I recently had a conversation with a friend concerning a character in a TV competition who was sweet, very honest, and nice. Well, at least that’s how I viewed the character. He was kind to fellow contestants and loyal to those he had made a connection with. Every other contestant knew for sure where they stood with him because he was as real and raw as possible. On the other hand, my friend viewed this same character as boring and going an extra mile just to be liked-calling him a people-pleaser. That was a first for me, because how?! Or is this the perfect depiction of the 6 and 9 image, where one sees a 6 yet another sees the same image as a 9?

Okay, I get it. There is a very thin line between being nice and people-pleasing. Sometimes the differences are blurry and one could easily cross the line. We, of course, don’t deny that people-pleasing isn’t the healthiest way to lead a life yet why do we always assume that when someone is nice, there’s more to them (secret agenda) or nothing about them (mediocre or too boring)?

When a man is so nice he is considered weak. When it is a woman, she is lacking intelligence and a voice. When it is a husband, he is pretentious or too good to be true. When it is a wife, she is too submissive and unempowered. When it is an employee, he/she is a people-pleaser and when it is a leader, we consider all their nice and kind acts to be PR stunts. Is it that we have completely lost faith in humanity that we no longer believe in good when we see it?

When Ghaith of Qalby Etmaan (a charity progran about a man traveling around the world helping people of all kinds) came to Kenya and the episodes were aired last Ramadhan, it was quite hilarious yet sad how the Kenyans who were approached reacted. You could see the fear and skepticism on their faces. Some were very hesitant to respond to the questions Ghaith was asking, some refused to receive the envelopes being handed and some used quite the harsh tone in their conversations. I get it, this is Kenya. We’re living through tough times where a woman cannot trust her daughter with her husband, where people are kidnapped, people are killing other people in panic for fear that they’re kidnappers, dead bodies are being unearthed from the backyards, bullying and cruelty are so normalized, and sometimes well covered in the name of jokes and comedy. We see it every day on Twitter, other social media sites, and the news. We are so used to being bullied, harassed, conned, and manipulated even by our own police and leaders (especially them!) that we can’t trust a person asking for direction. We can’t trust a stranger shaking our hands. We can’t trust someone asking us who we are. When someone stops us on the way we’re already defensive and alert. Consequently, this has made us not trust any form of kindness or compassion handed to us because our ‘fight or flight’ response is already on. We tend to think that everyone is out to harm us. I truly get it…but does that mean we have given up on kindness entirely?

Most often than not, nice people are greatly misunderstood, taken advantage of, undervalued, ignored, and taken for granted. People would sort for all ways to push their buttons just to frustrate them or make them react, just to provoke them so they can stoop low to their level. But here’s the thing though, and this is the main difference between being nice and people-pleasing; Being nice means you do good to people and treat others with kindness without expecting anything in return. You see the world as a community so you offer your love, care, and support unconditionally. You forgive easily and avoid conflict in order to stay in harmony with others. You do it because you have neither the time nor the energy for drama nor chaos… not because you lack self-esteem or cannot stand up for yourself, or are not intelligent enough. People-pleasing on the other hand is a form of dependency which lacks boundaries. You do good and give to others, without being able to say no, because you expect something in return; it could be validation, attention, or acceptance. People-pleasing is a form of transaction; I will help you but you need to validate me in return. You become a doormat by allowing people to treat you badly in pursuit of their love or attention. Being nice and kind is about self-expression and having true altruism; I will help you regardless of whether you will appreciate it or not.

The stereotypes that come with being nice are many. Ask any nice person you know out there they’ll tell you; if we were expecting something in return then being nice is barely rewarding in this life. Human beings can be so ungrateful, insensitive, cruel, and irritating. Yet we still keep doing it, because we want this world to be a better place filled with more kindness and compassion, and we feel happy when we’re able to do so in our own small ways.

Kindness is especially hard when those on the receiving end are not appreciative of our actions; this could even be our own family members. But then it goes back to our intentions, ‘why are we doing this?’ Is it to seek someone’s approval or because we genuinely want to express our love and concern for them?

Our religion highly recommends being nice, kind, and compassionate. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Whoever gives up telling lies in support of a false claim, a palace will be built for him in the outskirts of Paradise. Whoever gives up an argument when he is in the right, a palace will be built from him in the middle (of Paradise). And whoever had good behavior, a palace will be built for him in the highest reaches (of Paradise).'” It also explicitly states in another sahih hadith that a strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than a weak one, even though both are good. This shows that Islam doesn’t recommend that a Muslim lacks a voice or dictates his self-worth only based on how people praise, love, or validate him. He shouldn’t let himself be taken advantage of or be oppressed for the sake of pleasing human beings or seeking their love. Granted, we all want to feel loved in this life but it should never be our primary goal or at the cost of our dignity and respect. We are expected to be as kind and nice as possible but it should always be for the sake of Allah and not fellow human beings.

Harold Kushner once said: Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” And I think that should be a mantra for us to adapt in our lives.

Answering our question, being too nice is not necessarily being too phony. I think we should give kind, nice people the benefit of the doubt (as our religion requires from us) for their actions unless proven otherwise. Of course, I am not telling you to hop into a car with a random stranger (Especially during these scary times, may Allah protect us!) but I am saying, sometimes we judge other people too harshly based on our own fears and skepticism and that could be unfair for the other party. I believe one’s intentions always end up revealing eventually. If someone seems nice, take them as they seem. If they’re not, time will tell for sure!

To read the third part of this series, click on the following link:  https://lubnah.me.ke/women-of-jannah-khadija-bint-khuwaylid/

#The love and compassion between father and daughter

Fatima, may Allah be pleased with her was only 5 years old when the first revelation occurred. She therefore grew up in Islam. She was the 5th child of the prophet and his last daughter (according to some narrations). There was once, when Fatima was still very young, the prophet peace be upon him was praying in front of the Kaabah and Abu Jahl, Shaybah and Uqba Ibn Abi Mu’ayt were nearby watching him. Abu Jahl then asked one to volunteer to pick the guts of a camel and all of its filth and dump it on the prophet’s back while praying, just to humiliate him. Uqba ibn Abi Mu’ayt volunteered and brought all that filth and dumped it on the prophet’s back while in sujood. Fatima, this very young, tender girl, seeing her father in this state while the people around laughed and cursed him, goes to him. She starts scraping all of the filth on his back while crying. The prophet peace be upon him then said to her: ‘Do not cry oh my daughter. Allah will help your father and give him victory.’ And this is when the prophet started cursing the individuals who had taken part in the humiliating action. It is narrated that these same individuals were among the first to be killed during the battle of badr.

The love and compassion between father and daughter was so vivid that Fatima, may Allah be pleased with her was nicknamed ‘Umm Abeeha’ which means ‘The mother to her father’. This was due to how much she took care of her father, as if she was his mother rather than his daughter.

When Khadija peace be upon her died, Fatima was the one who comforted him and handled the home affairs. Fatima was also nicknamed ‘Al Zahraa’ to mean ‘the illuminated one’ or ‘the shining one’ due to her radiant face as the prophet’s was. In fact it was well known how the two resembled each other so much, even in the manner of speaking and walking. And the prophet peace be upon him was never hesitant to show his love for her. Whenever Fatima came to him, he stood up, welcomed her, kissed her hand and made her sit in his place. And when the prophet peace be upon him went to her, she would do the same for him.

Whenever the prophet came back from a journey, he would pray two rakaahs in the masjid as is the Sunnah then go to Fatima’s house before going to see his wives.

How beautiful is this kind of relationship? Don’t we all wish we had such connections with our fathers? Unfortunately very few men adopt the prophet’s way of living with his women, and some feel it makes them seem weak if they showed affection to their children publicly or even privately. But here was the prophet, treated his daughter like real royalty despite the jahiliya culture of the Quraysh to belittle their women.

#Jannah is the goal

Now despite the prophet treating Fatima, may Allah be pleased with them both, as royalty, she and her husband Ali may peace be upon them lived a very simple life.

When he first wanted to come to propose to the prophet for Fatima’s hand, he came while being very nervous. He sat by the prophet but couldn’t say a word, so the prophet asked him if he had come to propose for Fatima’s hand and Ali said yes.

At that time Ali had nothing apart from a shield. So the prophet asked him to sell the shield and give the amount as dowry to Fatima. The prophet could have chosen any wealthy sahaba to marry him off to his most beloved daughter. Yet he accepted Ali’s proposal for he knew him to be a great man and an appropriate husband for his daughter. Their home was so humble and they slept on sheepskin.

“In another occasion, it is reported on the authority of Ali that Fatima had corns in her hand because of working at the hand-mill. There had fallen to the lot of Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) some prisoners of war. She (Fatima) came to the Prophet (ﷺ) but she did not find him (in the house). She met A’isha and informed her (about her hardship and wanting a servant). When Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) came, she (A’isha) informed him about the visit of Fatima. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) came to them (Fatima and her family). They had gone to their beds. ‘Ali further (reported):

We tried to stand up (as a mark of respect) but Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Keep to your beds, and he sat amongst us and I felt the coldness of his feet upon my chest. He then said: May I not direct you to something better than what you have asked for? When you go to your bed, you should recite Takbir (Allah-o-Akbar) thirty-four times and Tasbih (Subhan Allah) thirty-three times and Tahmid (al-Hamdu li-Allah) thirty-three times, and that is better than the servant for you.” (Sahih Muslim)

From this narration, we also see that despite the prophet’s ability to provide for Fatima a servant and make her live like real royalty with great comfort, he chose to teach them what is better i.e. what will be of benefit to them in the hereafter. In these several occasions, we see that the prophet, despite his grand love for his daughter, still chose to nurture the love for the akhera within her rather than for this dunya. And this is definitely something worth pondering for us. It is not impermissible to want to be wealthy and comfortable in life, but remember not to seek the dunya so much, instead, let Jannah be the goal.

#Standing for one another

So in different occasions whilst the prophet was at Aisha’s house (it was her turn to be with him), the sahabas would bring gifts to her house more than any other wife’s house. The other wives of the prophet were not happy about this so they sent Fatima, may Allah be pleased with her, to talk to the prophet on their behalf. In short, the wives wanted the prophet to put a stop to this matter for it seemed unfair. But this was not the prophet’s fault or any injustice from him. The people themselves preferred to do that. So when Fatima went to the prophet while he was with Aisha, she said to him: “Your wives have sent me to you in order to ask you to observe equity in case of the daughter of Abu Quhafa (Aisha).’ Aisha kept quiet and the prophet then said to Fatima, ‘Oh my daughter, don’t you love whom I love?’ She said: ‘I do.’ The prophet said: ‘I love this one’ (meaning Aisha). So Fatima stood up and went back to the other wives and told them what had ensued. They told Fatima: ‘We think that you have been of no avail to us. You may again go to Allah’s Messenger and tell him that his wives seek equity in case of the daughter of Abu Quhafa.’ Fatima said: ‘By Allah, I will never talk to him about this matter.’ (Sahih Muslim)

From her love for her father, Fatima decided not to pursue anything that would go against him and we can see the prophet doing the same for his daughter in another occasion when Ali bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him when he wanted to marry the daughter of Abu Jahl.

Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, wanted to marry the daughter of Abu Jahl. When Fatima heard about this, she went to the prophet saying: “Your people think that you do not become angry for the sake of your daughters as `Ali is now going to marry the daughter of Abu Jahl.” When she said that, the prophet stood up, said the shahadah then said, “I married one of my daughters to Abu Al-`As bin Al- Rabi` (the husband of Zainab, the daughter of the Prophet before Islam and he proved truthful in whatever he said to me. No doubt, Fatima is a part of me, and whoever makes her angry, makes me angry. By Allah, the daughter of Allah’s Messenger and the daughter of Allah’s Enemy cannot be the wives of one man.” So `Ali gave up that engagement. (Sahih Bukhari)

It should be noted that the prophet didn’t just stop Ali from marrying another wife alongside his daughter. This was the daughter of the enemy of the prophet and the enemy of Islam and it wouldn’t befit that Fatima, be in such a situation (of co-wifing the daughter of an enemy of Islam) so please don’t use this hadith to prevent polygamy 😀

#Piety and Modesty

Fatima, may Allah be pleased with her was known for her piety and modesty like her mother. This is the woman that the prophet peace be upon him named, ‘sayyidat nisaa’ al-jannah’ to mean, ‘the queen, the leader of the women of paradise’. Fatima is among the four women who perfected their faith alongside her mother (as we mentioned in the previous parts of this series). She was held in high esteem due to her character and imaan.

According to some opinions is that surat Insan was revealed concerning Fatima and Ali, may Allah be pleased with them. The family had fasted for 3 days to fulfill a vow they had made. In each evening, during iftar, someone knocked on their door asking for food. Once it was a prisoner of war, then an orphan then a poor person. In all three occasions, they gave out their food and were left with barely anything for themselves. And it is because of this selfless act that Allah subhanahu wataala revealed surat insan and He says:

“And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive. [Saying], “We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude. Indeed, We fear from our Lord a Day austere and distressful.” So Allah will protect them from the evil of that Day and give them radiance and happiness. And will reward them for what they patiently endured [with] a garden [in Paradise] and silk [garments]….” (Surat Insan: verse 8-12) And Allah goes on to give an in-depth description of jannah and what will be available for them therein.

In another narration is that, when Fatima was on her death bed, she looked up in the heavens and smiled. She then called for Asmaa bint Umays who was the one going to wash her body. Fatima then requested Asmaa that after doing her ghusl upon her death, that her janazah be done at night so that there aren’t many people and also, she will be concealed. In another narration, Asmaa had mentioned of a tradition she had seen in Abyssinia where the dead are covered in a bier with a cloth on it whereby the body is concealed and cannot be seen. So Fatima requested that this same bier is used for her burial so that people will not see her body curves.

# ‘After You’

“Narrated `Aisha: Mother of the Believers: We, the wives of the Prophet (ﷺ) were all sitting with the Prophet (ﷺ) and none of us had left when Fatima came walking, and by Allah, her gait was very similar to that of Allah’s Messenger.’ When he saw her, he welcomed her, saying, “Welcome, O my daughter!” Then he made her sit on his right or his left, confided something to her, whereupon she wept bitterly. When he noticed her sorrow, he confided something else to her for the second time, and she started laughing.

Only I from among the Prophet’s wives said to her, “(O Fatima), Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) selected you from among us for the secret talk and still you weep?” When Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) got up (and went away), I asked her, “What did he confide to you?” She said, “I wouldn’t disclose the secrets of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)” But when he died I asked her, “I beseech you earnestly by what right I have on you, to tell me (that secret talk which the Prophet had with you)” She said, “As you ask me now, yes, (I will tell you).”

She informed me, saying, “When he talked to me secretly the first time, he said that Gabriel used to review the Qur’an with him once every year. He added, ‘But this year he reviewed it with me twice, and therefore I think that my time of death has approached. So, be afraid of Allah, and be patient, for I am the best predecessor for you (in the Hereafter).’ “Fatima added, “So I wept as you (`Aisha) witnessed. And when the Prophet (ﷺ) saw me in this sorrowful state, he confided the second secret to me saying, ‘O Fatima! Will you not be pleased that you will be chief of all the believing women (or chief of the women of this nation i.e. my followers?”) (Sahih al-Bukhari) It is also at this point that he confided in her that she would be the next companion to die right after him, which is what made Fatima laugh from joy, knowing that she would join him soon enough.

On her death bed, Fatima shared some moments with her husband Ali and asked him to marry Umamah after her death, the daughter of her sister Zaynab to take care of her children. Fatima is said to have died in the month of Ramadhan, 6 months or less after the prophet’s death. She was just 29 years old and left behind 4 children; Hassan, Hussein, Zaynab and Umm Kulthum. According to some narrations, her fifth child Muhsin had died before her. All in all, Fatima was known for her purity, piety and chastity. Moreover she was known as being the Prophet’s big supporter and caretaker.

#Ahlul Bayt

“Many came to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, asking whom he loved the most, including Ali (ra) and Fatima (ra). He had the most eloquent answer, while maintaining his character of honesty. Even though Fatima was very dear to him and his heart was very attached to her, he didn’t want to answer in a way that would hurt Ali, whom he loved as his own son. He looked at Ali and said, ‘She is more beloved to me than you, but you are more precious to me than her’, making them both very happy.”

‘A’isha reported that Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) went out one morning wearing a striped cloak of the black camel’s hair that there came Hasan b. ‘Ali. He wrapped him under it, then came Husain and he wrapped him under it along with the other one (Hasan). Then came Fatima and he took her under it, then came ‘Ali and he also took him under it and then said:

“Allah only desires to take away any uncleanliness from you, O people of the household, and purify you (thorough purifying).”

(Sahih Muslim 2424)

And indeed, Allah purified them and elevated their status.

May Allah grant us an opportunity to be with them in Jannah. Ameen.


Alhamdulilah this brings us to the end of our Ramadhan series, ‘The women of Jannah’, the four women who perfected their faith (May Allah be pleased with them). Thank you so much for joining me for the entire month and for taking your time to read. May Allah accept our fasts, our ibadah, our duas and our tawbah. Ameen. Taqabala Llahu minna wa minkum. Eid Mubarak my good people 🙂



Women Around The Prophet ﷺ‎/Part 14/ Fatima Bint Muhammad, Daughter of Prophet ﷺ‎- Assim al hakeem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04w-IgujIYU

Role Model for Modesty (Fatima bint Muhammad) – Women of Paradise – Omar Suleiman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXi0xqfiBfk

Fatima Bint Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) ᴴᴰ ┇ Must Watch ┇ by Sheikh Dr. Tawfique Chowdhury : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QG0VIR2dWSg


To read part 2, click on the following link: https://lubnah.me.ke/my-other-half-part-2/

Assalam aleykum warahmatu llah wabarakatuh 🙂

Had I known there would be a part 3, I would have written it last year in 2019, so that the gap between the letters are equal. The first was in 2015, then 2017, then now :/ The perfectionist me is a bit bothered by that. I also realized that I have the totally wrong title for this letter series. Should have been, ‘to my other 3/4’ because really, whom I’m kidding? I’m just a 1/4 human, so you gotta be 3/4 to complete me. You gotta be the bigger person. Huh, pun intended! 😀

Okay, wait. Let’s rewind a bit. CAN YOU BELIEVE WE’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC? It is crazy right?! I hope you are sane though? Hopefully coping okay with all that is happening? I am okay. Alhamdulilah 🙂 I was very alarmed at first. It was too overwhelming seeing everyone panicking and the too much misinformation wasn’t making it any easy. I am better now alhamdulilah. It is the empathetic side of me that is struggling more. There are a lot of emotions being laid out and I absorb everything like a sponge. This in turn makes me anxious sometimes. Anxious because now, people are too anxious. I’m used to being the most anxious person in the room 😀 But this too shall pass, aye?! I am just trying to avoid social media at the moment and too much news. Really hoping things only get better from here. Ameen.

I really hope you’re doing well though; catching dreams, flights and sunsets. I have grown since the last time I wrote to you; emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Physically? Not so much 😀 2020 especially started way too rough, but wasn’t it for everyone? Nonetheless, I’m still me. The same cry baby who wrote the first letter in 2015. I still watch murder documentaries and horror/thriller movies then ask one of my younger sisters to sleep with me because I’m too afraid. I still pace up and down for several minutes before taking a pill because pills give me anxiety of sorts. Sometimes I opt to take 4 tablespoons of baby liquid paracetamol than take the actual pills. I still go to my mum to comb my hair. I still cry when my friends forget about me or when someone raises their voice on me. I still cry in weddings, sometimes more than in funerals. Not the two tears of joy. I cry. Literally, sometimes until I get a flu. I am very weird. Very paradoxical. I am the most dumb & naive, smart person I know. I am also the strongest, most fragile person. Can you imagine I turned 26 today? I am literally a baby. Everyone knows that tears are my forte. My best friend Husna has said she’ll ensure that in my nikah contract I write ‘Don’t be mean to me’ and I want to add, ‘or else I’ll cry’ because really, that should scare you. It’s like dealing with a literal big baby. My other best friend Amina is betting that I’ll have no make up on my wedding not because I wouldn’t have applied but because I’d have cried way too much, people would think it is a forced marriage. You get the picture? 😀

But waiiiit!! About me being a literal baby, FLASH NEWS: I did not cry watching ‘Miracle in cell no 7’ (Watch it if you haven’t!) Can you believe that?!!! I’ve been telling it to everyone and anyone who bothers to listen. Saying it like it is a badge of bravery 😀 Someone said if you watched the ‘Miracle…’ movie and you didn’t cry then you’re an assassin. Well hallo, you’re looking at one 😀 I also didn’t cry when I read ‘The Kite Runner’ or even ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’. Quite the achievement I tell you. Howeveeerrr, few days after reading these, I had huge breakdowns over the smallest, most stupid reasons. I came to realize, sometimes, that I tend to postpone my crying till further notice; when I get a more sillier reason to cry. Like hit my toe on a door and cry for an hour about it. See? Paradoxical. I also realized my crying is like an art. I’m still trying to figure out my patterns 😀

I’m still terrified of the idea of divorce which in turn makes me terrified of marriage in the first place. The marriages crumbling around us are barely any consolation. For a very anxious person like me, uncertainty is our poison. Yet nonetheless, it makes me dig deeper into myself and be more keen on my choices in this life. Not just about marriage but everything else. I know some people think I am waiting for a fairy tale but trust me, I am very very aware of how reality is. And fairy tale is so far from it. Mwanzo the way I was too invested in Umm Abdullah and Hasanat’s seemingly perfect marriage, and what it turned out to be, mahn! I was too heart-broken I swear and even more sad for their reality *Insert too many tears*. Anyway, I guess such is life.

I have this colleague of mine who when he first read my first letter in 2015, was so excited because he had written something similar on his blog. He then narrated how his wife reacted when they got married and read the letters. She ransacked his entire blog, reading everrrything and asking about every girl that was mentioned on it 😀 They were a seemingly sweet couple. Five years down the line (after the conversation that is), they’re divorced. My heart sank when I heard about it. They’re both good people, but life happens. You can never know what will come your way tomorrow, a week from now or ten years later. It terrifies me how life is so temporary, unpredictable. You can NEVER claim that you have it figured out. Everyone is just stumbling through life and dealing with the snowballs rolling towards them. Throwback to when I was in high school and I’d see people in their mid-twenties, I’d marvel. I always thought ‘they have it figured out.’ The age where one has a job, is newly married and deeply in love, taking on adventures and life is just kicking off. I was so so wrong. I could never be more mistaken in my life. Adulthood is a scam. It is the heftiest slap on the face. Jokes on me 😀 Someone should have prepared me though! ( By the way, my colleague is happily remarried alhamdulilah. May Allah protect his marriage, bless it and make it long-lasting.ameen.)

So anyway, I met this lady, more than 10 years older than me. She is like the splitting image of me but personality wise. Very sensitive, very anxious, very compassionate, a very good writer, tiny like me…we even have similar health issues. Mind-blowing I tell you. It is almost like I met myself in the future. And you know, I see her seemingly happy in her marriage, with her grown children mashallah; they’re so adorable I could cry…Here’s the catch though; she is in a polygamous marriage!! When she told me about it I was like ‘whaaaatttt!! Hooooowww!!’ Cause I can’t imagine myself in one honestly I’d die so please don’t get ideas 😀 What’s even harder, is that she is the first wife! Her response was simply, ‘My husband is a good man’ and my heart melted at how she said it. She did admit it was tough but they made it through. I am still A.M.A.Z.E.D. mashallah mashallah may Allah keep blessing their marriage. Ameen. It gives me hope though; that people like me can be happy after all despite all the noise in the head.

To be honest, I am not where I want to be spiritually. I struggle. A lot. Mostly because of the anxiety. It makes you seek control. You have this desperate need to be the captain of the ship and control the direction of the wind too. Which is impossible. I am still learning and unlearning so many things. I am accepting of how too flawed I am. I am accepting that I still have a lot to work on on myself. I had this classmate in university, whom I really look up to. He was always so laid back. So much so, you’d think he’s entirely unbothered. But he wasn’t. He just never allowed matters to get to his skin. Whether it was the pressure from the lecturers and university projects, whether it was people mocking him, whether it was things not going as planned. A project that I would stress about for an entire month, he would plan himself keenly and do it in one week. No, don’t be mistaken. This wasn’t just someone who was playing around. This was someone who knew exactly how much importance to give any matter because, well, he was always top in class and he was the only other person who got first class honors besides me in our lot.

When I ponder over how I dealt with my university studies versus how he did, it was the extreme opposite. I would get panic attacks or even cry right before an exam sometimes. Yet he would never let anything disturb his peace of mind. Throughout the years in the same class, I never ever heard him complain about his personal life. He would complain about the lecturers or the challenges (just the usual, small stuff) but never about his personal life. I doubt anyone in our class knew much about his life. After graduation, while the rest of us were worried and stressing over getting jobs, you know what he was up to? Walking around his neighbourhood, taking brilliant images and editing them. When anyone would ask him how he could afford to be so relaxed, he would say, ‘I already sent my CVs. Now I can only wait.’ He did eventually get a job, a good one mashallah and it was as if he always knew he’d get it.

During this quarantine period, my mate is busy making happy and silly videos, recreating images and making memes despite being far from his family. As an avid complainer and a highly sensitive person, I learnt a lot about choosing my battles just from observing him. I know for sure he too has problems of his own, but he always had that utmost belief and optimism in life. I always yearned for that kind of peace (May Allah keep blessing him and grant him tranquility always. ameen). I still yearn for that kind of peace. I think if I master the art of ‘choosing battles’ then i’ll be way ahead in life. That is the goal.

I’m learning a lot just by observing people to be honest. That kind of education no one will ever teach you. There’s always something to learn from every single human being, even if not a positive thing, you learn about a negative thing to avoid doing. So yes, I’m still feeding on human stories. They shape me greatly and have been a huge part of my growth. I’m also still studying alhamdulilah (yes, neeerddd! 😀 )

Imagine Ramadhan is just a few days away. I’m deeply sad about the world right now. It will be a very strange Ramadhan while people in lock-down. Imagine watching taraweh in empty Makkah and Madina 🙁 I hope this pandemic ends soon wallahy. So many people are affected. So many people are struggling. So I’m praying that by eid all this will be over, at least people can have some part of ramadhan back in the masjid, may He help us all and protect us. Ameen. Try to make the best out of this Ramadhan as I strive to do as well biidhnillah. Also, you should try watch ‘Qalby Etmaan’ on youtube this Ramadhan cause Ghayth is absolutely my hero when it comes to charity and he inspires me too much *I am still crying*. Perhaps he’d inspire you too!

Do include me in your prayers please, 26 looks scary to be honest. But turning one year older, I am also very very grateful. For my amazing parents, for my dear family, for my very lovely friends, for the blessings from Allah. I never take these things for granted. And the more I grow up, the more I appreciate their presence and all the love. Alhamdulilah ala kul hal. Hoping you join the team soon enough 😉 Ameen. About that, by the way, you are wasting such an opportune moment because with this quarantine, it is the best time to do a nikah. We’d just have gone to the kadhi and skipped all that chaos of the normal weddings 😀 But oh well, everything happens at its time I guess.

Just a disclaimer as we wind up, I sought the permission of the above people mentioned before writing about them, so don’t you assume I’m a snitch 😀

I am hoping there won’t be a part 4 because I am getting too old and hopefully you’d be around before I ever have to. If I’m writing another letter then it should be to my husband 😀 In shaa Allah. Stay safe wherever you are.

Till we meet in shaa Allah 🙂

P.S I now realize this was too long. It’s been three years anyway, we’re compensating 😀

Sending you Love and Light,

Lubnah with an ‘H’.


Thank you for reading 🙂 Kindly subscribe and stay tuned for the Ramadhan special edition in shaa Allah. I am also starting a Ramadhan fundraising in shaa Allah to support a family of 5 , who are deeply affected by the corona virus. The father is in the transport business which is now in pause till after corona. Ramadhan is coming, and they have bills to pay with no other way to earn their livelihood. Kindly do support me in this project as well by sending to my mpesa: 0704 731 560 (Lubnah Said). I love you all for the sake of Allah. Please take care wherever you are!

It’s a tricky time to write because almost always and somehow, the topic ends up at Corona virus. Alafu you Kenyans, what is this joke of dancing to a coffin?!! 😀 I swear Kenyans amuse me. But then, we all have different coping mechanisms right? For Kenyans, it is memes. Kenyans is Me 😀

So you guys remember My Happy Person right? He grew up. ‘Hassan’ (not his real name but because my dad kinda loves this name and because Hassan from kite runner is my most favourite fictional character of ALL TIMES!!!) is now four years old and is totally adoooorable!! Also, he started school and madrasa. Remember when we joked how I’d be the one to take him to school once he joined because he ‘disliked’ me passionately and wouldn’t even cry for me if I left him there? Well guess what? On the D-day, I didn’t accompany him because my heart was literally aching at the thought of how much he’d cry. Weak heart, I know 😀 He is a super cry baby so we all know how that went. However, to our utmost surprise, by the third day he had already adapted. He wasn’t crying anymore. He would wake up at fajr like an adult, demand for a book and pencil to write on, and repeat several times ‘school’ because he can’t just wait to get there. We were shook y’all. We thought he’d cry for an entire week AT LEAST. But here he was!

By the third week of school, my boy was famous. When he’d just arrive at the vicinity of the school, his classmates would start chanting, ‘YELLOW! YELLOW! YELLOW!’ Now here are some random facts:

*He still doesn’t know how to speak apart from some few words.

*He uses colour codes to describe what he wants.

He really is addicted to juice, which happens to be yellow in colour. So whenever he’d want the juice, he’d say Yellow instead. I guess that is how his classmates ended up nicknaming him Yellow. We were concerned he’d be bullied at school because of his difficulty in speech but to our surprise, he turned out to be the ‘cool kid’. I don’t know why or how, but everyday we’d take him to his class and everyone starts chorusing his name, everyone calling him to their table, some making space for him to sit, some showing him their snacks, God! It is overwhelming even for me to watch. He is an anxious kid himself so you can imagine the discomfort of being the center of attention 😀 I think he is also adapting to that, perhaps even liking it a little bit. I see how he has this hidden-yet-not-so-subtle smile creeping on his lips. It is nice to be seen.

The once very annoying kid now gives me full hugs and kisses and doesn’t mind to sleep with me and sometimes just randomly walks into my room, calls out my name then rumbles things i’d never understand. Oh and yes! He even says ‘I love you’ back 😀 Y’all better say mashallah, took me nearly 4 years of complaining a lot and forcing my love on him till he accepted it. This reminds me, there were times i’d sit with him, patting his hair and say, ‘May Allah protect you, say ameen’ He would say ‘Ameen’. ‘May Allah guide you, say ameen’ ‘Ameen’. And we would go on like that until I say ,’May Allah make you love me’ and he would LEGIT KEEP QUIET!!! Or even worse, walk away *Inserts weeping emojis* But then I guess love wins after all huh?!

Now we have another soldier in the house. Hassan’s younger brother. He is taller, more built than Hassan. He walks on his toes, literally and he is always trying to do some engineering. His hobby is picking screws and nails and any tools and just inserting them within any hole he sees in the house. That includes your torn clothe, if you put it on, next thing you have a nail poking you. His nick name is Hanuni. I call him Halimi so that when he grows up he can say he is ‘Halimi McDreamy’ (if you know, you know 😀 )Also, I tend to have special, separate nicknames for my loved ones *Grins* So Halimi is a hyper energetic one, mashallah. He has so much energy I think he most probably will end up in sports, or we will persuade him to do so because wow. so much energy. Hassan is sometimes scared of him because he hits him. So the kind of scenario you’ll find at home is Hassan running around screaming ‘Hanuni! Hanuni! Ma Hanuni!’ He is legit being bullied by his younger brother.

Halimi doesn’t like me much either. He is mostly throwing tantrums and being an angry bird. He used to call me ‘Dudii’ and now he calls me ‘Bulii’ like I am the bully?! He frequently walks into my room and pushes the door wide open till it hits the wall hard (yeah see what I mean by so much energy?) Then he walks in like a big boss, on his toes and looks around for anything to dismantle. And because my room is typically nerdy with so many books and study material, we have this game whereby whenever he walks in I start chasing him. Okay it wasn’t a game initially. I was seriously letting him out of the room so he doesn’t ruin my stuff but then he turned it into a game. So it typically goes two ways:

He pushes the door wide open, walks in and starts touching stuff. Mostly the earphones because he loves removing those tiny rubbers on them then either putting them in his mouth or just running away with them. And I follow him, pissed! while he is laughing, going to a corner to hide. Or sometimes as soon as he walks in and I turn my head towards him, he laughs then runs away.

On other occasions, as soon as I see him, I take him out of the room, close the door and while he is complaining, I tell him I love him. His mother always remarks, ‘What a way to love him, by chasing him away :D’

I pretty much envision Halimi protecting his brother in the future. Hassan is so compassionate and sweet right now, your heart would melt. Halimi is more charming and brave. I love them both too much. Anyway, I hope two years from now i’ll once again come here and tell you how much more Halimi loves me then. But anyway, he does love me even now because he has made my bedroom floor his favourite lying down place. Or maybe he just loves my room 😀 Let us wait till he starts talking then we ask him in shaa Allah.

Both boys are more attached to the male in our family, so they love my brother a lot, it makes me really jealous. My brother just has to exist and they love him so much mashallah (thu thu thu 😀 ) Like when they’d just hear his voice they go to the door, Halimi calls him ‘Sidoo’ in such a sweet way, and they’d hug him and literally feed him like he is the baby and they’d want to be carried by him. Come to my case now, I sometimes have to beg for a hug y’all *Weeping a river* I guess some of us just didn’t get the love luck y’all 😀

They make me happy. Like genuinely, whole-heartedly happy. They talk gibberish which is hilarious to listen to and they make everything so much lovelier! I could be in the worst of moods, about to have a nervous breakdown but they still melt my heart. May Allah protect them both! ameen! 😀

I shared these two little angels with you because to be honest, I don’t know how else to make it easier or lighter during such a tricky time. But I hope the 5, or is it 3 minutes you spent reading this will bring a smile on your face.

It is not dark and gloom my people. There is good and joy and love in this life. Please take it easy on yourself. Pray a lot. For my anxious fam, this too shall pass. Have firm faith that Allah is in control and will for sure protect and guide us. Ameen. Stay safe! Don’t forget to smile! 🙂


Thank you for reading! Please subscribe below! 🙂

Most people underestimate the power of words and language in our daily lives and how it eventually influences the path we tread on. In the heat of a moment, sometimes we say what we don’t mean, and think that ‘sorry’ will suffice at the end of the day. But what if, just what if, we decided to be more careful with what and how we speak in the first place? How can we still show love and compassion towards our partners and family during a conflict?

Doctor Gottman, an American psychological researcher and clinician who did extensive work over four decades on divorce prediction and marital stability, founded ‘The Love Lab’. He is known for his 90% accuracy in predicting divorce and has provided us with four primary predictors of divorce called ‘ Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse‘. These four are: criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.  

Criticism: When someone criticizes their partner, it implies that something is wrong with them or that you are attacking their character. In this case, one focuses on winning the argument or proving the partner wrong. For example, when you say, ‘You never do this…’, ‘Why are you like this…’, ‘You’re always….’, the spouse feels attacked and elicits a defensive response. The right way is to make a complaint about your spouse’s behaviour and not attack their personality. For example, when X happened, I felt Y, and I need Z.

Contempt: This is the worst predictor of divorce. Contempt is any statement of nonverbal behavior that puts you on a higher ground than your partner. This could be mocking your partner, calling him/her names, hostile humour, hurtful sarcasm etc. It attacks your spouse’s sense of self. It is also intended to put down or emotionally abuse or manipulate him or her. Instead, the couple should build a culture of respect, appreciation, tolerance and kindness in the relationship.

Defensiveness: This is an attempt to defend yourself from a perceived attack with a countercomplaint. Another way is to act like a victim or whine. This can look like making excuses (e.g., external circumstances beyond your control forced you to act in a certain way). Saying things like “It’s not my fault,” or “I didn’t …” can also be cross-complaining, such as meeting your partner’s complaint or criticism with a complaint of your own or ignoring what your partner said. Couples are expected to take a moment, slow down and listen attentively to what their partner is saying without interrupting them. The point is: have conscious communication where you are both trying to understand what the other is saying and choosing the right way to respond.

Stonewalling: The silent treatment. Storming out. Shutting down. Changing the subject. Complete withdrawal from communication. All these are acts of stonewalling. It is a strategy we use to avoid conflict. This might be an, albeit unsuccessful, attempt to calm oneself when overwhelmed. However, a better way to deal with such situations is to learn to identify the signs that you or your partner is starting to feel emotionally overwhelmed. It’s a good idea to verbalize that you feel overwhelmed. You can both agree to take a break and that the conversation will resume when you are both calmer.

Apart from these predictors of divorce or separation, there are some patterns or behaviour that sometimes cause further conflict without being fully aware of it.

We are all wired differently, right? Different backgrounds, different personalities, different cultures, races, behaviours etc. As such, it is normal that we experience life and all our emotions differently. It will be quite illogical to think that our way of thinking or living is the ONLY right way to do it. This will just cause conflict and misunderstandings. As such, couples are advised to take time and understand each other’s love languages and work towards compromise rather than conflict.

Below are some main differences among couples and how they can reach a middle ground and understanding.

1. Independence 1st vs Togetherness 1st

Some people are more comfortable and relaxed working alone or being alone rather than interacting with others. One spouse could be more family oriented than the other. Perhaps one involves their parents/siblings in their lives while others prefer dealing with their issues by themselves as a couple.

Someone who values independence first might get irritated or frustrated when they do not get enough alone time. Or when a conflict arises, they NEED personal space. Here it is not a matter of wanting anymore, it is a NEED. That means, that if they don’t get their personal space ASAP, it will make them more anxious and stressed.

Togetherness first, needs more interaction with others and may become anxious when the partner is not readily available. They always seek comfort. They NEED to know that everything is okay. They need that emotional contact to relax, and the lack of it might cause further anxiousness.

When conflict arises, these two may get upset when their coping mechanism is not met by their partner.

Independence-First talking to Togetherness-first: “You are too needy! I can’t read your mind just tell me what you want!”

“You are selfish for always wanting attention”

Togetherness-First talking to Independence-first: “You just run off when we have to talk about something important!” 

“This doesn’t feel like a relationship, we are not a team!” 

“You are selfish for only caring about yourself!”

2. Slow to Upset vs. Readily Upset

Slow to upset people get anxious when there is conflict. They would rather remain silent to avoid further escalation of conflict. They stay calm to control the situation. They feel better about diffusing their upset feelings.

Readily upset need to speak up right away when something isn’t right. They feel that conflict and arguments are normal and for them, speaking up about their upset feelings helps them calm down.

Slow to upset talking to readily upset: “You throw temper tantrums anytime you don’t get something your way.” 

“Nothing is ever good enough for you, you are just always negative.”

Readily Upset talking to slow-upset: “You just cover up your true feelings just to avoid conflict.” 

“You just want to pretend like everything is okay.”

3. Problem Solving 1st vs. Understanding 1st

Problem-solving 1st people seek to deal with the situation by finding an appropriate plan for it. They don’t seek sympathy or validation from their partner. They don’t see the point in discussing feelings over what happened. They think, ‘Something wrong has happened, what do we do next?’

Understanding 1st feels instantly better when they get a little understanding from their partner. They feel soothed when they get a little support and compassion. For such people, acknowledging their emotions or the intentions underlying their actions is important. What Type of understanding is understanding first people looking for? It’s a matter of timing, it is not that they don’t want a solution, it is just they feel understanding comes first, then looking for a solution.

Problem-Solving talking to Understanding-first: “You just want to complain but never do anything to make things better” 

“You just want to be upset! Maybe you just like feeling miserable”

Understanding-First to Problem-solving first: “You don’t care how I feel, you just want to pretend as if nothing happened.”

“You just want to sweep your feelings under the rug.

What then can couples do to ensure more understanding?

1. Write down which core difference you are and which your partner is

2. Think of a specific time where this caused a conflict between you and your spouse.

3. Accept the idea that both of you have legitimate ways of relaxing

4. Stretch your comfort levels a bit so may give and take in a way where each of you gets your needs at least partially met. Write down what you can say and do to find a compromise.

No one can say one way of navigating life is better or more correct than the other. We are all different. The important thing is to understand the other person’s view and stand. You can’t always expect your spouse to cross over to your sideline. Sometimes, according to the situation, you give them the space they need and sometimes, they give you the attention you need. They say love isn’t always what makes marriages stronger…it is the understanding, compromises, compassion, mercy and forgiveness. Take the time to learn how your partner functions and copes during conflict. Be kind. Be understanding. Be compassionate. There has never been a shortcut to a successful marriage, has there?

Despite this being mostly about couples and marriage, this information is useful for any other kind of relationship or interaction as well!


  1. Notes by Dr Usman Mughni, MS, LMFTA, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist.
  2. https://www.verywellmind.com/four-scientific-predictors-of-divorce-4045691
  3. https://psychcentral.com/blog/4-warning-signs-marriage-therapists-use-to-predict-divorce/

Some months back I walked into a clinic together with my sister and her new born baby for his first vaccination. We were the third in the line and the nurse hadn’t arrived yet. We sat patiently waiting for her until she arrived more than half an hour later. She went into her small office and closed the door. We understood she had to clear up the place before she let us in so we continued waiting without a word. Soon enough, she called in the first mother and in no time it was our turn.

The nurse looked through my nephew’s booklet and then asked my sister how many kilos the baby is. My sister didn’t hear her clearly the first time so she moved closer to where the nurse was seated and requested her to repeat her question. Catching us completely off guard, the nurse shouted at her, ‘HOW MANY KILOS IS YOUR BABY?’
I could see the confusion on my sister’s face and I could literally imagine how her mind just went blank in that moment.
‘Isn’t it written in the booklet?’ my sister asked.
‘Had it been written would I have asked?’ she answered rather rudely, “what kind of a mother are you?!”
Right then my sister answered the number of kilos and my nephew was injected.

At this moment I was totally enraged. I was boiling inside and I struggled to stop myself from talking back to this so called nurse.

It was 8 A.M. IN THE MORNING!!! How can a person be so negative, so rude this early? I wanted to shout at her face, “Did someone force you to take up this job?!” I actually had a lot to say to this nurse and I probably still have a lot to say to her, because it being almost 6 months later, I am still bitter with her.

Now what this so called nurse didn’t know is that my sister was born with a partial deafness in one ear and thus couldn’t hear her clearly the first time. She also didn’t know that my sister is an epileptic patient with a partial memory loss and thus couldn’t remember how many kilos the baby is. This statement, ‘what kind of a mother are you?’still rings in my mind. Geez, I can’t imagine someone asking me that question. How much do you think these words affected my sister?

Leaving the clinic, I kept complaining all the way home. I was really really REALLY pissed off. All my sister said was, ‘Sometimes you just need to let the person speak and you just forget about it. I do know what kind of a mother I am and that’s what matters.’ But I was like, ‘NO! Some of these people need to be told off!’ I ranted and ranted and I rant to date about this incident. Honestly i’m not over it yet and mostly it is because I don’t really understand why people go into medical professions if they can’t be empathetic and compassionate. (If you are in any medical field, PLEASE DO SHARE THIS WITH YOUR MATES. The treatment most people get from you guys is so heart-breaking and INHUMAN!)

Fast forward to a few days ago, my sister travelled to Nairobi to get her university certificate and pharmaceutical license. Upon reaching one of the offices, a lady asked for her ID no. My sister sought to her wallet to check her ID no. This lady rolled her eyes and gasped, ‘Hmm, sasa mpaka ID hujui’ or something like that. Mind you, this lady said this statement loud enough such that all her colleagues heard her. My sister responded, ‘Pardon, but I am an epileptic patient with partial memory loss.’ Her voice was already breaking but she too said it loud enough such that the colleagues could hear it too. The lady suddenly shrank and started apologizing. But does that change the embarrassment my sister went through? NO. In her genius mind, she was probably thinking, ‘Now how is this lady a graduate in Pharmacy yet she can’t remember her ID, well hello genius, you don’t really know everyone’s story!

My sister had to re-do her pharmacy exams 3 times because of her partial memory loss before finally succeeding the forth time. If you ask me, I’ll tell you there’s no stronger woman than my sister because MANY would have given up had they gone through the same medical condition.

I have always wanted to talk about this issue because I feel we as human beings are so careless on how we speak and how we treat other people. Does it mean that we can only be kind with people only after they tell us their struggles? Does my sister have to wear a placard with an explanation of her condition so that you can adjust your mood and tone to not spit out words that could destroy someone’s soul?! Does it mean we can’t naturally be compassionate until someone speaks of the things they’d rather not talk about?! Do we have to explain ourselves everywhere we go to get humane treatment? And if someone lacks an explanation, does that make them any less deserving of kindness? What happened to giving people benefit of doubt?

This is not only about my sister. It is about all the people we’ve ever crashed because we never thought over our words, we never filtered them, we just spat out the venom because ‘Hello! It’s a free world. Freedom of speech, yey!’

Dear YOU, you are responsible for your words. Whether you say it in jokes, in straight forward mode or whichever way, if they crash a person then let that sink in your conscious. Keep a mental note that I once killed someone’s esteem. That I someday made someone lose hope in life. That I someday made someone feel useless. That I one day made someone give up what they are passionate about. That I one day made someone give up on their dreams. You might take it lightly in the moment, as you laugh about what you consider a joke, or when your very intelligent mind makes you mock others, do remember that for every ache that person faces because of you, your share of it will eventually get to you, sooner or later.

One thing, people in power, the leaders and influencers, the mentors and teachers should keep in mind is that your words are regarded highly. Most of the times people take your words to be the gospel truth. We crash children’s dreams by telling them they can’t do this; they can only do this other thing. We crash our friends and relatives when we make them feel like their dreams are not valid and impossible. We misguide people into believing they can’t grow into someone greater than they already are. We have people who look up to us and all we do is degrade their work, their efforts and talents as they lose all the morale and belief in themselves. We as a society are our own biggest enemies. We usually joke of how monkeys are our cousins. Perhaps we should start considering the snakes as our closest next of kin from the kind of venom we fill in others.

On my Facebook page ‘Strokes of my pen’ you will find the cover photo is a quote by Kahlil Gibran which says: “Words are timeless. You should utter them or write them with a knowledge of their timelessness.” Once you cause a damage in someone else’s spirit then it is done and sometimes irreparable.

*** Now that i’m done with my rant, we can do some meditation to calm down our nerves (for those who are pissed about this like I am 😀 )
Breathe in
Breathe out
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