DaysOfTaqwa: Rebirth Chapter I

Chapter One: A Tempting Offer


Naasir was 9 years old when his mother died.

His mum was his favourite person in the whole world. She was soft and gentle. She had this special way of tickling him while acting out stories at bedtime.

He would laugh and laugh until he got stitches.

She would call him  ‘Adigun mi owon’ in the softest voice possible –  like he was the most precious thing in her world.

She was the most precious thing in HIS world.

Until she left the house one afternoon and did not return alive.


Naasir was 9 years old when his mother died.

He was 9 years old when his father betrayed her memory.

He was 9 years old when his heart broke for the first time.


“I will never forget your mother,” Naasir’s dad said to his children after introducing his new wife.

But you already have. Naasir thought sadly.

“I can never replace your mum,” His stepmother had said, a sad smile on her face.

“And you never will!” Naasir screamed at her before running out of the room.


8 years later, Naasir still missed his mum every single day.

His life never remained the same after her demise.

He remembered her face, her voice and how happy he felt when she was alive.

His dad – not so much. He had his wife after all.

Nusrah insisted he let go and forgive them both.

He couldn’t bring himself to.


Nowadays, Naasir relished the thrill of doing things his father was unaware of, and getting away with it.

It was his way of getting back at him.

This was why excitement and apprehension buzzed beneath Naasir’s skin as he herded Sholape out of his room.

He was already late for breakfast so they tiptoed hurriedly.

As they descended the stairs, something shocking happened.

His stepmother saw them.

She’d finally caught him red-handed.

His dad was at the table, directly facing the stairs. He had his nose buried deep in a newspaper, however, an upward flick of his head meant he would definitely spot them.

Shock and fear kept Naasir rooted to the spot.

He didn’t know what to do.

His stepmother recovered first. She smoothly stepped in front of his dad, effectively blocking his view.

They took their chance. Sholape and Naasir promptly flew the rest of the way down the stairs and out of the house.


Outside, Sholape turned to Naasir, her eyes searching his for an answer.

“Why did she help you?”

He shrugged. “I have no idea.”

Naasir said his goodbyes to Sholape but the question continued to bug him,

Why had his stepmother covered for him?


The paved stones on the driveway pounded beneath Naasir’s feet as he worked up a sweat.

By the 55th jumping jack, fat drops of sweat shimmered against his forehead, spilling into his eyes and lips. His armpits and back were also drenched enough to leave obvious sweat marks.

Satisfied, he schooled my expression into one of indifference and entered through the front door.

“Look who decided to join us,” Naasir’s father announced with false cheer.

Naasir swallowed, convinced his step mum had ratted him out.

“Where are you coming from, young man?” His father’s smile had disappeared.

Before Naasir could reply, his stepmother saved him yet again.

“Let him be, darling,” she said touching his father lightly. Turning to Nassir, she smiled. “Come and join us. You must be famished.”

Naasir’s dad appeared to be weighing his options– pursue the inquisition or let things be. After mere moments that felt like years, Naasir’s dad heaved a sigh and waved him into a seat.

It was a herculean task for Naasir to suppress his own sigh of relief.


The meal continued in silence.

Naasir mechanically chewed and swallowed the akara and ogi, which tasted like sandpaper in his mouth. He simply couldn’t bring himself to settle down, afraid that the cloud hanging over his head would burst anytime soon.

The uncertainty was killing him! Why had his step-mum covered for him earlier? Why hadn’t she said anything about this morning? What was she planning to do, and when would she execute said plan?

He chanced a glance at her across the table. She was smiling at something his dad had said.

Nothing new. Those two behaved like newlyweds even after all these years.

Laughing and playing as if his mother had never existed. 

Naasir curled his lip in disgust. It didn’t matter to him. Soon he would find a way to…

“Naasir, remember I said I had an announcement to make?”

His father’s question pulled Naasir out of his reverie.

“Yes sir.” He replied stonily.

“Well, I’ve thought about your request and I am prepared to give it a shot…”

Nasir could hardly believe his ears. “Truly?!”

His father chuckled. “Yes. But on one condition.”

“What? I’ll do anything!”

His father nodded before continuing.” Ramadan is around the corner, today is the 29th of Sha’ban so Taraweeh will most likely start tonight.”

Naasir had no idea Sha’ban had even rolled around let alone come to an end. He nodded nonetheless, eager to get to the point.

“I want us to be more intentional about fasting in this family. Ramadan is a blessed month where we can reap many rewards and draw closer to Allah.” His father’s voice was solemn. “We shouldn’t move through the month like onlookers. This Ramadan, I  would like for us to come together as a family and start a tradition that’ll last for a long time.” 

Naasir looked from his dad to his step mum, who was busy smiling and nodding in agreement.

“What exactly does being intentional mean, because we eat sohur together, break our fast together and go for eid together?”

His father wagged a finger at him.

“My point exactly. That is the only thing we do. Ramadan is much more than iftar, sohur and eid. Henceforth you and I will attend Taraweeh at the masjid.”

“What! No way.” Naasir shook his head. “I can’t, my feet…”

“You can and you will. Or you can kiss studying abroad goodbye.”

Naasir could see that his dad was serious. Even his step mum flashed him an encouraging smile, which he pretended not to notice.

What would it hurt, he thought, to attend Taraweeh at the mosque? Sore feet, to be sure. But it was worth it if it meant he got to pick and attend any school he wanted abroad.

His wishes would soon come true.

His dream to leave this heartache behind would soon be realised.

Resolute, Naasir took a deep breath and gave his dad a curt nod.

“I’m ready.”

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ ١٨٣

O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you—so perhaps you will become mindful ˹of Allah˺. Q2 vs 183

Read Chapter 2 here

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