م: Home and Adventure. Being Grounded, and Self-Reflection. Growing up with Brothers. +/- things.

.بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

So, prior to beginning this conversation with my little cousin (who is… taller than me, Maa Shaa Allah ), I told her to “push [her] chair in, lady.

[We just naturally… do this (joking) ‘abrasive humour’ thing when we see each other. I guess we could say that this is a ‘love language’ of ours.].

And م says, in return, having evidently misheard me: “Don’t ever call me ‘baby’ again.”


When م was born, I’d been two years old. Went to the hospital, and one of the nurses, I think, had said that children aren’t allowed in, if they aren’t the baby’s direct siblings.

But, apparently, I’d complained, saying something like: “But I want to see my Mami!”

In Bengali, the title ‘Mami’ means: maternal uncle’s wife. But the nurse had thought that I’d been saying that she, my aunt, is my mum. So I was allowed in, and I got to see my aunt, as well as my brand new cousin for the first time.


Now: almost nineteen years on…

My cousin م is a very beautiful, wise, funny woman, Maa Shaa Allah , Allah hummabārik. I’d found her at my house today since she’d come over in order to help my mum with something. And then she helped our other aunt with something too.

م is very giving, Allah hummabārik: a good amount of the wealth, for example, that she earns… She gives, Maa Shaa Allah

On the recent Eid, for instance, she’d paid (insisted on paying) for twenty-five McFlurries (ice-creams) for everyone: for the people at my house, and for the people next door.

Even though م is younger than me, and it’s something of a no-no in our culture to let people who are younger than us pay for our things: she often does… just this. Doesn’t even think about it: giving to others.

And I feel like she’d… (fake-) threaten me if I were to try to protest. [My girl is taller than me, and likely also stronger than me, Allah hummabārik.]

So may Allah increase her in blessed wealth, health, and goodness, Āmeen…


So, then. Today’s conversation.

We’d spoken about… what the ‘ingredients for a good home‘ might be.

م’s nuclear family is headed by my uncle, who is an outgoing, adventure-loving person, Maa Shaa Allah . He’s a father who really puts effort in, when it comes to his family. He’s taken them: on trips to Paris. A vehicular tour across Europe.

He’d taken two of his kids to try their hands at flying planes (as actual pilots. No kidding) before. Horse-riding. Quadbiking. Going on TV, and on radio talkshows. The gun range, as a family. Hiring a private hut at the beach.

Flower fields. Safari Park. Mountain-trekking. Residential trips to the countryside, to stay at cottages, complete with private swimming pools, private hot tubs, and the like.

Camel-riding. Archery. Driving a speedboat. Camping (e.g. as part of a protest to save a local park from being taken over by a sewage plant). Rock-climbing. Just: a range of experiences. Maa Shaa Allah , Allah hummabārik.

And he has also prayed on… mountains. And on the Great Wall of China, no less. An array of interesting places. [Perhaps my uncle should be the next guest on this blog of mine, In Shaa Allah …]

And م’s mother, my Mami, is: a wonderful mother, Allah hummabārik. And she is simply known for her: strength of being. The way she keeps her home: I think any home is rather definable by the woman who lives there and manages it, actually.

Together, the ع family have a home in which: fun is had, and laughter is heard. Things get messy, sometimes; things get tidied up [They have to be tidied up. Because their mum said so]. New things are tried; there is comfort, and quality time is spent.

Snacks like… popcorn are made, from time to time. Mango lassi. Plants. Rabbits in their back garden, for a while.

Even one of the neighbours’ cat likes to spend a great deal of time at casa de ع family. This cat’s ‘original name’ is: Blake. But they like to call him… Bilal.


A good home, according to م, consists of:

Noise.

“I think having noise in a home is always nice. Noise gives people comfort.”

[My nan finds it quite funny that م had brought up ‘noise‘. My nan has this wonderful beamish signature laugh]

“Obviously, like, the basics. You know, having your family there.

She says that people who live alone tend to assume that it’s “gonna be something so fun.” But then: “it just isn’t.”

“Having your ‘annoying’ siblings there is always… fun.”


“Having… some sort of organisation.

“When you know where everything goes: I think that’s what makes your home your home.”

She adds:

I think having kids or animals in a home is so cute, and so important.”

[And plants…]

“Having something that you take care of always gives you [an added sense of] purpose. And, I think, just waking up every morning, knowing, ‘okay, I have to [water] my plant’, or, ‘I have to feed my cat’, or… whenever you… have a baby… (feed your baby).”

It, as well as the impetus to get up for Fajr (early morning, pre-dawn prayer), gives you a good “reason to get up.” Having those responsibilities of care.


“Everyone needs their own space, in terms of: they need somewhere where they can always retreat to, when it’s getting a bit too much.

“Sometimes, it does. Sometimes, you can just [be sitting] there, and out of nowhere, you just feel like… it’s all coming, way too quick, at you.

“And that’s what your bedroom’s for. Or… even if your ‘safe space’ is, like, the garden. Somewhere where you just sit alone, for a bit.

“I think everyone requires that.”

Having the option of: going downstairs, and being with everyone, [or] being upstairs, and being alone: I think everyone needs to be able to have that sort of option.”

The idea that we can be… alone, without being lonely. And, also: parts of families, groups, communities: while still being individuals. Lovely.


م’s views on what the ‘ingredients for a good home’ might be, then:

  • Family
  • Organisation. Knowing where things go.
  • Noise!
  • Kids. Plants. Animals. Things you’re responsible for, and take care of. [And: whose presences bring you comfort].
  • Having your own space. And the option, to be social with everyone, and also to retreat back to your space, when it all gets a little ‘too much’.

On the topic of conflict, م says:

“I don’t think anyone can have a relationship, or a friendship, or any sort of [real bond] where there isn’t any sort of conflict.

“And I think, if you do, then: that’s a very… not boring, but… very untrue, relationship that you’re having.

“Being close to someone, or loving someone, doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them on everything.

“I think it’s important to have different opinions on different things. ‘Cause if you guys are always like, ‘Yes, I agree,’ like: imagine you’re in a friendship group, and everyone’s just like, ‘Yes, I agree.’ ‘Yes, I agree.’ …

“It would be a very boring life that you’re living.”

“Even your siblings. Like, sometimes, your siblings say something, and you’re like, ‘[…] We grew up together. Why do you think of it like this?’

Because… we’re individuals, and even… identical twins, ultimately: will be different.

“It’s important. I think it’s important to be able to have conversations with someone, where they’re telling you what their side is, and you’re telling them what your side is.”

“I don’t think it necessary is conflict, or has to be conflict: I think, just having two different opinions on something isn’t always a bad thing. I think: it’s important, actually.”

As a result of our necessary differences: there is learning that takes place. And challenge. And growth, isn’t there?

[Imagine you could… clone yourself, and become friends with your clone. There wouldn’t even actually be a point of speaking. ‘They already think/know that’. Lots of ‘validation’, seemingly, sure: but… nothing unexpected, unpredictable, unfortunately.]


When you love someone:

“Even at that moment, even if you don’t agree, I think a part of you still takes it into consideration what they’ve said.” Because you love them.

[In a similar vein: hence why I find I support Liverpewwwwwl. Not because I, as an individual, love watching football or anything, but because somebody whom I love a lot ardently supports them…]

م talks about, following any sort of conflict with a loved one: then being alone with your thoughts. Space for reflection. You might start to consider things less ego-centrically, and more from their point of view, and think, “okay, you know what? Maybe they have a point.


The ‘heat of the moment’, as م says, can be a dangerous thing.

“Arguments should never be shouting.

“Because you’re not saying what you really think. You’re just trying to hurt the other person, when you’re shouting.

“I think, when you disagree with someone over something, the best thing to do is just take five minutes, go sit by yourself. Take ten minutes, take an hour, take as long as you need to.

“And just be… a bit more empathetic of what they’re saying. And where they’re coming from.”

“And I think if everyone did that, then [a significant portion] of arguments would’ve been cut down to… nothing.”

Arguments: “All it is is two people trynna prove their point. And no one’s listening. That’s an argument.”


According to Islamic guidelines: we shouldn’t let anger get the better of us.

Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said to us, “If one of you is angry while he is standing, let him sit down so his anger will leave him; otherwise, let him lie down.” (Abu Dawud).

We are also advised to do Wudhu when feeling anger, which is a fiery feeling, and which can be cooled down with water.

Subhaan Allah , I also just discovered this next Hadīth, and I find it fascinating

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, anger is a burning ember in the heart of the son of Adam, as you see it in the redness of his eyes and the bulging of his veins.

Whoever feels anything like that, let him lie down on the ground.” (Tirmidhi).

It’s known as earthing‘, isn’t it? There’s definitely a unique calmness that comes from being on the ground.


Sometimes, it seems as though the human experience of anger is: passion, albeit a misdirected form. It might show that you really care about something, but we know that there are better ways to show, and to deal with, that.

  • People are certainly not ‘perfect’. And we don’t necessarily always feel ‘calm’.

But we do have a degree of autonomy, and responsibility, when it comes to such things as: things we might feel passionate about, and (sometimes therefore,) angry over.

Wherever there is (human, practically inevitable) rupture, we can have some responsibility towards eventual repair.

م says that if she gets into some form of conflict with someone she loves: she never wants to “sleep on it.

The truth is: at any time, either one of us could depart from this world, for example. And that’s it: the last interaction you may have had with them.


Being a passionate person can: get you landed into conflict, fairly quickly and easily.

And: like how fire is cooled by water, and like how certain negative energies (like stress, anger, and so forth,) can be absorbed by the Earth…

م talks about the contrasting (and complementary) personalities of… her brother, and his wife.

He is: quite a vocally passionate person. Likes to debate about things.

She: is a calm person.

In totality, it makes for a really nice +/- (yin yang. Male female. etc.) thing, Allah hummabārik.

“But yeah, I think that’s the most shocking thing, when Bhaiyya [Bhaiyya: a term of endearment and title of respect in Bengali, meaning ‘brother’] and Bhabi [Bhabi: ‘brother’s wife’] got married, and I was like, ‘These are two very different characters, but they just work so well.

“They kinda complement. Like, when Bhaiyyas trynna […] get a bit debate-y, try and get his point across. Bhabi, instead of trynna prove him wrong, is more like, ‘You know what? Maybe you’re right.’

“And then he’s like… [Oh.] ‘I can’t argue with you.’

“I think that’s nice. I think that grounds him, a little bit, as well. Having someone who just says, ‘Cool. If you think you’re right, then… maybe you’re right.‘”

She adds that this – being so easily agreed with – can sometimes lead to someone looking inwards, and reassessing the initial views that they’d come with.

[م’s parents are also contrasting and complementary with one another, Maa Shaa Allah ]


Growing up with brothers.

م has three brothers, and no biological sisters. One of her brothers is currently ten years old, one is fifteen, and her eldest brother, who is married, is twenty-one.

م and her Bhabi, her first sister-in-law in the family: sometimes go out together, and this is lovely, Allah hummabārik. Shopping for skincare things, for example, among others.

“My brothers make me feel… very special. Very special. [Maa Shaa Allah , Allah hummabārik]

“Even ع [her ten-year-old brother, the youngest,] the other day, he goes: ‘I don’t see you a lot now.‘ Like, ‘Can you stay home sometimes?’

“Like, I didn’t realise that he noticed. And when he says stuff like that, it really gets to me.”

She also talks about her middle brother, م, and how he can make her emotional in a matter of words. He’s an eloquent young chap, Maa Shaa Allah : he combines eloquence with ‘friendly roadman’ rather well…

“He knows how to say what, and the best thing about م: he never gets angry.

“He’s never said anything bad to me. He’s never screamed at me.”

“This boy, […] he could punch me, and خلص, I’d be done.

Never. He’s like, he knows what he can do, and he chooses not to.”

The strong person is not one who can outwrestle, rather, the [real] strong person is he who can control himself while in a state of anger.” (Hadīth, from Muslim and Bukhāri).

Of this particular brother, م mentions that: if someone is mean to her or something and he hears about it, “he goes, ‘Why didn’t you call me?’

“‘What are you gonna do?

“‘I would’ve stood there, like this, outside.” [Bodyguard mode, basically.]


Then, م talks about her eldest brother, her Bhaiyya.

“Even when I felt alone, I never really felt alone.

“Even when I’m in my room and I’m sad about something, I always know that if I just go sit with them…”

“And I genuinely think, I feel like, having all brothers, has really made me feel… protected.

She adds that she feels protected, not in a negative and ‘controlling’ way, but:

“Even ع, [her ten-year-old brother,] in his own way, makes me feel protected.”

“It’s like, he notices when I’m not there. Or, he says,Can we go out today?’ or, ‘Can we stay in today?’

She talks about responsibility again.

“When my younger brother’s saying to me, ‘You need to be home a bit more,’ that’s my responsibility: to spend more time with them.”


Of her three beloved brothers, م continues:

“I don’t think they’ve realised how much impact they’ve had on my life, but they have.”

Even on her bad days, she says. And when she maybe just wants to sit there, and not talk.

“They make it easier.


And then our grandma serves م a plate of rice with ‘chop and aloo’, curried chops with curried potato.

[I call my nan, ‘Nanu’, since she’s my maternal grandma. م calls her ‘Dadu’, since that’s her paternal grandma.]


م refers to her own mother as her “killy“.

According to… the Urban Dictionary [sometimes I don’t think I’m ‘road’ enough for my own family…]

killy‘ (noun) means: “a very close friend whom you can trust.”

م continues, about her mum:

“I love her so much.”

Growing up, says م, she’d come to see her mum, kind of exclusively, as this “solid, strong, nothing-gets-to-her kind of woman.” Someone who’s “always smiling,” even in spite of the struggles and hardships she’s been through.

But later down the line: م and her mum started talking to one another as though they are friends with one another. Opening up more.

“I think when my mum started opening up to me, I found a lot of comfort in that.”

م also says that her mother never invalidated her (م’s) own struggles.

“She never made me feel like, ‘That’s not ‘good enough’ to feel sad about.‘”

“Like, even when I’m telling myself, ‘Why you being upset?!’

“She’s like, ‘It’s okay.‘”


“My mum tries to make jokes a lot. To lighten the situation.

“And it helps. I think it helps a lot.

“And sometimes, I’m trynna be sad, but she’s making me laugh.”

م’s mother had also grown up with just-brothers, herself. Two, specifically, and she is the eldest.

[100%, I think such things as birth order, number of siblings (if any), number of brothers, and/or sisters, has quite an effect on one’s personality.]

From what I remember, sometimes م’s mum Skypes her own mum, who is back home in Bangladesh.

And from what م has learnt from her Nanu (mum’s mum,) “she always tells me how mum was a very outgoing, outspoken character.

“I still feel like my mum’s like that now.

م’s mum used to climb trees, back in Bangladesh. Used to invite herself to outings with her uncles. And so on.

“I really wish I met Nana, [her mum’s dad,] because he sounded like the type to say, ‘If my daughter wants [something], my daughter gets it.’

“When mum talks about Nana [her dad,] she gets really emotional. Like, she talks about Nana like they were best friends. She gets really emotional.

“I think that’s the first time I ever saw my mum get teary.


“Even my dad, when I talk to [his siblings,] they always say the same thing: like, my dad always tried to do the most for them, as much as he could, then.

“So I feel like he’s always been like that. Like, even when he was working hours and hours a day, he’d still come home, bring them presents.”

“Always make sure that they [his siblings] look good, and always make sure that they felt good.”

م says that, similar to how her dad would buy his siblings gifts in the form of designer clothes: now, he tries to get his children, for example م’s middle brother, to go and get some nice designer clothes. But this (middle) brother of م’s says:

I like Primark!”


Throughout our small personal histories, because of م’s mum and dad, Allah hummabārik:

Theirs has been the home with… the open door. The trampoline. The fire-pit in the garden. Boxing bag.

The knitting, the snacks, the toys and books, the arts and crafts. I think م’s mum and dad, my Mama and Mami, have sustainedly had and embodied this mentality that:

It’s okay, and good, to explore, have fun, try new things. As long as you don’t cross limits, and also take on the personal responsibility to tidy up after yourself afterwards.

“I don’t remember the last time my mum said, ‘No.’ Just outright: ‘No.‘”

م says that when her mum does say ‘no’ to something: there’s a really good reason for her doing so.

م really trusts her mother’s intuition and wisdom. For example, even when it comes to choosing friends. And so:

“If my mum says no to something, it’s just a no for me.”


Islam.

How does Islam come into م’s family?

“It’s the foundation. It’s what, really, grounds us.

“‘Cause obviously… everyone’s on their own journey, type of thing.

“But: sometimes, someone’s a bit further out, sometimes someone’s a bit closer.

Islam is the one thing that can always… [we always] have some sort of similarity between [us].”

م talks about how even her youngest brother talks with her about Salaah (the Islamic prayer).

“I can’t vibe with him about… Minecraft, like that. And I can’t talk to him about school like that. Even some of the work he does, I don’t even know what it is.”

But she says that sometimes ع wants to talk to his sister about things like… stories about the Prophet (SAW)’s life. Things like this. And they have a nice conversation, exchange knowledge and thoughts.

Islam brings, for one thing, a significant point of commonality to the ع family.

م talks about her dad too.

“My dad’s someone that I could always, always, go to,” to talk about religion.

“And he always has something to add on.”


Reminders.

م talks about the family meetings they might have, at the end of every week. Discussing things such as: if it seems as though one of the members of the family are “going off” a little, in terms of Islam. Gently reminding them back.

[م’s Dadu asks her if she wants more food. She politely returns, “Jinaah, [No thank you,]” and adds that the food was “Zehhh mozaah gohh,” [really tasty].]

م talks about how it isn’t always a nice thing when people lecture you on a topic, or make it about them (e.g. by going away from Islam, “you’re hurting me.”).

But, she says, when someone is “not shouting, is very calm, very collected, they’re very [inclined towards the take that says that,] ‘You know this is wrong. You know this. I don’t need to tell you.’

This leads to self-reflection time, according to م.

“And I genuinely think you need that, sometimes. I think you need someone to just sit there and say, ‘I’m not gonna tell you. Because you know. But you just need to remember that.

“I feel like that’s [how] Islam is, in our house. It’s like, we all know. We all know what’s right, we all know what’s wrong. But it doesn’t mean that there’s not a chance that we’ll go astray and that.”

م talks about how even her youngest sibling plays a role in giving sincere reminders.


Environment.

م’s parents have provided for their children an enriching environment, Maa Shaa Allah , in which each of them can be themselves. Learn things, explore, be distinctive as individuals, within a family unit.

“My father,” م begins. “My dear father…”

“I think my dad’s love language is quality time.

“Obviously, there’s times where he can’t be there, so he wants every time he is there to be like: ‘I remember that.’ Or, ‘that was a great time.’That was a great memory.’

“He never wants to stay home and just sit. He always wants to… ‘Okay, you know what? We have an hour together. Let’s go to the park, and let’s go [play] badminton.’ ‘Let’s go running.‘” Go-Karting. Or: Santander bikes around Central London, after Ifthār in Ramadan.

“I took that for granted a lot, when I was younger, as well.

“You know what, I’ve actually done a lot. And I feel like, my dad never made it feel like he was doing us any favours by doing all of that.

“It felt like he was enjoying being there [too].

“But I think, as you grow up, you realise, okay, you know what, that took a lot.

“To just stop everything for a whole day, take us, drive us there, pay for it there [e.g. horse-riding, trips to Paris, piloting planes, and the rest]. Do it there, with us. Drive us back.

“I think, you don’t see it, much, when you’re younger. But as you get older, when you’re doing that stuff [the roles of responsibility] yourself, [you realise,] ‘This actually takes a lot out of you.'”

“And [he’d been] doing that constantly. I don’t know how my dad did it for so long.”

م, for example, had been a member of the local Muslim Scouts group. Her dad used to get involved, and spend quality time with his children in such ways. They’d made a cushion together, once, for example. And these are memories and actions that م cherishes.

“My dad’s very much like me. We’re very much, like, emotional, vocal people. We like being told, like, ‘I love you,’ we like being told, ‘I really appreciate you.'”

“Sometimes, I just come down, after… sleeping in ’til 2PM, and […] he gives me a hug.

“‘That was so random,’ but: it gives me so much joy inside.”


A Shift.

م, on account of her family, was born into Islam. But: has there been a distinctive time in her life which had felt like a period of returning?

It seems to be a recurring thing, here: born-Muslims whose hearts have re-gravitated to the Deen, specifically around the ages of 17/18.

At college, says م, there had been a time during which she had felt quite… “alone.” Without any shortage of people around her, but still: alone. She thinks she’d been going ‘through it,’ but couldn’t bring herself to speak to other people about it.

No other human being could make her feel ‘better’, and speaking felt… pointless. No other human being, really, could bring her that comfort that she had sought; who could reassuringly, and truthfully, tell her that she’ll be okay?

م says that the night-time can be difficult, when struggling with thoughts and feelings like this. Alone with one’s thoughts. م had begun to feel quite “restless,” and quite continually. This had affected her sleep, her appetite.

And so, eventually:

She’d brought her prayer mat out. Cried there, in Sujood [Sujood: prostration, forehead on the ground, to the Almighty ].

About Sujood, م says that it can bring this feeling that makes you want to stay there for “ten hours” or something.

One of the best things, م explains, about praying to your Lord is that: you don’t even have to speak, if speaking is hard.

He Knows, Sees, and Hears. Always. Only He can change things for you, and bring you goodness; other fellow human beings are ultimately… powerless.

And so, م advises that we:

Talk to Allah like He is your friend.”


‘Choosing your family’.

As well as the family, the blood-ties, that we are Gifted and Assigned:

We also have some choice about whom we accept into our lives, essentially as family.

م says:

“The Prophet (SAW), his companions, you know, the love they had for him: [and vice versa,] they weren’t his ‘blood siblings’, but the love they had for him was something that… surpassed that.”

When Muhammad (SAW) had passed on, his beloved companions had been so pained. Umar (RA), for example, this strong and feared man, had been in pained denial: “He did not die.”

Apparently, he’d dropped his sword, and went to be alone, to cry over the passing of his dear friend.

I think I’ve also heard somewhere that: Bilāl (RA) had struggled to deliver the Adhān again, following the passing of Muhammad (SAW). This is the truest kind of ‘friendship’: it’s family.

“It’s like, you wanna make that kinda impact in someone’s life, where: even after you pass, you’re still a reminder.

“Like, even something you said, is a reminder. Even when they’re doing good deeds, if they’re thinking of you.

“You can choose. […] Because they weren’t ‘blood siblings’, and they weren’t ‘blood family’, but they chose to kind of have that love, and have that brotherhood with each other.”


In the future, if م has children of her own, In Shaa Allah :

“I think it’d be very important for my future kids to see me as a sort of friend.

“You know what? Everyone does stuff that they are not proud of.

“When you do something, and then you go back and you feel like, ‘Okay. Now I’m the ‘worst person in the world,”

“I think, look: that’s Shaytān’s biggest trick, right? [Trying to convince you that] ‘You’re the worst person. There’s no point.’

She says that one can also come to adopt a similar attitude with parents: thinking that you’re the ‘worst person’, that there is ‘no point trying to speak to them, or ‘get their love back”.

م adds that it is also useful to recognise that “arguments happen. Just don’t let it get out of hand. No shouting, no screaming, no swearing.”

“I already planned it: I’m gonna have a kids’ room in my house.” In Shaa Allah

Even before I have kids.” To put ‘arts and crafts’ things, among others, there. م said she’d be copying one of our aunts, in doing so: our aunt’s ‘small room’, which had been reserved for kids visiting, and for painting canvases and the like.

Everything we are: it’s that notion of being a mosaic, essentially, of everyone we have ever admired, loved. ‘Even for a heartbeat’.

م talks about how, “Yesterday, the kids were like, ‘I’m boored’.”

م really doesn’t like it when kids say that.

“So yesterday, I went out, like 10am, I went Tesco and I bought biscuits and cakes and decorating [equipment,] and we sat there, for like, two hours, and we were decorating cookies.

“And my mum came home, she was like: ‘Make sure you tidy up‘.”


Three of م’s personal criteria for success in this life: the things that she can look to and, if she has them, know that she is successful

  1. Having a connection to her Creator. Religion.

“If you have that, even if you have nothing else in the world, if you have that, that’s a lot more than a lot of people have.

“Being able to say, Yeah, at the end of the day, as much as I sin, as much as I do wrong, I know that if I go and pray, Allah will Forgive me’.

“I think, having that mindset [can be] very difficult.

“I think that’s what prayer is. Like, that’s what hardship is as well. When you go through that, the one thing you’re supposed to do is: pray.”

2. Having good people around her.

“Whether that be your siblings, your friends…

“That’s why, I think, my brothers mean a lot to me. Because even when, I feel like, I haven’t had ‘friends’ there, to talk to, I feel like my siblings have been there a lot.

م talks about, for example, sometimes going to her Dadu’s house, and seeing our little (four-year-old) cousin ص there. How it feels like any troubles she might be going through at the time: feel like they subside for a nice while. She’s such a little bundle of joy, Allah hummabārik.

She is also very smart, as م points out, Allah hummabārik.

“Having family, and having friends, is very important.”

3. Remembering that everything is “so temporary.”

Struggles and hardships. You, being this very age right now. Time with our loved ones in this Dunya. This Dunya itself.

Temporary.

“Really and truly, you’re not on this Earth for very long.”

Even if we don’t have all the money, all the bags, م points out:

We’re working for the Real Life that comes After.


“I think, obviously, in our society, ‘success‘ [is commonly seen as] one set thing.

“You know, ‘Hustle,’ Make money,’ like, ‘Chase a bag,’ ‘Do your thing.’

“People can [come to] see religion as something that’s very difficult, something that’s ‘always,’ you know, ”opposed’ to the ‘fun’ things,’ and ‘opposing the ‘enjoyable’ things’.

She talks about how people often don’t see the reasons, the Wisdom, behind religious rules and regulations “until they’re deep into [the negative aspects of disregarding religion].”

  • Islamic guidelines and protections offer a guardrail. For your safety, for your wellbeing and goodness; to prevent you from falling, keep you on the Straight Path. It’s not, contrarily, a ‘restrictive wall’.

“Islam isn’t so hard,’ it isn’t ‘so difficult‘. But because of the society we live in now, it’s seen as: ‘so difficult’.”

“And I think that’s why, a lot of people my age, my generation, kind of fall… victim to that, actually.”

م brings up the concept of ‘immediate gratification‘. In a society that peddles extreme ‘hard work’: this is seemingly ‘counterbalanced’ by… ‘extreme entertainment’. ‘Work hard,’ ‘make a million,’ and then: spend it. Immediate ‘pleasures’. Mirages, attempts at ‘super-realities’, ultimately, essentially.

“And I think people aren’t really deeping… the consequences after.

Islam is, truly, the religion of ease. It brings goodness and beauty into our lives and homes, AlHamduli Llah . It makes things better, and easier.


And then م talks about the ultimate love language:

Mentioning someone, sincerely, in your Du’as to Allah .

When you’re “talking to your Lord,” and you think of someone then. Even if you haven’t “seen them, or spoken to them in ages.”

But they are still right there: on your mind, and in your heart.


We, as individuals, and as families, are not ‘perfect’. We’re people, dealing with various things, and trying to do what is best.

Sometimes, there will be: conflict, breakages, rupture. There will also be: love, and comfort, and joy, and repair.

And I love that we are individuals, comfortingly joint together by such things as: family members in common. Shared values. Shared kinds of humour.

And we also know where: one of us ends, and the other person begins.

Because within and in light of what we share [e.g. Islam. A home, a family]: we are also (enrichingly, beneficially, necessarily,) distinguishable, and individuals.

Some things I love about م:

  • She’s soft and emotionally wise, and cuddly. A right cuddle-bug, with the right ratio of (jokingly) steel-faced and mean, and gentle
  • She’s reflective, and nice to talk to. I really benefit from our conversations, Maa Shaa Allah
  • She’s super giving with her time and wealth, Allah hummabārik
  • She’s funny
  • Sometimes she gives me bubble tea, for free
  • She calls people, “my love”
  • Forehead kisses. Forehead kisses to family members are so pure and cute

A heart-soothing recitation of the Qur’an that م loves:

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