This is part 6 of a 6 part post. Click here for Part #1Part #2Part #3Part #4, and Part #5.

 

“You want me to go look for your brother?” Hassan said.

Jamilah rolled her eyes. “You just got here, and now you want to get away? I won't ask any more personal questions, khayr? You want to play cards? How about rummy?”

Hassan smiled. “My mom taught me to play rummy when I was a kid.”

“Mine too,” Jamilah said. “I think it's in the Arab mother handbook.” Jamilah shuffled the cards then dealt them.

“You mentioned that I might get my job back,” Jamilah said. “Why do you think that?”

“Just a feeling,” Hassan said as he sorted his cards. “Have you checked your voicemail?”

Jamilah set her cards down and rummaged through the Adidas bag until she found her phone. There were six messages. One was from Shamsi, asking about her mother. One each from Kadija and Muhammad, asking Jamilah to call when she got a chance. And three from Adel, asking her to come into the office and see him.

“I'm not going to beg for my job,” Jamilah said.

“I know. But just see what he wants. It can't hurt.”

They played a few hands of rummy, Jamilah winning both times.

Nabeel returned with a large plastic bag, the smell of French fries wafting from it. “The cafeteria was closed,” he said. “I drove to Denny's. Hi, how are you?” He shook Hassan's hand.

“Hassan works with me,” Jamilah said.

“Oh, right. Jamilah mentioned you a few times. Arrogant jerk, doesn't talk to anyone, practices martial arts at the park.”

“Nabeel!” She punched him in the shoulder, hard enough to hurt, but Nabeel only laughed.

Hassan smiled. “Really? Maybe I do come off that way. I don't mean to.”

“Are you the one responsible for turning Jamilah into a little shaykha?”

“That's between her and Allah,” Hassan said.

There were only two chairs in the room: a wire frame chair and a more comfortable stuffed chair. Hassan left and came back with another stuffed chair.

They portioned the food three ways. Hassan taught Jamilah a short du'a' to say before eating, and Nabeel repeated it as well. Jamilah wondered if Nabeel was feeling the need for some spirituality in his life. For herself, she was finding that her newfound faith had swept in and filled her without displacing anything else. How was that possible?

The tuna melt and fries seemed like the tastiest things she'd ever eaten – well, the second tastiest, after Layth's Iraqi feast. Had that only been last night? It was hard to believe.

Jamilah finished her food and felt a powerful drowsiness steal over her. She removed the cushions from the stuffed chair and laid them on the floor next to the window. “What will you do, Hassan?”

“Nabeel and I will be fine,” Hassan said. “We'll be here. You rest.”

Jamilah set the alarm on her phone to wake her for Fajr prayer, and immediately fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.

When she woke for Fajr, she didn't know at first where she was. Her shoulder was stiff where she had fallen on it the day before. She silenced the alarm on her phone. Nabeel was asleep in the other stuffed chair, snoring lightly, and Hassan sat in the wire chair, reading Jamilah's book on the Lebanese civil war. His brow was furrowed and his mouth was a dour line.

“Did you get any sleep?” she asked.

“Little bit,” Hassan said. “I'm alright.”

“Has my mom been awake?

“Not yet.” He lifted the book. “Why do you read this stuff?”

“What do you mean?”

“It's ugly. Why not leave it in the past where it belongs?”

“I'm surprised at you,” Jamilah said. “It's our history. Anyway, it's part of what I do. I'm a political scientist.”

“It's a shameful part of our history,” Hassan said.

“Yes,” Jamilah said, her voice rising. Nabeel stirred in his sleep and shifted position in the stuffed chair, then resumed snoring.

“And the people who did those terrible things are still in power,” Jamilah continued, her voice lower now but no less forceful. “And that pitiful state of affairs will continue until we address it directly. Look at our people. Egyptians fighting Libyans, Syrians against Lebanese, Palestinians against everyone because no one wants them, and all of us bleeding red. I never saw a blood cell wearing a keffiyah or a cross. How can we hope to eliminate dictatorship in our countries, or corruption, or torture, or poverty, if we can't be totally honest with ourselves?”

Hassan smiled. “You sound like someone I used to know,” he said.

“Really? Who?”

Hassan looked away. Jamilah felt a twinge of jealousy. “A woman?” she asked.

“Yes,” Hassan said.

“Someone in San Francisco?” Jamilah berated herself internally for being so pushy. She knew her jealousy was unattractive and inappropriate, but she couldn't seem to control it.

“No,” Hassan said. He gazed at the floor, and Jamilah waited, thinking he would speak again. His eyes were distant, and she wondered where he had gone. “Someone from two lifetimes ago,” he said finally. “Come on, let's get ready for salah.”

They took turns using the restroom to perform wudu'. Nabeel roused and asked if he could join them for prayer. They went to the chapel and prayed Fajr together.

This prayer felt different to Jamilah than the others she had done. Until now, she had been thinking of the salah as an obligation – her end of the deal. This time she felt humbled, as if she were standing directly before Allah. The prayer felt like a refuge. She was not in a sterile hospital chapel with tile floors and wooden pews and a cross on the wall, but in Al-Quds, praying on the stone of the Aqsa compound. The golden Dome of the Rock was covered in snow, and the air was still. Rows of men and women bowed in unison. The air, the birds and the worshipers were expectantly silent, as if they stood in the eye of a storm. O Allah, she said silently. My heart is Yours. No deals. But I ask You to help my mother, and my people. We have suffered so much. We need You. And help Hassan too. He's hurting inside.

When they returned to the room, Jamilah stood by the bed and held her mother's thin hand. “It's alright, mom,” she said. “We're here.” To her shock, her mother opened her eyes, and looked at Jamilah. “My little Milah,” she said.

Jamilah's breath caught in her throat, and she began to weep. “How do you feel, Mama?”

“Better,” her mom said. “The chest pain is gone.”

Nabeel went to the other side of the bed and held their mom's other hand.

“Mama, I'm so sorry for everything,” Jamilah said.

“Hush, Jamilah. This is not your fault.” Her mother looked her up and down. “You are wearing hijab?”

“Yes.”

“All this time I thought you were in San Francisco seeing boys and who knows what, and you come back muhajjaba. Milah, I am sorry.”

“It's okay, Mama.”

“No. Is not okay. I said cruel things to you. I had a dream, Milah. We stood in a garden. But there was a glass wall. I was alone on one side, and you and your father and Nabeel were on the other. Behind you were Arab people as far as my eyes could see. I tried to call to you, but only cold air came from my mouth. This cannot be, Milah.”

Jamilah felt the hair stand up on the back of her neck. “What do you want me to do, Mama? I'll stay and work in the sandwich shop.” From the corner of her eye she saw Hassan slip out of the room, presumably to give her privacy with her mother.

“No, Milah. Go back to San Francisco. Go to law school. I will help you pay. You will make me proud. Just do not be far from me. I never want to lose you, Milah.”

Jamilah could not speak. She put her head on her mother's chest and cried.

 

***

 

Grey masking tape covered the crack in the glass and reminded Jamilah of her own immaturity. Adel sat back in his chair, seemingly cool as ever. But Jamilah noticed that he was not fiddling with his moustache this time. Four days had passed since he had fired her.

“Please have a seat, Jamilah. Thanks for coming. I'll get right to it. I made a mistake firing you. I would like you to have your job back.”

Jamilah was surprised that she was not angry. But she wasn't going to let Adel off the hook so easily.

“You know what?” Jamilah thrust her palm toward Adel, and began to rise from her chair. “You can keep it.”

“Jamilah, please.” Adel stood and indicated Jamilah's chair. “Please. You are right. I owe you an apology. You can wear your hijab, and I am sorry for telling you not to.”

“You had no right to do what you did,” Jamilah said. “You think you can get rid of me, then call me back like a puppy? You think you're better than me because you have money? Have you ever lived in a refugee camp? My father grew up in Tel-az-Zaytun. His father was shot by the Phalange. But my father survived, and he came to this country and put himself through medical school. I'm my father's daughter. I have my pride.”

“Actually, yes,” Adel said.

“Yes what?”

“Yes, I have lived in a refugee camp. I grew up in a camp in Jordan. My family did not go to Kuwait until sixty-seven. Our life in Kuwait was not so easy as you think. We were segregated and treated like laborers. When they kicked us out, it was a tragedy, like sixty-seven all over again. A half million of us displaced in one week. But Jamilah, these comparisons do not serve our people. Kuwaiti Palestinians, Lebanese Palestinians – there is no such thing. We are all stateless. We have to support one another.”

“Maybe you should have remembered that last week,” Jamilah said.

Adel fingered the tape that covered up the cracked glass. “You are absolutely right,” he said. He smiled at her. “And I should have remembered that you are a Husayni, after all.”

Jamilah frowned. “What does that have to do with it?”

“You should look into your family history,” Adel said. “The Husaynis are one of the most important religious Palestinian families. You are descendants of the Prophet.”

Was that really true? Jamilah had not known that.

“So what made you change your mind?” Jamilah demanded. “Somehow I doubt that your conscience kept you awake at night.”

Adel traced the masking tape with his finger. “Alright,” he said, “I will tell you the truth. Hassan and Muhammad both left work the day I fired you. They are not coming back unless I rehire you. I would not say no to Hassan in any case. Also, one of our clients threatened to pull their account. I don't know how they knew about these internal matters. But I already felt guilty about letting you go. So I didn't need much convincing.”

“Which client?” Jamilah was amazed that any client even knew her name. Was it Kammie from Low Ball?

“Janey-Bass.”

Ah. Kadija.

“What's in it for me?” Jamilah demanded.

“You get your job back. What do you mean?”

“What else?”

Adel laughed. “You are a tough one, Jamilah. Okay. I will increase your percentage to fifty one. You don't normally get that until you've been here three years.”

That was a good offer. Messengers got paid by the job, not by the hour. Jamilah currently received forty five percent of whatever the company charged for a delivery. The rookie rate, they called it. Six percent more would mean an extra – she tried to do the calculation mentally – quite a bit more, anyway.

“Fifty five,” she said.

“Come on, Jamilah. Fifty two, and that is my final offer. That's almost the four year rate.”

“Deal.” She stood to leave, then turned back as something Adel had said came back to her. “Why can't you say no to Hassan?”

“Not cannot,” Adel said. “Would not. Hassan and I have…  an arrangement. The details are not important. “Oh, and one more thing, Jamilah.”

“What?”

“The cost of the glass is coming out of your paycheck.”

 

***

 

Jen, decked out in her usual leather jacket and motorcycle boots, hollered into the radio. The printer chattered and spit a row of tags. Alice sat in Muhammad's chair, looking flustered. She tore the tags as quickly as she could and handed them to Jen. Muhammad's toys were gone.

“Jams!” Jen said. “Triple nine, looking fine. It's good to have you back, gravy dog.”

“Am I a gravy dog now?” Jamilah thrust her arms into the air as if hefting a trophy.

Jen pulled several tags from the board and handed them to Jamilah. “Copy these, and get moving, 'cause they're burning my eyes. Check when you're ten-eight.” She turned to Alice. “Two six, get Hassan and Muhammad on the phone and tell them Jams is back. I want them on the road in fifteen minutes.”

“Ten four!”

Over the next three hours, Jamilah filled her bag and disgorged it twice. At lunchtime she rode to Jackson Park to meet Hassan for prayer.

As she rode into the park she spotted Hassan sitting on one of the square stones around the Fountain of Four Seasons. It was a tall bronze sculpture that looked like four cacti, with water pouring from many small holes. Hassan was staring intently at something in his hand. When Jamilah got closer she saw it was a photo, but as she pulled up beside him, he quickly tucked it away in the side pocket of his bag. He looked up and Jamilah saw that his eyes were red, as if he had been weeping.

“What's wrong?” Jamilah asked. “What was that you were looking at?”

“Nothing,” Hassan said. “How's your mom?”

Jamilah pursed her lips, on the verge of pushing Hassan for an answer, but let it go. “She's much better,” she said. “She's home now. The CAT scan showed no blockage of the arteries. The doctors think it was something called “broken heart syndrome” – I know, that sounds bad, but it's basically stress. Apparently in older women, stress hormones can overwhelm the system and affect the heart. But it's not a true heart attack. She's almost fully recovered already.”

“alhamdulillah,” Hassan said. “That sounds promising. Do you know what she was so stressed about?”

“About me, probably,” Jamilah said. “But we're going to be okay now – insha'Allah. Nabeel is bringing her to visit me in two weeks. It's not going to be like before.”

They found a dry spot on the grass and prayed Dhuhr. After prayer, Jamilah said, “You're going to talk to me, my friend. At the hospital you asked if you could trust me. Here's the answer:  I've got your back, and I always will. We make a good team, you and me.” Jamilah picked up a yellowed leaf and studied the veins. She was embarrassed at being so forward.

“If you knew everything about me, you would hate me,” Hassan said.

“I could never hate you.”

“Didn't you hate me until last week?”

Jamilah laughed. “Okay, yeah. But I could never hate you again.”

“Muhammad likes you, you know.”

“Muhammad's a nice enough guy, but not my type. His jokes would have me screaming, throwing a chair through the window and running out of the house inside of a month. What about you and Sahar? What's the deal with you two?”

“What do you mean?” Hassan looked genuinely perplexed.

“Come on, don't play dumb. It's obvious there's something going on. That whole scene at Layth and Kadija's place the other night?”

“Oh!” Understanding dawned on Hassan's face, but he looked amused at the same time. “It's not me she's after,” he said.

“What do you mean, not you? Who then?”

“Someone else. It's not my place to say. But there's nothing between me and her.”

“Don't you think she's pretty?” Jamilah immediately regretted voicing her own insecurities, but held herself still as she waited for Hassan's answer.

“She's nice enough, but not my type.” Hassan said. He mounted his bike and strapped his helmet on. “Listen, Jamilah. You're an amazing person, but I'm no good for you. I mean, beyond just being your Muslim brother. I'm not someone who… I just… There's too much behind me. I can't accept myself, so how could you accept me?” He shook his head, the corners of his mouth turned down as if his own thoughts dismayed him. “Anyway I can't talk now. I'm still holding one for the Russian consulate out by the Presidio. Don't want to anger the Russian bear, right?” He rode away, cutting like a cheetah through the park and up Pacific. He turned at the last second and gave her a raised fist salute, which she returned, smiling. Corny but cool. What an odd fellow Hassan was.

 

Jamilah took out a sandwich and a bottle of orange juice. She still remembered the du'a' for eating that Hassan had taught her, and she said it out loud: “Alhamdulillahil-lathee at-'amanaa wa saqaanaa wa ja'alnaa Muslimeen. All praise is due to Allah, who fed us and gave us drink, and made us Muslims.”

She was not angry. Hassan's words were not a rejection of her but of himself. He said that she could never accept him, but he didn't know what she could accept. That was for her to decide. Her heart was bigger than he gave her credit for. We're all human. We make mistakes. But Hassan was a kind man, she could see that. He was a man who could guide her as a Muslim, and who would protect her through fire and ice. She had sometimes worried that a husband would hold her back, but she felt that she could do anything with Hassan by her side.

She had once asked Shamsi how she would know when she met the right man, and Shamsi had said, “When I can picture myself waking up every morning for the rest of my life and seeing his face, then I'll know it's right.” When Jamilah thought of seeing Hassan's face every morning, it made her happy.

A union between her and Hassan could never happen unless he was willing to trust her. She would never marry a man who kept secrets. But she would wear him down in time. Jamilah had never given up on anything in her life. Hassan had built a stone fortress around himself, but Jamilah would break it down. His wall of secrets would fall in ruins, just as the Israeli apartheid wall would one day fall. One day the land of zaytun and za'tar would again welcome those who called it home. The children of Palestine would walk its rocky hillsides, and plant their olives, and the rivers would flow free across the earth. The land would offer up milk and honey, and laughter would be heard again. The same would be true for Hassan's fortified heart.

How did Jamilah know these things were true? Because they had to be. If the sheer force of human will counted for anything, if there was any justice in the universe, then these things would come to pass.

She thought about the funeral Hassan had described. His father's funeral. Something about it had been nagging at her; but she couldn't put her finger on it.

After lunch Jen gave her a run all the way down to Bayshore Boulevard, south of Cesar Chavez. All her injuries had healed and she rode hard, breathing steadily. She had learned that she could go forever as long as she managed her breath. Two in, one out. She felt frictionless and powerful. Zanshin. Awareness without thought. I'm in the Zone.

She imagined she was riding an Arabian horse through the streets of Bethlehem, before the Nakbah. She steered the horse by instinct, galloping past carriages, and around street vendors who sold lemons or khubz. She rode smoothly past donkeys, and dodged children who played football in the road.

In her mind she called to the people: Beware! They are coming to steal your nation. Would the people listen to a woman? Would they believe? How could they imagine what was to come?

The spell was broken when, as she zipped back up Third Street, a parked limo opened its door in front of her. She swerved into traffic and struck a slow-moving taxi. She flew off her bike and rolled neatly over the trunk of the taxi, somehow landing on her feet on the other side, unhurt. subhanAllah! I can't believe I did that. Standing in the road, traffic flowing around her, she laughed.

She remembered her father's saying: “Cry when you fall, then stand tall.” But there were no tears today.

She mounted her bike and rode on.

The End

Read on, and enjoy the sequel to this story: “Kill the Courier”.

For a guide to all of Wael's stories in chronological order, check out this handy Story Index.

62 Responses

  1. Jessica Mohamed

    Hoping in the next story we get to know Hassan better..?? Thank you for story, looking forward to more in sha allah :)

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  2. Eman

    It came early! I absolutely love it. My favorite part is the disclaimer at the end mentioning the coming parts! I cannot wait! But I guess I’ll try to anyways. JAK! Great work :)

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  3. Muslimah

    Assalmualaykum wr wb,
    I cried and I laughed but I’m mighty disappointed at the (yet another) lack of closure :(

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    • Wael Abdelgawad

      I’m happy that the story moved you. I disagree about the lack of closure. The story was titled “The Deal”, and was about Jamilah’s deal with Allah: Why she made it, the challenges she faced in implementing it, and how she came to terms with it. That story was resolved.

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      • Muslimah

        Hmmm.. That’s true in a way..
        I got so involved in the lives of all the other characters too, that somehow it seemed incomplete to me.. I couldn’t believe it when I reached the end.. I was like “That’s it?!”
        It was like running too fast and suddenly reaching the end of a cliff! :D

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      • Muslimah

        Bismillah
        Brother, may I suggest something?

        The candid discussions/meetings between Jamilah and Hassan *might* lead to the misconception that free mixing is allowed in Islam.

        Sure, she is newly back to her Deen and still learning…
        There can be another female character like Khadijah who can be a constant companian or someone who works with her instead of Mohammad and Hassan.
        This can also be a chance to show the sisterly love that Islam commends.

        It’s just my thought and not everyone is aware of all rulings of the adab of interaction with non mahrams.

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      • Wael Abdelgawad

        I agree with you, actually. Jamilah plans to meet regularly with Kadija to continue her studies of Islam – I think that was mentioned. And her first instinct when she needed support at the hospital was to call Kadija, but she didn’t have her number.

        There is never a time in the story when Jamilah and Hassan are alone together in private. But they do work together, and it’s easy for them to meet for noon prayer.

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      • fatima

        asalam alaikum,
        I’m really confused about this, i thought a woman is not allowed to be with a non-mahram if a mahram is not present even if they are not alone

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      • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        Dear “Muslimah”

        Since you are MashaAllah a regular commenter, please kindly use your name or a Kunyah to comment as it is part of our Comment Police. You don’t have to use the full name.

        -Aly

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      • Bint Kaleem

        Sure, I didn’t want to cause confusion by changing names mid-story :)

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      • fatima

        i’m sorry the way i wrote it sounded bad but right now i’m learning that a girl cannot have guy friends, any interaction with the opposite sex needs to be strictly professional so reading these posts are a bit of guilty pleasure for me.

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      • Wael Abdelgawad

        fatima, I have always believed that male-female interaction should not be inappropriate, by which I mean it should not be flirtatious, seductive or sexually suggestive. Allah knows best.

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  4. Rabyah

    Salam Brother! I really enjoyed it alhamdulillah! My first thought after reading “THE END” was “are you serious! Thats it!!!” Then I read the note :-)
    Can’t wait and jazakhAllah for the life lessons

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  5. Humaira Khan

    I thought this chapter was better written than the previous ones … I liked the parts about where jamilah thinks beyond herself about her people and her mother … These parts in the story gave it more depth.

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      • Humaira Khan

        Sorry I just saw this. “Broken heart syndrome” or
        Takatosubo Cardiomyopathy /Stress induced Cardiomyopathy looks and sounds like a heart attack. The way to make a defnitive diagnosis is Coronary angiography (not CAT scan) and evaluation of Left Ventricular function (by Left ventriculogram during angio or echocardiography).

        So the patient should have an ECG done and blood tests for cardiac enzymes and lipid and platelet levels etc should be sent immediately. ECG may show non-specific changes. Cardiac enzymes are never available early so diagnosis does not rest on them. She should be taken for angiography (typically early because it looks like a heart attack) and that is when it will be discovered that she doesn’t in fact have coronary artery disease. Ballooning of the left ventricle is diagnostic (in absence of arterial blockage). Echo may or may not be done at the bedside in ER although it would assist with diagnosis.

        Just make the necessary changes to your story before you publish it as a book.

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  6. Sara

    I look forward to your stories every week, MashAllah well done! I hope the next story is form Hassan’s perspective, there is much about him we don’t know, he’s a very interesting character. JazakAllahu Khair

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  7. amy

    I liked the post-note, as well as the more detailed references to Hassan’s past.

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  8. Kaleem

    Wow, another interesting installment masha Allah, really looking forward to more details about Hassan’s life up until now and certainly think they (jams and Hassan) should get married lol because they have a lot in common and both can be each others support in good and bad times. Feel sorry for poor “Mohammad” haha; as they say “Good guys always brother material lol”

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  9. Bint A

    I have to say… I wasn’t disappointed at all :) mashaAllah

    that was because I prepared myself for an abrupt ending and found the ending actually quite fitting as a closure… the reason is because there was more of a definitive future for Jamilah than there was for Louis. With Louis it seemed quite vague where his path lay (although it was assumed he would accept Islam) but with Jamilah there’s a whole future ahead of her that you can conjure up and really if you think about it… there is no closure to the road of life other than death. Life will always have its sequels :) Furthermore, I felt I could relate with Jamilah’s character a lot more and maybe that’s why I felt it would be rather dreary to end up with something too definitive such as marriage, etc. –the excitement of future possibilities is lost in this case. Finally Jamilah’s situation and attitude at the end perfectly reflects the crossroads in life every youth inevitably encounters: the possibilities of future relationships, occupations, and ultimately the possibility of future change by leaving one’s mark in the world. Really well-perceived and well thought out ending mashaAllah
    I’m a student of literature (as you can probably tell) so I had to do justice to counter my ill-conceived apprehensions of the story having a lack of closure. I apologize :)

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    • Wael Abdelgawad

      What a great comment ma-sha-Allah.

      “there is no closure to the road of life other than death. Life will always have its sequels.”

      Exactly. You should be a writer yourself, if you are not already.

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      • Bint A

        Aspiring one. they teach us how to analyze literature, not write it. A story always intrigue’s me because I can well imagine that the thought and creative process that goes into it is not easy. That is why I reiterate my earlier request: “consider writing a post on MM for aspiring writers on how to get started writing Islamic literature and the type of work that goes into it”
        baarakAllahu feek!

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      • Young Muslimah

        Yes PLEASE! I would love if you could write a guide to Islamic literature!

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  10. maijiddah

    Beautiful story. jazak Allahu khairan. Read all the parts last week and kept checking all week to read the next part-it was worth the wait.

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  11. maijiddah

    salam. jazak Allahu khairan for such a beautiful story. read all the parts last week and waited anxiously for the next part. Alhamdulillah it was worth the wait.

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  12. Blue Pilot

    You know, as much as a romance like this keeps people’s interest piqued… for the kind of writing you’re trying to achieve, it is distracting and makes one lose focus of what you’re actually trying to convey.

    Everyone has become programmed through the entertainment industry that love and romance is what sells. I don’t know, but it doesn’t seem ok.

    Also, Hassan’s secret feels like the ultimate mystery because its gotten stretched so long.

    You might need to think about it.

    Otherwise, you’re an amazing writer. THe images, the feelings, the sounds and motions come acrosss perfectly mashaaAllah.

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    • Aminah

      Salam, I agree with you in regards to the entertainment industry promoting such ideas, although I think it is lust more than love.
      At the same time, I feel the “romance”, if you can call it that, in the story is natural and befitting. Just because we’re Muslims, it doesn’t make us free from feelings, and the story is more realistic when it contains natural elements of life. The interaction between Jamilah and Hassan is nothing explicit in any way, Alhamdulilah, and even if they were to engage in a relationship of any kind it would be marriage, nothing haram.

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  13. Sheryf Jannah Focus :)

    Salaamu alaikum wrwb!
    The comments are as interesting as the story! I guess this evolution in writing is quite positive and may make the process a better one! MaashaAllaah!

    I also have a bike I ride almost everyday..so I sometimes remember Zanshin and smile into zone:)
    *br.waeed, u may consider adding a short dua to be made before mounting a bike (or any means of transport (eg) “Bismillaah, maj-rey-haa wa mu’rsaa-haa”

    I kinna expected such an ending..but bcos its a fiction, i just mentally fix in my epic- ending and smile away..lool!

    *keep writing good! We await the next thriller:) may Allah help you and us all..to promote the deen in creative yet halal ways..til jannah. Ameeeeeen

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  14. Mahvish Munir

    This was a great story! Mashallah. Hoping to read the next one soon InshAllah.

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  15. Sara

    Salaam.

    I love the story, it’s deep, insightful and has a lot of hidden, beautiful messages. Don’t judge people – because ultimately, you don’t know what is in someone’s heart. Forgiveness, respect, insecurities, trusting Allah. But it’s also “real.” The potential ‘romance’ is not really distracting because it forms a part of the story. And these things ‘happen’ in real life. So I do wonder if they are suited and if Hassan will forgive himself? I wonder what his dark little secret it. At times, I was a bit confused as to whether him and Jamiylah were alone – it is not always clear- so Jzk for clarifying! All in all – I really enjoyed it and looking forward to the next one!
    Sara

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  16. RCHOUDH

    Mash’Allah this part was really good and a lot of things got nicely wrapped up, such as Jamila reconciling with her mom and getting her old job back. And like others have mentioned, the ending didn’t feel open-ended at all and it’s nice to see your footnote about what’s to come. As for the issue of romance, I felt you did a good job delving into that a little without having it overtake the general storyline. As long as a Muslim writer’s goal is to propagate the Deen through his/her writing, showing how Muslims fall in love and get married the halal fashion can dispel whatever misconceptions readers may have about Muslim relationships. Here’s a suggestion, brother: Could you maybe someday write up a chapter on how Layth and Khadija finally wind up getting married? I think it would be interesting to read about that and I’m sure you’ll do an excellent job keeping it halal! Anyway looking forward to your new story In sha Allah!

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  17. Wael Abdelgawad

    “Could you maybe someday write up a chapter on how Layth and Khadija finally wind up getting married?”

    Your wish is my command, Insha’Allah. Already in the works.

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    • Wael Abdelgawad

      Not yet. I’m still working on it. It’s a much longer story, and I want to have all of it plotted before I submit any chapters, Insha’Allah.

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  18. Nawaz

    Assalamoalaikum,
    Great Story!! Actually this was the 2nd Story (after Pieces of Dream) I have ever read in my Life bcoz I dont like to waste my time reading boring fictions. But this was really interesting and also in a Halal way which can teach many things also.
    Waiting for the next story to come up… :)

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  19. Faatima

    I’ve been logging on regularly and cant seem to find the next story. can someone please post the link?jzk

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  20. Ibrahim

    Bro. Wael u really wrote beautifully. U meticulously touched on every aspect which a fine story should have. And about the way it ended, I’ll say “SUPERB”.
    To me the ending is a masterpiece. Not all endings should b totally conclusive. The beauty of some endings come in giving the reader the choice of feeling in the gaps herself or himself.
    With a lot of joy in my heart: “this was beautiful”. :)

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  21. Wael Abdelgawad

    As-salamu alaykum everyone. Many of you were quite persistent last year in asking when the next story would come out. In case you didn’t know, two new stories have been published this year: A Lion is Born (sequel to Pieces of a Dream) and Kill the Courier (sequel to this story).

    See this story index to figure it all out :-)

    Wael Abdelgawad Story Index

    Thank you so much for your patience! Jazakum Allah khayr.

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    • SC

      I read one of your replies that you like constructive criticism. I find it a bit hard to understand – but maybe it’s just me – that Jamilah would say: I got your back/we make a great team. I feel like – although she is strong and can be brash – she is still in the stage of not being sure about Hassan. Also, she has all these feelings of doubt about her own looks – yet she doesn’t seem to think he is out of her league. which is funny. why doesn’t she once think he might have someone else, or he might be just waiting for someone better than her – if he really does look like a model/pretty boy, and she really does feel she is stocky and wildhaired, then normally a girl who feels this way would admire/wish for a guy like Hassan but not assume she could just walk in and claim him as her own that easily.

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      • Wael Abdelgawad

        Jazak Allah khayr for your comments, SC. Now, I’m not saying that my comment is right and yours is wrong, but it seems to me that initially Jamilah was sure that Hassan was the one. At the time she didn’t know about his past, and didn’t know some other things about him (I don’t want to give it away for readers who haven’t read Hassan’s Tale yet). She always had some body insecurities, though – you’re right about that.

        Later on things changed. Once Hassan began telling his story she learned things about him that shocked her. Furthermore, she found out that he was more than a simple bike messenger. And her faith that she and Hassan were the perfect match was badly shaken.

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  22. Omer

    Salam Alaikom,

    I knew I am late in the comments, but I just discovered your stories yesterday. So far I have read the first three stories, and they are beautiful. We live in a very superficial world and finding stories you can relate to has become almost impossible. I have never enjoyed reading a series as much as I have now. Particularly Jamila’s story and how you vividly described the Palestinian struggle which we can all relate to was my favorite. You’re doing a fantastic job and the only reason I might slow down is to prolong the enjoyment I get.

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  23. SC

    also, I wish that Hassan had not said anything about his Parents. it’s so eloquently described in Hassan’s tale, how he lost them, that just saying it out here, and about Charlie too, seems unnecessary – not knowing and then having it hit us when it happens, just as it hit him, is much more effective. He could tell Jamilah a lot more using Islamic quotations – which is what she is looking for – and Hadiths rather than his own story. Or he could just say: once when I was young, I had to help bury a relative of mine…..

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      • SC

        Assalam alaykum Brother. thanks for your reply; I could not see how to reply to your above response re: Jamilah and her feelings for Hassan. I agree with what you are saying about Jamilah…all I mean is that it seems a foregone conclusion in Jamilah’s mind that the whole equation rests on whether SHE likes him, and is sure of him – she doesn’t seem to consider whether he is sure of her or serious about her, except when it comes to looks. I actually find that is an accurate portrayal of many a young woman who only thinks of things from her own perspective and also assesses herself primarily on the matter of looks. It would be nice though to have some dynamic around her finding out that it’s not just about whether she is sure or not sure: there is also HIS perspective to consider – is HE sure of HER? (why is all the burden on him to prove himself and very little on her to prove herself?) And also to see her discovering that his love for Lena was not just about looks; and that likewise, Jamilah will have to consider whether she is *worthy* of him, not just whether she is *sure* of him. One other great opportunity you have allowed us in this story is to see how faith plays a role in how a man feels about a potential partner – reflecting the Hadith of Rasul Allah sal Allahu alayhi wasallama in which he sal Allahu alayhi wasallama advises men to marry a woman of faith. further, you give us the idea that faith means more than just the first flush of iman a person gets (as Hassan reflects on how much like a clear moon Jamilah’s faith is) and the outward actions of wanting to learn/wear hijab (we know that this first boost can wear off); it means an inner integrity – keeping one’s promises, taking things solidly and not running, owning up to mistakes, being genuine – ie. akhlaq. A lot of people assume akhlaq is outward politeness. It’s really neat how Jamilah doesn’t have that – so we are not fooled…but she does have CHARACTER in the sense that she is a person who stands by her word – which is a major sign of faithfulness. I really like that about Jamilah’s characterization. it’s very rare even in real life to meet people who stick to their promises. I hope that will be highlighted as a reason why Hassan – such a complex character, has such a respect for Jamilah and such a hope for her potential in faith. He’s seen too much in life to go for a flake or a flash in the pan….

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  24. Iman

    I agree with those who see the relationship as being past the bounds. Maybe for Jamilah, it’s not something she would know to object to, since she only just started practicing. But Hassan should know better. Flirting is not the only way a relationship can be inappropriate. After all, there is something called an emotional affar; and a lot of pre-marital stuff is really just that – it is getting emotionally intimate with someone. Why did Hassan jump in to give his number to Jamilah? are we supposed to, as readers, see past his ‘this is not a come-on’ comment and realize it really IS meant to be a come on, and that Jamilah is aware of this and takes it as a sign of his interest in her? otherweise it’s just bad manners. Kadija is already there and Hassan wants to barge in to that role? idk. It may work for the storyline, but it doesn’T make Hassan look upright. As a practicing man, he should know that Jamilah is at a vulenerable place right now, needing to build her intimate bond with Allah, not with a man. A girl like that can get confused easily, over who should be the object of her obsession: God or Hassan.

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    • Iman

      and it’s actually a big and sad phenomena: women who come to the deen through a man or with his help, or who get involved w/a man shortly after converting/coming back to faith practice, often get stunted in the growth of their relationship w/Allah b/c their energies suddenly start going into their relationship w/the man.
      They go from this crystal clear looking to Allah, to starting to look to the man as the beloved, and as the representation of all that they want – all the goodness and uprightness that the deen offers. The man comes to represent that in her mind. he and the deen are so closely tied in the mind of the woman, that then – sadly – if the marriage breaks down, she is often left wondering if she stil wants to be in teh deen. many such women, if the relationship with the man ends, end up leaving parts or all of the deen as a reaction, which tells us how much the relationship wit the man was getting conflating with her relationship with God.
      I think Hassan is overwhelming Jamilah with getting so close so soon. Remember how he told Layth to not get his feelings for Kadija mixed with his desire to be Muslim? well, what about Jamilah?Someone, maybe Kadija, needs to tell Hassan that for a woman, a man who is chivalrous, shows this much care and desire to lead/protect, and who listens to a girl’s deepest concerns, is the biggest attraction to a girl. A man being nice to a woman = a woman being seductive to a man. it’s a fitnah and it shouldn’t happen outside marriage. it’s the biggest way to make a woman lose her focus, lose her senses, and fall for the man. all men should beware to not exert such fitnah on women.

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    • Wael Abdelgawad

      You’re right. The truth is that I just needed a way to get Hassan’s number into Jamilah’s hand so that during her later crisis, she would have no one to call but him. Because the hospital scene is vital to the story. But truthfully, Hassan would NOT intrude on Jamilah’s relationship with Kadija and would not offer his number. So I think I will re-work this particular point.

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      • Wael Abdelgawad

        Okay, so I did a little re-writing. After the confrontation with the bike thief, Hassan offered the man his card and said he could help him find work, but the thief knocked the card out of his hand. Jamilah picked it up and on impulse put it in her pocket. That’s how, later at the hospital, she happened to have his number.

        I like it this way better, so thank you for pointing out this little contradiction.

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