DaysOfTaqwa: Rebirth Chapter VIII

Chapter 8: First Steps

The first thing Naasir did once he recovered from his shock was to switch off his contraband phone. The pressure of his stepmother’s words weighed him down. Could he do what was required of him? He was unsure, but a part of him wanted to try.
Naasir also couldn’t shake the feeling that something was not right. The tears he had glimpsed earlier in his stepmother’s eyes were not a dream — he was positive. Plus the undercurrent of sadness reflected in her tone as she spoke about his dad was hard to ignore.
It was for this reason that his first port of call as soon as he entered the building was Nusrah’s room. She asked him in after he asked permission to enter.
“Ace, what do you want now?”
She had been reciting the Qu’ran before his interruption. Naasir wondered how it was so easy for her to do these things.
“I’m sorry Nusrah but I need a favour.”
“Yes?” Nusrah sounded impatient.
Before he could change his mind, Naasir took out the phone and placed it on Nusrah’s study table.
“Please keep this. I don’t trust myself not to use it.”
Nusrah stood up and went to pick it up. Realisation settled over her features as she turned the tiny phone over in her palm.
“You went out with them again.”
“Listen, I don’t know how to let go okay? They are my friends and I miss them.” Nusrah said nothing to that so he continued: “I am trying, alright? I’ll try harder. I’ll keep doing my best until all of you get off my case.”
“Ace, I know it’s hard, but don’t change because of dad or me or whatever. You need to do it for Allah. This conflict within you is a sign that Allah loves you and wants you to draw closer to Him. You can’t disregard it because believe me it won’t go away. Give yourself over to it and you will feel the sweetness of faith biidhnillah.”
Naasir doubted someone like him could feel the ‘sweetness’ she was talking about though. He nodded and smiled, keeping his thoughts to himself.
“So, you’ll help me? You won’t tell dad?”
“Thanks.” Naasir rubbed the back of his neck, feeling nervous all of a sudden. He rarely showed concern about his dad and asking about his well-being out of the blue was sure to surprise Nusrah.
“Erm, Nusrah, have you noticed anything strange about dad lately?”
“You mean besides him hounding you to change your ways?”
“I mean healthwise.”
Nusrah thought for a bit. “No, I don’t think I noticed anything unusual. Why are you asking? Did you notice anything?”
His stepmum’s tears and the look on his father’s face on the day of his punishment flashed before his mind’s eye again. He had looked tired and the lines around his eyes and mouth had been more prominent than before.
Perhaps he was just getting worked up about nothing. Dad worked hard so he was bound to get stressed from time to time.
Stretching his lips into a smile, he replied: “No, nothing. He looked tired is all.”
“Don’t worry, dad will be fine.” Nusrah went back to her mat and opened her Qur’an.
“I hope so. Listen, I have to go and prepare for my class too.” Naasir prepared to leave.
“Ace?” He turned back. “I’m proud of you. Baarakallahu feek. May Allah ease your task and reward your sacrifice.”
Nusrah didn’t know it, but her words were a balm to his troubled soul.
He smiled back at her. “Aamin.”
First steps are always the hardest but this time, Naasir was determined. He prayed not to fall into temptation again.
© Hafsah bint Nurein

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