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My Brother

What’s your relationship with your siblings like? Despite all the fights, Zuleikha Sayani loves her brother to bits – he lights up her life.

“She turns her face to look at him, her big brother, her ally in all things, but his face is too close and she can’t see the whole of it. Only the dip of his brow, the rise of his nose, the curve of his eyelashes. But she doesn’t mind. She is happy enough to be near him, with him – her brother – and as a nap slowly steals her away, she feels herself engulfed in a wave of absolute calm. She shuts her eyes. Drifts off, untroubled, everything clear, and radiant, and all at once.” – Khalid Hosseini, And The Mountains Echoed


He sleeps on my bed, he’s annoying, he’s irritating, he’s full of himself and he can drive me absolutely insane. I am not an abusive person, but he brings out the worst in me. He can make my hands hit and my mouth speak insults I didn’t even know I knew. He can make me cry, scream, shout, laugh, smile but most of all, he can make me happy in so many different ways.


My brother is your average brother – silly, childish and mean – but what makes him different is his ability to make his sister feel like the luckiest person alive. Although we fight, take one another’s belongings and embarrass each other in public, we manage to maintain a strong and loving relationship. Yes, we hate each other at times and we can hurt each other too but at the end of the day isn’t that what siblings are for?


All siblings fight at some point or another. It’s bound to happen as we spend so much time with each other. Fighting doesn’t mean we don’t love each other; in fact it can even increase our love. Sometimes it’s jealousy, anger or even betrayal that gets in the way of this wonderful relationship but, at the end of the day, we have to keep our ties of kinship and this makes sense – I have no idea what I would do without my brother. “… and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship)…” (An-Nisa:1)


Often, I turn to my brother when I’m not feeling too good. Perhaps I’m at school and I’ve had a pretty bad day. Maybe I got a detention, my teacher told me off or I had a fight with my friends; maybe I’m just feeling down. Who’s the first person I text? Who’s the person I tell to get me loads of ice cream, lots of tissues and pour my heart out to? For me, it’s my brother. So many people talk about how a sister is a companion to a sister, but my brother has done the job of a sister a hundred times better. I actually ask him for advice on fashion: should I wear this dress or that one? Will a pink scarf suit this or a white one? He often asks me for advice too – it’s usually on what tie matches his suit. Despite the fighting, we rely on each other and he easily qualifies as my most trusted companion.


Throughout our sibling rifts and our most adoring relationship, the fact remains: my brother is my best friend (even when he’s blue tacked the pages of my reading book together!). We’ve done some pretty harsh stuff to each other and sometimes we’ve fought and almost destroyed our relationship, but each time we do fight we get closer and come back stronger. He has been there for me through everything, in all that I’ve been through. He’s the one person I can always rely on regardless of what he says or does to me. I love him to bits and he loves me too and, for me, that is the most beautiful thing.


I can see myself in the future battling the battles life sends me, hurling stones at the pain it delivers to me, but I can also see myself lying on the floor, defeated with nothing and no-one. In that time, in that moment, in that thought I can see my brother coming to save me. I don’t need a superhero like Superman or Spiderman because, if I have my brother, I have all that I will ever need.


Sometimes we get so engrossed in all the big problems, we forget the small solutions. My brother’s presence can instantly make my heart glow, my smile come and my laugh fill the room. His presence can make me joyful inside and feel like everything I need is at my fingertips. His presence can make me feel special and loved. Isn’t that what family is about at the end of the day? Isn’t that the aim of having a brother, ‘an ally in all things’?


Having a brother can be a blessing at times and sometimes a nuisance, but that is basically the essence of our relationship and, in fact, of any siblings’ relationship. So, dear brother, I know you’ll be the first person to read this so let me just say that I love you and that you will always be the shining star in my life, be it beautiful or dull.


Zuleikha is an aspiring entrepreneur with a great passion for reading, writing and all things literature. When she’s not writing, she’s eating, studying and maybe some more eating. She is also the co-founder of Mission Jannah, an organisation which spreads Islam through the use of social media.