.بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Eid-ul-Adha is, so to speak, the ‘second Eid of the year’.
The ‘first Eid’ — Eid-ul-Fitr — marks the end of the month of Ramadān.
And, of course, this second Eid, the ‘greater Eid’, actually [it goes on for three days] commemorates the time when our father Ibrahīm (AS) had obeyed his Lord in going to sacrifice his son.
This celebration also marks the end of Hajj [Hajj: the annual Islamic pilgrimage. It is a religious obligation for every able (financially and otherwise) Muslim to carry out the Hajj at least once in our lives.]
Allah rewarded Ibrahīm (AS) with better. For his humbleness, devotion, and obedience: Ismaīl (AS) had been left unharmed, for one. That had only ever been a test.
And the reward for the doers of good, the ones who carry out deeds of excellence: well, those rewards are from our Creator Himself .
The Day of Arafah. يوم عرفة.
Yesterday had been the Day of Arafah. In parallel with those blessed fellow Muslims who went to Makkah for Hajj this year, we try to fast, pray, do more good: on Arafah Day.
This day is the 9th day of the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah. The day on which Allah (SWT) had Perfected for us our religion, completed His favour upon us, and approved for us Islam as our religion, our Way of Life. [Qur’an, (5:3)].
On this day, (and in the days preceding them,) lots of Muslims tend to observe fasting, and make lots of Du’a, for forgiveness from Allah .
Abu Qatadah reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was asked about fasting the day of Arafat and he said, “It will expiate the sins of the previous and upcoming years.”
Source: Daily Hadith Online, Abu Amina Elias.
A Clean Room. غرفةٌ نظيفةٌ.
Yesterday, I cleaned my room. I started in one corner, and made my way through. I do love cleaning, and I love to see the difference between ‘before’ and ‘after’.
I like sitting in a clean (freshly cleaned) space. Especially when I’ve cleaned that space myself: the fruits of my labour and all.
I also had a candle on hand, which I’d sort of forgotten about. The scent of this candle is… a ‘clean’ scent. Kind of like detergent.
[Product recommendation: Washing-up liquid by brands like ‘Ecover’. They’re more eco-friendly, and… We humans are Allah’s vicegerents on, stewards of, the Earth, after all, AlHamduli Llah …]
“Your birthday’s technically every two years because you don’t grow.”My nine-year-old brother to me, on this Day of Eid. While he is wearing a golden-coloured crown and doing some colouring-in.
The First Day of Eid. // اول ايام العيد ✨ 🎈
My brother was just sharpening a pencil.
He’d made a “flower” out of the sharpenings, commented on how sharp the pencil ended up being, and asked if it’s even “legal” for it to be that sharp.
“Don’t tell Boris.” — my brother added. He tends to make me laugh a lot and randomly, Allah hummabārik.
Eid morning, I realised again how: I am not a ‘morning person’. In fact: there may even be a genetic basis for this stuff: whether you feel more energetic in the mornings or in the evenings, and I find this quite fascinating, Maa Shaa Allah .
My friend ج and I had planned to meet for the 10:30 Eid prayer at the masjid, instead of the options of the earlier ones. And then we’d ended up going to the 11:30 prayer instead, since this had ended up being the better option for both of us.
- It’s Sunnah, on Eid day, to really cleanse oneself — through Ghusl — and then wear nice, clean clothes, with, I think, at least one aspect of your outfit that is new.
This Eid, I wore a green ‘Abaya with those ‘bat wing’ sleeves. And a green headscarf with embroidered floral designs on it. Two cuff bangles — they remind me at once of ‘Viking women jewellery’, and of… Ottoman-style jewellery. And they’d been purchased for a surprisingly low price, AlHamduli Llah , from my favourite bookshop, which also sells Islamically-inspired jewellery.
For skincare: I put on an oil that contains SPF. The weather’s been kind of scorching, lately. And, as well as the slight discomfort that can arise as a result of being in the heat for so long: you also get… a free glow, from the sunshine. A touch of sun, I think, makes you look nice, and more healthy.
I wore a bit of powder concealer, for example under my eyes. And some black kohl.
I’ve definitely been through ‘phases’ when it comes to makeup. At the moment, I think I’ve decided to focus on what’s natural, and to also use subtle makeup.
It was comforting and interesting, for example, to hear about some of Muhammad (SAW)’s ‘self-care’ practices from one of my Arabic teachers this year. Muhammad (SAW) had been a man of beauty, and (although he really didn’t take it to vain extremes,) he did care about how he appeared before people.
Think about it: as a Muslim, you’re meant to be representing the Way of God .
And Allah is Beautiful, and He Loves beauty.
- So it’s: trying to find that place between negligence, appearance-wise, and over-indulgence. As I keep finding – and finding beauty and comfort in: the Way of Islam is… the way of beautiful middles. We shouldn’t be negligent, we shouldn’t be extreme.
On the way to the masjid. في الطريق الى المسجدِ.
[I’m trying to practise my Arabic In Shaa Allah , so you may find little bits and passages in this beautiful language on this blog from time to time…]
So, I left the house. Carrying a backpack that contained my phone and so on. And some Eid goodies. I reassured my mum that there were no drugs in the bag…
For shoes: I wore a pair of boots that my aunt had gifted me a relative while ago. Although I’ve generally stopped wearing shoes with heels (I’m embracing my… 5’1-ness, you see…) I decided to wear these boots this time. Because my Eid dress: I’d managed to find, in good ol’ Whitechapel, fairly last minute. And it was slightly too long for me. So I had the options of: either rushing to get it tailored. Or: simply wearing shoes with a decent heel.
And then I left the house.
Before we leave the house, it’s recommended that we say:
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لاَ حَوْلَ وَلاَ قُوَّةَ إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ
“In the name of Allah, I trust in Allah; there is no might and no power but in Allah”
To be guided, protected, and defended while outside.
On the way to the masjid, I came across my dad and my brother في الشّارِعِ, on the street.
They’d been coming back from Eid prayers; my little brother had been wearing a cute white Selwar-Kameez kind of outfit. As my friend ج pointed out: it’s really nice to see different people’s traditions, on Eid day. And kids in traditional clothes is just so beautiful and adorable, Maa Shaa Allah …
On the way to the station, on the green area behind one of the bus stops, some people had been setting up stalls. Every year, in our local area, there’s a summer fair that takes place here. It’s organised, I think, by a local business, and is also sponsored by a real estate company.
This year: the fair happened to coincide on the Day of Eid. I asked a lady who’d been setting up her stall what time the fair would start.
I often experience social anxiety in my head, prior to speaking to people. But I really do like to meet new people, and to have positive interactions with them.
This lady had been very lovely. She wished me a happy Eid, and also complimented my outfit, and encouraged me to come back for the fair. So, later, I did, and my friend ج had come along too…
The Train Station. محطَّةُ القِطَارِ.
My friend ج and I had made the plan to meet up at the train station. This train station has recently been renovated, so it feels a lot more clean and spacious now.
It’s so nice to see fellow Muslims, in Eid attire. Most likely, many of them had also been on the way to the masjid.
Outside the station, ج had been waiting with a bunch of flowers. She’d been wearing a lovely dark blue ‘Abaya.
You know those awkward moments when you’re not quite sure if something’s for you? I wasn’t so sure if those flowers had been for me…
But they were for me. Like many (if not most,) fellow women, I love, love, love receiving flowers, AlHamduli Llah .
Last Eid, while on the way to the station to meet with ج, I’d been passing by the local lane of shops. And outside the greengrocer’s, it’s like a bunch of yellow roses had been staring at me. Both mine, and ج’s, favourite colour is: yellow. الاصفرُ.
Allah Wanted for me to get those yellow roses for her. There was literally just one bunch left. Ultimately, of course, any gift that we receive from people: it is from Allah.
Subhaan Allah , the bunch of flowers that ج had gifted me this Eid had ended up being in my (current) favourite three colours: yellow, green, and pink…
On our way to the masjid: there’d been lots of people around. The wonderful essence of Eid in the air, like the children holding balloons. The sweets, the love, the simple beauty of it all.
At the masjid, we, the women, had been directed into the main part of the building: the women’s building, it seemed, had been absolutely packed.
And we had to walk up multiple flights of stairs again. Basically each time we’d reach a floor: we’d discover that it’s full. And there’d been queues for the lifts, with women with prams and so forth.
Eventually, I thought we couldn’t make the prayer. Since there’d just been so many people, and seemingly not enough space.
But then, there’d been a solution: another part of the masjid building had been made available to us, AlHamduli Llah : the wing of the building that’s used for the secondary school there
Still, while ج had managed to get into one of the rooms, I prayed just slightly outside of it, since this room, too, had quickly been filled. Thankfully, recently I’d decided to wash my travel prayer mat [This mat had kindly been gifted by a sister at a grocery shop. I said As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum to her while leaving, and she’d decided to call us back and give us a gift. I made Du’a for her since then because she has such a kind and sincere heart, Allah hummabārik. And she likely gets some Ajr each time I use this mat!].
After the mat had dried, I think my mum had left it outside my room. I decided to take it with me, in that backpack that did not contain drugs… [prayer rugs,
not drugs, kids.]
And it had come in useful, AlHamduli Llah ! Outside this room that had been being used for prayer, I prayed on my green mat. With my boots and bag containing flowers to the side.
Now: back to the topic of those boots… I don’t think I’m very used to wearing heeled shoes anymore. At one point, I basically nearly fell backwards while walking up the stairs…
Complete Submission. اِستسلامٌ كامِلٌ.
I’m glad we made it, AlHamduli Llah . Although I thought I was ready to leave the masjid, since it didn’t look like we’d find space: ج had been determined, and Allah had made for us a way.
I think I need to search up — or seek advice from a more learned person — how to do the Eid prayer properly. I’d sort of forgotten the steps again, and looked around at other worshippers for guidance.
We’d also come across lots of children at the masjid.
Last Eid, ج had started off the tradition of handing out flowers to little sisters on Eid. A little girl had been curious about her flowers, and so ج had plucked one out to give to her. And thus had this tradition begun.
This Eid: we carried it on. We had flower crowns, shiny golden paper crowns, and little bouncy balls on hand, to hand out. The little girls — and I remember one very sweet, appreciative little girl in particular — really liked the flower crowns, AlHamduli Llah . And they are gifts from Allah …
Some adults also liked the flower crowns, so we’d given some out to them as well. Flower crowns in general, on a sun-kissed summer’s day…
هناكَ جَمَالٌ فِي البساطةِ.
There is beauty in simplicity.
The Eid Khutbah at the masjid had been especially lovely to listen to, AlHamduli Llah . The Imām of the masjid is a relatively young Imām, who hails from Egypt, and who has memorised the Qur’an, studied Islamic theology, and also obtained a degree in biology from the University of London.
This Eid, he had spoken about Ibrahīm (AS). About his unwavering devotion to, and reliance upon, Allah (SWT). His complete submission, surrender, to his Lord.
Ibrahīm (AS) had been a very intelligent man, Maa Shaa Allah . Even as a young person: he’d questioned things. He wanted answers: why did the people worship, dedicate their lives to, that which would not — could not — see, nor hear, nor benefit them?
Who is the Creator of this perfect, wonderful universe?
Is it… the stars? Man-made wooden idols? The Sun? The Moon?
Of course, Islam is all about worshipping the One True God — Allah — and not worshipping His creation instead. Allah (SWT) literally Owns everything here: every single thing. He (SWT) is the Sovereign, the Absolute Master.
Something that really quite inspired me from this Khutbah had been the Imām’s mention of how much Ibrahīm (AS) had trusted Allah (SWT), his close friend.
For a while in his blessed life, our father Ibrahīm had been alone, on the people level. He’d become something of an outcast, a pariah, for being committed to the Truth. His people came to hate him, with a burning hatred:
A hatred hot enough for his own father and people to arrange for him to be catapulted into, and burnt alive in, an extremely hot and high fire.
But Ibrahīm (AS) had faith. And true courage, also, stems from having true faith.
Ibrahīm (AS) knew that Allah (SWT) is the Lord and Master of everything. Of men, and of flames. He did not fear; his Lord knew, and that had been enough for him.
Allah (SWT) had Delivered him.
Since this whole Universe belongs to Him alone, He of course has Power over all of His Laws of Physics: the blazing hot flames had been made, for Ibrahīm (AS) … cool, and peaceful.
So: being rejected and shunned by his own beloved father and people. Being thrown into an extreme fire, blazing with the people’s hatred.
And among the trials that Ibrahīm (AS) had gone through: the outstanding one…
Being told to slaughter his own beloved son.
Bear in mind that the Prophets (AS) had been humans. Who’d experienced love, fear, happiness, grief, and the rest — just like you and me.
Imagine being instructed to… slaughter one of the people you love the most in your life.
But Ibrahīm (AS) had true faith: Īmān. And so did his son Ismaīl (AS). Whatever Allah had Wanted for them to do: they heard and they obeyed.
Allah Knows better.
And a wonderful analogy that this Imām had drawn upon: have you ever undergone a surgery before? Have you been ‘put to sleep’, put under a general anaesthetic, while people — experts, as we refer to them as — have operated on you?
They might be… cutting up your insides. Adding things, removing things. All while your eyes are closed; while you are asleep, unaware.
But at those times, we’re not likely to really question doctors. We just think: the doctors, the experts, know best.
And when we’re on a plane. Do we tend to overanalyse whom the pilot is, and what they’re doing?
In our daily lives, we must trust fellow human beings. And trust is built up as a result of people delivering. Not letting us down. Having a good amount of knowledge, and so forth.
So, Whom better to trust and rely upon, even with our eyes closed shut, than…
I want to add, here, that when I blog, I do tend to write about some of the rather positive things that I witness, or which happen to me, AlHamduli Llah . But I also, of course, want for it to be known that life — for all of us — is not all sunshine-and-ease.
There have definitely been especially difficult periods in my life, and ease and hardship continue to occur in my life — expectably, as in yours too — in waves.
Basically, as Muslims, we’re not meant to boast. We’re meant to try to keep it humble, keep it realistic and all. So I want to try to do that.
For example: I know that Eid is not, actually, always a great day for some people.
I’ve personally experienced Eids that had not been like this one before. Less ‘connected’ and all.
But: Sabr when things feel kind of tough. And: Shukr when things are good again, AlHamduli Llah .
Brunch. How do you say brunch in Arabic?
My friend ج and I wanted to eat brunch together. Cafés in the area seemed kind of packed, and they’d also been selling Eid desserts outside. ج had suggested that we go to Pie Factory: a little eatery that specialises in… you guessed it… pies.
But… that shop has now been closed down, it seems. I’d been there with my aunt before: hashtag treated, because she is very generous, Allah hummabārik.
So then I suggested Starbucks. At this point, I think I may have a bit of a matcha latte addiction. An inclination towards matcha lattes. I don’t even know precisely what it is about them: the colour and the aesthetique?
The earthy flavour? How rich they are, in antioxidants? [I legit think you can see how good matcha is for your skin, even right after you drink it! Same with spicy foods, actually. It’s free makeup!]
ج and I had ended up going to a new (at least, it seems new to me) place, right opposite the local Starbucks. They do breakfast foods there, noodles, a range of things.
While waiting in the queue, I’d seen a familiar face: my aunt’s friend, ش. An old friend of that aunt of mine: the generous one, Allah hummabārik.
Generous, in Arabic: كريم. [‘Kareem’]. Feminine form: كريمة. [‘Kareemah’]. Kind of synonymous, as far as I know, with: noble, honourable.
ش — my aunt’s friend — loves cycling. In fact, I think she’d recently returned from a cycling tour of Europe: having cycled from London to Dover, minibus through the Eurotunnel, and then (with stops, for example at hotels for the night) to France, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands (where she’d visited the Anne Frank Museum), I think. Or maybe Denmark had been a separate trip that she’d been on: I can’t quite remember precisely.
The Anne Frank Museum: apparently, there they show you kind of ‘exactly’ how Anne Frank and her family had lived. Even the spice cupboard, I think ش had mentioned, is preserved.
And in that museum: you have to put your phone away. They give you this headset thing, I think she’d mentioned: an audio tour. And you walk around, immersed in the experience.
Then: in Denmark, somehow the group ش had been travelling with had eaten at a Danish person’s house. Some special wafer spread on bread, for example.
ش, like ج and me, had also been on her way back from the masjid.
She’d made the plan to go and eat at a different café by herself, before going to the Muslim burial gardens in London, to visit her father’s grave. He’d returned to his Creator not so long ago, I think.
Allah , the Almighty , Had a different plan for her, however, for this first day of Eid: she’d joined ج and I for brunch, AlHamduli Llah .
ش had really liked the Eid Khutbah too: the part about the general anaesthetic had really resonated with her, since, I think she’d said, she’d undergone a surgery fairly recently. And if we’re so willing to let experts — expert humans — put us to sleep, and then operate on our organs and such while we don’t have a clue what’s going on…
How could we not trust Allah , Al-Kareem , with where He is taking us?!
ش had ordered a breakfast plate, with bread and avocado and eggs, I think. And a cappuccino for herself (even though it had been hot outside. And we’d sat outside to eat: dining Parisian and all).
ج and I had ordered a turkey bacon and avocado bagel each. And an iced peach tea for ج, and a water for mey.
Eating outside had been nice, AlHamduli Llah . We had a flower crown on the table — the one that had been left over, and which I ended up taking for myself.
We also had a golden paper crown on the table, and a very-melted wrapped chocolate [a little girl at the masjid had been handing them out] and I also had a little bit of trouble finding a suitable place to put my bag and flowers. [The ground is really gross sometimes: don’t want to put my bag there…]
My aunt’s friend ش has been to numerous, varied places on her travels, Allah hummabārik. She has also been on Hajj.
Soon, In Shaa Allah , she’ll be going to Mallorca, the Spanish Mediterranean island. [Bruh. I just learnt how to spell Mediterranean.]
I asked ش about what her favourite aspect of travelling might be.
She said: she loves how it takes you away, essentially, from daily life. From daily problems. There’s generally at least a general itinerary. You don’t have to think much about your problems, she said, when you’ve got the next thing to go and do/see: you’re kept active, busy, in that sense.
She spoke about how: there’s uncertainty. While journeying, you must trust Allah .
And ش also loves to pray in different places. While travelling, AlHamduli Llah , you can pray: in hotel rooms. On beaches, on mountains. In forests. In other people’s homes. At services/outside petrol pumps. In different masaajid [Masaajid: plural for masjid, otherwise known as mosque].
ش prayed, for example, at a beautiful masjid in Amsterdam, while she’d been there.
As aforementioned, she’s an avid cyclist, and told us how, in Amsterdam, it really does look like there are more bikes than people, there!
So we ate together and talked, AlHamduli Llah . I love eating good food, and being in the company of good people; having faith-inspired conversations.
Oh, and I. Love. Flowers…
I ended up wearing that flower crown over my headscarf, for the rest of the day.
Next: back to the masjid for Dhuhr Salaah (Dhuhr: the noon prayer).
Something I quite admire about my friend ج, Allah hummabārik lahaa, is that she prefers to pray sooner, rather than later:
Instead of going back to my house to pray, and instead of selecting the option of visiting a different masjid on the way home in order to pray, ج said that we’re in the vicinity of that first masjid we’d been to anyway. Why not go and pray there?
So we did. It had been close to closing time, and the sister who’d been managing the women’s area that day, I think, had been waiting to go back home to her family. But she allowed for the prayer section to be kept open a little longer.
ج and I both prayed on my green prayer mat. And then we’d seen ش again.
ش eventually had to go to a different bus stop to us, so we parted ways, and took the bus back to my area (for… that summer fair from before).
At the bus stop, we’d bumped into (not literally) an ‘auntie’/grandma from my local area.
I admire her devotion to Allah , Allah hummabārik, however I feel as though some of her understandings of matters pertaining to faith are a little different from my own.
I think this auntie/grandma had been fascinated by ج, and ج’s story. She wanted to know if ج’s parents are Muslim, where they live, whether ج is married, whether I’m married, how old ج is, how old I am. She advised the both of us to buy Niqaabs, to cover our faces with.
She’d pointed to the flowers I’d been holding, and said that, much like those flowers, we are temporary. That we don’t take anything with us when we go.
And: she’d also given ج and me a packet of ‘Sesame Snaps‘ to share between us, and this is, of course, a characteristically grandma thing to do!
The Summer Fair.
At the local Summer Fair, there’d been quite a few stalls. And lots of balloons everywhere, since they’d been handing out balloons and little goodie bags, as they do each year.
I quite wanted a balloon and a goodie bag for myself, actually. I’m so embarrassing at times: I did end up getting one. But not without the lady at that stall looking at me, I think, like: why would you want a balloon and a goodie bag with stickers and a colouring book in it?
Slightly later on: my balloon ended up going to my little cousin, who is named after the Prophet who is otherwise (i.e. Biblically,) known as David. It’s Dawud, in Arabic.
And then, more later on in the day than that: the balloon ended up accidentally being released into the air, I think when the car door was opened.
And you know how some people like to watch as lit-up lanterns go up, up, up into the air? That’s how I watched that poor balloon go higher and higher towards the clouds, until it became a dot, and then disappeared from my sight. Goodbye balloon.
At the Summer Fair, people were so nice. Some wished us an Eid Mubarak. One stall holder said As-Salaamu ‘alaikum. But then again: she might have been Muslim too. I spoke to her about the (organic, naturally-inspired) products she’d been selling, and she’d spoken about how they’re ethically made, too: so they fit in with Islamic ethics.
People had been selling handmade jewellery, candles, organic self-care products. I managed to get a couple o’ business cards.
At one of the stalls, an elderly lady on a mobility scooter had been right behind me. She (gently) told me to be careful not to fall back, since she’s behind me. [Remember when I almost fell backwards on the stairs at the masjid? Yeah…]
That kind lady on the scooter had also asked me if it’s Eid today. She said that, had she known, she would have written cards to her Muslim neighbours: I think she does this every Eid. [Awwwwww!]
On interacting with people who are not Muslim:
لَّا يَنْهَىٰكُمُ ٱللَّهُ عَنِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَـٰتِلُوكُمْ فِى ٱلدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَـٰرِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوٓا۟ إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُقْسِطِينَ
“Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.”
— Qur’an, (60:8).
At the Summer Fair, ج wanted to buy some books. She bought two novels from one lady — ج had to go an extract some cash from a nearby ATM, so the lady had kindly kept the books aside for her.
And then we found another book stall, being run by a guy who said that he and his parents are really into reading, now. Mainly history books, it looked like. So they, as a family, buy lots of books, read them, then sell them on. Those books had been in really good condition, actually.
ج bought some history books too. Including one by Tom Holland. The famous historian, that is, and not: the other famous Tom Holland, the actor one.
[When it comes to learning about history, we do have to be careful about different perspectives through which ‘truths’ can be told. But it can be very good, and nice, to at least be aware of a range of different views.]
The idea of reading lots, and widely, sounds like a really good one.
For example: how can we truly, positively, and meaningfully, affect and influence this world of ours, as vicegerents, stewards, representatives of Allah , on Earth: if we don’t know enough about it?
Allah has Blessed us with awesome human intellects, AlHamduli Llah . There is so much, and such things of value, that we can, by His Permission, do through them!
Subhaan Allah .
My Nan’s House. بيت جدتي.
ج and I had parted at the local train station: she had plans to meet with another friend of hers in the evening, and wanted to go home to relax and to freshen up first.
And I’d been called by my dad: he said that everyone had been at my nan’s place, so for me to go there. Which was fortunate, since the Summer Fair had been happening just up the road from her house.
So I went to my nan’s house. My two uncles’ families had also been there.
We spent some time; I didn’t know whether to stay sitting in the living room, or to go outside onto the balcony. But I stayed sitting inside, and then eventually we walked back to my house.
My brother and I walked and talked, as we do, AlHamduli Llah . I don’t even realise how much that little boy makes me smile, Allah hummabārik. But my mum had taken a photo of the two of us walking together. And it’s him, talking, holding a (colouring) book open. And me, smiling, probably laughing at one of his jokes.
At home, I wanted to sit outside. My brother joined me: he did some colouring-in, made me laugh.
A little later, I’d popped by at one of my neighbours’ house. Sometimes I cat-sit/house-sit for her, when she goes abroad and such. Recently, she’d been to Florida, and I was going to house-sit for three days.
Only, this time: the keys didn’t seem to be working. Thankfully, J had found a solution, but when I went in to feed the cats and everything on Day One: I’d left behind a shopping bag of mine. So I’d gone back to get it, on Eid Day (i.e. Eid Day the First).
My neighbour, J, is from America — she’d grown up there in Florida, I think she’d said.
And we ended up having a good, interesting conversation on Eid Day.
Her daughter is going to boarding school soon In Shaa Allah , for sixth form. And J spoke about one of the school options: the area that it’s in.
Pretty ‘pro-transgender’, and everything. We’d ended up speaking about such things as transgenderism, what is packaged as being ‘progressivism’. When ‘Liberalism’ leads to people burning Bibles in America.
We’d spoken about… The Abortion issue. Candace Owens. Matt Walsh, Brett Cooper. Quite an interesting conversation, Maa Shaa Allah .
For example: (I didn’t know this, but) did you know that the act of ‘aborting‘ a human foetus has… (racist,) eugenicist origins?
And that, often, ‘trans women’ are… attracted to women? It would appear to be a fairly… (sexually-driven) thing.
How to Disagree?
I’ve been ‘cancelled’ before. I also found it really sad how some people raged at, for example, J.K. Rowling, for expressing her views on such subjects.
Some people have their own ‘moral paradigms’, or absences of them. And I have my own. And the ease with which some people resort to rage, and to name-calling, and to accusations. Whew.
There are quite a few things that I seem to agree with J on. And there are also some things, it seems, on which we don’t quite agree.
For example: J thinks that homosexuality is acceptable, whereas the growing practice of ‘transgenderism’ is problematic.
By the Islamic moral paradigm, I maintain that only heterosexuality, and within legitimate relationships, are good. That deviations from the norm disrupt natural goodness, and harmonies.
I respect fellow human beings, and I accept that we’ll disagree on some things. Now, how to disagree respectfully? While respecting others, and respecting oneself?
J had also mentioned her view that the purpose of all life — including that of human life — is: to procreate. And I understand why someone would think that.
But I maintain that the purpose of creation, which is Owned by the Sovereign, our Creator : is to worship. And that all living beings worship, in different, and specific, ways.
I think the aim is: to listen to other people, other views. And to speak truthfully, and sincerely, my own views too.
- Before leaving her house, J reminded me to take a lovely little souvenir that she’d brought back for me, from Portugal: a decorated cork purse.
Towards evening-time, my uncle had picked up my family in his eight-seater car [It’s a nice colour: electric-blue]. And we’d gone all the way (from London) to the Isle of Sheppey, to go to a food place there.
The restaurant is called Franzo’s. There are several branches in and around London, I think. But we wanted to go on a drive. And so we did.
My family, my nan and aunt, my two uncles and their respective families. My cousin and his wife, and his wife’s sister س: their parents are currently away, in Bangladesh, and so she’s being taken care of by her elder brother. She joined us for Eid dinner: her brother had been at work.
The food had been good, AlHamduli Llah . The place had been small, and so there’d been just enough seats for all of us. We had chicken, and peri peri chips. Some had milkshakes.
I had a chicken tikka burger, and it took a while to arrive… (as good things tend to). My cousin م kept offering for me to take one of her chicken pieces, but I was basically like, nah, don’t watch fam, it’s alright, you get me g.
Thank you tho, a real one.
And so we ate. And talked. At one point, the topic of discussion between me and one of my uncles had been: sincerity.
In Arabic, the word for (voluntary) ‘charity’ is linked to the word for truth/sincerity: صدق. Sidq.
One of the Arabic words for ‘friend’ is also directly linked to ‘truth’: Sadeeq. That’s my dad’s name, actually, and I’m Sadia.
Charity: صدقة. Sadaqah.
As humans, we only really tend to spend on what we believe in. And charity is, and charitable, good, acts are, accepted from us by Allah so long as we are sincere in what we do.
- Keep it real. Keep it… 100. [Are you proud of me yet, م?]
The burger: I’d eaten with a knife and fork. I thought I was quite weird for preferring to eat burgers this way, but my uncle said he does the same: you can get a bit of everything onto your fork this way. Plus, earlier that day, I’d eaten my bagel with a knife and fork too. My friend ج, Sadeeqatee, had lovingly: 1) checked on when my food would be arriving, for me, and then 2) placed a knife and fork on either side of my plate.
[I think I low-key love being looked after (like a little toddler) sometimes…]
At one point, also: the general conversation at Franzo’s had turned towards… selfies. Taking el photos.
One of my family members had put forth the argument that it’s the most picturesque things that tend to be photographed the most. Places like Durdle Door and the like.
[But then I jokingly pointed out that… those places aren’t taking pictures of themselves, though: it’s other people who find them aesthetically pleasing…]
Then I worried that I’d been rude, and maybe ended up causing offence.
But, as I kept thinking to myself that day, throughout the day: what matters is whether or not my intentions were sincere. And if I do ever hurt or offend someone: I can try to be sincere and counteract what is bad with… more of what is good.
It helps with feelings and experiences of social anxiety too. Which I often experience, in my head.
It’s actually okay if I, or you, ‘mess up’, from time to time. ‘Be awkward’, say the ‘wrong thing’. Or: if you tried, and someone still seems like they don’t really like you. As long as you’re being sincere.
An Empty Car Park. An Opportunity.
This Franzo’s branch had actually been located in a retail park. It kind of looked like a retail park that we have, back in East London. And, actually, kind of like what American YouTubers sometimes go to: places with a big ‘Target’ store, and a Drive-Thru or two.
So: some big shops, some Drive-Thrus. Car Park. And:
A vacant, unused shopping trolley, basically in the middle of nowhere.
A shopping trolley. My cousins saw, instead, through their ‘child-like’, optimistic eyes:
I’d come out of that restaurant laughing, since my sixteen-year-old cousin م had been pushing two of my little cousins around in it, quite fast.
[Oh, to be pushed around concerningly fast in a shopping trolley, in a random empty car park on an English island. While the sun is gently dipping down into sunset.]
After that, م drove his big brother’s car (with permission, of course). He revved, and speeded, and actually drives really well, Allah hummabārik. [Err… Don’t tell Boris.]
م’s sister drove around too, accompanied and assisted by her eldest brother. Much to my nan’s evident worry.
So too did my cousin’s wife, accompanied by her husband. Then my mum had a turn.
And then: my uncle sat with his youngest son, who is eleven, and let him try his hand at driving the big car.
In fact, the first time I’d driven a car had been thanks to this uncle of mine. When I’d been maybe eight years old, I think. It had been a police car, in a particular theme park in England, where you can experience controlling diggers and such. And drive around in police cars, with an instructor.
[Something that makes me feel uneasy at times is that: it feels like there’s pressure on me to learn how to drive now. But I don’t think I’m ready at the moment, and I don’t think I really need or want a car, currently, either.
In Shaa Allah : if/when Allah Decides that I’m ready, eh?]
My brother had also raced in this car park with our older cousin. And then my two uncles — brothers — had raced one another.
I… couldn’t quite race, this time, on account of… my shoes…
Oh, and also: the car park. This is where we watched that balloon go up, up, and away. Goodbye balloon-y.
I needed to pray Maghrib, and it was getting late. We went to a nearby beachfront.
Actually, earlier in the day, ج and I had randomly been talking about beaches and mountains. I said that I prefer mountains. ج said she quite likes beaches: the constancy of the waves, the beauty of it all.
Ordinarily, I don’t think I quite ‘get’ the appeal of beaches. But, Subhaan Allah : the sun setting overhead, at this beach. The little skyline in the far distance. The dark, electric, royal blues, and then the perfectly-designed finishing-line of orange.
The way the light reflected off of the waves, in the near-dark. Oh my goodness. Subhaan Allah .
My eleven-year-old cousin ع had tried his hand at some photography, using his elder brother’s camera.
My cousin and his wife sat together.
My uncle and his wife.
I went down to the water. It was just so gorgeous, Maa Shaa Allah . Like: glistening, quietly illuminated, and alluring.
My brother challenged me to see who could throw a rock the farthest. He won: I’m not good at throwing, and he is really good, Maa Shaa Allah .
I also prayed on this beach, AlHamduli Llah . This might be a nice moment that I will never forget, In Shaa Allah . I asked if anyone had a cardigan or something I could use: I’d left my prayer mat at home this time. And you can pray on anything really, so long as it’s good and clean.
My little cousin ع let me use his jacket. So I’d prayed on a little electric-blue DKNY jacket.
How could I ever find myself being overcome with fear? My Lord is With me!
- At the sea, that song: ‘I’ve been, staring, at the edge of the water, Long as, I can remember, never really knowing why…’
- And also: the story of Musa (AS). If we keep our duty to our Lord, He Will make for us a (phenomenal) way out. Musa (AS) had trusted His Lord, and had obeyed Him. And his Lord had made the sea split for His beloved servant: He’d made for him a beautiful way.
Eid, Day the Second.
I ended up wearing the same clothes as I’d been wearing the previous day, on this, the Second Day of Eid. I hand-washed my outfit in the morning, and within a handful of hours, it had all dried outside in the sun. That’s how sunny it’s been around here lately, Subhaan Allah .
I had to go to the nearby supermarket in order to get some strawberries, for the jelly. The morning had been spent setting up, and my mum’s friend had come over with her daughter, to give my mum a hand.
My brother’s two friends from the neighbourhood had also come around. They played games together, and then jumped on the bouncy castle that had been hired, outside. [Last Eid: it had been a ‘princess’-themed bouncy castle. This Eid: a football-themed one.]
The general colour theme of the decorations and such had been: dark (electric-, let’s say) blue. And silver.
We had cakes, desserts, cones filled with popcorn and savouries. Balloons, bunting. Little jelly cups (or, Jell-O shots, as some Americans might call them).
And, a little later, my (dad’s side, this time. The outing from the previous day had been with my mum’s side) family members had come, bearing some food they’d made, some snacks, fruits, flowers.
Drinks, also: we’d needed drinks. I normally don’t really drink fizzy drinks, but that day (yesterday) had really been an exception.
I had Lilt, and lemonade. And pink Fanta out of a tall glass. To take the edge off the day an’ all.
When the guests really started streaming in, I’d been experiencing bad pains, and felt sick. It was quite bad. I’d even resorted to using a box of frozen lasagne as an ice-pack, and then I used an ice-cream tub, wrapped up in a bag.
I felt so bad, and sick, that I’d ended up locking myself into a room. I could hear people — family members, cousins — asking where I was. The news had later spread that I hadn’t been feeling well.
I gave myself some time to rest, in that quiet space. I felt bad since one of my cousins had come up to see me, and I told her I’m feeling so sick, I’m going to need about fifteen minutes. But then again: I’d rather go and be with people when I’m actually feeling better, rather than be there in pain, not really very ‘present’ at all.
Eventually, the pain had subsided, AlHamduli Llah . So I went downstairs, said As-Salaamu ‘alaikum and Eid Mubarak to family members.
Sat outside in the garden, eating strawberries, with one of my aunts. She’s… a responsible young aunt, Maa Shaa Allah . Told me, for example, that the whole ‘climbing-a-mountain-while-being-anaemic’ thing was a little crazy, and that maybe I… shouldn’t.
I also chilled with my cousins. Held — and later fed — my baby cousin س. Played ‘tea party’ with two of my little cousins. And talked to one of my aunts about the power of positivity.
This aunt of mine: she’s my dad’s cousin’s wife, and she is from Lithuania. Her kids — my cousins — are so adorable, Allah hummabārik. Her little son is so, so adorable. He’s my ‘dinosaur brother’, and I’m his ‘flower sister’.
ر — my dinosaur brother — is, I think, four years old. And already, Maa Shaa Allah , Allah hummabārik, he knows Lithuanian and English. Maybe also some Bengali. And, In Shaa Allah , he’ll learn some Arabic too, in the coming future.
My aunt really believes in the power of positivity, and I agree. Positivity can be ‘miraculous’, in what can be done as a result of it, Subhaan Allah .
- I never actually knew this, but: this aunt of mine, her mum, who is in her sixties… Had grown up as an orphan. Both of her parents had passed away while she’d been very young. And then her grandparents, whom she’d been being raised by, had passed on too.
And so she’d ended up going to an orphanage. A school/home for orphans. My aunt says that her mother is very active, and very determined and quite independent, Allah hummabārik. She also has cancer, but she prefers to keep going, than to stop altogether.
My aunt has encouraged her mother to work part-time, instead of full-time, now.
She (my aunt’s mother) also, I think she’d been saying, has a little business with a friend of hers. They make and deliver, sometimes traditional Lithuanian, food for people, on Sundays.
She’s a very positive person, Maa Shaa Allah , Allah hummabārik.
- Ain’t nothing like some sunshine, some good words and company, some good food, to lift one’s spirits and to raise our hopes and energy, AlHamduli Llah .
When I’d popped by, on the First Day of Eid, to pick up my shopping bag from J’s house, my neighbour J had said that she thinks Candace Owens should be President of the United States. A lady who, for one, does not ‘make excuses’ for herself.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about, I guess, here and there. Positivity and optimism. And: the notion of ‘victim mentalities’. Like: at what point does ‘positivity’ become… harmful? What’s the difference between being resilient and positive, and being… in denial of certain traumas and issues and such?
- Do you have a view on this? I’d like to hear it! You can shoot (pew pew pew. Water-gun emoji) me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Is it necessary that we process what’s negative, and difficult, and traumatic, and only then proceed to be very positive and active about things? Maybe.
‘Tis the kind of weather for… water guns. And for ice lollies. I think one of the girls from next door tried to get me to come outside again, with the intention of shooting me with a water gun.
At one point in the day, I, along with four other ‘older kids’, had taken eleven of the kids to the park, including the four little girls from next door.
We met a little girl at the park called Amelia, who is four years old. She. Is. SO. Cute. Allah hummabārik.
I had to push one of the girls in our group on the swing, so I asked Amelia’s mum from far away if I could push her too, and (she’d been talking on the phone and) she’d given me the thumbs-up.
So up they went. Amelia got on quite well with my little cousin ف: they climbed the little hills, went on the climbing frames. So cute, Allah hummabārik.
And the boys, mostly, had been playing football. They ended up playing with Amelia’s brother too.
And Amelia’s mum, I think, had spoken to me a bit about Eid. She said she’d been on a school trip, maybe with one of her kids, or maybe she works at a school: to a masjid. She said she answered one of the tour guide’s questions correctly: about why we cover our hair.
It’s to conceal a significant element of our beauty. With the purpose of bringing us closer to humbleness, modesty, and consciousness of Allah .
- It’s nice, AlHamduli Llah , to be recognisable as a Muslim to others. People are generally very nice, and can also be, as we naturally are… curious.
- The best ways to do Da’wah (calling, telling people about Truth) is not via excessive sternness, chastisement, and so on. We, as Muslims, try to do it through beauty!
Later on that evening, some of us had sat outside. We watched a ‘Try Not to Laugh’ video (a Mr. Beast one) and… I burst out laughing at something really strange indeed.
My brother and cousin also wanted to play Scrabble, but we couldn’t find the board.
And my aunt had given me an Eidi (Eid gift), a lovely golden ‘Guess’ bracelet, which goes really well with one of my necklaces. I love it, AlHamduli Llah .
My aunt had struggled with taking off the string for the tag: it had been tied onto the bracelet quite tightly. So she’d offered a prize of… 1p … to anyone who could successfully remove it.
My other aunt had eventually succeeded at it. Arthur and Excalibur; my aunt and the tricky bracelet tag string.
- So everyone had come, talked, eaten. Played, had fun, prayed. Left, at the end of the day.
And it’s been a good Eid, all in all, AlHamduli Llah .
How has your Eid been? Feel free to write about it, because I’d love to hear (or, read) about it, In Shaa Allah : email@example.com
- For breakfast today, I had… food left over from yesterday! Yaaaay us. AlHamduli Llah
❤ 💙 💜