Seemaluv’s text, revised:

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim… In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate…

Safna sat on a mat, holding a razor to shave her legs. Umma was busy in the yard, overseeing her two younger siblings, Rumaisa and Anisa, who were playing around. Safna was the eldest among them, around 20 years old, with Rumaisa at 17 and Anisa at 10. The girls were orphans, having lost their father to illness, which had strained their relationship with their extended family. This hardship led to Safna’s education being cut short after completing secondary school. Money was a constant struggle, and Rumaisa and Anisa had only managed to attend primary school, aside from the boarding school they attended nearby.

Rumaisa headed out to buy clothes, often bartering for food. Safna would visit their home and sometimes finish her day’s work without having a meal. However, Safna managed to avoid marriage, and sometimes her relatives would provide her with food.

“Safna, it’s time for you to go to work,” Umma called out.

“I’ll be there shortly; they are depending on me. I can’t let them down,” Safna replied.

Anisa chimed in, “I’m going to a party!”

“No, Anisa, stay at home,” Safna advised. Anisa reluctantly left, wearing her maroon hijab.

Safna continued on her way and encountered her cousin, Sumayya, as she left her house. “Sumayya is from the city,” Safna remarked.

Sumayya’s comment left Safna feeling dizzy, and she quickly retreated to her house. She went straight to Hajiya’s room to offer her greetings. Upon entering, Safna found them conversing with Hajiya’s eldest son. After exchanging greetings, Safna left the room. However, Hajiya stopped her.

Safna paused, and Hajiya handed her around 2,000 in cash. Safna extended her hand, not entirely sure what was happening. “I appreciate your hard work; that’s why I decided to compensate you,” Hajiya said.

“Subhanallah! Hajiya, please forgive me. I’ve been working diligently for you, and I apologize for any delays,” Safna said, tears welling up in her eyes.

“Hajiya, please forgive her,” her son added.

They heard commotion from the kitchen, sounding like someone was sobbing. Safna then left Hajiya’s house, walking home with a smile on her face.

At home, Umma found Safna alone in the yard, deep in thought. “Wa’alaikum-salaam, Safna. Are you back safely?” Umma asked.

Safna approached her, smiling, but her face showed no relief. Tukunna joined Umma, and they both looked at Safna. “Am… Umma, see what Hajiya gave me,” Safna said, handing the money to Umma, her eyes still filled with tears.

Umma’s eyes welled up with tears, and she fell to her knees while Safna leaned against the wall, clutching her chest. “What have you done, Safna? What crime have you committed? Did you steal this from her?” Umma asked, fearing it was stolen money.

Hearing the word “theft,” Rumaisa hurried out of their room, and Safna’s tears continued to flow. “Oh, Umma! How could I steal from her? After all I’ve done for her…” Safna said, her voice choked with emotion.

Umma’s eyes glistened with tears, and Rumaisa wiped Safna’s tears away with her hand, placing a mat for her to sit. “Tell us, Safna, what happened,” Rumaisa implored.

Safna proceeded to narrate the entire incident to Umma, who sat with a heavy heart. “Now, what will Hajiya do?” Safna wondered.

“She’s resting,” Safna replied. Umma looked at Safna, her face filled with concern. “I will go to the city,” Safna announced.

“Hmm… but if you go now, where will you stay?” Umma asked.

“Umma, I plan to start looking for job opportunities with big companies. What other choice do I have? Why don’t you go home?” Safna responded. Rumaisa quickly added, “Safna, finding work in the city might be tough, and it’s better to have a plan.”

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