.بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Chapter 1: Burgers.
How do you feel about
This is today’s opening question.
You know how some Muslims who live in ‘the West’ like to eat McDonald’s when they go to Muslim countries? Chicken nuggets, and/or chicken burgers. And/or some good old – what are they called again? – Big Macs.
Of course. Big Macs.
I think: some people feel kind of strongly about their burgers. For example: I can’t remember who it was, but someone I knew, I think they and their family had gone on a trip to Dubai. And you know what they’d ended up wrapping up and somehow returning with in their luggages? Big Macs. [This blog is not affiliated with McDonald’s, although their Galaxy McFlurries are pretty good.
Also: they seem to do vegan beef-style burgers now. McPlant Burger or something. So there’s that. I’d love to try one, but I also know that vegan meat-imitation products are often packed with chemicals; I wonder how ‘healthful’ they actually are.]
- Some other people also feel strongly about burgers, but… in a different way. i.e. in India, one can get oneself killed on account of consuming a beef burger, as a result of the link between Hinduism and cows. So, as my uncle told me:
The way that some of us love to visit Muslim countries and have a good burger or two…
Apparently, Indian Muslims sometimes like to come to places like London, and really enjoy (Halāl) beef burgers. Here in London: we have. Burger privilege.
- What are your views on burgers? Because I just think, scrumptious. But: not always so good for the ol’ arteries, you see.
Chapter the Second: Purpose.
Is it better to have an ‘easy’ life, or is better to live a life of purpose?
Dunya is quite difficult for everybody. So the sustainedly ‘easy’ life part isn’t really possible. So: what about purpose?
It brings a next-level kind of satisfaction, Subhaan Allah : knowing and internalising the fact that Allah Told us the absolute truth when He told us that the Life of this World is… nothing. But there is this unmatchable kind of goodness from following the Way of Islam, of Muhammad (SAW), of our father Abraham (AS).
In Islam: even the ‘minutiae’ like cutting one’s nails, even our experiences of sadness, are imbued with purpose, AlHamduli Llah .
- Life is quite uncertain. But our connections with Allah give us real purpose and stability.
Chapter 3: Being Loved Back to Life.
I have good reason to believe that: people can be ‘loved back to life’. i.e. you know those periods in life when you might feel like… something has almost died, inside of you? When you feel… empty, and detached. Exhausted, and sad.
It’s something that is explored, for example, in that children’s novel: The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Barnett. This ‘revolutionary’, and yet deeply already-known, idea that somebody who finds themselves sick: psychologically, and/or physically. Being immersed in nature: good air, sunlight, good nutrition, plants. Beautiful natural scenery.
And: being with good company. Friends, with whom one can laugh, cry, talk about feelings and about ‘trivial’ things. To come to really feel connected in that way:
These things go a long way, Subhaan Allah , towards healing. Revival.
As well as the significance of our words and the words we hear — Qur’an, Du’as, and good, kind, and encouraging words from fellow people — another thing that is very important for our health and wellbeing is: touch.
Chapter 4: Touch.
Sometimes, babies — i.e. the earliest, most ‘instinct-driven’ versions of ourselves — are saved via… touch. i.e. for example, in Neonatal Care Units, doctors, medical experts, may pronounce that certain babies seem like it is unlikely that they are going to survive, let alone… thrive.
But babies have been saved before, and they continue to be: as a result of touch.
By mothers (‘skin-to-skin’; the practice of holding one’s baby to one’s chest. ‘Kangaroo care’, as this practice is commonly known). By fathers; by nurses and doctors.
[Apparently, there are even substances on the mother’s skin, after she has given birth, which are beneficial to the baby. Subhaan Allah ].
Touch, for a baby: it helps to regulate stress responses, regulate his/her heartbeat. Reassure him/her with their mother’s heartbeat. It’s beneficial to early social bonding.
It helps with: temperature, and weight, regulation, e.g. because the baby ends up using up less energy to keep him-/herself warm, since s/he benefits from their mother’s, or father’s (or otherwise) warmth. So more can be put towards growing and developing.
- Touch, kangaroo care, helps with the baby’s growth and development. Body, and brain. With his/her immunity: reducing the risk of infection.
On the physical and deep emotional levels: we need touch. We need warmth. Softness, reassurance, and security.
According to an article on the BBC ‘Future’ page:
In stabilised preterm infants weighing less than 2kg (4.4lbs), the practice of ‘kangaroo care’ has been found to reduce mortality by 36-51%!
Subhaan Allah .
- If touch is so important to, once again, the earliest, perhaps most innate-instinct-driven versions of ourselves: then imagine how beneficial, and necessary, touch is to us, as adults.
It seems as though touch has become, unfortunately, quite alien to us, e.g. hugs between friends, comforting hands on forearms and so on. And: in parallel with this phenomenon of ‘de-normalised touch’… that whole growing homosexuality movement, which can make some people less comfortable with being touched or touchy with friends. This is really sad, actually.
Romance should be an inter-gender thing.
- Bring back the beautiful art of intra-gender bromance.
Chapter 5: Before, and After.
When it comes to personal journeys with various things: be it… religion-related, diet-related, drinking more water, and so on…
There is no: ‘oh, why didn’t I know/do that sooner?’
There is, instead, and quite thankfully, AlHamduli Llah : process. Between one year and the next, thankfully, things do not remain static. It’s nice, sometimes, to see how things pan out, and change.
I came across a video — in Spanish, no less, but with subtitles — about a guy who decided to undergo some personal changes to the way that he did things. He wanted to improve such things as: his overall health, his posture, facial structure, and sleep routine, I think.
For example: apparently, the way you eat has an effect on the way that your facial bones come to protrude, or not.
And so he’d implemented those changes. Slept without a pillow, I think, for his posture, and so forth. Ate more ‘hard’ food, and less ‘soft’ food. And the changes are evident and undeniable. By the end: he almost came to look like… ‘a whole different person’. Processes can be fun sometimes: the fun (and challenges, and the potential for a whole lot of learning) really is in the journey.
- Is there a particular change — or, perhaps, a handful of them — that you would like to see made, in your own life? Why not allow today to be your ‘Day 0’, so to speak? How far will a year of implementing small-but-significant changes take you?
- What, In Shaa Allah , will be different, between the you of today, and the you of ‘one year later’?
Chapter 6: Mo’ Protein, Less Problems.
So I sort of ‘accidentally’ ended up speaking to someone who has a background in diet/nutrition over the phone, yesterday. Our conversation had been an over-the-phone consultation about Hijaamah [Hijaamah: the Sunnah practice of bloodletting, cupping].
This sister, م, is a cupping therapist, but she has also worked as a dietician/nutritionist. And, before going onto the questions about cupping: she had asked me about my diet.
What did I eat yesterday, in the whole day, from beginning to end?
In light of what I had replied with, she had given me some very beneficial advice, AlHamduli Llah . For example, about certain foods that may be inflammatory, some others that may be dehydrating. And:
Apparently, the amount of protein that you’re meant to consume with each meal is… about the size of your hand, outstretched. [Stretch out one of your hands for a moment, if thou wilt. So, that amount of… turkey breast, or tuna, or Greek yoghurt, or egg (and so on). Per meal.
Subhaan Allah .
And then you can add your produce, your fats/carbs (about maybe a closed-fist’s amount of carbs, about a thumb’s amount of fat, per meal).
This sister had also advised that we maybe listen to our stomachs. It has been designed to know when we are hungry. And, for some people at least: having seven small meals a day might be far better than having three ‘big’ ones instead.
- One of these ‘small meals’, for example: could constitute… a hand-span’s worth of almonds or walnuts. And some fruit. If that satisfies your hunger.
The Sunnah is: to eat moderately. Your stomach, apparently, is roughly about as big as one of your hands, closed into a fist. Of course, when food enters into the stomach, it does so in a broken-down kind of way. Still, with this in mind: the Sunnah is to only fill about a third of your stomach with food. Another third for drink, e.g. water, or milk. And the final third: we should try to leave it empty. Awesome sauce.
Chapter 7: El YouTube.
Near East London Masjid in Whitechapel, I think I saw PewDiePie [Famous YouTuber]. But then again: it was probably not him.
And then: I think I saw another popular YouTuber. Jay Palfrey, who is a Muslim from the UK, who travels around the world and makes vlogs about his travels. This time: it actually might have been him.
YouTube is cool, for one because it allows you to explore so much. Whatever your personal interests are: whether you want to find out more about traditional Chinese cuisine, and/or about diet and nutrition. Stars, cars, how chocolate is made…
YouTube is cool. And it’s quite a universal thing. Little kids, whether they’re in New York or in Sylhet, watch videos on YouTube. So too do students (e.g. ‘StudyTube’, ‘productivity YouTubers’). Adults, even cats like to watch YouTube sometimes. [My brother’s given our cat some cat videos to watch before. He (the cat) seems to like watching them.]
- I like watching videos by different vloggers, here and there. For example: those by Muslims who have reverted into the Deen. An Irish Muslim who lives in Saudi Arabia. A Muslim couple who are originally from France, and who have come to the UK on an ‘Erasmus’ (European student exchange) scholarship, Allah hummabārik.
- Vlogs are like a person’s whole 24 hours, and sometimes even more than just one day, compressed into an artistic and well-edited 5-or-so minutes. They can be calming, informative, and entertaining to watch. I think that’s kind of where I’m turning, with some of these articles that I like to write. They’re kind of like vlogs, but written form. Blogs, one might even call them…