Category Archives: Fiction

Fire pic for Bad Dreams chapt ex Hafsa Waseela

Fire pic for Bad Dreams chapt ex Hafsa Waseela

Goodnight Mama!” I sang.

Goodnight Wardah. Please don’t forget to read Ayat-ul Kursi before going to sleep, ” Mum replied while still walking. She sounded uptight, like she was on alert.

Okay Mum, ” I said. But she had walked past. I called after her. “Jazakallah khair for reminding me!”

I’d had a tiring day at school. I prayed my Salah and went to bed early. Closing my eyes, I fell instantly into a deep sleep.

Strangely, I found myself waking up to the scent of barbecued meat. I looked outside my window and saw the sky filled with grey and black smoke. Below, blazing fire was everywhere. Buildings collapsing. Women screaming. Children crying. Families running barefoot. A flood of blood. A stench. I withdrew.

Where am I? Am I dreaming or in reality? What is going on? Questions swam in my mind like fish in the sea.

From behind, I felt a pair of hands rest on my shoulders. Hot. Large. My heart beat fast. I squeezed my eyes tight and, aloud, repeated my shahadah.

Laa illaha il Allah, Muhammadur rasool Allah.

A saddened voice that I recognised whispered, “Don’t worry Wardah, it’s only me. Baba.”

My heart sank. I felt as though a gust of wind blew me away, somehow giving my myocardium an energy supply to function my heart.

I turned round, slowly so his hands could remain, and I gazed into his eyes. They were red like cherries – a connotation of anger, pain, and sadness. Tears rolled down his cheeks and into his beard at the slow speed of a millipede running from poison. His lysosymes were working hard. His nose was running. He weighed heavier on my shoulders.

My trembling fingers reached for my hijab and wiped his tears and nose. His face was so hot that a pancake would have been cooked already.

He gave me a weak smile. He said, “Jazakallah khair, my dearest daughter. I thought I would have lost you. We have been bombed yet again.” He then gave me a tight, warm hug – so hard that I nearly choked. I squeezed my eyes shut again and forgot where I was.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” I screamed. Drops of sweat fell down my face and neck.

What’s wrong, Wardah?” Mum ran rushing into my room, her eyes wide open.

It was a dream.

To be continued….

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: Allah’s Apostle said, “While I was sleeping, I saw that a cup full of milk was brought to me and I drank my fill til I noticed (the milk) its wetness coming out of my nails. Then I gave the remaining milk to ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab.” The companions of the Prophet asked, “What have you interpreted (about this dream)? O Allah’s Apostle?” He replied, “(It is religious) knowledge.”

Bukhari Book 3, Hadith 82

The above excerpt is from the ‘Bad Dreams’ chapter in Hafsa Waseela‘s debut novel A Reflection of The Past, out Autumn 2015 insha’Allah.

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 192 user reviews.

Inner And Ouer Me Cover 2

TEENS ON GREEN DEEN

WHY I DON’T WANT TO BE GREEN

‘I yawned out loud as I lifted the curtains and stepped onto my balcony. My eyes were still feeling heavy and itchy: the result of having overworked myself the day before.

‘It was 8:30 am and I had just forced myself out of bed, and while I was still contemplating whether or not to return to sleep the voice of my next door neighbour suddenly cleared my eyes and drove away the drowsiness. I looked straight into her compound and saw her waving at me while she carefully lined up her baby’s cloth nappies. Her husband was also busy, tending their gardens while her four year old son busied himself by building sand castles right inside the garden. We exchanged pleasantries and then I began to wonder what two contrasting lifestyles we have.

‘The close relationship they have, their small house, the big gardens, the water hoses running around their compound and Oh my God! She uses cloth nappies? These are not my things. Being “GREEN” is what she called it on certain occasions when we’ve really had the time to talk deeply. Even though it appears beautiful to me, I just can’t bring myself to be like that. I don’t even want to think about it.’

Does this experience sound familiar to you? I will definitely get a, “YES” from most of you who are still having a hard time accepting Mother Earth’s engagement proposal. These are not words from my life, actually. Above is an excerpt from a Young Adult fiction I’m working on at present.

Pure natural ingredients, check; fair trade, check; no animal testing, check; does not contain parabens; check; does not contain phthalates, check; recyclable plastic, check.

I had the opportunity of having a close chat with a group of teenage girls, my kid sister being one of them, on what exactly was drawing them back from professing their total love for nature. Some of their responses in anonymity were quite overwhelming. But there was one thing in common for them all. Living green was going to prevent them from being funky and glam …

“I mean how would it feel to sit in the dining hall with my classmates and nibble at every grain of food left on my plate? It feels great to be in tune with nature but not in a strange way, ” said Fadilah (15), who initially admitted that a green lifestyle was great but embracing it in public could be a choking and heart wrecking experience.

While some of the girls confessed how much they loved pets and detested ill – treatment of animals, they all felt it impossible to embrace a totally green lifestyle. Dammy (16) said “It’s fun actually when you own a pet and it becomes part and parcel of you. But then, I love shopping. I could be a product junkie when it comes to my looks and it’s fun for me too. But don’t you think that being too careful about what to – and what not to – buy can rip away all the fun?”

They all had me list out all the essential features of an eco-friendly beauty product and after the analysis, another girl, Eeman (14) made a funny remark: “So, to be a perfect eco-beauty shopper, I have to make a long list of what I’m trying to avoid. Pure natural ingredients, check; fair trade, check; no animal testing, check; does not contain parabens; check; does not contain phthalates, check; recyclable plastic, check and the list goes on and on without an end. May I give you my honest opinion? We can’t possibly get a product that meets all these requirements and even if there was [one], I can’t possibly spend all the time in the world product hunting.”

The other girls let out long laughter while concluding that it should be the responsibility of producers to ensure that their products are eco-compliant instead of consumers taking the pain.

Most importantly, all the girls think that being green is a bar to a life of comfort. “I hate cooking, ” said Yusra (15), “so the idea of growing my own food or buying raw food to begin the whole process of preparation and preservation on my own is out of the question right now. I mean, can’t I just settle for ready-made instant food fixes that can be stored for long [periods] instead of going through that long process?”

The girl’s problems with living green began to make a whole lot of sense to me when most of them said that they were aspiring to pursue careers that required a lot of their time and effort and could not, as a result, make out the time to live green.

We talked on and on, touching various areas such as transportation, gardening, household waste, exercises, clothing, and many more, and the whole argument seemed like it wasn’t going to end. But in the end, I couldn’t possibly have let them go without having them make a little green resolution. Most of them resolved to limit the amount of food and water they waste while only one of them resolved to try out cycling as a means of green exercise and transportation.

It was fun talking to the girls as I learnt a lot from the various perspectives they had while respecting their decisions and praying for them to see things differently in order to embrace the green lifestyle someday in future. I have learnt that seeing things from the perspective of others will pave a way for offering solutions to dilemmas faced by them. Insha’Allah, in the next issues of YMM, we shall address some of these issues collectively.

“So remind, [O Muhammad]; you are only a reminder.

You are not over them a controller.”

The Fur’an, Surah Al-Ghaashiya (Chapter of the overwhelming) 88:21-22

Wardah Abbas is the Earth Care writer for Young Muslimah Magazine, she writes for SISTERS Magazine, and she celebrates Islam and highlights issues affecting women on her blog.

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 213 user reviews.

Inner And Ouer Me Cover 2

She had just wound down for the night. It was already getting late. She followed her usual bedtime routine; quick shower, into pyjamas, brush teeth, complete night prayers and jump into bed for a quick read.

She yawned uncontrollably, it was time to turn out the lights. Submerged in darkness and complete silence, she nestled into her warm blanket. Slowly drifting off into slumber, she turned onto her left to get comfortable.

The silence was broken. She heard and felt a hot sweaty breath mumbling gibberish into her right ear, she couldn’t make out a single annoying word it was saying. She couldn’t believe it. Her younger brother must’ve snuck into her room to play a school boy prank. With her eyes closed, she lashed out with her right arm and ordered “Get out of my room, its midnight for goodness sake. I have to go work in the morning!” Silence again, she must’ve scared him away.

As soon as she turned over to find the same spot of comfort, there the hot breath was again. Mumbling gibberish into her ear, louder this time. Taunting in a disgusting invasive manner, almost spitting into her ear.

She had had enough. She leapt from her bed, unlocking and trying to keep up with him as he dashed through the door. She bursted into his bedroom. He had already jumped under his duvet.

“Just wait till the morning! I’m telling dad what you’ve been doing! Once was enough, but twice?! Grow up!” She screamed at the top of her voice.

He pulled the duvet cover from his head. And with a dopey sleepy tone, all he could muster was a questioning “huh?” as he felt around for his glasses on his bedside table.

“Ten out of ten for acting.” She scoffed with sarcasm. Clapping as though to applaud his dramatic display. “You just wait till the morning son.” And with her nerves in tatters, she slunk off to bed and tried once again to nod off to sleep.

Her alarm went off, she prayed her morning prayer and went down for breakfast. As soon as she heard her father stirring, she went to tell him of her younger brothers silly antics last night. He was furious. Her brother was summoned to explain himself. He insisted on his innocence, he said he had no idea what she was talking about, this just made his punishment even harsher. To resort to lying, he had hit a new low. He was forced to apologise and promise to never to do such an idiotic stunt again. Begrudgingly he did as he was told.

She sat on the tube on her way to work. She reflected on the incident step by step. Her blood ran cold. “It couldn’t have been him” she thought to herself. She remembered that before she could chase the mumbler out of her room, she had to unlock her bedroom door, from the inside. Therefore, the mumbler would have been locked in with her, in her bedroom…the whole time.

“Say, ‘I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind,

The Sovereign of mankind.

The God of mankind,

From the evil of the retreating whisperer –

Who whispers [evil] into the breasts of mankind –

From among the jinn and mankind.’”

The Qur’an, Surah An-Naas (Chapter of the mankind) 114:1–6

Shabana Diouri is an aspiring writer and poet with a strong affinity toward the issues of women in Islam and spiritual needs of the heart. She is a qualified Economist and Statistician whose career began in Whitehall. Currently she spends her time in Edinburgh as a freelance writer and engages in outreach work with the University of Edinburgh to encourage a deeper understanding of Islam and Muslim culture. She currently manages ‘Muslimah Uninterrupted’, her personal blog where this was first published: http://muslimahuninterrupted.wordpress.com

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 195 user reviews.

Maria Limehouse Charity earring

Maria Limehouse shares an excerpt from a YA novel she is currently drafting

Charity

Sister, if you want to break into the market, you should do reclaimed stuff. I’m only buying this ’cause it’s for charity.” Her bracelets chink together as she rummages around in her pink sequinned bag. I check my display of handmade jewellery. Except for the necklace clasps, everything I’ve used is reclaimed – the metal, the jewels, the beads. But she didn’t ask me and I can’t advertise this fact because people will question my source.

She finds her purse: a tired pink leather that clashes with her hemp bag. “So, how much goes to charity, anyway?” she asks, raising her eyebrows and tilting her head down to me over her money.

All of it.” I answer, trying not to look at the protruding bank notes.

This charity?”

Half to this one, and half to another, ” I answer. She slightly closes her purse.

Not some terrorist organisation!” She laughs at her own awful joke. I put on a smile, lips twitching at the edges with the nervous demands I’ve embodied from train travellers wanting to know the contents of my bag.

To a sister in need, ” I reply, “in the community.” I look around the hall at the clusters of sisters standing above the other stallholders. Lots of black abayas topped with gaudy, glittery scarves that can incite a migraine like over-pungent cheese. Gosh, where’s my kindness? I am a part of this interwoven spiral of souls, clothed by a diversity of interpretations, modesty and tastes – a mere flavour of our personal spectrums of earnestness and privileges. That’s a bit better.

The pink sister pays me and moves to the next stall that sells children’s books. “My toddler group would love these, ” I hear her remark. I hate my own thinking, stare at the floor and defocus the marble effect into heavy clouds that could maybe rain me kind. Astaghfirallah.

Tasneem knows I’ve already done ‘Isha’ so I can’t ask for a prayer break to go and make more repentance. I shunt some pairs of earrings along the black velvet display cloth to fill the gap. Should I get more earrings out of my rucksack? No. Don’t get stressed again about what to display. None of my jewels match the hijab colours in here.

I concentrate on the entrance where the head scarves are most congested and try to change my focus to blend the different colours into something earthy.

Er-salaam alaykum, ” someone blurts, a little high pitched, and I sweep my display as I turn to look. “Er, ” she says again. Her scarf matches the purple beads in the unfinished necklace on my desk at home. Like me, she’s wearing a baggy patterned dress and long cardigan. Her dark brown eyes looked grounded.

Wa alaykum salaam, ” I say quickly. “Can I help you?” Then I distract myself with the earrings.

Are you Asma Deen?” she asks. I look straight back up.

What can I do for you?”

Oh, umm. I’m in your college. I …” She stops talking but holds her gaze. Unusual. People mostly avert their eyes when they falter over their words of condolence. Embarrassed of my mechanical sales-assistant question, I resist saying it for her: Innaa lillahi wa innaa ilayhi raji’oon. I gratefully accept her soft, moist, dark brown recognition of sorrow and connection. I can’t help but smile into her glow. Be my neighbour in Jannah, I want to scream. She smiles back.

Tasneem pulls my sleeve. “My brother just texted me.” Standing up, with her phone in hand, she flashes me a playful grin. “See if you can sell one of my bags while I’m gone.”

Yeah, right, they never sell, ” I reply.

Never say never!” she calls behind her, and chuckles. “Ma salaama.”

Ma salaam.” Her black scarf is easy to watch in the crowd but I feel the girl waiting. Infused with a little playfulness, I turn. “So, what’s your name?”

Oh, umm –” she starts. But a sister who I have seen around college stops her with a smack on her shoulders with her hands.

Come on, ” she cajoles. “Talk’s starting.” She flings herself over her friend’s purple scarf, laughs and turns her away.

The purple sister’s glow remains in my mind’s eye as she joins the tide of sisters exiting.

I’m alone at the stall table in a hall with only a handful of seated stallholders. A hanger crashes to the floor on the other side of a rail of black abayas. I flinch.

I replay the purple sister leaving and realise she flinched too – when her friend arrived suddenly. Is she scared like me? I imagine skipping across the hall after her to get her number while I sit motionless in my seat.

Ibn ‘Abbas reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) was the most generous of people in charity, but he was generous to the utmost in the month of Ramadan. Gabriel (peace be upon him) would meet him every year during the month of Ramadan until it ended, and Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) recited to him the Qur’an; and when Gabriel met him Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) was most generous in giving charity like the blowing wind.

(Sahih Muslim, Book 30, Hadith 5718)

Maria Limehouse is working on a YA novel and is an active blogger

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 298 user reviews.