Fiction, Writing

The Captain’s daughter

One day I took my daughter to the local library to get a new book. She picked two, and it was my turn to choose mine. It was The last Pearl by Leah Fleming that caught my sight.

It was the first time to know about Fleming or read any of her books. It’s about a young woman, Greta’s journey in time and place. It’s about family, family poverty, family struggle, family failure, and family success. It’s about kindness, cruelty, misery, and happiness. And that’s the book I have been looking for.

Then I borrowed another book; The Captain’s Daughter. I expected to finish it by the end of the Christmas holiday, but I read it; done.

It’s the story of two Titanic survivors, two women that were destined to save the life of each other. It’s about kindness, friendship, family, motherhood, and humanity. If you’re interested in the setting of different countries, moving home, wartime, and relationships between different cultures and backgrounds, then this one is highly recommended.

And one more thing about the captain’s daughter, it explains how ‘the secrets in a woman’s heart are deeper than the ocean.

Have you read any of Leah Fleming’s books?

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

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Faith, Islam, Muslim celebrations, Personal, Writing

The journey of a lifetime/2

We arrived at Jeddah airport.

It was December; the best month for a nice weather in Arabia!

The airport was packed with people! This was expected because of the enormous number of pilgrims arriving from different destinations at usually similar times. Long, very long, queues of people were waiting to get their passports stamped, to get their luggage, and to get on a suitable transportation travelling to Makkah.

Later on, we were on our way to Makkah! We were revising our information about hajj rituals. Actually, what I studied at school or learned from my parents about hajj was mainly the basics. That’s to answer what, why and how. But there should be something else! Once I started my self- reading, thinking, and contemplating, I realised that the whole rituals of Hajj are symbols of higher transcendental meanings!

We start hajj by wearing white simple garments which symbolise equality, simplicity and purity! Can this be a reference, or is it better to say, a reminder of how this life began and how it will end? Life is not just for money, position, fashion, jewellery, makeup or hairstyle. There should be other significant meanings of life! It’s time to remember that you are not better than me and I am not better than you! We are equal and the only thing that would make us better before God, is our righteousness; our full submission and strong faith. Remeber, this is how we used to be at beginning of the Creation!

And we end hajj with farewell tawaf or final circumambulation which symbolises not only the end of this spiritual visit but also the hope for a new start when we are expected to revive our faith and regain the standards of humanity which we may have lost in our busy material life. We end our journey by remembering that we have been living as guests in this life and one day we will leave. But can we leave the host’s house without saying thank you? Thanks for the generous hospitality; for all the blessings we have been enjoying in this world! Can we leave without asking for forgiveness and support especially when we believe that we are asking the Most Gracious and Merciful?

We enjoyed every part and moment in Hajj. The beginning, the end and everything in between. It was a marvellous journey! We experienced hard as well as good times! We got lost, we got pushed, we got what was unexpected, we fell ill, we made good friends, we laughed, we cried, we helped and were helped, and finally we made it!

That was not everything!
We would not leave without visiting the Madinah or the Prophet’s city which welcomed us with a cool soft breeze, drizzly rain and smiley faces shown everywhere congratulating the visitors for being there!

Finally, we were on board but this time flying to Cairo. Looking forward to seeing the kids, hugging them and telling them about this journey of a lifetime!

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

Faith, Family, Muslim celebrations, Personal, Writing

The journey of a lifetime!


First of all, this post is about my own experience and I have not thought about writing a systematic guide or knowledge which can easily be obtained by a double-click on google.

This is about my pilgrimage journey! Hajj

Ten years ago my husband and I went to perform Hajj (Pilgrimage). I know by heart that Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and once you can afford to make the journey; physically and financially, then you must go. It’s the journey of a lifetime. A Muslim can perform it at as many times as he/she can afford.

Honestly, I did not think about going to Hajj at that time. Why? Because it was common among all people I know to plan to perform hajj later in their life. Apparently, when we become older with less or free from responsibilities; at the time when we decide to live life wisely and thoughtfully. And (this may be a new information for you) but some Arabic countries did not permit people to go to hajj unless they are over 50 and in urgent medical cases they would allow a young relative to accompany and look after the old pilgrim. This may have been changed now! Or may not!

At that time, we were already in the UK. My boys were 7 and 5 years old. My husband had just finished his postgraduate studies and started his academic career. I was about to start my postgraduate studies too. But sometimes we are destined to go through unexpected plans that would turn out to be better than our long-term ones!

This was what happened to us. How?

One year before we went to Hajj, some friends sent us an email explaining the full details of the expenses and documents required in case we would think about going the year after. My husband was very encouraged and determined. He said: “we have the money, are young and healthy, so it’s time to perform hajj!” He started making comprehensive inquiries. We did not wait long as everything had been arranged and confirmed smoothly. I was excited but the only and first thing I asked about was; what about the boys? Our friends decided to leave theirs, who was much younger than ours, with their family in their home country. I had never left my sons with anyone before even with my own family except for a few hours! I thought to take them with us but my husband and other friends advised me not saying” it would be very hard for them besides they would have a great time with my family in Egypt” And that how it was! We arranged two flights one to Egypt and another to Jeddah.

After spending a few days with family, we were on our way to the airport to get our flight to Jeddah. I was happy; extremely happy, because it was no longer a plan or a dream but real! we were on our way to perform this fifth pillar! But I also could not stop crying thinking about my boys. I prayed with my whole heart: “Ya Allah, this is for your sake, please make this easy for me and take care of my sons!”

Then we were flying to Jeddah to start our hajj rituals in Makkah!

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla