.بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I don’t know how parents do it: every day, from Monday to Friday. Getting their children up, ready. Breakfast ready, and then the school run.
وَقُل رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا
“And say, ‘My Lord, have Mercy on [show lovingkindness to] them [my parents], as they cared for me when I was little.'”
— Qur’an, (17:24).
Recently, and for the time being, I’ve been doing the school run with my little brother س. I don’t even have to do the whole: wake him up, get him ready part. Just: wake up. Try to look decent. Carry his bike down. Tie his laces. Leave.
And when I tell you, Dear Reader: that I’ve found some kind of way to get up at 08:28 AM, leave the house by 08:40.
How do parents do it?! And manage the financial side of things, the laundry, the food, activities…
And actually look ready for the day before 9 AM?! And actually be social with other fellow parents. How?!
Me: I’ve been feeling sort of like I’m in a whole different reality at this time. Dazed. I’m not about that ‘early bird’ lifestyle. [Pray Fajr. Sleep.]
Today, س had Sports Day. He’d been in Team Green.
And: our next-door neighbours have four daughters in total, Maa Shaa Allah [in Islam, we know that: people who have daughters are blessed]. Three of the girls from next door go to the same school as my little bro.
And all three of them had been in different teams for this Sports Day.
So: sometimes, on these ‘school runs’, I’ve been seeing my neighbours. Sweet little girls, Maa Shaa Allah , Allah hummabārik, each with their own unique personalities. One of them, the littlest one who attends the school, is so cute: she randomly gave us some sweets and lollipops one day. And a bit of Blu-Tack that I guess she’d been playing with, on another.
Sometimes I see ه’s mum. ه had attended the same primary school as me (the one that my brother, and ه’s little sister now attends).
ه now seems to drive a BMW, Allah hummabārik. Meanwhile, I take… the bus. Because my coordination skills seem to really be lacking in general, and I think I’m the kind of person to accidentally bump into shelves at the supermarket, with a shopping trolley. So now imagine me as a driver…
I kind of love it that I still remember and recognise the parents of people I went to primary school with, and some teachers who are still there, and that they remember and recognise me too.
I also often see ل, who is my brother’s friend’s mum, and a neighbour of ours. She, Maa Shaa Allah, Allah hummabārik, is popular. With other parents, among the kids at the school too. She regularly signs up to help out on trips that they go on; she took part in the Parents’ Race today. And the kids in my brother’s class had been chanting for her to win!
At Sports Day: small talk with parents. Watching the events. Watching my little brother run. It’s quite nice to get out of the house for things like this. Fresh air, good spirits, and a nice sense of community.
We later went home, and then I went to meet with my beloved – Allah hummabārik lahaa – friend ت. She a wonderful soul, Maa Shaa Allah . We had a couple of ‘pretend arguments’ at Starbucks, because that’s something that we do for fun, I guess.
And then, at Tesco, she’d discovered that there is a Halāl section. So, naturally, she went and purchased some chicken.
I think I had to wait a fair amount of time to have a friend like ت. But Allah always Knew that she is exactly the sort of friend I would want for myself, AlHamduli Llah . And when I think about Rahma – Mercy, nurture, lovingkindness, and care – I think about people like ت. Allah Provides for us.
I also think about blankets. Warm, and soft, and encompassing. And this is what a Muslim should be like, ourselves.
من يُحْرَمِ الرِّفْقَ، يُحْرَمِ الخير كله
“He who is deprived of gentleness is deprived of all goodness.”
— Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, Sahih Muslim.
Later on in the day, (and after having to go to our local supermarket three times for different reasons,) some family members had come around. I do love it, AlHamduli Llah , when certain people come around. I like the ‘middle’. For example: not too quiet, not too noisy.
I like that sometimes my house is fairly quiet, and that sometimes, it isn’t.
We all ate together: I had sea bass with yellow rice. These days, I’m actually afraid of eating too much meat and chicken: I think I need to eat more produce, more fish, and more whole-grains, In Shaa Allah.
I ended up also watching – about fifteen minutes of – the new ‘Ms. Marvel’ series, with some of my family members. That show is… interesting. It feels familiar, and recognisable. In terms of Islam, in terms of ethnic culture. And, yet: there seems to be this particular spin on things.
Perhaps somewhat separately, it also seems to be quite a classic Netflix/’TV Muslim’ trope:
South Asian / Middle-Eastern girl feels ‘stifled’. Meets a white non-Muslim male who will then ‘liberate’ her somehow. Maybe: she… removes her headscarf, and starts ‘partying’ and ‘skateboarding her way into ‘freedom” or something.
A bit bland of a tale, by now. But let’s look at real life for a while:
The real-life stories of non-Muslims who felt things like deep emptiness, purposelessness, spiritual suffocation, in the depths of atheism. Substance abuse, nihilism, and the like. And then they fall in love with a Muslim person, and with the beauty of Islam. Become Muslim. Talk about ‘before’ and ‘now’, and say AlHamduli Llah . Do their thing, get their NikkaH done, eat spicy noodles together.
How’s that for a fresh kind of storyline, dear Netflix?
This kind of storyline seems to occur in real life quite a lot, you know! Recently, as well as finding that Irish Muslim couple’s YouTube channel, I’ve happened upon another, by a Muslim couple who are from France. He’s white European; she’s Moroccan. They eat noodles together, and also travel to places, Allah hummabārik.
[I have also realised that: ‘soulmates‘ can also be in the form of friends. Allah Provides.]
Recently, I’d come across a (real-life) story, which I’d told my friend ت about.
A Muslim, whom I think might be a scholar. A new Muslim family had moved into their town, somewhere in America or Canada I think. The man and his wife, I think, had decided to prepare some food to drop off at their new neighbours’ home. So they did.
They were also going to add a pecan pie that they’d bought. But the man said he’d hesitated, since he loves pecan pie. They ended up giving this pie with the other food anyway.
A few days later, they’d ordered some takeaway food. The restaurant had ended up giving them the wrong food. The restaurant had been apologetic about the mistaken order, and decided to make up for it by giving them… a free pecan pie.
The man returned to his wife and told her about what had happened. But she informed him that, actually, they’d got that initial pie ‘back’ double, since in the meantime: her sister had come around, and had given them some… pecan pie. Subhaan Allah .
Source: @IsmailRoyer on Twitter.
- Allah Loves that we: honour our neighbours. Give people food as loving gifts. And, and, and:
“Charity does not decrease wealth.”
— Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, Sahih Muslim.
Charity, good deeds, are a mark of having faith.
And it’s Allah who Provides, and who Multiplies whatever we do, of good. And it is He who Rewards the faithful.
.ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِى ٱلسَّرَّآءِ وَٱلضَّرَّآءِ وَٱلْكَـٰظِمِينَ ٱلْغَيْظَ وَٱلْعَافِينَ عَنِ ٱلنَّاسِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُحْسِنِينَ
“Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good.”
— Qur’an, (3:134). Underlinings my own.