience.

So I phoned her grandfather and set up a meeting for later that day, and when Shazia woke up that afternoon, I told her to get ready. I wasn’t quite ready to invite him home.

She looked at me with interest, but didn’t anything. We drove in a comfortable silence and I parked off, Shazia shot me a sly glance and grinned.

“Romantic date?!” She asked.

I smiled back at her, not wanting to burst her bubble just yet.

I guided her into the tiny Muslim-owned restaurant, and I watched my wife’s face as I saw her digesting the surroundings.

Her expression suddenly changed as she caught sight of something… Or rather, someone, and shock soon turned to excitement as she first looked at me, and then back there,  before literally running forward to her grandfather. Her mother was seated as well, and I could see her crying too as she saw her daughter. I couldn’t help but smile like an idiot as I watched her happiness, although my previous reservations were still there.

My lovely wife was a complete wreck, as she smiled and cried, obviously elated to see her grandfather and mother after so many months. I smiled back at her, and she came toward me, speaking in a soft undertone.

“I love you,” she whispered, leaning close.

And that was all it took. All my other reservations were instantly put at bay, as those words echoed in my ears.

I was almost sure of it now.

I had done the right thing.

 

Author’s Note: Reminder for Mission Sunnah Revival. We hope that everyone is trying to implement, Insha Allah.

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofAwakening

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#RevivetheSunnahofDressing

#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter

Tweet @ajourneyjournal

P.S. Insha Allah, next post by Saturday.

Journeying: Stepping Up: Bilal’s Back in the Boat

بسم الله

The ‘honeymoon’ period of a marriage can last as long as you want it to. It doesn’t have to end after the first six months or year. It doesn’t have to fade away when kids start entering the scene, or there’s no more ‘time’ to pay attention to each other. It doesn’t have to be a passing phase.

But how you deal with the little things that sometimes kill the magic, is really what defines it. Tolerance is a key to making it work, understanding is a vital part of getting to know each other, and compromising is always a useful tool.

And as I lay back my wife’s lap one evening, my mind just a little pre-occupied, I sometimes grappled about things that played on my mind. I wondered about what was in store for us, and whether everything was going to be okay.

Having faith in the plan of the Almighty was a key factor here, and I put a few of my worries to rest as I ‘let it go’ and left it in Allah’s hands.

I opened my one eye to look at what she was doing, contemplating whether the time was right to bring up the topic. Was it too soon?

Shazia, too, seemed busy with something. Her phone was in her hand, and I watched her expression change and she typed furiously, and then put her phone down.

“Shazia,” I said to her, closing my eyes again.

“Hmmm?”

“What are you doing, baby? Just relax.”

She sighed, sounding frustrated.

“I am relaxed, Bilal.”

“Okay.”

I didn’t want to have the argument again. I knew that work took up time. I didn’t resent her for it, but I needed my time too.

She ruffled my hair playfully, and I opened my eyes to see her watching me with a slightly guilty smile.

“Sorry,” she said. “It’s your time now. But it was Lameez, by the way.”

“Oh okay,” I said, a bit relieved.” ‘she okay?”

“I think so. You know Reza. Let’s not go there.”

I knew him too well. I had been there. Reza had kind of gone off the radar for a while. He wasn’t my concern, I told myself.

“Anyway, did you hear about Saaleha?” She said, looking at me with interest.

I knew what she was doing, but didn’t rise to the occasion. Shazia was trying to see how I reacted to Saaleha being mentioned, but I remained expressionless.

“She’s getting married,” I said, cutting to the chase. “Laila told me last night. To Umar’s friend. Alhumdulillah.”

She seemed a bit disappointed that I already knew, but what difference did it make? I never really felt like I had missed out. I was happy with where I was. I had crossed that bridge long ago. I didn’t even feel guilty anymore.

That was the thing with having a past. At least Shazia knew most of it. Sometimes I wondered whether that was a good thing. It caught up with you.

“Okay Bills,” she said sweetly, moving my head so she could get up. “I need to go now, shift’s starting in half an hour.”

I sat up now, annoyed at the disturbance.

“Shazia,” I said to her retreating back. “I think we need to talk.”

I made it sound so… Hectic. I hated making a big deal about things.

She turned and looked at me worriedly before she sat down on the opposite couch.

“Everything okay?”

I nodded my head then shook it, a bit confused.

“I duno,” I replied truthfully. “Depends on what you say.”

“Err… Okay.”

Her expression was still unreadable, but I lay her concerns to rest as fast as possible.

“The thing is, Shaz… We never really spoke about this, but I’ve been thinking a bit about us.”

She was still looking at me, confused.

“And?”

“So,” I continued. “You’ll be done with your service next year, and I’ll be doing my last year… I’d like you to be at home for a bit, you know? Relax. Maybe just… Take it easy. Take the next step…”

Shazia was frowning a bit, but I could see that she wasn’t upset. Yet. She probably didn’t understand why I would want that.

But I just wanted her to be at home for a while, so I could feel like I was actually taking care of her. Of course I understood that she had a ‘career’, but I wanted her to start thinking about other things. Maybe kids. She had been working so much, I wasn’t sure if she would ever want to stop.

“Can we talk about it later?” she finally said, getting up again.

I instantly felt deflated as I watched her get up to change and fetch her bag. She emerged from the dressing room, fully clothed and ready to go, and looked at me again.

“Bilal,” she said softly. “We’re cool, right?”

I shrugged my shoulders, still annoyed. I got up to put on my kurta, so I could drop her off, and she tried to assure me as we got to the hospital.

“I promise we’ll talk later, okay? Love you.”

I nodded, but I still wasn’t sure about what the outcome would be here. Why couldn’t she just agree without a ‘discussion’? I was restless as I went to bed that night, with my concerns playing on my mind. It made me wonder about a whole lot in life… Like, what was I really doing?

I mean, I enjoyed being a doctor, but with both of us in the same profession, I couldn’t help but feel like one of us had to slow down a bit. It was a means of livelihood, of course, but was it ever going to end? It was just chasing one dream after the other.

Because as it was, we already had everything we needed. We were completely content with the blessing that had been bestowed on is so Mercifully, but yet it seemed like the hankering after the world would never stop. At the moment, working was more a necessity and a means to the end of our degree, but I knew that I needed to work out our priorities before it became a routine.

So I decided, as I lay awake that night, on how I would tackle it. It was a common thing, these days, for worldly benefit to define what you did, but at the end of the day, how I was brought up, taught me that it was only Allah Ta’ala that provided.

By making Allah Ta’ala your priority, at the end of the day, He makes the seemingly difficult, easy. He can remove the burden of the unknown that may lurk in the future, and guide us to what would be best.

And as I looked around our newly furnished apartment, I sometimes wondered if this was as good as it gets. I sometimes felt guilty to live like this, in so much of comfort, when I had read and learnt about the sufferings of the Sahaba. Was I getting just a little too comfortable in this temporary world?

I aptly though about a lecture I had once heard, where the Maulana had spoken about Hadhrat Abu Hurayra (RA). This companion of our beloved Nabi (SAW) was given a gift… The gift to memorise several thousands of Ahadith, despite having only spent three years in the company of our Nabi (SAW). It was amazing.

And in his quest for knowledge and pursuit of Deen, he faced many obstacles. His hunger would be so severe at times, that people would think the pangs that he experienced were epileptic fits. And when those days passed, and he was given a few luxuries of this world, he looked back on them.

Once, ‘Abu Hurayrah (RA) after wiping his nose with a piece of fine linen remarked to himself ‘Look at ‘Abu Hurayrah! He cleans his nose with fine linen, today. I remember the time when he would lie down between the pulpit and the Prophet’s (SAW) house. People took him to be suffering from epilepsy and put their feet on his neck. But there was no other illness with him, other than spasms of hunger.’

And even though he was in a better state, he remembered his days of poverty. When Allah Ta’ala opened the door of wealth to Muslims, he would still look back and reflect. So Abu Huraira (R.A) also got wealth from which he made a home and got married, but this wealth didn’t change his life.

No. In fact, this beloved companion would often wonder to himself, in fear, if maybe Allah Ta’ala was recompensing them for their previous hardships in this world.

SubahaanAllah.

After everything they had endured, they still had that fear, that there would be nothing left for them in the hereafter! They still feared their state of affairs in the Aakhirah, despite being the chosen companions of our Nabi (SAW). Despite some of them even getting glad tidings of the beautiful gardens of Jannah in this world.

It was unbelievable. Their fikr was unmatched.

And as for sinful me… I wondered how I could ever compare. I knew that choosing the life of this world, would be a complete loss to both worlds, but choosing to strive for the hereafter would get me into a win-win situation.

I thought about Haseena, and how their lives revolved around Deen, and how I could get there too. They were getting it right. They were content, despite having the bare necessities. I wondered about whether I could ever feel like I was doing the right thing.

I felt a certain responsibility to my family, as the only son, and I wondered if I was getting it right. I worried about Laila, who had her own mind. She was finally growing up now, and a few of my friends had even asked about her. I felt a certain responsibility towards her, especially after her last escapade, but I knew how stubborn she was. I had a lot of thinking to do.

I woke a few hours later, wanting to do my extra reading before Fajr, and then head to visit my parents after I picked up Shazia. I had the day off, so there really was no rush.

I left the house for early for Masjid, hoping to get the first saf, but was completely taken off guard as a car practically cut me off as I exited the parking lot. I hooted, annoyed at being jerked out of my peaceful frame of mind so early, and immediately regretted it.

The old man raised his hands apologetically at me, and I immediately felt immense worry as I recognised him.

What was Shazia’s grandfather doing here?

Author’s Note: Just a small note to say JazakAllah to all readers for the feedback and support. With regard to the ending of this blog, it is in the process, but Insha Allah, I will try to post after, although for personal reasons, it might not be immediately. I will keep readers updated as to when the end is near, and when I will be going on ‘leave’.  Hehe.

Request for Du’aas. 

Reminder for Mission Sunnah Revival. We hope that everyone is trying to implement, Insha Allah.

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofAwakening

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#RevivetheSunnahofDressing

#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter

Tweet @ajourneyjournal

P.S. Insha Allah, next post on Wednesday.

Journeying: A Little Beyond the Hills: Part Five

بسم الله

 I squinted my eyes to try and make out who the figure was, and my eyes quickly digested the uniform.

Relief flooded through me as I realised that it was a security guard. I made instant shukr that at least I didn’t have to encounter any other strange person.

I was in awe of the power of Du’aa, that Allah Ta’ala had been so merciful to answer immediately, despite everything.

“Everything okay here?” He asked, approaching slowly. “We received a panic signal from this area.”

A panic signal? I was a bit confused until I remembered the buttons that I had pressed on the car remote.

Umar had recently set up a signal from the remote, so in case of emergency, we could alert them. Alhumdulillah, it seemed to have worked.

The guard had been speaking to someone through his radio, telling them that a lady is here, probably in shock. I realised that he was talking about me, since I was barely responsive.

“Ma’am, my boss is on his way, you can have a seat in the car if you like.”

There was no way that I was going to sit in the car alone. I shook my head at him, mumbling something that even I found hard to understand, and stayed rooted to the spot. I was in shock, but I was also starting to get very edgy. Uncomfortable with everything that had happened. Angry at myself. I kept remembering the feelings of despair and regret, taking over me, as I was shoved out of the car. The scene kept replaying in my head, over and over.

I couldn’t dwell on it too long though, because another car quickly arrived, and someone jumped off, walking towards me. I knew it was Yusuf, even from where I stood. He looked anxiously at us, seeming a bit shocked at seeing me here. he was probably wondering what on earth had happened.

I couldn’t even be bothered to worry about what he would think, as he spotted me standing on the pavement like some kind of homeless person. He asked the guard some questions before he came to speak to me. I could tell that he was trying to be as unintimidating as possible, but the questioning of the whole experience made me tremble with fear once again, not even allowing myself to answer.

“Listen, Laila,” he said calmly, not really meeting my eye the whole time. I could tell he was worried, though. “I’m going to call your father, is that okay?”

My father? Of course. To take me home.

But no. I couldn’t face him. I couldn’t answer him, without letting him in on everything I’d been up to. I wasn’t ready.

I shook my head, opening mouth properly for the first time. I felt a little better now, I suppose maybe because I knew I would be okay now.

“No, please,” I pleaded with him. “Call Bilal.”

He nodded his head and turned around to make the call. He gestured to me to sit in the car, and somehow, my wobbly legs conceded, and gave me the strength to. I opened the door and sat gingerly on the edge of the seat, my heart slightly slowing down from it’s previous fast pace.

What on earth was I thinking? Going off like that, alone, to prove to a point. Was I gone completely off the hook with this whole Zafer thing? Who was he really, anyway?

The torrent of information seemed to find it’s way into my boggled mind, as I thought of everything that should have been an eye-opener to me. I was usually so clued-up… So on top of it all. How was it that I had ignored everything that had been staring me in the eye for so long?

But I also knew very well that every single thing thing that I had encountered was a direct reaction of what I had been doing. A calamity that befalls is a consequence of something that had been done… A way of rectifying all that had gone wrong.

And through my discoveries of what I had been doing, my Allah Ta’ala was setting it right for me. In His way, and with His plan.

Because, now, as I sat there waiting, I realised that there were no shortfalls when it came to Allah Ta’ala’s plan. There were no incomplete finishes or touch-ups, because Allah Ta’ala’s plan was always precise. By being afflicted by calamity, it was very evidently a means of guidance for me as well. It was proof that Allah Ta’ala gives what is expected, to the best degree. That everything is a means of gaining His love.

He is and does as we expect of Him.

The Prophet (SAW) said, “Allah the Most High said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’”

[Sahih Al-Bukhari]

And that held so true for all the expectations I had. I hadn’t expected the best, knowing how far off track I had gone. I hadn’t done everything in my power to ensure that my faith would be held firm in the end.

Yes, I was pretty shaken up, but for the first time in a long while, I could see things a bit clearer. Now I knew that everything that happened has it’s reasons.

I wasn’t even worried about the car, because I had so many other concerns on my mind. It was the least important thing that occupied my mind that night, as I spotted Bilal’s car come into view. He parked off hastily, and immediately spotted Yusuf , who was getting back into his car.

They exchanged a few words, and I slowly made my way over to Bilal’s car, not sure of what to expect. Would he scream at me? Would he be upset?

I loitered outside the car for a few seconds, before I saw Bilal approaching, with a strange expression on his face. Anger or annoyance? I didn’t know.

He gestured for me to get in, and I obliged, bracing myself for the worst. Shazia was already seated, and she turned to ask me if I was okay.

I explained, as best as I could, that the car was gone, but I was okay, and she nodded sympathetically, making me feel a little better for the short while until Bilal came in again.

The car was dead silent as he started it, but I could see his frustration at me by the way he was clenching and unclenching his jaw. He was thinking his words over, but after a few minutes, he just couldn’t remain silent.

“Laila, what the hell were you thinking?!” He exclaimed, shaking his head. “Do you have any idea what could have happened? How lucky you are…? Tell me, what business did you have even taking the car? Ey, I can’t understand what the hell goes through your head…”

He trailed off as I saw Shazia slowly placing het hand on his extended arm, as an attempt to calm him down. I kept silent, before he started again.

“It was to do with that stupid idiot, wasn’t it?”

He glanced at me in the rear view mirror, immediately seeing my guilty expression. He was talking about Zafer.

“You were going to see him?! What?!”

He jammed his foot on the break, turning to look at me. I jerked forward with the sudden braking, but didn’t meet his eye.

I shook my head, trying to convince him otherwise.

“No, bhaai,” I mumbled. “I wasn’t…”

“Bilal,” Shazia cut in, speaking calmly. “Please just drive. You can speak to Laila later. You can see that she’s still in shock. This is not the time or the place.”

I expected my stubborn brother to say something back, but surprisingly, he clenched his jaw again, and remained silent. I was actually quite shocked, but very relieved.

We were outside our house now, and I could see  from how everyone was waiting outside, what chaos I had caused.

“Laila,” Bilal said to me again, turning around. His voice was much softer, almost sympathetic. “I just want you to think about this… Everything that’s happened… Don’t be stupid and forget about it. Ever since this whole business started, you’ve been facing all these obstacles… Did you even ask Allah to guide you? Don’t you think there’s a lesson to learn here? Don’t you think that maybe this may be a sign for you, that it might not be what’s best? Think about it.”

I knew I didn’t deserve sympathy, but right now, everything he was saying was all a lot to digest, especially when my head was in such a confused state.

I nodded numbly, slowly getting off the car to go inside, while Mummy and Daddy fussed over me. Haseena had gone to fetch some bandages for my hands, and they didn’t ask me a single thing, even after the shock had worn off a bit.

I sat in a type of limbo, just trying to digest everything. I listened to the comforting words of my parents,then to the advices of my sister, before she left that day. The words that Bilal had said to me were playing on my mind too, as I went to bed that night.

A new kind of introspection had dawned on me, and I finally realised that maybe this wasn’t meant to be. Maybe this was all for the best. I sincerely turned to Allah Ta’ala for His help, and He had guided me. He had guided me to what was best, and I now realised that it wasn’t Zafer. All of the mind-boggling conspiracies seemed to make sense, finally. Even from when I had been in school, it seemed as if Zafer was planning getting to us, and hurting my family through me.

My parents handled the whole proposal issue, so that I had no idea what had happened. After a few weeks, the phone calls eventually stopped coming, and Zafer stopped trying to contact us. There was a lingering feeling that all was not over as yet, but I ignored it, put my trust in Allah, and carried on.

I was literally under house arrest, and with Bilal not around, it was even worse. Shazia and him had left for a late honeymoon, and though the house was lonely, I knew they deserved the break.

Haseena and Umar were slowly getting back to normal, as they healed from the loss that they still remembered often. They were leaving for Hajj in a few months though, and started preparing themselves for the end of the year, when Umar would also be complete with his studies. I started putting in more effort into my Hifdh, with not much left to go, and began to slowly change my life for the better, once again.

It was an exciting and busy time for us all, as the year literally sped by. Fareeha had come home a few times after her Umrah trip, but with Madrassa and her own work, she was understandably busy. I hadn’t seen her in a few weeks, until an unexpected phone call from her got me up to date with what had been going on with her.

Her voice was a bit worked up as she spoke, and I couldn’t figure out whether she was excited or anxious.

“Lails,” she breathed into the receiver, in her usual hyped up voice. “Guess what?!”

Author’s Note: Reminder for Mission Sunnah Revival. We hope that everyone is trying to implement, Insha Allah.

The next Sunnah we will be trying to implement will be the Sunnah of dressing. Insha Allah. (Three listed below)

If you want to wear or take off your clothes:

1- Say (Bismillāh i.e. in the name of Allah), when you wear or take off your clothes. An Nawawi said: it is (i.e. saying Bismi Allah) recommended in all actions.

2-  The Prophet (SAW) used to say when he wearing his clothes, shirt, dress or turban:

O Allah, I ask You for its goodness and the goodness of what it has been made for, and I seek Your protection from the evil of it and the evil of what it has been made for.

(Narrated by Abu Dawood, at Tirmidhi)

3-  Start by the right side upon wearing clothes. The Prophet (SAW) said: (If you wear clothes start with the right side) narrated by at- Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah.

Du’aa When Putting on Clothing

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي كَسَانِي مَا أُوَارِي بِهِ عَوْرَتِي وَأَتَجَمَّلُ بِهِ فِي حَيَاتِي

All praises are due to Allah, who clothed me with which I cover my body and with which I adorn myself in my life.

(Tirmidhi)

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofAwakening

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#RevivetheSunnahofDressing

#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter

Tweet @ajourneyjournal

P.S. Insha Allah, next post on Monday.

Journeying: A Little Beyond the Hills: Part Four

بسم الله

I would show them. I would show them that their silly allegations were based on no facts.

Haseena and Bilal were sure that Zafer was some monster, but he could never be that guy. The one that shot Umar? No ways. I was convinced that it was the same people who Umar had got involved with a few years ago.

I wasn’t sure of exactly how I was going to prove it, but in my fit of rage I had grabbed Mummy’s car keys from the passage table and ran out.

Bilala had been teaching me how to drive before he had gotten married, so I knew the basics of starting a car and driving it.

It wasn’t rocket science, I told myself, jumping into the car at lightning speed, before anyone followed me out.

I don’t think anyone else besides Haseena had even guessed that I was outside. It would be a while before she managed to come after me, or even call anyone else. I felt like an expert driving, as I put the clutch in and started the car, shifting into reverse and heading out the driveway gate. Getting onto the road wasn’t a problem, since the roads were fairly quiet at this time. Actually, everything was pretty quiet at this time.

A slight chill went through my body as I looked at the dark road ahead. There wasn’t much lighting around, especially in our one horse town. People were usually safely in their homes at this time, but I realised that I couldn’t go back there now. Not without doing what I had come out to do.

Though I tried to shove the thought away, I had a feeling that I was being just a little irrational. Just a little too hasty, unwilling to even consider that everything that I was facing had an ultimate motive. That there was a reason for every obstacle I had.

As I spotted a car in the distance behind me, I managed to manoevre the car into a small lane at the end of the road. I didn’t want to be taken home. Not until I figured out what my next step was.

But as I drove through the deserted road, I began to feel really uneasy. I needed to have some direction. I needed to put myself into gear.

It was so strange for me, that at that point, I was completely unaware of everything except myself. My sole objective was to prove myself… To prove that I hadn’t been wrong.

But amidst all that, I had failed to realise that my life had gone into disarray. I had compartmentalised it in such a way, that I had become something of a hypocrite. At certain times, when it was the ‘right’ time, I remembered Deen and what I knew. At other times, I had easily discarded the laws of Allah Ta’ala, and carried on as I pleased.

But what I hadn’t realised, at that point, was that being Muslim was not only ‘sometimes’. It doesn’t serve to benefit anyone when Allah is obeyed sometimes, and not obeyed at other times. So, though it escaped my notice, my inner self and Deeni-conscience was diminishing. I was forgetting the whole aim, the point of life.

“… And observe your duty to Allah! Lo! Allah is Informed of what ye do. And be not ye as those who forgot Allah, therefore He caused them to forget their souls. Such are the evil-doers.” (Qur’an, 59: 18)

And though it didn’t hit me straight away, I knew that getting back onto the straight path was imperative. When you remembered Allah, how beautiful it was that He, the Most Exalted, remembered you too. But when one forgot Him and His commands, how unfortunate that He will cause them to forget their own selves.

And I could feel it happening. I had asked Allah for guidance, but I hadn’t taken heed. I had taken things into my own hands, despite my supposed ‘trust’ in Allah’s plan.

And that was how I ended up at the end of that isolated road that night, deciding on what to do.

To go forward or not? I definitely had my doubts, but I had to prove myself. I had to show them that Zafer wasn’t what they thought he was.

So I hastily indicated, trying to get back onto the main road.

The robot was red, and my eyes were struggling to focus on the dark road, but I was ready to do what I needed to.

That was, until a tap at my window put me completely off focus. I immediately let go of the clutch, and looked up sharply to see someone staring at me. A single figure on the lonely street.

It was just dark eyes and a gleaming knife. My heart jumped up into my throat as I stared them straight in the eyes, watching the watching me.

I was absolutely petrified.

My voice seemed to be caught in my throat as I tried to restart the car. There were so many buttons on the car key, I had no idea what I was even pressing. I had completely forgot about putting in the clutch, before I heard the sound of breaking glass, and felt a hand pulling me out. The seatbelt had stopped me from being yanked out, but I quickly unfastened it, preparing myself for the worst, as the thief tried to prepare himself for the getaway.

“Get out!” He yelled, sounding frustrated.

I was shaking, but with the constant fear of the looming knife penetrating my skin, I managed to untangle myself from the seatbelt, and literally pushed myself out of the open door. I braced myself for something painful as someone forcefully shoved me forwards, but just felt the impact of the pavement as I hit it.

I was numb for a minute, before my hands scraping against the pavement felt raw, and then I felt someone literally standing on top of me to get into the car. I waited for them to come back, maybe to finish me off, but after the screeching of tires, which seemed to rip my eardrums, there was just an eery silence.

A silence that kept me still for a good few minutes. I lay still, pretending like I was dead, in the hope that something would happen. Anything, just so I knew I wasn’t alone here. The fear that had previously gripped me was still a very vital part of me. I couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that it wasn’t over as yet.

I hoped upon hope that maybe someone would come and save me. I wished for some kind of alleviation, something that would help me to rise above the emotions that I felt right now. I wanted to completely rid myself of the ugliness, the filth that had imbedded itself within me.

Frankly, I needed some kind of miracle.

Miracles.

My mind raced back to the previous day when Fareeha had said that word. What exactly was she saying about it, though?

It one of the most revolutionary places and times in my life. When the words eventually hit me again, no-one could possibly imagine the relief that came with it.

And I realised, as I felt the cold paving beneath me, and managed to move onto my side, that sometimes, you really need to hit rock bottom, before you can reach the surface again. Sometimes you need to feel every bit of discomfort and helplessness, before you realise that there is relief with only one thing.

“Remember Me and I will remember you.” (Quran 2:152)

And imagine that, you just give Him one thought, and the Owner of the Universe, the Lord of the Worlds… He remembers you.

It wasn’t some fairytale or competition. It was truth… It was Haqq. It was in the Qur’an revealed to us so that we may take heed, so that we may take advantage. But did I ever?

And even though, at that moment, I was literally down in the dumps, I knew that Allah Ta’ala was waiting for me to depend on Him alone.

It made me think of Aa’isha (RA), when she had been left in the desert by the caravans. Alone in a desert. She, unlike I, in the pitch darkness, had no other trust besides in Allah Ta’ala. Their faith was so firm, she literally covered herself, and went to sleep.

And Allah Ta’ala took care of her, even when she was later on accused of adultery. That was the state of their Imaan.

I, on the other hand, was asking, but I didn’t fully have trust. I had done something wrong, had slipped into a ‘silly stage’ of life. With my preconceived notions, my heart was always steering me in another direction.

So I managed to sit up, remembering that there was only One who could rescue me from this situation.

I prayed from my heart, hoping to be just be taken home safe, finding the strength to get up and find my bearings.

Amidst the darkness, there seemed to be a slight illumination. Headlights in the distance got me turning my head to look at the approaching car.

Fear gripped me as I worried about who it could be. After what I had been through, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Was it someone to help me, or someone who I couldn’t trust?

The car stopped a few metres away from me, and someone got out.

Someone got out, looking at me a bit apprehensively, before I heard them speak.

“Need some help?”

 

Author’s Note: Reminder for Mission Sunnah Revival. We hope that everyone is trying to implement, Insha Allah.

The next Sunnah we will be trying to implement will be the Sunnah of dressing. Insha Allah. (3 below)

If you want to wear or take off your clothes:

1- Say (Bismillāh i.e. in the name of Allah), when you wear or take off your clothes. An Nawawi said: it is (i.e. saying Bismi Allah) recommended in all actions.

2-  The Prophet (SAW) used to say when he wearing his clothes, shirt, dress or turban:

O Allah, I ask You for its goodness and the goodness of what it has been made for, and I seek Your protection from the evil of it and the evil of what it has been made for.

(Narrated by Abu Dawood, at Tirmithi)

3-  Start by the right side upon wearing clothes. The Prophet (SAW) said: (if you wear clothes start with the right side) narrated by at- Tirmithi, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah.

Dua When Putting on Clothing

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي كَسَانِي مَا أُوَارِي بِهِ عَوْرَتِي وَأَتَجَمَّلُ بِهِ فِي حَيَاتِي

All praises are due to Allah, who clothed me with which I cover my body and with which I adorn myself in my life.

(Tirmidhi)

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofAwakening

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter

Tweet @ajourneyjournal

P.S. Insha Allah, next post Saturday. 

Journeying: A Little Beyond the Hills: Part Three

بسم الله

“Err,” I said, feeling a bit worried. “Okay.”

“This err,” he started, sounding awkward.

He paused for a moment, fiddling with his beard, and glanced at me to gauge my expression before continuing.

“This ‘person’ who’s coming to see you… You sure you know what you’re doing?”

So they had phoned. I immediately looked at him sharply, already feeling defensive about Zafer.

“Yes, why?” I asked cynically.

Bilal shrugged his shoulders, looking slightly perplexed.

“Ey, Laila,” he said, shaking his head. “I just think you deserve better than that.”

The irony. I could have said the same thing about Shazia, but I didn’t. How did he even know what Zafer was like? To me, it seemed like he was just jumping to conclusions from no facts.

He sighed audibly, turning into our road, looking contemplative.

“I know what you’re thinking, but I know that guy’s father. He’s always at mosque. Masha Allah… Big beard and always in kurta and that…”

He paused, and I looked at him to try and figure out what his point was.

“So?” I asked. “That’s a good thing.”

Bilal shook his head.

“I know that’s all good, Laila,” he said to me in a huff. “But his attitude sometimes…. Ey. I know I’m no-one to judge, but he’s heavy, man. He tells the Mu’addhin off for stupid things, creates scenes almost every week for stupid reasons. I duno…”

“Zafer’s different,” I interrupted, speaking firmly.

Bilal raised his eyebrows at me.

“Really?” He asked, looking irritated. “And how well do you know him, exactly?!”

I remained silent, not wanting to answer him. He didn’t need to know how badly behaved I had been lately. I wanted to just fix it all, or make it go away, but it wasn’t that easy.

This was the first time that Bilal had actually spoken to me properly in a long time, and though I knew that he was just trying to advise me, sometimes the mind just didn’t want to accept it. I could also see that he was holding himself back from saying more, but I really wasn’t interested anymore. I had made up my mind.

The car stopped outside our house, and I opened the door to get out. Bilal quickly opened the passenger window as I stepped out, raising his voice slightly.

“I don’t know why Shazia cares, but she’s the one who said  to give you a break,” he said, unexpectantly.

I turned to look at him through the open window, surprised by what he had said.

He shook his head now, shifting gears.

“You’re making it very difficult. Salaam.”

With that, he took off up the driveway again, leaving me feeling confused.

I knew that he was just trying to advise me, but it wasn’t fair of him to judge Zafer like that. It didn’t mean that if Zafer’s father was like that, he was too.

I had very often heard my father speak about how we portray ourselves as Muslims. By wearing the ‘correct’ attire, we are basically advertisements for the Deen. When our actions and words don’t fall in line, we are displaying bad marketing skills. When our attire says ‘peace’, our lives should also be based on that.

The tongue is one of the greatest boons that Allah Ta’ala has given us. It can be used for the good, and to draw people to Allah Ta’ala, or it can be used to drive people away. When the tongue is not controlled, a simple word in a harsh tone can break hearts or change lives.

 Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (radiallahu anh) reported: I asked the Messenger of Allah (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): “Who is the most excellent among the Muslims?” He said, “One from whose tongue and hands the other Muslims are secure.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

We have been advised in many ways to guard the tongue, and to speak well. The tongue is a weapon, and infringing on people’s rights because of it is a great sin. To make anyone feel bad on account of what we have spoken is a debt to them that we will have to pay back.

I knew that, like Bilal was telling, sometimes the guy who seemed to be the most pious, five times namaazi, can be the one who, in a different frame of space, can be the most unadmirable person.

So I learnt not to judge, even when I saw someone who didn’t even look like they were Muslim, thinking that maybe their Jannah was already written for them. I learnt to be a little more accepting, learning that what we saw is not always what we got. I also learnt to improve my own words, in some ways, watching what I said.

And I knew a lot about how people’s appearances can be a far reflection of what their hearts really contained. It wasn’t a direct portrayal of their character, and their akhlaaq.

The tongue, however, was a good reflection of what lay in the heart. So even though, Bilal’s advice was worth considering, I knew that Zafer couldn’t be judged by his family. Could he?

Besides, I knew that it had already gone too for to turn back now. It wasn’t a deal-breaker.

I was going to ask Allah Ta’ala to guide me in my decisions and try and do everything the right way from now on. It was too late to turn back, but I had to move forward. I prayed my Salaah and did my reading that evening, and lay down for a minute before Esha, thinking about everything that had happened in my life. I was so caught up, I didn’t even notice Mummy coming in.

“Laila, you finished your Esha?”

I jumped up, wondering how long I had been lying down for.

I shook my head and went to make a fresh whudhu, whilst Mummy called after me.

“Umar and Haseena are coming just now, so come down looking decent.”

I smiled to myself as I wondered what Mummy thought about me. Like I was really going to go down in my pyjamas.

Haseena was coming. Oh goodness.

I was so selfish and absorbed in my own pursuits for a moment, I had forgotten about her. And the baby. Everything.

We had parted on such bad terms the last time, I couldn’t imagine how awkward it was going to be. What do I even start by saying?

I walked quietly down the stairs, listening to the conversation in the lounge. I had thought I had heard my name a few times, but I couldn’t be sure of what exactly they were speaking about.

I slowly looked in to see Umar and Haseena speaking to Mummy and Daddy. Haseena looked… Normal. Tired, but normal. Should I apologise?

I cleared my throat softly, but they all immediately looked up at me, waiting for me to enter.

Mummy made some excuse about the kitchen, as I sat down, and Daddy called Umar to come see something whilst I sat there alone with her, looking down. I was embarrassed. I could barely look at Haseena, because I hadn’t even gone to see her. I spoke softly, feeling her pain.

“Has, I’m sorry… About everything.”

I finally looked up at her to see a tear escaping her eye, but amidst it all, she still found the strength to smile at me.

It was immense guilt. I was so selfish. She was my sister, and she had gone through so much. I was just selfish.

“So are you… Okay?” I asked tentatively.

She nodded her head, wiping her tears.

“I’m fine,” she said, waving her hand. “Just, you know… A bit sore.”

I nodded my head, sympathising with her. We spoke for a while about her, and I wondered to myself about where her strength came from. As she spoke, I could see that it was their firm faith in Allah Ta’ala and belief that He is the Controller of everything. I only wished that some day I could have what they had.

Haseena cleared her throat after she told me about what the doctors had said, looking at me for a few seconds, before speaking again.

“Erm, Laila,” she started, changing the topic. “I heard about the proposal coming… I’m glad he’s coming home, but Laila, are you absolutely sure about him?”

I immediately got annoyed now, wondering what the big fuss was about Zafer. Why was everyone asking me if I was sure? He was a good guy, and he might not be perfect, but I knew what I wanted.

I sighed, wondering why Haseena was concerned about that, in her condition.

“He’s a good guy, Haseena,” I said firmly. “I don’t know why Bilal and you are so against this whole thing. I need you’ll to just back off and leave it alone.”

I couldn’t help it, but I was getting angrier by the moment. What was it with them?

“Laila, relax,” Haseena replied calmly. “We’re just looking out for you. We want you to be sure about it.”

“I am sure, don’t worry,” I said, not sure about who I was trying to convince.

“Laila,” she said again. “There’s just… There’s something you need to know about him, before you make your final decision.”

Oh goodness. Now she was going to tell me some hectic story about him. I really didn’t want to listen.

“Listen, Haseena,” I said, clearly annoyed. “Why don’t you’ll just give him a chance?”

“Laila, this is important.”

“I don’t want to know!” I retorted. “Just leave it alone… I’m old enough to make my own decisions, Haseena!”

I got up to leave, wanting to go, before I heard her say, calmly.

“Laila, Zafer was the one who shot Umar.”

I froze for a second, before the impact of what she had said hit me.

“Wha..?!” I said, turning to look at her. I was stunned for a minute.

She nodded her head, apologising to me, sympathy in her tone.

My head seemed to be abuzz with all this new information, but I couldn’t accept it.

It was unbelievable! Zafer wasn’t like that. I couldn’t believe how far they had stooped just to give Zafer a bad name! The anger was mounting as I found myself feeling hot, annoyed, and furious.

How dare she?

I looked at her in the eye, my face hot and my voice almost a shrill.

“You… You… You’re LYING! How dare you?! I hate you!!”

Tears involuntarily filled my eyes, as I spun around, and stormed out the room to go to the front door. I ignored her calls from behind me.

Now, I would show them.

 

Author’s Note: Reminder for Mission Sunnah Revival. We hope that everyone is trying to implement, Insha Allah.

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofAwakening

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter

Tweet @ajourneyjournal

P.S. Insha Allah, next post Wednesday. 

Journeying: A Little Beyond the Hills: Part Two

بسم الله

What was I going to do?

I was rooted to the spot for a good few seconds before I felt something moving. I jumped feaefully, looking down at my bag that held the vibrating phone. I wasn’t used to carrying a phone so it was a new sensation for me.

The ringing phone also meant that Bilal was probably trying to get hold of me. My heart was now beating at double the rate, and my sweaty palms seemed to struggle to unzip the fastener.

Just leave it, something was telling me.

There was no time to waste. I could see them looking at me from inside the car, getting impatient. How on earth did I get myself involved in this?

I shook my head at Zafer, seeing him opening the door. I knew that he was going to come out to try and convince me to go with him, but I knew what my boundaries were.

“I have to go,” I mumbled to them, and literally spun around to race back to the house.

I could hear Zafer calling me from behind, probably irritated at my behaviour, but I kept running. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I had gotten more into the web I had gotten caught up in.

I finally stopped before I entered the house again, catching my breath.

What had I got myself into? I felt a wave of disappointment envelope me, feeling despondent about everything. I was leaning against the wall, with not a single person around, wondering how I had ended up in this kind of situation. How could I have gone so far off-track?

The vibrating phone had stopped but was ringing again now.

I briskly entered the open house again, hearing Aunty Sameera call out to ask who it was.

“It’s me. Laila,” I replied, slightly out of breath. “It wasn’t my car.”

I rushed down the passage to answer the phone, panicking about what Bilal would say. What would I tell him? How would I explain?

“Laila!”

The voice that replied to my greeting was definitely not Bilal’s. Tasneem sounded extra chirpy as she asked me how I am, and I began to wonder how on earth she knew Bilal’s spare number.

Wait. Did she know that I had it? Was she trying to contact me or Bilal? And why?

This was all just feeling really weird. How did Zafer even know where I was? The feeling I was getting wasn’t completely foreign. It was like I was getting stalked. I felt like how I had felt when I was back in school, getting the weird letters.

But Asad was in school… Was it him? Or maybe even Zafer? What was the whole issue about between Yusuf and Asad anyway?

As my Tasneem spoke, my mind was working overtime. It was like a million puzzle pieces eventually fitting together. I wasn’t even listening to Tasneem until I heard her calling my name.

“Lailaaa!” She almost whined. “Are you even listening?!”

“Hmmm?”

“I hear congrats are in order, cuz.”

“For?” I asked, confused.

“Did you even hear a word?!” She adked, clearly annoyed. “Zafer said he’s coming this weekend. To ‘see’ you.”

“Oh.”

That was a surprise. I forgot about the big conspiracy.

I wasn’t sure what to think. Not like he hadn’t seen me. But he was actually coming.

That’s what he had probably wanted to speak to me about. They had probably phoned home, so he thought it was okay to come and see me.

It would mean my Nikah would be quite soon afterward. I was supposed to feel excited, but there was a dull feeling where I had thought I would experience an upliftment.

I felt completely deflated. Was this what it was supposed to be like?

I cut the call in a hurry, and paused in Fareeha’s doorway, before going in.

She was sitting and reading her Qur’an, but what struck me was that whilst she was doing it, she just looked so peaceful. It was so refreshing to see the tranquility that oozed from the mere observation of it.

And the mere observation put a lump in my throat. I couldn’t help but remember the days when I would so devotedly commit myself to Qur’an reading. My heart felt a certain emptiness as I thought longingly of the days when I would recite it, yearning to memorise more and more.

Even my Hifdh seemed to have taken a back seat, as I pursued useless things in life. As Ramadhaan left, my vigour to practise the best Deen that I could also disappeared.

I had been so ignorant of the great gift that was at my disposal. Mankind can never do justice to the word of Allah, for lack of practise. We are ignorant of the great responsibility that has been bestowed on us.

Allah Ta’ala says: “Had We sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and split asunder (crumbling) by the fear of Allah. Such are the parables that We put forward to mankind that they may reflect.” [Al-Hashr, 59:21]

And if a mountain, being so huge and powerful, was afraid of the responsibility of the Qur’an, it just shows the carelessness of Mankind in general. We have it, but don’t read. We recite, but don’t take heed.

If only I could go back to cherishing and valuing the Holy Book like I had done before. I made intention to start again, as I watched Fareeha slowly close it, kiss it and look up at me, concerned.

“Lails, everything okay?”

I wasn’t sure if it was the way she had asked, or the expression on her face, but her words struck something deep inside of me.

Was everything okay? Was I going to be okay? Was I ever going to feel ‘okay’ again?

I had lost so much of me in my silly escapades, deprived myself of everything that was ever good and pure.

I felt my chest swell, and promptly burst into tears as she looked on at me, leaning against the wall for support.

She rushed forward in shock, coming towards me to attempt to console me.

But I had brought it all upon myself. All of it. The regret filled my chest, as I struggled to breathe amidst the tears. How was I ever going to get past this? Will this feeling ever pass?

And as always happens, whenever anyone tries to comfort a crying person, the tears seem to find a new motive. The flowed relentlessly as Fareeha quickly closed the door and pulled me to her bed, offering words of consolation as I bawled my eyes out. I was beyond comfort at that point.

“Laila,” she said in a soothing voice. “I know what you’re dealing with. I’ve been there, remember? It’s that guy, isn’t it?”

I nodded my head, then shook it, not sure about what answer to give her. It had a lot to do with Zafer, but I was really crying for myself. I was crying because now that I had gotten myself involved in this, I couldn’t back out. I had practically committed myself to someone, out of Nikah, and now, there was no turning back. I had to go through with it. There was no way out.

I sobbed my heart out until there were no more tears left, and then I clung onto Fareeha, listening to her comforting me, in the best way that she could. That was my friend, and I was so glad that she had been there for me.

“‘No one besides Allah can rescue a soul from hardship’,” she said. “Surah An-Najm.”

She said it so simply, with full belief that that was the solution to every problem that I could ever have.

“Go and read it,” she said, repeating the verse. “And Laila, I promise you, when you turn to Him, and you give Him you, you will see help coming from places you’ve never imagined.”

She took a deep breath, as I took in what I was hearing.

“I’ve seen miracles, Laila. . Complete proof that only He is the Controller of the Universe. He controls everything and every being. I’ve asked Allah for something, many times, and within minutes, I’ve seen my Du’aa been answered. I’ve witnessed it.”

I looked at her, a slight shiver passing through me. Miracles.

“And I’m not boasting, Laila,” she said quickly, holding her hands up. “I just want you to feel it too. You know what I was like. From Mohsin, to Asad, and who know what else in between. I know what I still am like, at times… Obsessing over the silliest things!”

She giggled to herself, and I couldn’t help but smile at her through my tears.

“But they say when you really want something, you don’t really want it until you’re waking up and praying Tahajjud for it. You’re not really serious about it, until you show that commitment. Because at the end of the day, Laila, we need Him. We need our Rabb. We need Him, and He knows that, but we need to show Him that. We need to show Him that we’re serious about it. We need to show that we want Him in our lives, and not only for a short time… But forever.”

I nodded at her slowly, digesting it all. I needed to hear that. I needed to hear it, although I knew it. Our Allah’s power will not increase or decrease even one bit from our shukr, so even if the whole world turns against Him, it will not decrease His greatness. And likewise, if the whole world turns to Him, it will not increase it.

He is independent, so why do we keep depriving ourselves of what He offers us? Why do we not allow Him to fulfill what rewards are promised to us by becoming His friend?

I wanted to gain that kind of faith again. I wanted to connect myself once again to Allah.

I wiped my disgustingly snotty face as Fareeha smiled at me again, telling me that there will always be hope for me, and then told me a funny story about her father, just to lighten the mood. Uncle Farouk and his antics had always cracked me up, and I could see where Fareeha got her sense of humour from.

For the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala, I really loved my friend.

We were busy giggling away as my phone rang again, and this time, it was Bilal to say that he was waiting for me. I hugged Fareeha tightly before she came to see me out, and ran to the car, glad to see my moody brother again.

Actually, to be fair, he wasn’t as moody as he had been before marriage. I suppose Shazia had fixed a bit of his weird temperament, but today she wasn’t there.

“Where’s Shazia?” I asked, jumping into the front seat.

“She’s working,” he said, sounding a little bit annoyed.

I didn’t know why he sounded like that, but he did know that Shazia would be working when he married her. I didn’t think she was going to forfeit her degree just because of Bilal’s insecurities. I knew that he wasn’t used to the women in our family working, but in all honesty, he had to accept it.

I ignored his weird mood, and looked out the window.

His next words caught me by surprise though, even though his tone was unreadable.

“Laila,” he said sternly. “I need to ask you something, and you need to be honest with me.”

I looked at his expressionless face, feeling immense worry.

What did he want to know now?

Author’s Note: We hope the post serves as an encouragement for us to increase in the recitation of the Qur’an, which has so mercifully been revealed as a guidance for us. May Allah make us steadfast.

A reminder for Mission Sunnah Revival.

Masha Allah, if anyone has been determined enough to start eating on the floor, just a cloth layed down will assist in clearing, and the task becomes much easier than actually eating at a table. It aids in digestion, helps with weight loss, and also prevents overeating.

SunhaanAllah. It’s amazing that if we just google the benefits, the Sunnah of our Nabi (SAW) is incomparable, even to the west.

To make it easy for us to remember to recite the Du’aa to read so that we will not be questioned about the meal, an idea is to keep (copy and paste) it on our phones (which are always near us), so we can recite whenever we need it. 

لْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي هُوَ أَشْبَعَنَا وَأَرْوَانَا وَأَنْعَمَ عَلَيْنَا وَأَفْضَلَ

Allhamdulillah hillathee huwa ashba’ naa wa arwa’ naa wa an’ama alaynaa wa afdhal.

All praise belongs to Allah Who through His Mercy, made us to eat our fill, and as a great favour bestowed on us plentifully. (Dhurre Manthur)
Also in Fadhaail-e-Sadaqaat, page 339

We hope that everyone is trying to implement, Insha Allah.

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofAwakening

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#ReciteQur’anDaily – at least a quarter

Tweet @ajourneyjournal