Next Door. Pre-Eid. And: the Present.

.بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

“Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever is not kind has no faith.”

— Muhammad (SAW), according to Bukhāri.

So, my dad called my phone just earlier, after Ifthār, to ask me if I want to try Afghani food.

Jannath, [my other name. I’m Sadia and Jannath, as well as a handful of nicknames, simultaneously] do you want to try Afghani food?

And my answer had been a kind of emphatic-I-guess: yeah!

I’ve low-key been wanting to try out a), Afghani food, and b), Somali food for kind of a while now.

Afghani food: I imagine it to be… hearty. Reminiscent of the mountains, and of mountain air, if that makes sense. And, perhaps: a nice coalescence between more ‘South Asian’ style food, and more ‘Middle Eastern’ cuisine.

Today, my brother went to Waitrose with my dad. To get football magazines: two, specifically, worth £4.99 each.

Apparently, the lady at the till had been Muslim, and ended up paying for one of my brother’s two magazines herself, because: Eid Mubarak!

Well, I just managed to smudge part of the writing in an Eid card I’m working on, and then I tried to make it look nice again. An apt metaphor for life, perhaps. Oh no. Have I just made it worse?! Nay! There is a way!

Oh no. Again?! I managed to save the other one, I think, and now… I’ve damaged another one.

Ah, well: it adds character, doesn’t it? And: c’est la vie.

Well, today I guess I’m thinking about… the present. Eid pun not intended, but it’s nice how things work out sometimes, isn’t it?

The ‘past’ really is… gone. And tomorrow is fundamentally unknown; when we arrive at the ‘future’, it’ll just be… more presents.

All that is actual, temporally, is: the ‘here and now’. We find that it might not actually be… such a good idea… to exclusively live our lives ‘in preparation’ for the ‘next thing’. Secondary school in wait of sixth form; sixth form in wait for university; university in wait for the job; then, in wait for the ‘more stable’ one, before those relationships and hobbies that find themselves ‘on hold’ at present can be… actualised.

The present: a present. With its part-and-parcel joys, and with its part-and-parcel challenges.

What are the better, the best, things that we can do today, and now?

Did you know that cats can cry?

Recently, when my brother and parents had been away in Saudi this Ramadan (for Umrah,) I’d been at home with the cat, Safi. One evening, I looked at Safi’s eyes, and… he seemed upset. Teary. It’s actually quite heart-breaking: I think Safi missed them.

And then:

Yesterday, I’d come across a post on a neighbourhood app (Nextdoor) from someone who had found a cat on the street, hungry and crying. The lady had given the cat food, and then posted about it, asking if anybody recognises the cat.

The cat had been: our neighbours’ cat Chase, who had been missing for about twenty days, apparently.

My neighbour went and rescued Chase.

According to what Muhammad (SAW) said, there’s a reward from Allah for kindness to every living thing: be it a dog, or a bird, or a cat…

Sahih Al Bukhari Vol 8 Chapter 27 Hadith 6009: Narrated Abu Hurairah:

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: “While a man was walking on a road, he became very thirsty. Then he came across a well, got down into it, drank and then came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. The man said to himself, ‘This dog is suffering from the same state of thirst as I did.’ So he went down the well and filled his shoe with water and held it in [the dog’s] mouth and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for that and forgave him.” The people asked, “Oh Allah’s messenger! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He said: “(Yes,) There is a reward for serving any animate (living being)”.

And did you know that, in Islam, even a smile is charity?

Muhammad (SAW) reportedly said: “The doors of goodness are many…enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms -all of these are charity prescribed for you.”

He also said:

“Your smile for your brother is charity.” [Tirmidhi].

I don’t know how to discipline my little brother, at times. You know, I could beat him up, but I choose not to. [I’m twenty-one. He’s nine.] I also… don’t want to be a doormat, you know?

Today he started blasting a football on my door, and didn’t stop, didn’t stop, when I told him to, so I warned him, and he didn’t seem to heed my warning. I said I’m coming, with scissors, and then I used a pair of scissors to burst one of the Eid balloons in his room.


Saif asked our cousin Isa if he should do something to (i.e. break,) my hanger: he’d borrowed a hanger from me to use it to tie the Eid balloons [a ‘hack’ from YouTube, maybe].

My brother then went downstairs and found my ring, which is a silver ring from Saudi. “I found your ring!”

So I told him to bring it back now, and that for every ten-second delay there is in him bringing it back to me, one of the balloons… goes.

I counted, and Saif complained that I’d been counting so fast. I got my ring back, and we shook hands, agreeing not to annoy one another for the rest of the day: the day before Eid.

The day before yesterday, we’d come home from my nan’s to find a container of food on our doorstep, presumably from Sara from next door: she’s previously left cake there before. Probably: knocked/rang, found nobody home, and then left it there.

That’s what I had for Ifthār yesterday, actually: the food from next door.

Yesterday, my aunt had come to my house briefly, and she’d tried some of the Afghani food too. It was nice, you know, AlHamduli Llah. Rice complimented by the sweetness of shredded carrot. Delectable kebab, aromatic herbs/spices.

At Ifthār time, my aunt and her husband had gone to get some takeaway. They put in the order for the food, and…

My aunt had accidentally left the keys inside the car, and so they had been locked out. Double-yellow line. And she had her little daughter with her too. Ifthār time. What to do?!

My aunt is really grateful for and appreciative of how patient her husband is. Patient, reassuring, and solution-driven. [Like approximately a year ago now, on Eid: my aunt had accidentally reversed the car into a lamppost, with minimal damage. My uncle: relaxed, reassuring, and solution-driven. My aunt says, in moments like these, if it were the other way around, she’d likely want to “flip“. I think these traits of his definitely inspire her, Maa Shaa Allah, Allah hummabārik].

So, they’d eaten Ifthār at the place they’d ordered the food from; my uncle went all the way back home to get the spare car keys. And, in the meantime?

Subhaan Allah, at some point during this ordeal, my aunt had turned around to see one of her (actually, our, since I’m there too, once a week) work colleague from the school. My aunt is an A-level Biology teacher at an Islamic girls’ school.

Our colleague, م, is actually the daughter of one of the men who run this school. م and her sisters: it seems to be a family tradition for them to have nice cars (Lexus, a BMW sports car, I think…). And, perhaps, also: Ted Baker things. Bags, water bottles, lunchboxes, Maa Shaa Allah.

My aunt told م about the situation at hand. And م insisted, in that really nice kind-firm way, on my aunt and her family having Ifthār at their family house.

Come, you’re having Ifthār with us. No questions!

Since food had already been ordered, they’d eaten at the shop they’d bought the food from. But then, I guess while my uncle had been en route back home: my aunt and her daughter spent time at م’s family home, with م and her sisters. My little cousin Siyana even spoke to their dad, remarking that he looks like her Dada [paternal grandad].

“Whoever relieves a Muslim of a burden from the burdens of the world, Allah will relieve him of a burden from the burdens on the Day of Judgement. And whoever helps ease a difficulty in the world, Allah will grant him ease from a difficulty in the world and in the Hereafter.”

— Muhammad (SAW), according to Tirmidhi.

Eid is a gift, and the present moment is a gift. People can be so kind, Maa Shaa Allah. And Allah is Kind to those who are kind to those on Earth, be they… cats, or… little boys buying football magazines from Waitrose, or… women who might accidentally find themselves locked out of their cars on double-yellow lines, you know?

[Now, my brother and Isa are playing fire alarm sounds from my brother’s laptop…]

“Whoever is kind, Allah will be kind to him; therefore be kind to man on the earth.

He who is in Heaven will show Mercy on you.”

— Muhammad (SAW), according to Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi.

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