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Behind the Kitchen Walls – Her sanctity, her listener, her keeper of secrets – By Mumtaz Moosa


A friend whom I knew from my taalim class invited us all to an iftaar party. I had to ensure that the family were all on their best behaviour, so I sent a text on the family WhatsApp group chat. I reminded them that we must show a united front.

I also asked Taskeen to bake a beautiful three-tier cake, a recipe I found on Instagram. Feeling generous, I asked Amina to relax as she had been dealing with the house alone and needed a break.  

Amina informed me that Taskeen was a madrassah which annoyed me. Could she not miss just one day, so I could impress my friend?!

And now I was hearing that Joyce was becoming a Muslim! I called Amina to find out more and told her that Taskeen was making a huge mistake as Joyce would leave her soon, and she would be cleaning her house herself. But Amina said she was busy and disconnected before I could ask anything more.

I spent the afternoon making biscuits and perfecting my mocktails for the iftaar party.

Haseena welcomed us to her home, she was so welcoming, and I was glad we had all arrived together. After all, we did want to show that we were a united family.

As Haseena asked about Taskeen and the baby, it was my cue, and I told her how Taskeen was well cared for now that she was carrying precious cargo. Haseena was impressed by the adorable cake, and before anyone could speak up, I told her Amina had made the cake, ignoring the pointed look she threw my way and giving her one that ensured she did not ruin my story.

As we readied for the iftaar meal, Haseena asked Taskeen to speak on an inspiring topic. Who did she think Taskeen was? Mufti’ah Taskeen Menk?!

Our iftaar was ruined because the men had to sit separately as Queen Taskeen was in a niqab. I felt horrible for Haseena’s husband and son, who now had to wait on their male guests. Taskeen, of course, provided an extended lecture. She was so exasperating.

After the meal and Magrib prayers, we sat talking, and Haseena brought up the topic of my treatment by Baboo’s mother, and she asked how I had overcome those issues with Taskeen.

“Haseena, Taskeen is like a daughter, I said, thinking of how the kitchen walls must be laughing at me. But then, I realised that I had become Baboo’s mother, but the thought was stopped as tea was served.

As we enjoyed the cake and tea, Haseena dropped her bombshell.

Mohammed, her son, was interested in marriage, and it was to Taskeen’s sister! They had met Tasneem when she and her husband attended Taalim, out of town. Haseena praised the young girl and talked about how smitten her son was.

I had to find time to warn her about these good-for-nothing educated girls. She should instead go to India and find a lovely village girl.

Taskeen was surprised but delighted. Haseena explained that they had not yet approached Taskeen’s parents but that she had an ulterior motive for inviting Taskeen over for iftaar.

She wanted her to be the liaison for the proposal from Mohammed. Taskeen smiled annoyingly and reminded Haseena that her sister was a dentist and a haafidah who wore the veil, too.

I felt nauseated as they gushed at the pair and what a lovely couple they would make. Having had enough of the annoying conversation, I made an excuse that I was unwell and asked to go home. I made some excuses and went home. I could not allow this proposal to go ahead. I refuse to let someone else ruin their lives; after all, Taskeen, with her niqab and holier-tan-thou attitude was why my son had an affair with someone at work.


Your daughter is entrusted to you by Allah, so look after her well. Allah and her parents entrusted your daughter-in-law to you, so fulfil the trust with more excellent care. (Mufti Menk).


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