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  • solution to anything

    oneatatime

    ساعتين ركعتين دمعتين

    2moments♡

    2rakats

    2tears

    Only to Allah SWT….

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  • Is “Faḍāʾil Aʿmāl” Authentic? — The Hadith Disciple

    Imām Bukhārī has authored a book titled ‘Adabu l’Mufrad’ which contains dha’if hadith…

    Is “Faḍāʾil Aʿmāl” Authentic? — The Hadith Disciple
  • ♡ ﷺ ♡

    The poet says
    Sahih al-Bukhārī if it were to be described
    Only in pure gold would it have been transcribed

    Such for a mere book on your words
    I close my eyes and ponder
    With deep yearning and incredulous wonder

    The condition of those blessed to hear directly
    Those words flowing from like pearls from your lips
    The beauty and eloquence beyond any eclipse

    The poet says
    I could not praise Muḥammad ﷺ through my words of praise
    But through Muḥammad ﷺ does the value of my words raise

    You are the highest of the elevated
    Brighter than any ruby or luminous star
    The ultimate seal of all the Anbiyāʾ

    Thoughts of you provoke delight and awe
    I am overcome with acute humility
    On hearing how you prayed for this lowly Ummatī

    The poet says
    Even if I were to wash my mouth a thousand times
    With musk and rosewater it shan’t suffice
    To pronounce thy name; Ya Rasūl Allāh

    What of this sinful mouth of mine
    No bergamot, ambergis or cedar
    Can ever make me worthy of even tasting the dust of Madīna

    Carved from Allāh’s quality Al-Ḥāmid
    Befitting is your exalted name
    For one who sought neither riches or fame

    The poet says
    In my imagination, I humbly asked, who is the most beloved to my Khudā
    My Allāh replied, it is none other than Musṭāfā ﷺ

    I pray my Allah makes me an orator
    so I may openly sing your praise
    I pray He makes me a curator
    So your mention I may visually raise

    I pray He makes me a warrior
    To wage war against your every enemy bold
    And I pray my Allāh makes me a calligrapher
    To write your praises in ornate gold

  • Breaking addictions

    Previous points covered:

    Ayāt to recite and ponder on.

    Remain in Wudhu and keep a tasbīh on hand, refocus attention on Dhikr when the urge hits.

    Concientise what are you filling your heart with. Good company and conscious dhikrullah to fill the heart with Allāh.

    Hajee Abd al-Wahhāb and Mawlāna Yūsuf ◌ؒ used to say that Sahabah ◌ؓ would make dhikr and they would take all they needed from their dhikr.

    Nabi ﷺ said, “The best dhikr is lā ilāha illa ‘Llah.”

    There is nothing stronger than these words, nothing that can give better strength, nothing that can protect you more. Making dhikr consciously, while asking Allāh for your needs through this dhikr is one of the most accepted forms of supplication.

    Lā ilāha illa ‘Llah: The source of all strength is you, oh my Allāh.

    Lā ilāha illa ‘Llah: My prayers, my actions, my living, and my dying is for my Allāh alone.

    Lā ilāha illa ‘Llah: Only my Allāh can strengthen my heart to resist against the pull of ghair Allah.

    Lā ilāha illa ‘Llah: My Allah is with me, my Allāh is with me, My Allāh is with me.

    Lā ilāha illa ‘Llah: I need no entertainment, i need no device, I need no dopamine, My Allāh is sufficient for me.

    Lā ilāha illa ‘Llah: I choose the pleasure of my Allāh over any temptations this dunya is calling me to.

    Lā ilāha illa ‘Llah: the space in my heart is only for my Allāh, my Maqsad is only my Allāh, i seek and covet only the pleasure of my Allāh. Lā ilāha illa ‘Llah

  • Just some thoughts

    Warning: only read if you’re okay with reading some random rambles and thoughts..

    So far, I’ve written some of the advices for staying.. straight. Consistency, tips to keep yourself motivated. Basically, keeping it down after you’ve kicked the bucket habit. Its easy to talk about giving up something, but the hard part is… the incredible ease of picking it up again, even after putting so much effort into breaking the habit.

    For myself personally, i went from an utter book addict, to someone who stayed away from them.. for 6 years.

    And then I relapsed. It may sound weird to be using terms which normally relate to serious addictions, but for a lot of people, that what novel addictions are. Serious cravings, that you keep getting pulled back towards, despite trying to stay clean. I call it the rabbit hole.. not very noticeable, easy to fall into, hard to extricate yourself from.

    This is really personal, and I’ve second-guessed sharing this more than once, but hopefully this helps someone who may relate to it:

    My relapse came in the form of too much free time. Not free time in the sense of not enough work to do, because who doesn’t have a never ending to do list? Rather, mine was after a very close family member passed on. For months, our lives revolved around her, taking care of here, visitors, night shifts, medication. And then, Allāh called her back and… you’re left walking into an empty room a number of times a day looking at an empty bed. Ironic, because for the last weeks of her life, she was semi comatose, then, completely comatose. Strange, how someone who wasn’t talking, wasn’t walking, can leave behind such a void. How a single empty bed can leave such… emptiness.

    For the first few nights, I even woke up every 2 hours. Woke up, but there was nobody to check on. Strange (and frustrating) to be awakening numerous times a night without any alarm, but who can turn off a bodies natural routine?

    Ramadaan came soon after, and it was the perfect healing, the distraction needed. As the weeks passed, the hours of empty time filled up, there was so much that had been put off for so long, so naturally, at some point, it all had to be recommenced.

    It wasn’t immediate, probably about 2 months after, that I slipped up. It wasn’t grief, that was there of course, but Allāh bless us with so much of ease. Nope, nothing and no one was to blame but myself. But the driving factor? What broke through all the sensible thoughts?

    Idle mind. Because… yes, i had filled in most of my free time. I had new courses which i had taken on, new responsibilities etc, but going from having barely a few minutes free a day… back to normal life with many many many minutes free… it culminated into..

    an idle mind… devils workshop.

    Since then, I’ve given it up, slipped up, given it up, slipped up, given it up, slipped up and given it up again. Almost like a proper relapse.. a single relapse can set you right back to square one.

    Its the same problem I’m faced with every holiday. I love the break, often, i desperately need it.. but then, once a few days go, and you finish catch up on sleep, and urgent self care that you’ve neglected for a long time… that free time makes way for emptiness, and that emptiness feeds the craving for… something!

    The thing is, the age of the internet is programmed for instant gratification. And it messes us up because.. . At times, we’re bored, we feel unstimulated, we need downtime, and then wr’re craving dopamine and instant gratification. Social media, books, even movies (for those struggling with more haram addictions)… it all… promises that gratification instantly.

    When we look at our pious predecessors, their downtime was spending time with family members, reciting Qurʾān, listening to naats in praise of Nabi ﷺ, reading islamic literature etc. Each of these things, they do bring a lot of contentment and happiness to the heart. But when those cravings hit?

    Do we everrr turn to these things? Why is it the last thing we feel like doing at that moment? Its easy to say, read 3 pages of Qurʾān instead of a novel when u craving it..but how easily doable is it?

    Welcome to generation Z (gen X is not exempt even)… we willingly have allowed our entire psyche to be brainwashed in a digital world where everything is about instant gratification and no place for things which take effort and nurture slow contentment. And now we deal with the consequences.

    Fighting addictions? We’re no longer fighting just a love for social media, or a love for books, or video games or a love for surfing the web. We’re fighting against our entire psyche which has been warped by the age of the internet. Fighting against psyches which struggle to relax, destress, or find down time, unless its in one of these activities which promise instantaneous gratification…

    Productive hobbies? Ehh, what’s that?

  • Breaking Novel Addictions

    Previous points covered:

    Ayāt to recite and ponder on.

    Remain in Wudhu and keep a tasbīh on hand, refocus attention on Dhikr when the urge hits.

    “The heart can never be empty. The hearts nature is such that the heart can never be empty..” ~Mawlana Ilyās Patel dmb

    Our Mashayikh teach us that the heart is king, it determines the result of the limbs. The heart intrinsically is made up in such a way that its nourishment is Muhabbat (love). There will always be some type of muhabbat in it. If developed correctly, it will be the muhabbat of Allāh. And if undeveloped, some other love will fill it.

    Two key aspects to developing the love of Allāh:

    1. Excessive zikr: Not mere lip service, but rather, that dhikr done with the conscious intention of filling the heart with Allah.

    This is what will create the love Allah. Also Included in Zikr is refraining from that which will displease Allāh Taʿāla.

    2. Company of the Pious: you are who you spend your time with. The heart is such that it draws from what it surrounds itself with. Surround it with filth, and it will absorb filth within itself, surround it with goodness, and it will nurture and absorb that goodness.

    The lack of these two will draw one away from Allāh and fill the heart with love for wordly temporal distractions.

    To focus on the second point:

    To sit with a person is to spend time with a person, but to read a persons words is to devotedly and intimately pay attention to their thoughts.

    Ponder: Is the author of any novel deserving of the honour of you paying them this attention, of you absorbing, from their heart, into yours?

    Ps. Advice directed to myself primarily. Simply shared in the hopes that it helps someone out there facing the same temptations.

  • Breaking Novel Addictions

    (Going to write this in small parts over a few posts. Starting off with the advice given by the scholar who I take advice with. Ideally, if you have bay’ah or Ta’alluq to any scholar in particular, taking advice on your situation directly would have the most impact and Barakah. However, the advice I recieved is pretty general, as well as effective, hence, I’m sharing it.)

    As Salaamu Alaikum

    May Almighty Allah protect us all from falling into filthy areas.

    Daily, after your Fajr or when you awaken, recite this verse once, whilst pondering over its meaining

    وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا أُولَئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُهِينٌ (6) وَإِذَا تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا وَلَّى مُسْتَكْبِرًا كَأَنْ لَمْ يَسْمَعْهَا كَأَنَّ 

    فِي أُذُنَيْهِ وَقْرًا فَبَشِّرْهُ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ (7) إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ النَّعِيمِ (8) خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقًّا وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

    ‘And among the people are those who buy idle talk – which is everything that distracts from obedience to God and hinders His pleasure – (in order to lead people astray from the path of guidance to the path of desire), and to take the verses of God as a mockery. For them is a disgraceful punishment. And when Our verses are recited to him, and he becomes arrogant, as if he had not heard them, as if in his ears there is desolation and affliction. 7 Those who believe and do righteous deeds will have gardens of bliss. 8 They will abide therein, the promise of God is true, and He is the Mighty, the Wise.


    Ponder over the fact that the ones who wrote and arranged for these books to be in the open market, did it solely to keep you away from Allah. They hate the Quraan.  As for those who believe and work towards righteousness, their gardens of bliss are not far. There you will be able to live every fantasy, novel, etc.


    Delete all applications which make it easy for you to find your novel. 

    Keep a tasbih in your pocket and stay with wudhu. 

    When the urge comes, break it by reciting continuously these verses.
    May Almighty Allah assist.

    Pretty effective advice. The thing is, any change takes effort to be implemented. A friend of mine likes to point out, at time we may feel that the advices of your shaykh are not working.. or you keep slipping up or the results you hoped for aren’t there. But in majority of those scenarios, its actually not the effectiveness of those advices that are lacking, but your own punctuality on it. Because when a person makes sincere effort and Dua to change, Allāh facilitates change. So what of efforts made under the guidance of your mashāyikh, whose advice is full of Barakah.

  • 12. (Part 1/2)

    Yaseera

    Yaseera had been a part of Tartīl halaqah for as long as it existed. It was back when she was 9 years old that she began attending with her older cousins. They had married and moved on, but Yaseera had stayed. One of the oldest studest, and definitely one of the ones taking the longest to complete her taḥfīẓ. Other Halaqāt may have given up on her by now, but Ustadha Umm Habībah was a gem.

    A gem who’d taught her she knew about Qurʾān, a gem who introduced her to the diamonds of Qurʾān one by one. A gem who’d taught her minute details on even the simplest of Adāb related to Qurʾān, each one an eye-opener to the actually sha’n of the Book which she was reciting. If it wasn’t for Umm Ḥabībah, Yas would have never known that if she needed to yawn while reciting, she should stop, close the Qurʾān, recite ta’awwuz and then continue. Is she didn’t have wudhu, then she should make it, but if she was in a situation where her choices was to either read Qurʾān without wudhu or leave it for later, then she should read it without. If she was ever reciting and overcome with an urge to pass wind, she should stop, until it had passed, then only recommence recitation.

    More importantly, her Ustadha had taught her the stages of Tadabbur and its connection to the body of the recitor. The tongue, the mind, the heart, and then the limbs.

    When the lisān, the tongue of the recitor of Qurʾān recites with tartīl and beauty, in a manner befitting of it granduer, Allah opens up the aql, the mind of that individual, as well as the listener, to its grandeur. Then, when he recites in this manner, together with presence of mind, his aql ponders on the meanings of Qurʾān, the recitation affects the qalb, his heart, and changes from a mere physical act, to one of devotion and dedication. The Nūr and might of such Tadabbur reaches a crescendo and manifests itself in the jawārih, all the limbs of the individual, until he reaches a stage where he recites, not with his jaw being a seperate entity, but with the Lisān, the Aql, the Qalb and the Jawārih all reciting as one entity, united in their immersion and love of this Book.

    It all started with tartīl, and thats why Yaseera was obsessed with it. Obsessed with the word, obsessed with attaining its perfection, obsessed to the point that she was the student who had suggested the name Tartīl halaqah all those years ago.

    She had jumped at the chance to recite tartīlan to Ustadha today, and as she went further into the verses of Surah Rahmān, everything else fell away and she found her aql conjuring tangible images in her mind of the verses she recited. Images of the bounties of her Rabb e Karīm. Images of the creation of man, of the creation of Jinn, of the earth and the seas, which met, but never merged. And then as she recited, she tangibly felt the shift from the stage of aql, to the stage of Qalb….


    كُلُّ مَنْ عَلَيْهَا فَانٍۢ

    Every being on earth is bound to perish.

    وَيَبْقَىٰ وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو ٱلْجَلَـٰلِ وَٱلْإِكْرَامِ

    Only your Lord Himself, full of Majesty and Honour, will remain ˹forever˺.

    Her voice broke as she recited the second ayah. The correction from Ustadha Umm Ḥabībah came fast. “Do not break off in the middle of an ayah. Waqf Qabīh is a grave error.”

    Yaseera took a deep breath and tried again,

    وَيَبْقَىٰ وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو ٱلْجَلَـٰلِ وَٱلْإِكْرَامِ

    This time, she managed to keep her voice from breaking, but the tremble was evident. How could it not be, when what she was reading about had the intensity to liquify stones.

    When every living being will be reduced to nothing

    The celestial bodies all brought to naught,

    When the skies rent asunder and the earths split apart

    The whole universe ceasing existence

    وَيَبْقَىٰ وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو ٱلْجَلَـٰلِ وَٱلْإِكْرَامِ

    Still there exists a Being who remains and will never die.

    Allah Who created the whole universe and Who is the First and the Final Cause of all things. He alone will abide because He is Self-Subsisting, All-Sustaining, Independent and Besought of all.

    And as I reached the climax of the Sūrah, pictures of Jannah dancing in my minds eye, a part of my mind fixated on what I had recited.

    Every being on Earth is bound to perish. Only your Lord Himself, full of Majesty and Honour, will remain ˹forever˺.

    It stuck in my mind until I reached home. Home where things between ammi and Abbi have been going remarkably smoothly this week. Home where all my previous thoughts flew out the window and I was left biting my nails. All it took was one ring of the phone and a peek at caller id… and I was a nervous wrong fixated wide eyes on ammi as she spoke, almost as if I could develop powers to hear the opposite side of the phonecall if I stared hard enough.

    Only half a post and unedited because.. guess whose procrastinating studying for exams by doing such productive things ; ). Requesting Duas for my Hidayat….

  • 11. Ar-Raḥmān

    Aamina

    Tuesday morning dawned with a strange atmosphere hanging over the Halaqah. Ustadha was clearly upset about something, and it showed as she tested the students.

    A meticulous teacher usually, today, Ustadha seemed determined to correct every single, minute tajweed mistake made. Aamina winced internally, every single tajweed mistake, meaning ‘mistakes’ that one would never dream was mistakes. She had come to Halaqah today, convinced that she had learnt her work perfectly, but as she read, Ustadha continuously made corrections. Only Hams in your Kāf, Aaminah, laysa fīha qalqalah. Fakhkim ar-Rāʾ. Yā Aamina, hadha madd lāzim. Sitt Harakāt. Six, not three.

    Corrections got scary when Ustadha forgot to speak in English. It got even scarier when there were more than 4 corrections per page.

    It wasn’t only her that was feeling it. A quick peek around the class proved her assumption true. Everyone’s shoulders were set, their eyes were focused, and tension was visibly apparent in the serious precision that each student was holding onto. The last student who had recited actually looked like she was fighting back tears.

    Finishing her Hizb, she looked up carefully at Ustadha, not sure what to say. Zero recitation mistakes, but about 15 intricate tajweed corrections, was Ustadha going to make her repeat?

    To her relief, Ustadha just gave a small nod, and turned her attention to the next student.

    Surprisingly, probably due to how on edge each student was, all students completed the testing of their daily wird faster than most days. Looking to the awaiting line 20 minutes later, Aamina was shocked to see that it was just Yaseera waiting to be tested.

    Sweet, calm Yaseera. She suddenly had an urge to giggle. In a class full of tense faces and focused precision, Yaseera was the enigma. Unflustered, with her usual calm dedication, Yaseera was learning her work as if it were any other day… as if Ustadha was not handing out corrections today in a way that might cause one to assume Taraweeh performance begins tonight.

    Still reviewing her own work, Aamina watched as Yaseera got up for her turn to be tested. A calm, serene smile adorned her simple features, and her clear brown eyes held no trace of trepidation. She sat down close to Ustadha, closed her Qurʾān and said something softly.

    Zaynab:
    Aamina wasn’t the only one trying to catch what Yaseera said. Zainab was trying as well, very hard. As was every other student in the room. On a normal day, it would have been nothing of note, but for Yaseera to do that today, everyone wanted to know what she was saying. Yet her tone was so muted, that no one caught it.

    Luckily, Ustadhas voice was not a very soft one. “You want permission for what?” she asked.

    “To recite tarteelan, Ustadha. Everyone else has completed their wird.”

    Thankfully, this time, everyone managed to catch what she had said.

    Zainab stared at her incredulously. Everyone was working to get through the day as fast as possible, and here was someone who wanted to prolong hers?

    The stages of recitation were 5.

    1)     التحقيق At-tahqeeq- reading in a slow paced manner, with tranquility, for the purpose of teaching and pondering on the meanings; careful recitation with the rules. 

    2)       الترتيل – At-Tarteel, reading in  slow paced manner, with tranquility and ease but not for the purpose of teaching, yet still pondering on the meanings, and paying attention to the rules of tajweed 

    3)      الحدر Al-Hadr: reciting in a fast manner yet following all the rules.

    4)      التدوير At-Tadweer, reading in a balanced manner between hadr and the slow paced recitation, yet still reading with rules. Ibn Al-Jazari said: This is the recitation of most of the recitors. So it is between hadr and tarteel.

    5)      زمزمة  The last level is Zamzama: Reading in a low fast manner (to yourself). Example is, when you’re reading in salah, or to yourself. This is the opposite of at-tahqeeq.

    The Halaqah rules were strict. Either you recite with Tadwīr, or between Hadr and Tadwīr. To recite in Hadr or faster was not allowed, neither was reciting slower than Tadwīr, due to demands of time. Not that anyone usually wanted to recite slower than Tadwīr, because Tadwīr was a measured pace, quite slow for a Tahfīẓ student. Reciting so much in one instance was intense on the vocal chords, so no one wished to prolong that intensity. At least, no one in Zainabs previous Halaqah had ever wanted that. But apparently, in this Halaqah, someone did want that.

    Zainab wasn’t the only one staring when a small smile broke over Ustadhahs face and she murmured, “شوقنا إلى ربنا يا يسيرة”.

    Immediately, Zainab sat up straighter at full attention. That single statement told her that this was not going to be any ordinary recitation. How could it be, when the words that Ustadha had used were the words of ʿUmar radi Allāh ʿanh, through which he would implore Abū Mūsa al-ʿAshʿarī to recite Qurʾān, شوقنا إلى ربنا يا أبا موسى.

    Instil in us a yearning for our Rabb O Abū Mūsa.

    A companion whose love for Qurʾān was unmatched, whose beauty in recitation was unparalleled. About whom Nabī ﷺ had said, “He has been given a mizmār from the mazāmīr of the family of Dāwūd alayh as-salām”. A mizmār, literally meaning a flute or a musical instrument, but used to describe a voice of such unparalleled beauty, that mere adjectives were not sufficient to do it justice.

    Bismillāh ar-Rahmān ar-Rahīm
    The beginning of the recitation was precise, clear, and carefully measured.

    But Ustadha Umm Ḥabeebah held up a hand to stop her. “Breath deep first,” she instructed. “Hold it for 3 seconds, then begin. Do not allow yourself to inhale in the midst of recitation. And direct sound from your mouth, remove the slight nasalisation, and recite with the correct jahr.”

    Zainab didn’t even understand what half those corrections meant, leave alone being able to handle so many at once. But her eyes stayed riveted at the girl at the front of the Halaqah, with a tiny serene smile on her face, who breathed deeply, held for three seconds, and then began again.

    Ar-Rahmān.
    ʿAllama ‘l-Qurʾān.

    Two verses. Just two verses, and Zaynab was bowled over. By the emotion, by the intensity. By the utter beauty in those two verses that she had recited thousands of times in her life, but never felt the impact of the meaning as much as she felt it now.


    Ar-Rahmān, The most Merciful.
    He taught the Qurʾān.

    It seemed to reverberate again and again in her mind.
    He taught the Qurʾān.
    HE taught the Qurʾān.
    And somehow, a tear was already sliding down her face, for reasons beyond her comprehension.

  • 10

    Bonus post, anyone? Amatur Rahman from Journey of Muslim Teens made a deal with me.. a post for a post.. (lets pretend I’m not two days late)

    Haseena

    In life, sometimes, we hit a rut. Spiritually… And that was where I was stuck. It wasn’t like I didn’t recognise the signs, I did, but all efforts to get back on track faded. It was like a terrible knock knock joke, only this one went like this.

    Knock Knock..
    Who’s there?
    … … …

    Just nothing. Just dead silence. The niggling warnings were knocking, but when I tried to follow through, then I failed to find answers.. to find my way back. Even the days I managed to summon the energy to put in enough much effort to walk to the door and shove it open, i failed to find anything of substance. Anything lasting… I was trying, i had good days, but then my spirituality slipped back through my fingers like quicksand.

    That feeling was what prompted me to attend the weekly Taleem with Ummi that week. Deep down, i had hope that it will be the magic fix i needed.

    And so I went. A lot of greeting and smiles were passed my way, because mummy was a regular from my childhood and Abbi was an active part of the Tablīgh movement for 20 years now.

    Sadly, luck wasn’t on my side. I found my eyes closing and my body shutting off midway through the taleem, despite my best efforts to keep awake. At one point, I even dosed off for about a minute, before my eyes opened with a jolt, frantically scanning the room, worried that someone saw me.

    That anxiety woke me up then, but by that time, most of the programme was over and one of the regulars was giving the famous six-points.

    “…wuḍu thoroughly, go to the spot where I intend to pray, and sit there until all my limbs are in a collected state. Then I stand up to perform my prayer, placing the Kaʿbah in front of my eyes…

    the ṣirāṭ (bridge over Hell-fire) beneath my feet, Paradise to my right and Hell-fire to my left, and the Angel of Death behind me, thinking all the while that this is my last prayer. Then I stand between hope and fear. I carefully pronounce ‘Allāhu Akbar’.

    Then I recite the Qur’ān carefully in a measured pace, bow in humility, and prostrate submissively. I then present it with sincerity to Allah. Then I wonder whether or not my prayer has been accepted.”

    This my beloved mothers and sister was how he would pray his Salah. How all the salaf would pray, how much effort they put into attaining that level of sincerity and closeness to Allah in our Salah. We wait for the khushūʿ, for the closeness to Allah to come easily and without effort, but we forget that even the awliyaa of Allah had to make great efforts and then only did they reach such high spiritual states. Now moving on the next point…”

    I zoned out again, but those few points stuck with me. When we went home for Asr, I tried to do as the scholar mentioned in taalim did. I didn’t feel any instant connection, but it did something funny to my heart. A heavy weight settled on it, almost like the feeling you get when you have a heavy responsibility on your shoulders.

    And that was what it was. By taking time out to consciously picture myself in that state, it brought to the forefront of my concious, that my Salah which i had been mindlessly praying, is a grave matter. I was relying on it to take me to Jannah, but, if i was honest with myself, if I was the one handing out Jannah tickets based on people’s Salahs, I wouldn’t hand myself one.

    I went into the kitchen thereafter, taking out my frozen cakes ready to be glazed. I swirled mirror glaze in shades of blue, purple and grey, and a certain pair of grey eyes popped into my memory.

    Shaking my head to clear my thoughts, i finish off and left the mini entremêts to set.

    And then it was time for my favourite part. The finishing touches. A touch of pearl here, a dab of gold leaf there, and the barest smatter of crystal blue glitter. It looked decadent, if i did say so myself. Almost too good to eat. Whipping up my camera, I angled for good shots.

    Maybe i should try it with a single hand cupping the edge of the serving platter, holding it about 7 cms above table level. All the trendsetters were posting their baking that way nowadays. Click. Bleh, delete. Click. Delete. Click. Delete. Each picture looked worse than the previous one.

    Stupid, stupid,’ I berated myself. ‘You’re stupid to think that you could pull off something like that.’

    It wasn’t the camera, it was… me. I looked down at my slightly pudgy hands that looked swollen in the camera. It was nowhere close to the slender, long-fingered, elegant hands that the reson of the influencers were posting. Maybe, maybe… maybe mother is right, maybe I do need to lose some weight.

    * * *

    Abdur Rahman;

    He wasn’t sure why he had done it, but Abdur Rahman was glad about his spur of the moment decision. As much as he disliked that woman, these were also his brothers children, and he could do with the opportunity to get to know them better and do right by them. And what better opportunity than having his nephew working for him, right here, in his office.

    ‘So Umar, tell me why did you want a job?’ He questioned casually, in an attempt to both moke the kid comfortable, as well as gain info.

    His previous attempts with his mother had went terribly wrong. Except for hitting jackpot when the kid had walked in all dejected announcing that he hadn’t gotted the job. He wanted to help his nephew out, and it would kill two birds out if the nephew spilled what he needed to know. What his mother wanted. Abdur Rahman knew what the woman wanted, what all woman want, money. But he didn’t know how desperately and how far she was willing to go to get it. So far, he was willing to bet quite far, because she’d even had the nerve to enter his office building unauthorized.

    ‘For the same reason anyone wants a job. I’m just looking to earn some pocket money.’

    The kid was direct, he’d give him that. ‘So why only you? Your twin, what’s his name? Qasim? Why didn’t he take up the offer too?’

    ‘Qasim is 2 years. My twins name is Khālid. He doesn’t want a job because he’s not looking for more pocket money. What is it that you’d like me to around here?’

    The curt reply got the message accross. His nephew clearly didnt think much of him for forgetting his brothers name. Abdur Rahman pressed his fingers to his temples. It wasn’t his fault that he hardly saw his brothers family much. He and Waseem were close, but they’d hung out independently or with the other guys, not with their families.

    But now Waseem was gone. Leaving this entangled mess of 5 children, a wife -who Abdur Rahman knew could not be trusted, having first-hand knowledge on her lavish spending habits- and a mess of an estate to wrap up. Company shares to redivide. It was enough to give him a headache, but he didn’t have time to be exhausted, to grieve. There was a lot to do, starting with finding work for this kid he had employed. Maybe saying they were urgently looking for a few new part-timers in the office was a little fib.

    But as he stared at the mop of messy brown hair in front of him, framing an oval shaped face with high cheekbones -identical to Waseems- something told Abdur Rahman that he was doing the right thing. The boy was a spitting image of his father at that age; except for his eyes.

    His mother’s eyes, definitely not Waseems. And now those eyes were looking up at him, calm, level and… guarded. Yes, that was the look. Distrusting. Why that made his chest feel tight was a mystery, but all he knew was that Waseem had never looked at him like that. Ever!