DaysOfTaqwa:Rebirth. ChapterII

Chapter Two: The Journey Begins


As it turned out, the Ramadan moon was sighted on the 29th of Sha’ban.


Sahur, the following morning was a boisterous affair.  Nusrah had arrived home last night, and even Naasir could not help but partake in the conversation.  He was quiet though when they started planning how best to maximise Ramadan.


Who cared? All Naasir wanted was to get this month over with and start applying for schools. He already had one in mind.


Immediately after the meal ended and the dishes cleared, Naasir got up to leave. He was ready to hit the bed. 


“Hold on, ”  His dad called to him. “You’ll be coming with me to the mosque for Subh.” 


“Yes sir.” 


Naasir wanted to stamp his foot in irritation, but he knew better than to argue. Last night, after the announcement by the Sultan, his dad had waltzed into his room and packed up his PS console. When Naasir had protested, his dad had shrugged and said:


“So you can focus,” 


Naasir had been hoping to while away hunger and thirst by playing games. Obviously, his father had other plans. 


To achieve my goal, I must endure.


Bearing this in mind, Naasir went upstairs to get ready for the mosque. 




On the way to the mosque, Naasir’s dad broke the silence. 


“I know it’s been hard for you since…”  His dad paused, looking forlorn.  


Naasir almost felt sorry for him. He snuffed out the flicker of pity before it could blossom. 


“Since mum died, right? Why can’t you say it? Does her memory trouble you so much? Naasir finished with disgust. He started to walk faster, but only managed a few steps before a gentle pressure on his arm caused him to stop. 


“Subhanallah, Naasir. I would never… your mum will always have a piece of my heart. She left me two precious gifts – you and Nusrah. For that, I will be eternally grateful.” His dad turned him so they were looking directly at each other. “Let me begin again. I acknowledge I’ve not been the best father, but by Allah, I want you to know that I only want what’s best for you. You believe me right?”


Naasir gave a barely perceptible nod. “Let’s go, dad. It’s almost time to pray.


They remained silent until they reached the mosque, when his dad stopped him again at the entrance.


“Naasir, I only want you to promise me one thing. Allow yourself to experience this year’s Ramadan with an open mind. Can you do that?


Naasir’s reply was instant. “Yes, I promise to do everything you say, no questions asked and with an open mind. As long as you also promise to uphold your end of our bargain.”


“Of course. Right after ‘Eid, you may begin researching schools you’re interested in.”


Naasir managed a smile and they went inside the mosque.




“Brethren, Ramadan is the blessed month when we fast, with the goal of attaining Taqwa (consciousness of Allah), It is the month of the Qur’an therefore make sure to recite as much as you can and reflect upon the verses. Muhammad bin Ka’b Al-Qurazi narrated:

“I heard ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud saying: ‘The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “[Whoever recites a letter] from Allah’s Book, then he receives the reward from it, and the reward of ten the like of it. I do not say that Alif Lam Mim is a letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.”


Naasir started at this. He had never heard this hadith before. Intrigued, he continued listening to the Imaam.


“Imagine that you completed the Qur’an this month. Perhaps even twice. How many bounties do you think you would receive from your Lord?  How much do you think doing that would draw you closer to Him? It doesn’t matter if you have done it before or not, or whether you are perfect at reciting or not. What matters is your sincere devotion and determination. Go forth brethren and may this be your best Ramadan yet.  Subhannaka Allahumma wa bi hamdihi…”


The congregation stirred. The greeting: ‘Ramadan Mubaarak’ rented the air as people hugged and shook hands. Being unfamiliar with the mosque, Naasir went to stand in the back, out of the way, waiting for his dad to finish greeting his peers. His dad wasn’t a regular at the mosque either, however, he was popular in the neighbourhood. 


Suddenly, his dad waved him over, to where he stood, with a tall young man who looked to be about Nusrah’s age.  


Naasir groaned quietly. He wasn’t in the mood to make friends, he was perfectly fine with the ones he had, thank you.  Nonetheless, he plastered a smile onto his face and joined them.


“Ah, Naasir!” His father beamed. “I’d like you to meet Muneer. He is an exceptionally brilliant young man. Industrious and resourceful as well. Muneer, this is Naasir, my son in whom I am well pleased.”


Muneer smiled at Naasir, arm extended for a handshake. Naasir took it, wondering why Muneer’s smile seemed forced and did not reach his eyes. 

“Sir, I know him very well. Although I never guessed he was muslim.” Muneer’s words seemed to weigh a ton.


“Really? How?” Naasir’s dad was shocked. So was Naasir. He didn’t think he’d ever met Muneer before.


“You’re Sunkanmi right? S.K for short. You attended Brighter Days High School?”


“Yes, I did.” Naasir replied, still trying to place Muneer’s face. He came up with nothing.


“I graduated from there three years ago.”


“Really? Naasir also graduated this year. You can’t place him, Naasir?”


Naasir vaguely remembered now. Muneer had been the head prefect of his set. Naasir was positive that whatever interactions he’d had with Muneer could never have been pleasant, given his propensity for trouble.


No wonder he looks like he wants to be someplace else. 


“I do now.” Naasir replied to his dad’s question.


“Splendid! As I was saying, Muneer, I’d appreciate your help with him. I’ll leave you to talk.”  His dad left. Just like that.






The silence that ensued was awkward, to say the least. Naasir was at a loss. He couldn’t even bring himself to ask what his dad had requested from Muneer. 


Fragmented pieces of the history between them had started to surface in his mind’s eye.  Naasir’s gang had shown Muneer and his prefects PEPPER to the highest degree.  


Bullying. Truancy. Dangerous pranks. You name it, they probably did it. Naasir had only been saved from expulsion because of his stellar academic record (which was surprising considering he rarely studied) and his father’s donations to the school. 


This meeting his father had orchestrated would not end well. Naasir was sure of it.


“Listen, I have somewhere to be so let’s make this quick.” Muneer started. His tone was short, clipped. “Your dad says you need a Qur’an tutor, to perfect your tajweed?”


Naasir shook his head bewildered. “I didn’t…”


Muneer did not allow him to finish “Anyway, I’ll be free every day between ‘Asr and Maghrib. We can have our classes then.  I hope that’s okay with you?” 


In order not to waste any more of Muneer’s time, Naasir nodded. 


“Good. We’ll start here tomorrow in shaa Allah.  Assalamu alaykum.” With that, Muneer left Naasir standing in the middle of the almost empty Masjid.


Surprise slowing giving way to anger, Naasir marched out of the mosque to confront the cause of his ire. First, it was his PS and now this. Why did his dad have to set up lessons behind his back? And with someone who disliked him? 


His dad was waiting for him by the entrance. Before Naasir could say a word, his dad waved a finger at him. 


“Consider your next words carefully. Remember your promise and what’s at stake if you refuse.”  


Naasir seethed inwardly. He had been a fool to trust his father to play fair. A man who could let go of the memory of his wife in the twinkle of an eye. He shouldn’t have expected anything less.


Reluctantly, Naasir closed his mouth. 


“You’ve got nothing to say? Then let’s go home.”


Naasir spent the rest of the walk home dreaming up ways to get back at his dad.


Dad 2: Naasir 0.

© Hafsah bint Nurein

Read Chapter 3 here

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