Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Ramadhan Reading List: Here are 5 Captivating Muslim Fiction Pieces


There is a growing wave in the number of Muslim fiction pieces that are being produced. It is thrilling to know because most of us grew up reading conventional books. It’s glad to finally read novels that are centred around Islamic settings and that feature Muslim characters.

Are you still in search of Muslim fiction books to feed your eyes? Below are five captivating Muslim fiction stories that will leave you in awe.


His Other Wife by Umm Zakiyyah

Jacob and Deanna appear as the perfect couple. However, Deanna’s best friend, Aliyah, has caught Jacob's interest and wants to get married to her.

His Other Wife centres on faith, love, betrayal, personal crisis, and so on. It is a must-read for all young Muslim adults seeking to understand marriage and several aspects of life.

RELATED ARTICLE: My Ramadhan Reading List


 She Wore Red Trainers by Na’ima B. Robert

                 Courtesy: thebookjacket

Upon first sight, Ali notices several things about Amirah, such as her hijab and red trainers. Before he lowers his gaze, he catches a glimpse of these.

Even though Ali is still grieving over the loss of his mother and learning about being a Muslim, and Amirah has lost interest in getting married, their thoughts seem to be clogged with each other. Can they fight against all odds and tie the knots?

Who isn’t a fan of halal love stories? The breathtaking novel by Nai’ma B. Robert is a thrilling novel that you would want to read.


Does My Head Look Big In This by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Courtesy: Commasandaspersands

Amal’s decision to wear the hijab will change her world. It will gain reactions from everyone- her friends, teachers, people she meets…and even her parents!

How can sixteen-year-old Amal stand by her decision despite the odds against her? The award-winning novel is one of the best halal romance novels. All Muslim teenagers should read it!

READ ALSO: Letters to My Ex By Nikita Singh


Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali

S.K. Ali’s remarkable novel centres on the lives of two Muslims, eighteen-year-old Zayneb and Adam. It depicts the love story of two young adults whose love would be threatened, not by their faith, but by the ability to love one another despite the obstacles that surround them.

The story touches on several areas, such as racism and Islamophobia. It is a must-read, and the cover picture is colourful and captivating!


Coloured Lights by Leila Aboulela

Leila Aboulela’s Coloured Lights is a collection of eleven short stories that centres on Muslim immigrants' lives in Britain. She focuses on the individuals and community with a touch of Sudanese culture.

What other Muslim fiction books should be added to the list? Let us know what you think! Ramadan Mubarak!💓💕💖


Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Life and Everything in Between (Episode Eight)


RE: Can You Become My Mentor?

Hello Rafiah,

I’ve read your mail, and it has left me wondering. Are those the reasons you want me to become your mentor? I hope you know how busy my schedule is.

I want a tangible reason. I need to know why I should sacrifice time out of my busy schedule to mentor you.

And please, don’t bring up knowing my brother again. It wouldn’t work.


Farouk Zubair.


RE: Can You Become My Mentor?

Hello Mr. Zubair,

Trust this meets you well.

I kindly apologize if I didn’t give valid reasons for requesting that you become my mentor. I, however, believe that these reasons are tangible.

As someone who spent four years acquiring my first degree in Accounting and working as an accountant for over three years, I think it is understandable to become scared of choosing a new career path.

It is a great challenge, but I am willing to do what it takes. I know I might regret this decision in the nearest future. But it would be worth the risk, wouldn’t it?

I kindly anticipate a response from you.

Best regards,

Rafiah Hassan.


RE: Can You Become My Mentor?

You’re saying stories, Rafiah. Yes, you’re a writer…but can you get to the point?


Farouk Zubair.


RE: Can You Become My Mentor?

What other points are you expecting?! I’ve explained all I need to do.


RE: Can You Become My Mentor?

I’m surprised I have the time to respond to your emails today. When you’re ready to communicate effectively, reply to this mail.

Have a nice day!


Farouk Zubair.


RE: Can You Become My Mentor?

You know what? I’m not interested in you being my mentor. You’re just a proud and self-centred man. You’ll lose friends if you continue this way.

Your brother is so unlike you. Have a nice day!


Rafiah Hassan.

I gave a deep burst of air as I closed my Gmail and stared at the blank screen, anger seeping inside of me.  I wished that I hadn’t sent the first mail…I wished that I hadn’t listened to Munir.


I knew he had warned me about his celebrity brother, but I’d expected more. I didn’t realize Farouk Zubair would be so proud and inconsiderate. Tears stung my eyes as I opened the excel sheet I was working on. The screen appeared foggy, and I couldn’t concentrate on what I had been doing before I started sending the emails. I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed a quiet area to pour my feelings away.


As I stood up from the seat and started to walk towards the restroom, I noticed Munir walking towards me with an empty mug. He looked handsome as always, dressed in a crisp white shirt and gray trousers. However, this time, my heart didn’t beat faster. It was filled with anger and resentment.


“Whoa! Everything okay?” he asked with curious eyes.


“Yes,” I replied brusquely without meeting his eyes.


I hurried out of his sight and entered the restroom, watching my swollen eyes in the mirror and rinsing my face with water.


Recalling my conversation with Dad a few days ago, I wondered if I had made the wrong choice by heeding Munir’s advice. Maybe Dad was right. I might actually have made the right decision by choosing accountancy as a career. Perhaps writing was not for me.


I was cleaning my damp face with a tissue when Najeebah entered the restroom. She gasped in surprise upon catching sight of me. She immediately gained composure and smiled at me.


“Hi!” she greeted


“Hello,” I smiled in return. 


“Err…I didn’t know you were in here,” she said nervously as she played with the hem of your emerald blouse.


As I glanced up at her, I caught sight of the sparkling ring on her third finger. “It’s a public toilet, Najeebah. I do not own here,” I said with a chuckle.


Najeebah was a petite and dark-skinned girl. She worked in the same department as Tolu. So, I wasn’t surprised that they both met and fell in love.


“Yes, that’s true. I’m just nervous,” Najeebah smiled anxiously as she walked towards me. “I don’t know…how to say this. You know, I always feel terrible and guilty whenever I remember what happened between you and Tolu. I had no intention of…”


I held her hands. “It’s fine. It’s very much okay. Tolu and I had broken up long before you started a relationship.”


“I still feel guilty. I’m sorry, Rafiah. I’ve never had the chance to say so. I guess apologizing will let this feeling of guilt off my chest.”


“If that’s what you want, then I accept your apology,” I smiled at her.


“Thank you so much, Rafiah. This means a lot to me,” she stated as she started to walk towards the bathroom. She stopped in her tracks, and her lips curled up in an amusing smile. “By the way, news has been spreading around the office…about you and Munir.”


“Oh, it’s nothing,” I said shyly.


“Okay,” she gave a knowing smile before entering the bathroom.


I recalled the awkward emails I’d exchanged with Farouk and wondered if things could ever remain the same between Munir and me. He meant good by introducing me to his brother…but Farouk Zubair ridiculed me.



Is everything okay?

-          Munir


A message popped up. I picked up my phone and started to type a response.


Everything is fine.

-          Rafiah.


How is work going? Would you love to accompany me to the new restaurant?

-          Munir.


No, thanks. I brought lunch from home.

-          Rafiah.


Sure everything is okay?

-          Munir.



-          Rafiah


Anything you want to tell me? I promise to take it as it is.

-          Munir.


I’m fine!

-          Rafiah


I clicked the send button and dropped my phone with a loud thud. As I whipped my head up to continue with my work, I caught sight of a person standing in front of me. I shrieked in surprise when I saw Munir.




“Can you spare me a minute? We need to talk.”


“Okay,” I shrugged as I tailed him to the reception, ignoring the stares from colleagues.


Munir gestured that I sit down, and I followed suit. “What is wrong? Does it have to do with your family?”




“Then, what is it? Have I done something wrong? Tell me, and I’d apologize.”


Guilt crept up my face as I watched his sad eyes. Munir wasn’t at fault, and he didn’t deserve to be treated that way. His brother was.


“It’s about your brother?”


Munir wore a deep frown as he widened his eyes in surprise. “What about him?”


“I sent him a mail, and…he responded in rudely. I still haven’t gotten over what he wrote to me,” I said as I opened the mails and gave him my phone.


Munir’s brows furrowed with a frown as he skimmed through the messages. “This is…this is absurd. It’s unlike Farouk.”


“It’s fine. No rule makes it compulsory to become one’s mentor,” I gave a half-laugh.


“I’m sorry, Rafiah. I promise to talk to him when I get home. He must apologize for addressing you this way,” Munir was saying when my phone started to ring.


I checked the Caller ID and was surprised to see my Dad calling me. “Excuse me,” I muttered as I picked the call. “Asalamu ‘alaykum, Dad.”


“Wa’alaykumu salam. We’re calling off the wedding. We just spoke to Khalid’s parents. We’ve given them an ultimatum. If they do not provide explanations before the end of today, then we’re calling off the wedding!”

Don't miss out on the previous episodes:

Episode One

Episode Two

Episodes Three & Four

Episode Five

Episodes Six & Seven

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

6 Fascinating Facts About Coffee


Millions of people worldwide make a habit of starting each day with one or more cups of coffee. A person can quickly boost their energy level by drinking one cup and allowing the effect of caffeine to perform its magic.

But there's many more points of interest when it comes to coffee. Here are six interesting facts you may want to use to impress your friends.

1. Who Produces All of the Coffee Beans?

Heading to the kitchen and pouring a cup of fresh coffee into a favorite mug or stopping by a small roadway coffee shop is part of several coffee drinkers' daily activities. Accessibility to coffee comes relatively easy for most people.

Yet, ease of access to this popular commodity wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for ten coffee-producing countries that create the crops responsible for the coffee beans used each day.

Brazil, Vietnam, and Columbia are the leading producers at about 5 million metric tons per year. The other seven countries (Indonesia, Ethiopia, Honduras, India, Uganda, Mexico, and Guatemala) only produce about 2.5 metric tons per year.

2. It Can Be Traded For Profit

While drinking coffee offers health benefits and an energy boost, some people may not realize that it is traded on commodities exchanges and through brokers. In fact, consumers can trade coffee using slick smartphone apps.

The price of coffee fluctuates continuously based on supply and demand as well as geopolitics and weather events. In 2011, its price was almost 3 times as high as it is now.

Growing coffee can be challenging at times. It's highly sensitive to significant weather changes, which could harm a crop and reduce supply.

3. Coffee Offers Health Benefits

Besides the increase in energy and increased metabolism a person experiences after consuming one or more cups of this black elixir, it also has several other health benefits.

Research indicates it may help prevent Parkinson's disease and alleviate dizziness when a person's blood pressure is low.

Consuming coffee can also reduce the possibility of getting type 2 diabetes and has been shown to prevent gallstones when more than 400 mg of caffeine is consumed in a day. It's also been shown to help reduce colorectal cancers.

4. There Are No Coffee "Beans"

Browsing the coffee aisle at the grocery a different flavor, most people don't realize they're not looking at coffee beans. They are actually pits or seeds that have been extracted from the inside of purple or red fruit, which is known as a cherry.

The history of coffee goes back to the 15th century when signs appeared showing evidence of coffee drinkers or people who were familiar with the coffee tree. But it's unclear when the first coffee plant pits were referred to as beans.

It may have been from a savvy marketer who knew that selling beans would be much easier than trying to convince people to purchase pits and soak them in hot water for flavor.

5. There Are Only Two Main Types of Coffee

Several flavors and strengths are available from coffee growers. Many of these differences are due to the way each bean is roasted. There are only two main types of coffee beans, however: Arabica and Robusta.

Arabica crops are the most widely grown. Robusta comes in second, which is likely due to its slightly bitter taste. However, if a person is looking for a cup of coffee with higher caffeine content, they'll usually find it by choosing coffee made with Robusta beans.

6. You Can Overdose by Drinking Too Much Coffee

While it is extremely rare, it is possible to overdose by consuming too much caffeine. Before this unfortunate problem occurs, most people will probably start feeling irritable or jittery and stop their consumption.

The average coffee drinker only consumes two to three cups each day. Sticking with this amount can help increase energy levels and let you reap the health benefits without side effects.

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Life and Everything In Between (Six & Seven)


Episode Six

As I hurried to the living room to know what was transpiring, I hit my right feet on the lower end of the rusty door. Streaks of blood dripped from the second finger as I walked in increased pace, withholding the pain and uncertainty that gripped me.


As I walked into the living room, I caught sight of Khalid sitting on the sofa with lowered eyes. Mom and Dad wore a solemn expression and it looked like Mom would cry any moment. Rasheedah sat on the floor as she cried loudly.


“What happened?” I asked in concern and confusion.


Dad whipped his head up and stared at me with sad eyes. “Khalid is postponing the wedding.”


I gasped in shock as I walked towards where he was sitting. “Why? Why would you…why now?” I prattled in shock and dismay.


“Look, I can’t explain this now, but it’s all for the good. Know that I love Rasheedah and I’m not calling off the wedding. We just have to move the date for urgent reasons.”


“Like what?” I asked in shock.


“I cannot explain this now. It’s just…it’s a matter of life and death,” Khalid said as we all squealed in shock.


“I have to go,” he muttered as he rose to his feet and stormed out of the house.


“Khalid has disgraced me,” Rasheedah bawled her eyes out.


“He talked about life and death. Who could be in danger? Are we safe?” Dad wondered as I took a seat to save my wobbly legs from pulling me down.


“I believe it’s for a reason. But I’m scared. Life and death?” I said in confusion.


“He said he loved me…”


“He does love you. I believe he’s protecting us for a reason. You should talk to him later and try and find out some truths,” I said to Rasheedah.


“You’re right, Rafiah. There is a reason to this,” Dad agreed.


“Reason wo? What will happen to the arrangements that have been made? Do you know how much we’ve spent?” Mom yelled in annoyance. “I’ll call his parents and ask them the meaning of all these. Do you know the sweat and effort I’ve put into the marriage?” Mom cried.


“I’m sorry, Mom. I understand. I trust Khalid has a good reason for this. The wedding will hold in sha ALlaah,” I said as I hugged my mother.


Hours later, Rasheedah and I sat at the balcony, staring at the stars up in the sky. Dad had managed to convince Mom to get a sleep and for the first time in hours, the house fell silent.


The cool breeze tickled my skin as I remembered how bubbly the house had been before Khalid visited and broke the news. Wedding preparations rented the air. Food here and cakes there.


Discussions about aso ebi ...and so much more. Now, everywhere had turned gloomy and we were uncertain if the wedding will hold.


“There is no right man, Rafiah. Only manageable ones,” Rasheedah muttered as tears glistened her face.


I patted her hand. “I believe Khalid made this decision for a cogent reason. You should give him time, then hear him out,” I advised.


Rasheedah shook her head. “What if it is just an excuse to end this? What if this wedding will never hold?” she said as her phone chimed on the table.


Rasheedah stared at her phone for minutes before passing it on to me. “Look at what he sent,” she said as she gave me her phone.


Rasheedah, you’re the love of my life. I cannot think of spending my life with anyone else asides you. I am also ready to walk you down the aisle. To start a future with you and watch as we raise beautiful children. Masha ALlaah.


I am not ending this marriage. I cannot bring myself to do that…I’ll not be the same if I make such a terrible decision. As I sat in your living room, watching as you all gazed at me with disappointed eyes, I wished that I had brought better news. I hate to see your parents looking sad and angry…I hate to bring sadness upon your family.


You see, life is so unpredictable. This minute, you’re excited you can’t think of any worries. You believe you have everything you could ever want. The next, you’re sad and confused. You don’t know how you would get of every trouble in your life. You’re confused as hell. And you make decisions; some costly ones to save your loved ones.


Rasheedah, you’re the love of my life and I cannot bear to watch anything bad happen to you. I prefer to postpone this wedding than watch you get into danger. Believe me, this was for our good. And I’m sure that years later, we would tell our children about this with loud laughter. This will be part of our story.


Please, forgive me for breaking your heart. I didn’t mean to. I’m only trying to protect you. I promise you, our glamorous wedding- that will surely be the talk of town- will be held soon. And we will become husband and wife. And we will spend the rest of our lives together.

-          Khalid.


“Wow!” I exclaimed in tears as I handed the phone over to Rasheedah. “I hope you now believe that he had a reason for making this decision and he loves you like always. I’m scared though. Are you safe? Are we safe?”


“I’d give him a call,” Rasheedah said. “Thank you,” she smiled at me before leaving.


As I recalled all I’d read and gushed over my sister’s love story, my phone beeped. I shrieked in surprise as I unlocked the phone and checked the message. My heart beat faster as I read the name of the person that had sent the message.


Munir! It was from Munir! My future husband! The next Khalid!
I beamed in excitement as I clicked on WhatsApp.


Asalamu ‘alaykum, Rafiah. How are you doing?

-          Munir.


I grinned as I started to type.


Wa’alaykumu salam. AlhamduliLlaah, I’m fine. You?

-          Rafiah.


Splendid!  My stomach is full and round. Just had dinner with my brother and he left a few minutes ago…

-          Munir.


Oh, nice!

-          Rafiah.


which brings me to the question. Did you send a mail to my brother?

-          Munir.


Yes, I did. But he hasn’t responded.

-          Rafiah.


I told him about you some minutes ago and he promised to skim through his unread messages…which I doubt he’d do. Can you, please send a follow-up, so, he’ll see that and respond?

-          Munir.


No problem. I’ll do that. Thanks!

-          Rafiah.


How is Asmau’s health? Hope she’s getting better?

-          Munir.


Yes, she’ll be at work next tomorrow, in sha ALlaah.

-          Rafiah.


Next tomorrow?

-          Munir.


LOL. Tomorrow’s workers’ day. So…no work!

-          Rafiah.


Gosh! Totally forgotten. Thanks for the information. So…how would you be spending workers’ day?

-          Munir.


I’ll pay Asmau a visit, read some books and have quality sleep. What about you?

-          Rafiah.


Nice choice! Well, I’ll keep myself busy with activities. Need to study hard for an exam I’d write next month.

-          Munir.


BarakaLlaahu fee. May ALlaah make it a success.

-          Rafiah.


Aameen. So, I wanted to tell you about a restaurant I found out before leaving for work today. A certified jollof rice lover like you would love this place.

-          Munir.


Lol. Their jollof rice is that delicious?

-          Rafiah.


More than delicious. I could take you there next tomorrow…if you want.

-          Munir.


It would be an honour. Thanks for everything, Munir.

-          Rafiah.


Ha-ha. What I have done? Anyway, I need to sleep now. My eyes are dancing right now. Bye, Rafiah.

-          Munir.


Bye, Munir.

-          Rafiah.


I clicked the ‘send’ button and dropped my phone, smiling sheepishly. Yes, I’d be going on a date with Munir!


Episode Seven

Asmau laughed loudly as I related what had happened a day before- how Munir and I had eaten lunch together and talked about anything and everything. She rubbed her belly and made the ‘aww’ sound when I also revealed that we chatted overnight.


It was workers’ day and I had decided to spend a major part of the day with Asmau. Her husband- who worked in shifts at his place of work- had to leave for work this morning. So, this was me and Asmau all alone in her cream-coloured apartment, eating boiled yam and fried eggs, and catching up with the latest gist.


“Ah, it has happened oo! What colour we will use as aso ebi? When are we holding the long-anticipated wedding? This year or next year?”


I gave a staccato of laughter as I stared at Asmau, still dressed in her nighties and looking puffy. “This guy hasn’t asked me out. I’m not sure he would…”


“But there are clear signs. If you can’t see them, I can see them,” she chuckled. “I’ll start ironing my gele for the glamorous wedding. And imagine, he is from a wealthy home. That makes you even with your sister.”


“I’m not competing with my sister,” I frowned at her. “By the way, the wedding has been postponed. Khalid said it’s a matter of life and death,” I said as Asmau dropped her cup in shock.


“Matter of life and death? What happened?”


“I don’t know and Khalid will not explain in detail. My parents are livid right now. Dad hardly says a word. It looks like he is deep in thought. I think he is more bothered about the ‘life and death’ part. I mean, who wouldn’t be? I’m also curious and scared. Mom keeps lamenting and complaining over what Khalid said. She is also furious his parents haven’t come over to explain exactly what went wrong. According to Rasheedah, they are currently not in Nigeria.”


Asmau gasped in surprise. “Wow. I’m so sorry. May ALlaah protect all of you and make the marriage a success,” she picked up her cup and filled it with water. “I hope this is not politics-related. You know his dad is a politician?”


I played with the tip of my veil as I adjusted the pillow on the sofa. “Who knows? I also thought about that. We all know politics in Nigeria is a dirty game.”


“How is Rasheedah faring? I hope she’s fine?”


“She’s faring well. Khalid sent a lengthy and heart-warming message to her last night. I’m sure she has fallen in love with him over again with that message,” I was saying when my phone started to ring.


I shrieked in surprise and alarm as I checked the caller ID. My eyes widened in shock when I realized that it was from Munir. I could catch sight of Asmau peering at me as I took hold of my phone.


“Who’s that?”


I smiled shyly. “Munir. Excuse me,” I said as beads of sweat formed around my forehead. My legs felt wobbly as I hurried to the balcony to pick his call.


Asalamu ‘alaykum, Rafiah!” Munir greeted excitedly.


My stomach flipped in excitement as his sound of his voice rang over my head. I loved the way he pronounced my name with emphasis on the ‘ain. Totally loved it!


Wa’alaykumu salam. How are you?”


“Lazy as heck. Remember I told you I’d spend today reading? Well, I’ve been in bed all day, scrolling through my social media feed. I’ve practically spent two hours on Instagram. Gosh! That space is crazy. You’d visit a profile and end up clicking on the profile of an account and another account tagged by the person they’ve tagged…and they cycle continues!” he laughed and I did so in return.


“I can relate to that. I try to avoid that space as much as possible. So yeah, try getting up from bed and drop that distraction called phone.”


“Thanks, Rafiah. I’ll do just that. Have you sent the mail to my brother?”


I gnashed my teeth as I recalled our last night’s conversation. SubhanaLlaah! I’d totally forgotten. “I totally forgot. I’m so sorry!” I’d spent the night and this morning, reminiscing over Munir and picturing our lives together.


“You shouldn’t be sorry. It’s not about me. It’s about you, Rafiah. Have you discussed with your dad?”


“My home is currently tensed. Some unexpected events happened. So, I don’t think this is the ideal time to tell him about it.”


“Hope everyone’s fine?”


“Yes, we are. AlhamduliLlaah,” I said, recalling Khalid’s statement and wishing one of us had a flick of an idea about what was happening.


I cannot explain this now. It’s just…it’s a matter of life and death,” Khalid had said.


I couldn’t tell Munir what was really happening at home. At least, not now.


“I’m glad to hear that. Erm…are you already at Asmau’s place?”


I laughed. “Yes. We’ve been eating and talking nonstop.” I said, leaving out the part that we’d mostly talked about him and our imaginary wedding.


“I guessed as much. My regards to her. Let me get out of bed and get something doing…and please, send that mail.”


“Thanks. Bye,” I said as I ended the call and walked over to where we were once sitting.


Asmau had left for the kitchen. She winked at me as she returned with a glass of cold juice. “You’ve been eating and drinking everything. You’ll get fatter, Asmau!” I yelled at her as I settled on the couch.


“Leave me alone, jare. Me and my baby are eating,” she shrugged as she sat on the floor. “What were you two lovebirds discussing?”


“Mostly about my career. He wants me to send a mail to his brother. His brother is a successful author. Faruk Zubair,” I said as Asmau widened her eyes in shock.


“The cute and popular author? Ah, Rafiah. You’re one lucky person. You get to get married to the brother of Faruk Zubair!”


I rolled my eyes. “Can you stop with all these marriage talks? Nothing has been official okay?” I frowned at her and she gave a pretense nod. “Good. So, as I was saying, he wants me to follow my passion. So, he wants me to talk at length with my dad. But…I don’t think this is the right moment to do so.”


“Talking to your dad about pursuing a career in writing can actually distract him from the whole matter-of-life-and-death saga. Or…what do you think?”


“I think it would worsen it. Imagine telling my dad, now, that I want to do away with my accounting degree and become a professional writer. Believe me, he will flare up.”


“Okay, that’s true,” Asmau said as she suddenly grew quiet. She stood up and started to pace around the room. “Jamal wants me to stop working for Fulaan. He told me to tender my resignation letter next week,” she said with wet eyes.


“Wow! He has always wanted you to stop working. What will you do now?”


“I’m still trying to convince him…even though I’m certain he would not accept. Now that I’m pregnant, he has made a solid decision that I stop working.”


“I’m so sorry,” I said.


“It’s fine. I’ll be back shortly,” she picked her hijab from the chair. “I need to get sardine from downstairs.”


I laughed unbelievably. “What for?”


“Bread and sardine.”


“You still want to eat? How will…” I was saying when Asmau sprinted out of the door.


I sighed deeply as I clicked on Gmail and started composing a message to send to Faruk Zubair.



Hello Mr. Zubair,

Trust this meets you well.

I’m Rafiah Hassan, an acquaintance of your brother, Munir. We were chatting on a sunny afternoon when he revealed that you are his brother. Well, it came as a great surprise and I’d never felt that excited in a while.

I am currently working as an accountant in an auditing firm. I, however, do not like my job. Right from when I was young, I’d always wanted to become a writer. I would dream of publishing great works and winning awards. I would imagine becoming a prolific author, just like you.

I do not want to work as an accountant. It brings no satisfaction at all. I want to pursue a career in writing and I need you as my guide and mentor. I want you to pull me through the ways to becoming a successful author. I need you to teach me how to start, what to do, and how long it will take to become one.

I anticipate a response from you. Thank you so much.

Best regards,

Rafiah Hassan.



When I returned home before sunset, I realized that the tension that crept up the room since yesterday had reduced. The sound coming from the TV filled the room and Mom was talking about her proposed lace business with a friend over the phone. Dad was reading the latest news on his tablet and Rasheedah had gone out to visit a friend.


I grinned widely as I greeted them and walked to my room, wondering if this would be the right time to reveal the news to Dad. Munir had sent over five writing-related job opening links to my WhatsApp and this had motivated me to start working as a professional writer.


As I reached for the door knob, I heard Dad call my name. “How is Asmau?”


“She’s fine. She sent her regards.”


“I want to see you. Let’s go inside,” he said as I entered the room and dropped my bag on the bed.


I placed the second bag containing cold Fanta and meat pie on the table and took a seat beside Dad on the bed.


“It’s about what Khalid said. I don’t want to act worried because of your mom and Rasheedah…but there’s all need to be worried, Rafiah. For Khalid to be unable to explain how dangerous it would be to hold the wedding at the specified date, I’m bothered our lives are all at risk.”


I pulled my hijab and stared at the ceiling. A cobweb had formed at the right corner. I would take a broom and dust it off immediately Dad leaves the room.


“I’m also scared. I’m wondering it might have to do with politics. The question is, what happens when a new wedding date is fixed? How can we go about that day knowing that our lives could be at risk? What if we’re also not safe even at home? What is really happening?” I prattled as I remembered the look of fright that had clouded Khalid’s eyes on the day he visited.


“These are some of the questions bogging my mind, Rafiah. I think we should demand his parents visit immediately,” he was saying when I interrupted.


“But they are currently not in Nigeria.”


“Does that matter more than our lives? We deserve a tangible explanation other than ‘It’s a matter of life and death.’ If they can’t, we might have to call off the wedding. We are not puppets who would just do anything even when our lives are on the line,” Dad said with creased forehead.


As he shared his concern with me, I suddenly realized how much I was adored by my Dad. Not just because I was the first daughter, but because I had decided to follow his instruction and become an accountant like him. He believed we had so much in common and I was someone we could confide in. Suddenly, I felt guilty for thinking of going against his wish. I also felt scared to express my dissatisfaction in being an accountant.


“I agree with you, dad.”


“Thank you, Rafiah. I’ll go give them a call,” Dad said as he stood up and started to leave.


I cleared my throat as fear gripped. “Erm…there’s something I want to discuss with you,” I said as he stopped on his tracks and swivelled towards me. “What is it about?”


“It is about my career.”


“What about your career?” he narrowed his eyes at me.

Don't miss out on the previous episodes:

Episode One

Episode Two

Episode Three & Episode Four

Episode Five