Leaves In The Wind.Chapter 11- Zulfikar


La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah-There is no might and courage except from Allah Ta’aala.

I held onto these words and packed my bag. When I came here,my  mother asked me to  stay on with my Khala after my uncle was taken from us.

“Zulfikar,that medal you got for being a hero,is nothing if you can’t be a hero for your family.”

I mulled over the magnetic pull of family,no matter how distant or strained or tested it  might be,it was family who stood behind you. My mother could not come and nor would my aunty want her there,considering how often,she lived in  the  past and it’s pain.

But yet,my mother,pushed me  to  be here and so I had taken leave. It was not only for my Khala I was here,but to fulfil my  sense of duty towards my late uncle,who was mentor and the reason I got promoted within the ranks. His sense of discipline and finding his connection  with Allah,an anchor and oasis of calm in the  midst of the devastation and  treachery of war, pulled me to  him and in turn, towards learning my Deen.

I might have been born in a Muslim home, in a Muslim land ,with a Muslim name but I had no real idea of what Deen was,except that I shouldn’t eat pork or drink alcohol. I knew we went for Jumah but reading the 5 glorious Salaah, daily was something that  never really struck me  as all-important,until I met my uncle.

How often is that there is a sincere seeker or da’ee and one meeting  with them, changes our lives.

Because their hearts are engulfed in the flames of  the love of Allah Ta’aala and Nabi  SAW,all  it takes,is  for us to place one sincere twig from the thorns that resides within us,to catch alight.

And you never,ever forget the  one who introduces you to Allah Ta’aala.

“Are you packing,beta?”

My heart clenched at that word as I was startled out of my reverie… “beta”… “son”… did she finally accept me as family?  Did it mean she no longer blamed me for my cousin’s death?

I might  have been hardened by  war,but that still hurt.

“Jee ha, I’m  almost ready Khala.” She hesitated and cleared her throat. ‘JazakAllah.’

And that one word was enough to explain everything. With downcast eyes,she pressed something into my palm.

I opened it to reveal a  box.

“This is just something to help you in a tough time,like you helpedus in ours,don’t open it now,open it when  you  need help one  day.”

“I  hope this isn’t money,because I don’t want you to  ever cheapen what I did out of my heart Seema Khala.”

“No,no beta,just take it.”

She looked like she wanted to say more but she turned away.

“Ill see you in the morning inshaaAllah?”



“ It’s not that I’m being rude Zulfikar,I just…I just can’t see people leave ..again…”

I choked up and gave her a quick hug. She nodded. “Allah Hafiz,beta,Allah Hafiz.” May I be in the protection of Allah.

I wanted to ask her to start reading her five salaah,as it was the first step to get out from the darkness of grief that was drowning her.But somethings were difficult to say to one’s seniors that I felt more braver,writing it down in a letter.

“Give Ilyaas our salaams.”

And my heart lifted at that,because it meant,Ilyaas and people like him,were no longer scum,to neither be mentioned or spoken to properly.

Change was coming. And the strength for that came from no  one,except Allah,the possessor of hearts.

La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah-There is no might and courage except from Allah Ta’aala.

After much deliberation when Doctor Tayib asked me to make a crucial  decision, I made istikharah  and asked Allah to help my aunt emerge from the paralysis of her depression so that Johara,could be taken care of. I could never bear the guilt if the child passed away from the fever which held her in it’s grip.

I went and told my aunty,loudly through her door that I was  leaving and after two  days,she finally emerged from her room.  My heart cracked at the limp figure,laying in bed,motherless yet with a mother,just rooms away.

In the dawn light,I quietly slipped away, down the steps.

Chacha reversed the car and I packed my bags in the trunk. “Chacha,please tell Chachi to look after Johara well.” And I quietly pressed a few notes into his hands.

“Zulfikar!What do you think of us? Money doesn’t make us do our work,but wafaadaari,loyalty and to a child who is sick? What  hearts will  we have if we have to take Money to  look  after her?”

He looked upset and I felt chastised.

“Please take this as a hadiyah,nothing else,I promise.” And this time he gracefully accepted it and I was flooded with gratefulness.

Why do we feel that the one we gives,owe us? But WE have to be thankful that we had the opportunity to give.

As the train pulled out of the station,I thought about Khala and Johara and my heart felt heavy with the strangest sense of foreboding.

And then I heard a gunshot ring out.


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