Archives / Ruqaiyya Maryam

13

Gold-Rimmed Glasses

It was a summer of introductions and new concepts. My first summer in Pakistan. Everyone was talking about the heat and how uncomfortably hot it would be for us newcomers. Relatives flooded through the gates – unknown aunts and never-heard-about uncles, cousins who somehow shared a facial feature here and there – all crowding round in happiness, tight embraces and sloppy kisses, their faces shining with joy and love. An old friend of my grandma’s was sitting in the lounge chatting to my mother whilst little kids ran in...

23

Everything As It Seems

Surraya uncrossed her feet and then crossed them again. She shoved her hands deeper into her pockets, her itchy freezing fingers in search of some warmth. Gosh, it was cold, she thought. She was sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting for her turn. Her throat wasn’t getting any better, and after a week of taking cough syrup, she was back with an even worse case of strep throat. These bloody doctors don’t care about a thing except their bank accounts, she fumed, as she rolled her eyes and slumped...

11

The Birth of Death

I had just dropped my sisters off at madrassah – the mosque school – and was heading home. The sun was finally calling it a day, decorating the sky with a glorious mix of orange and pink. It was raining lightly, my windscreen wipers wiping tiny specks of water away as I drove on. I watched as young children walked towards the madrassah, dressed in small abayas and thobes, carrying their bags and clutching Qur’ans tightly to their chests. For them it was another evening to understand God’s message....

10

Tracing The Prophets’ Footsteps

As we leave the Arafat sunset, And ride to Muzdalifa. The whiteness of our ihrams Gleams in the darkness. “Hajj Mubarak,” a sister whispers, As she embraces me tightly. Her tear stained cheek touches mine, In silent salaam. “What are we doing here?” my ten year old sister asks, As we lie on the sandy stones, In the open of Muzdalifa. “We are tracing the footsteps of our prophets,” my father replies, As he raises his hands to the heavens. Muhammad’s blessed footsteps from Mina to Arafat to Muzdalifa....

10

Learning to Forgive

They used to live in my grandmother’s neighbourhood. A big, poor family of eight children. After the eighth child was born, the husband and wife were constantly quarrelling –the husband hadn’t wanted another child, it just meant another stomach to feed and another body to clothe. The wife didn’t mind. God has given us another child, she said, we should be grateful.. But that only angered the husband more. One evening, after weeks of yelling and slamming doors, the couple began to argue again. The wife was making chapattis...

10

Thankful Thumbs

“We must always remember that our problems are very small compared to other peoples. There are people around the whole world who are in very difficult situations, who are going through tough times that we can’t even begin to imagine. So instead of complaining and whining, we must be grateful for all the other things Allah Ta’ala has blessed us with. How many things do we have?” I looked around the room, my gaze running over each face as I saw the mental wheels in their heads turn as...

8

Raindrops of Realization

I stepped onto the crowded bus and after weaving my way through chattering school kids, mothers carrying crying babies and elderly women clutching their bags, I finally heaved myself into a seat by a window. I was exhausted, soaked, and near to tears.  I had had a roller coaster of a day.  From this morning’s minor argument with my mum to the drenched revision notes lying in my bag which I had spent all morning on to a stupid misunderstanding with my best friend to the failed maths test...

5

Haunting Sins

I wonder how you get to sleep at night. I wonder how could you possibly just close your eyes and shut the tall thick wooden doors on the world. Shut it out completely. Erase it from your mind. I wonder if you lie there staring at the ceiling, like normal people do, countless thoughts sprinting through your mind. Or does the intense burden of your sins exhaust you and you fall into a painless oblivion. Unaware and unconscious. You see, for me my sins keep me awake. They haunt...