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CHAPTER 1: Nani-ma and Johnny depp.

Chapter 1

“Ma this is America not Pakistan, we don’t watch goats for entertainment…”

My life is officially over…like before it even started. Seriously!

Oh gosh that was a bit dramatic wasn’t it? I mean who starts writing a story like that…

All because my grandparents think I’m not muslamic enough…and their solution? have me move in with them :O :O :O

“What is this A’eesha…?” Nani-ma walks in, her hands raised theatrically to the high heavens.

“You… you, you have naked men in your room, astagfirullah…besharom! You will be the end of me!” she cries holding onto the edge of my bed threatening me with a fall.

Yes a fall. I’m not kidding you know. My grandmother has this crazy stunt of half falling onto the floor whenever she sees anything she deems a tad inappropriate and of course it’s my dada’s job is to pull her back up again while he silently curses her under his breath.

“Chill ma, this is just the ever so gorgeous Johnny Depp.” I said grinning at her.

I even attempted to stroke the poster to raise her blood pressure.

Bad move. I’m actually cackling like a witch remembering the way she chased me around the bed with her sandal.

“Ash stop it…” Mum walks in tutting disapprovingly at me.

She takes my grandparents by the shoulders and guides them or rather saves them from hell’s hole.

“Maybe nani-ma would love to know about the frozen bacon stuffed behind the chap-patee you brought…” I whispered mockingly.

She shushed me and shut the door quickly behind her back.

Serves her right you know; I’m always in the firing line when nani-ma and dada visit from London or rather muslim-stan they call it. I asked them if they rode camels for transport.

Whaaaaaaat. I thought it was funny; well I think mum found it funny too but of course I got sent to my room.

“You know you spoil these kids…in the room is a paradise for them you know, I see she has a laptop and subhan’Allah a T.V can you believe a T.V …you know in my time..” Nani-ma then begins a famous monologue about ten siblings sharing a hut and drawing on the walls for fun and games..

“Ma this is America not Pakistan, we don’t watch goats for entertainment…”

“A’eesha!”

“Alright dad I’m going, I’m going!”

I dashed up to my room and jumped onto my bed putting on ‘THE WEEKEND’ on full blast. Haha, any minute you’ll hear nani-ma drop.

I do love them so but every summer they visit it’s kind of a chore you know?

More so for mum I bet; they’re still pretty miffed that their son upped and left London 17 years ago eloping with an English girl and moved 3,000 miles away to Winona Minnesota.

But that’s another story which needs another cold, quiet night like tonight to write about.

Ting! –
Hey wat up Ashley, u kl?   [BAE <3]

Maybe not bae yet but maybe soon to be bae if these quizzes online I’ve been doing are actually as legit as they say they are; I’ve tried the love calculator many times but,.

“Mum!…mum!”

“Jee?”

“I’ve done my whudu, are you coming…?”

“Masha’Allah I’m coming darling….”

Well the Lord awaits folks, I guess you got to wait to find out what happened with ‘Bae’ *cringe* I’ll be back but in the meantime…don’t try the love calculator…stick to the normal ones.

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‘It’ girl.

Several years back and it’s nearly the end of my first year at college. I’ve met quite a few characters in those days but there was this one girl; outrageous she was. She would dance in the middle of nowhere while passerby give her disapproving looks and she’d dress in a way that every head turned towards her without question. Her openness would shock me but somehow we became friends and I’d be the one pulling her top up for her and calling her silly and she’d just laugh and give me a hug knowing how much I disliked them. 
It was an exciting time for me for I started falling in love with Islam during this period but the walk to the prayer room was kind of lonely to say the least. Everyone would be engrossed in fun and laughter and I use to scurry away hoping a friend would accompany me.
Then one day she turned to me and said, “Nas I’m coming with you this lunchtime to pray okay.” 😀

“Omg really?! Yay okay 1:10 okay insha’Allāh?”

“Yes!”

As lunch hour approached the canteen filled up and all the seats became occupied, I entered and sat quietly next to her hoping she remembered what she said this morning. The lounge filled with raucous laugher of hooligan boys and all the girls; my friends sitting around. I got up to leave to which the girls asked where I was headed, I muttered outside and turned to her.

“Are you coming?” 🙂

She looked around ~ she was always the centre of attention in every crowd. She smiled awkwardly because the atmosphere had gone silent due to my question which I swear I had whispered, “Are you coming?” “Umm next time,” she smiled nervously. “Okay see you in a bit.” I said, forcing a grin.
I left the canteen and the atmosphere resumed to jostling, screaming and inaudible swearing.

I left the whudu area and entered the prayer room, it was empty, peaceful.

I raised my hand to proclaim His name and then I heard someone falling into the room. 

I heard the rustle of velcro as she put on an old abaya left on the hook and she rumbled behind the door for a headscarf. 

She joined me a little while later and she prayed so calmly, her heart was full of tranquility.

She made salaam to her left shoulder and then turned to me, “Hey nas, I came.”

“I know.” ☺️

We spent the rest of the hour sitting  in the tiny prayer room listening to lectures, she began crying as we listened to the story of Sarah on youtube; a story about an Australian woman who found Allāh again a few days before discovering that she had cancer…returning to Him upon eeman. Her mascara left smudges under her eyes and when we returned back to the canteen, the boys jokingly asked why the ‘Goddess’ was crying? She didn’t glance their way, we carried on speaking about the status of woman in Islam and we rejoiced over our shared love for Islam.
“I brought a ton of books.” She said as we sat waiting for the bus one day.

We were on our way to an Islamic event in LMC and she tried on the hijab for the first time since she was little, “I’m trying it today..maybe forever insha’Allāh.” ☺️
She continued from her first point;

“The shop-keeper didn’t even look at me, he smiled at the book I was buying…it was a book on modesty, I felt really beautiful because he didn’t even look at me..weird right?”
“It’s not weird at all…a woman’s beauty is her eeman and not how many eyes are on her…”
As the academic year came to an end so did our paths; life has a funny way of doing that. Sometimes people are in our lives to teach us a lesson or leave a lasting memory ~ sometimes we drift so that we can only remember the good about them. 

For me; the most precious things are cherished memories ~ little stories that make me smile, small incidents and conversations which makes me view others in a different light.

When I thank Allāh for the happy moments in my life; I thank Him for the moments I saw the love of Islam in people’s eyes ~ witnessing the yearning for Allāh in the hearts of men so believe when I say that this memory is not one I am in a rush to forget.
  

💞

Lost note.

Your words are slipping from me,

It’s a struggle to read these days, these letters they’ve become unfamiliar to me~
Each day passes and I vow to remove you from the shelf and blow off the dust that covers you,
I envy the dust that touches you, it seems that it connects with you more than I ever do.
I held you between my fingers today, many years since I’ve touched you 
 I cannot read, I cannot read – 
Oh Allāh I cannot read…
I grip you tightly oh Quranul’majeed
The most noble of speech;
the King of the kings had assembled you.
Oh arabic symbols you had once seeped through my fingertips and flowed into my blood _ how these veins use to throb out of awe for you.
Oh noble kalaam – penetrate through the tips of these hands of mine, flow right into my heart.
The painful consequence of neglect~ I rub by eyes again and again, it’s not due to blindness that I cannot read, I have not lost my intellect, my tongue has not lost the will to speak but it was I who had lost the way – and I became the one blinded from the truth ~ my heart concealed from recognising you.
I cannot read anymore as I grab you with all my strength that I do not have and sob quietly on the bedroom floor.  
The blind is not he who has lost his sight but it is he who has deserted his friend and he has left the company of Al-Qur’an wondering why each day was void of light.



The man in the mirror.

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The ideal lifestyle she thinks she lives; she comes home from all the glamour and glitz but not once did she remember that her life is a few seconds, merely a loan.

Prayer had not crossed her mind at all and she cared not about any man whose eyes glanced and danced on every curve and lay still upon her exposed chest and behind.

She comes home one day, past twelve it was and goes straight to bed. She’s to tired to kick off the heels so she proceeds to get up again and remove her make-up instead. A cotton pad to her eye she begins to wipe and scrub every last detail she has displayed on herself tonight.

Her reflection in the mirror looks sad and disdained,
‘Oh reflection why is it that you’re feeling pain?’

It is not just I the reflection replies ~ the whole room bears witness to your treacherous cries. Do you not hear your soul weeping, long sobbing sighs? The walls and the doors shake with fear and fright, they observe you sin and they must witness against you to Allāh on the day that the lips will be sealed and only hands will speak. Oh owner of mine ~ do you not see how you leave every morning with the unintentional intention to sin and I weep for your return while I reside behind this glass world of mine. I look over you while you sleep and the music pumps through your speakers like the blood in your veins and I repeat again and again, ‘Wake up for salah, wake up for success!’

Oh possessor of mine, do you not see? The floor wails in sorrow when you walk towards wrong and your shadow whimpers when it must accompany you in the daylight.

Oh you who inhabits reality ~ take a look the mirror and observe your qualities, you are not insane if you were to ask your hands how it feels regarding your oppression today. Prepare for a day in which no sound will escape the lips you took for granted ~ lips used in malice words and bitter speech. A day in which your hands and feet will testify against your very self. Is it the ultimate betrayal if the same limbs which bore witness against you be the same limbs that will burn alongside you in the flames of the agonising abode?

….. The reflection replies, ‘look at me and don’t you dare turn your eyes, look to me but not at my face but the state of my heart ~ I am pained for I have away from my Lord for a very long time.’

And there and then past twelve it was; she finally saw herself, as if it was for the very first time.

You are here and I am gone.

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Oh One who is not overtaken by sleep, Whose beauty manifests in the darkness; I am safely assured knowing that You are present here tonight.
Let the world sleep so I may spend time in Your reflection, let sleepy eyes rest so that it is ever silent tonight.
Leave me oh glittering sun and drape a curtain of darkness across the sky, this very moment is between my Lord and I.
Oh Lord, lift the veil I have come to see Your face, fill this moment with tranquility from the heavens, I have arrived in this blessed place.
Would You descend down to the lowest heaven and I have descended upon the creaking floor.
My very essence exists no more I am no more, I am no more.
I am only a figment of imagination at this very time, Your praise upon my tongue, Your light upon my heart.
Blast me to oblivion I will not feel the pain, I am not me no more, in Your greatness how can anything insignificant exist?
Let a ferocious fire burn inside, how did I neglect You all this time?
If I had tasted the sweetness of sweetness I would have never turned back, erase the sins, erase the flaws- I beg for forgiveness, take away the wrong, let me be reborn.
Take a breath, this moment is even shorter than that but one sincere second can remove the shackles from the inmates of hell.
I am here, and it is dark- my sight has been removed from natural light, the world is at peace and hearts are at sleep- keep me awake, favour me above those who have taken refuge in their beds.
Ignite me with ihsaan, let me believe in Your existence more than mine-this world is only a series of fleeting images and a moment can bring them to life.
I wait for this moment which brings me to life, my heart rid of every disease and corruption. A cure has come from the One above, my heart filled with nothing but love,
You are here and I am gone,
this is the moment I want You to seize my life. ❤️

Rejoice

Rejoice.

Rejoice for what could have been if it were willed by The Al-Mighty Allah.

Look to the one who is mute and not one sound ever escapes his tongue till the day he dies. He was never able to taste the sweetness of recitation, never was he able to speak the Qalam of Allah but you were given that ability yet you chose to remain mute. You never tasted the sweetness of qirat and therefore you were mute till you entered your grave.

You see he that was born without the sense of hearing, he would look upon the Qur’an and his ears would ache to hear the recitation of His Lord. How he would stand in prayer and in the depths of his silent he would cry but he cannot even hear the choking of his voice, the drops of his tears.

You who stands in salah today, your mind occupied in worldly thoughts- never did you attempt to listen to the words of Allah for if you had you would have gained the sense of hearing but you chose to give it away. You live your life deafened by your own desires and the moment you regain your hearing is when you are questioned in your grave.

You whose legs fail to carry you to the prayer mat and whose hands tremble at the thought of raising them when glorifying Your Lord- Allahu Akbar! الله اكبر

Fear the day wherein Your Lord in all His Excellence appears before you and the whole of mankind falls to their knees because they cannot handle His Majesty and you, you will struggle onto the ground but your legs remain stiff and your back breaks due to the effort.

The Qur’an is a love letter sent from Your Lord and within contains the eighth wonder of the world.

A challenge set for those to copy and compare and to alternate but in vain they despair.

The direct speech of Your Lord, safeguarded and Allah promises that He himself will protect His book till the very end.

But has not His servants protected the verses within their hearts? For we ask is it protected like carvings upon a stone or writings upon sand?

Oh people do not adorn the Qur’an with the sounds of your voices while your hearts remain empty from the beauty of the verses. 💕

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Oh rascal children..

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Just come back.

I do not mind your chitter chatter on the empty streets at the break of dawn~ nor the mischievous ways you would demand more sweets from the man behind the counter.

I do not mind you cluttering up the roads, rolling around in your best kameez in the puddles of winter before the spring.

Running out your homes after your mid-day lunch and throwing marbles across the floor. I do not mind you chalking the grounds and crowding the streets, making me late for work.

O children of Gazza I do not mind when you hide behind a wall, inside a bush, laying effortlessly still in order to not be caught in a game of hide and seek.

Oh children of Gazza,
Where are you now?

We find you under rubbles and under ruins laying effortlessly still.

Only this time you hid not from a game of hide and seek but from all the pain, air strikes and the marching boots of soldiers hoping never to be sought.

– Bint’Abdul Jabbar.