.بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Yesterday, I cleaned my room.
This morning, for breakfast, I had a cookie. Think I deserved that cookie, AlHamduli Llah .
It can be quite a nice feeling: to pray on a recently-washed prayer mat, and in a freshly-cleaned room…
Moreover: if you ever come to feel as though you somehow ‘wasted a day’: know that if you prayed your Salaah, then how could that day have been ‘wasted’?
[I need to remember that: cleaning, and the end result of having a clean space certainly counts for something too. As does spending time with family members. Allah Loves that we nurture familial bonds, as well as those with neighbours, and guests.]
Yesterday, my aunts made fish pie and masala chips. My nan had made some chicken curry, because she knows I like chicken curry. My mum’s friend brought some honey mangoes.
My dad’s employees also came to see him: he (my dad) is currently recovering from heart surgery.
I think it’s really nice: the sorts of bonds you can have with people, when you spend lots of time in their company. And it helps towards healing.
Downstairs, we had to keep the kids entertained: our little cousins د and ص. They played ‘restaurant game’ in the kitchen. ص made ‘cake’, I think, while د made ‘rice’. A true Asian, one might say. Making rice and all.
I also managed to repair a remote-controlled toy Ferrari that د had really wanted to play with. [It was one of those ‘happy accident’ things. I thought I’d broken something, but turns out: I’d managed to snap it right into place, AlHamduli Llah . A metaphor.].
And ص seemed like she’d wanted to play with the car too, but then when it had actually started working, she seemed kind of scared of it, and came up to me to be held and cuddled. Our little cutie pie.
My sixteen-year-old cousin م: kids seem magnetised towards him, Allah hummabārik. Play-fight with him, hug him, love being around him.
Some of the conversations that م manages to have with ص, for example: are really funny. I think our little cousins see him as a peer, and as a friend.
The boys also played outside. Played ‘A to Z footballers’. ‘A to Z countries’. And then we’d played ‘A to Z food‘. ‘E’ for… éclairs. ‘E’ for… escargot, also. And for… edamame beans.
At one point, towards the end of the day, little (four-year-old) د had been sat in the living room, where my dad had been sitting too. And د had been watching videos on YouTube, on the TV: of people doing high jumps. And: one about cars, I think [د says that his favourite cars are: black Mercedes cars]. And then: one about a guy who challenges people at an outdoor gym to do a specific type of pull-up.
And then: one about a YouTuber who gets his cameraman to undergo a physical transformation in 30 days.
I’d sat there and watched these videos with my little cousin. But, note to self and to general online audience: it’s a bit… uncomfortable to look continuously at a random man’s body. [Lower your gaze…]
Note: In Islam, the ‘Awrah [‘Awrah: what should be kept hidden, generally, except in front of specified people] for men is: from the navel to the knee. Everything else, technically, is okay to be shown in public.
For women, the ‘Awrah is: everything except your hands and face. Some say your feet, too.
But you can show your hair and so on to a specified list of people, including young children, your brothers, your dad, and so on.
A lot can be achieved in thirty days. I think we can be (positively) surprised by what’s actually possible.
It takes: consistency. Good company, words of encouragement and motivation and support. It takes: people who have been there, who can advise and direct you. [e.g. in that particular video: I think the guy had advised his cameraman to set aside one hour each day for working on his physique. It likely won’t negatively affect other things like: the other work you do. It actually will likely: help boost you in other aspects of life!]
This guy: he had to eat a lot of protein. Protein pancakes, protein shakes. Protein, protein, protein. A range of protein products. And:
He’d transformed his attic, I think, into a gym room. Because environment matters. You want to immerse yourself in what you want to become [like/a part of].
Pull-up equipment. Push-ups. And everything else that it takes. Watching training videos online. Allowing yourself to be guided by trusted mentor figures. And, day after day, even when there are difficulties in the way:
The gainz (with a ‘z’) start rolling in. An hour a day, for thirty days: that time could have been spent… sleeping. Or day-dreaming. Or something. But: you invest. And, if Allah Decides, then: you get returns.
We can learn a lot from… exercise. The whole thing about pushing yourself. Disproving certain limits you’d placed on yourself. In the human being, Allah (SWT) has Created a phenomenal thing.
For example: about ten months ago, one of my friends and I both climbed a mountain. This is England’s third highest mountain, and… I’m pretty sure both my friend and I are… anaemic.
I thought I was done maybe less than ten minutes into this hike; it was six kilometres, I think, to reach the top. And I am not a very ‘fit’ person in that sense. But actually:
Words matter so, so much:
You can do this, with the help of Allah . Keep going.
[This idea had been echoed in one of the videos that my little cousin د had been watching on YouTube. You might think: that’s it. You’re done. But there might just be something inside of you that Allah has made quite… strong. You can do more, somehow. Surprise yourself.]
Company matters. Having breaks and restoring your energy levels with suitable food. Trying to find the sweetness in the process, and trying to enjoy, along the way, the views…
[With regard to the aforementioned YouTube video…
While, in terms of ‘physical goals’, some seek to gain weight, tone up and so on: others might wish to lose weight.
And I’ve come across another story, somewhere, of a man who’d been determined to lose weight and reach those goals of his.
He decided to walk to a particular supermarket or something to acquire ingredients for each of his meals. Thus, I think: preventing him from having ‘surplus food’ at home, which he might have otherwise felt tempted to snack on.
Burning calories, on that walk to the supermarket. Not eating fast food. What a great idea!]
- And: He/she who has conquered his/her mind… maybe deserves a cookie. Or something like that. It’s a whole proverb now.
Today: some relatives had come around, in order to see my dad. And I got to see my new baby cousin س for the first time, and hold her. She is so nice to hold, Maa Shaa Allah . In fact: towards the end of the day, I got to hold her as she slept, while tutoring one of my students, ت, who has an exam tomorrow. And: while my brother had been hiding in my wardrobe, playing hide-and-seek with some of our cousins.
The amount of love that Allah has Placed in the hearts of mothers, for their children. Loving them before they are even born. And all the kisses, the gentleness, the kind little words from mother to child.
- In Arabic, the word for womb is derived from one of the Names of Allah : Ar-Rahmān. He is the Most Merciful, the Lovingkind. The Caring, The Nurturing, The Beneficent.
.عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ إِنَّ الرَّحِمَ شَجْنَةٌ مِنْ الرَّحْمَنِ
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said,
“Verily, the womb derives its name from the Merciful.”
— Hadīth, Sahīh Bukhāri.
I think my aunt has been feeling kind of exhausted lately. But I also know that she very much loves being a mother, and that for her, her experiences of blessings outweigh those of any difficulties.
The little kids: played football outside. They’re not really meant to, there, and accidentally kicked the ball into one of our neighbours’ garden.
My brother and I raced against one another: he’s the fastest boy in his year group (Year Four) at school, Maa Shaa Allah . And my brother and I drew.
We might have the ‘tie-breaker race’ today, In Shaa Allah .
And then: I took five of the kids to the park. The one near the primary school. We sat on the swings briefly; the boys went and played football. And then we, the girls, joined them.
A lovely match. On the topic of exercise and keeping fit and healthy: it’s nice to really enjoy what you’re doing. Some people really enjoy going to the gym, running, and so on. I think I’d forgotten, for a while, how much I love playing football.
Eventually, we played a match with five of us on one team. And my little brother (Saif ‘Salah Junior’ Ahmed) and a boy who lives in the local area on the other.
They beat us 7-4.
But still: we had lots of fun, and I managed to score one (1) goal, which surprised me.
[Something that is nice about communal spaces like public football pitches: people find something there. Of security, of fun, of friendship. You just have to bring: yourself. And a ball, sometimes, although you can also sometimes just assume that somebody else there likely already has a ball with them, and is willing to let you use it too.]
And, at one point, I’d been so into this game, and made eye contact with a woman who’d been walking past the football pitch. We both smiled at each other at the same time, kind of amused. I really love that feeling of getting lost in good things.
[Also: maybe… our team could have done better. But, for example: I’m scared of the ball being blasted onto my face/head/me in general.
Moreover, I found I couldn’t go and tackle the teenage boy who had joined the match. So I would tackle my brother, and encourage my little cousins to go and tackle his teammate…]
I came home and had a cup of (organic. Is that me yeah) milk. I think my baby cousin س had been drinking her milk at the same time, from her little bottle.
- Get that protein; get dem gainz.
So, when it comes to our goals, and keeping fit and healthy, and hoping that certain things, in certain ways, really really change for the better:
It’s something that we, as Muslims know: that it isn’t ‘all’ about law and order, and strict rules. It also isn’t all about ‘whim and passion’, and ‘joy/thrill-seeking’.
We don’t, for example, only pray whenever we feel that deep spiritual feeling. It’s an obligation, with rules, and it’s time-bound. The feeling is nice: the enthusiasm and zeal. And also: that comes and goes.
I reckon it’s a [GCSE Biology hat on] symbiotic relationship. Between pure feeling, and passion for what you want to do, and so on. And: rules, routines, commitment. With each aspect benefitting the other.
Getting up and doing your… pull-ups, or your reading, or your Salaah, going to counselling… even when things feel especially hard.
He/she who can do that, and tame and conquer his/her own mind, and harness his/her potential [e.g. how in the past, nineteen- and twenty- and twenty-one year olds had been doing all sorts of great things]…
Deserves a cookie. Maybe even: several cookies. Maybe even: the best of everything that is on this Earth, and the best of everything that comes after it.
[So, why not begin? And take the steps… You never know: you might come to really (positively) surprise yourself!]