بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم
“…And then I screamed and searched and screamed for Dihya but it seems like he’s gone somewhere, I then decided to call you over because I needed to vent.” Hearing no response, I looked up at Layla and saw her playing with my niqaab.
She winked at me before trying it on. “How do I look?”
“Ninja!” I winked back.
She laughed and began inquiring, “Describe to me what it’s like. What are the rules? How important is it in Islam? Why do so many muslim women wear it?” I simply scratched my head in embarrassment because with everything that’s going on, I hadn’t really bothered to research much about it so I couldn’t answer her questions.
Out came my laptop as Layla and I propped ourselves against the headboard and decided to pay Mufti google a visit. Not the most accurate and safest place to look for information, but the easiest.
After a good half an hour we decided to ditch the laptop, as our brains were now bombarded with information and our eyes in need of break, away from the screen. We learnt that it is waajib to wear niqaab in the time of Fitna. What on Earth is the time of fitna, we couldn’t understand as we found so much different and contradictory information. We also learnt that you have to wear it from all your non-mahrams.
“I really want to join you but if I do it I want to do it right. How on Earth am I going to wear Niqaab from Abbaas and Dihya? They practically my brothers!” Layla confided as we sipped our tea.
“Correction, they are your cousins not you brothers.” I said feeling that familiar flare of jealousy ignite. As if it wasn’t enough that Layla had it all, I still had to deal with the way my brothers treated her better than me at times.
“Come on, join me. As we just read, they not your mahrams, so this close relationship you have with them is not even right. Wearing Niqaab from them will help you break this bond. It’s the right thing to do. Think how much reward you will get too.”
I lectured her like one big Sheikh but all the while thinking like one big Shaytaan. I am going to do everything that I can to get her to join me then there’s no way my brothers can love her more than me.
Mama walked into the kitchen and questioned what we were doing. Seizing the opportunity I said, “Layla is thinking of joining me in wearing niqaab.”
Layla shot me a look before saying, “Only one problem, I’ll have to wear from Dihya and Abbaas beacuse cousins are non-mahrams. I don’t think I can do that.”
Mama’s relationship with Layla was weird. She generally seemed as if she was scared to get too close to her. I would sometimes find her watching Layla with a sad smile but the moment Layla glanced up at her, she would immediately busy herself with something.
I often wondered why. Did mama sense my jealousy issues when it came to Layla? Could that be it? But wouldn’t Mama try to help me over come my jealousy issues if she knew? Despite all of this, Mama’s reaction now was so startling.
On hearing Layla’s statement Mama muttered something that suspiciously sounded like, ‘They are your mahrams.’ Mama then turned pale and began saying in a panicked voice “Oh no, Oh no!” She turned around and fled as if something terrible had happened.
Layla and I looked at each other with matching expressions of curiosity and confusement. “See, I told you everyone is being weird recently. I’m just being left with more and more questions but no answers. It’s a horrible feeling!”
“Maybe it’s time to go detective again.” That wicked smile on Layla’s face had me shaking my head vehemently.
“No ways, I still remember our epic fail last time. Fracturing my arm once was enough for a life time.”
At ten years old we were both quite fascinated with all things detective, so much so that our Eid presents included plastic handcuffs, detective badges and a magnifying glass.
After receiving our gifts, Layla began digging in my cupboard for clothes to dress us up as detectives. We then cliiped on our badges and began examining everything in the house with our magnifying glasses.
“Look Layya, look. Someone dropped their cake and now the cat is stealing it. We are the detectives. We have to catch the cat.”
We began chasing the cat in an attempt to handcuff her but she ran onto the roof. Undeterred Layla found a ladder, leaned it against the roof and we began climbing. Layla moved from the ladder onto the roof and the cat hissed and fled once again which led to Layla screaming at her.
I was only half way up the ladder by then and Layla’s scream had startled me so badly that I soon began screaming my guts out because now the ground was fast approaching. I threw my hands forward hoping to break my fall and ended up landing awkwardly on my right arm thus fracturing it.
I was so upset that I refused to speak to Layla for weeks after that. The memory of the pain still haunts me. I can’t believe Layla has the audacity to even suggest something like this after what happened last time.