friends

3

A Fresh Start

I didn’t say hello. I didn’t say salaam. I didn’t ask for a name. Nor did I say mine. I just walked straight up to someone who I had never seen before and asked for a phone number. This was the first thing that I did on my very first day of university. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Astaghfirullah brother Abid! This isn’t the way to deal with sisters!’ It isn’t. Except he wasn’t a sister, though he smelled too good to be a brother. Standing at 5-foot-10, with...

18

The Eye of the Artist

She sees herself in black and white: No vibrant hues, no trace of life. No shade, no texture, spark of hope Just insufficient paint-brush strokes The centering is off, the nose misplaced– It hangs off in a sorry state. The eyes too small, too dull, too lidless, Narrowed, lashless, doleful, listless A mouth too pinched, too hard a line, Crooked, bent, a river of wine The rough skin covered in craters and scars, A moonscape, crumbling, a palace of stars Dull hair, sparse locks, thinly drawn, Miserly strokes, artlessly...

17

Invisible Fetters

It was fifteen minutes to midnight and sleep was the last thing on my mind. I lazily scrolled through the news feed on my Facebook account before logging out. Suddenly, something caught my attention. My heart skipped a beat and my fingers went numb. “It can’t be… But how?” I whispered to myself. Yet there it was, right before my eyes. Involuntarily, tears began to well up in my eyes. Vague memories of the past flashed before me. I saw him – a tall, dark brown figure, with spectacles...

6

For It is Allah Whom I Obey

I am pulled towards pain, as I watch them all waste away. All my friends engage, and I feel enraged. Must I stay away? I glance and reprimand with a glare, but I cannot bring myself to stare. Innocence and the Deen or, party and face trouble with the unseen? My heart is pulled closer, and my chest feels weaker. Should I disobey? Nay, I cannot afford to stray. I have been given only one chance, to prove worthy myself to the Lord of the Vast. I must not...

9

A Vignette of Two Vendors

I know a woman who sells perfume, and keeps me apprized of the richest scents in bloom. Whenever I find my fragrances nearly finished, I peer into her shop window before the store hours diminish. Ever ready is she with scents that enliven the air: Freesia, Jasmine, Vanilla, and Pear. Finally, when I manage to tear myself away, the fragrances linger upon me, far from decay. I then see a man parting from a blacksmith marked, It seemed on his journey home he embarked, In a state unfit, unclean...

14

A Friend To Remember: Part II

Continued from ‘A Friend to Remember: Part I’ Kalia got upset at the worst of things. I walked over to my mother’s car after school, stepping over the cracks in the sidewalk in front of the school. Being called a terrorist was just something I ignored, something stupid that media sensationalized and used against us. What Jamie had said to Kalia was a failure of an argument, and it was senseless to play along with those who tried to anger her. ­I opened the car door and threw my...

7

A Friend To Remember: Part I

It was another year at beloved public school, another year at Valley Falls High – home of brand new desks and bats in the ceiling. Lockers slammed and kids laughed as I walked through the halls, bumping shoulders and finding pathways in the crowd. I sighed. Summer had flown by in a midst of summer reading and relaxing, but it was too late to run out of school now. Walking into chemistry, my first class on my first day of junior year, I noted the nonexistent “Welcome Back” vibe...

14

A Mother’s Gift: Part I

I looked at my watch, holding it under a streetlight. 12:00 – midnight. I ran down the street, heart racing, shoes pounding against the wet concrete. Bleak, dull houses passed in a blur under the blotchy night sky as I gasped for air, checking the road behind me to see if anyone had followed. I reached the porch of our house, dim light visible through the cracked window in the door. I opened the door slowly to keep the creaks to a minimum. I took slow, careful steps over...

22

I’m So Not Worth Anything

It was a beautiful moonlit, starless night. I gazed out of the window and breathed in deeply. It all seemed so peaceful, but yet, the turmoil within me seemed to be raging harder than ever. I had a sudden urge to jump and just let go. Let go of my worries, my problems, my life… I’m so not worth anything. Sometimes I feel like my family thinks I was only a nuisance…and I don’t blame them. After all, they have to pay for my food, pay for my school,...

40

Qualities of a Hafidh

“Come in”, Shaykh Haroon Baqai said. I walked in slowly, shaking from head to toe. I had only applied for the Hifzh School a few days ago, and now I found myself entering his office for a scheduled interview. Alhamdulillah, it went smooth and after answering a few questions and memorizing an Ayah from Surah Saad and reciting it to him, the interview came to a close and I quickly sprinted out of the office in relief. By the grace of Allah, I was accepted. For the next few...