بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم.
This Universe has been Created… by Design.
Chapter 1: The Microwave that had become a ‘Car’.
Fundamentally, there is an Intentional Balance to things, Subhaan Allah . Including: to the facts of our ‘bad’ days, and to how they are balanced-out by our ‘good’ ones. In fact: Allah is Ar-Raheem. And so: the ‘bad’ is more-than counterbalanced by the good.
Some of it: we are fortunate enough to come to meet and witness in this world. And the rest of it: in the One to come, In Shaa Allah . Blessings upon blessings: things that no (human or Jinni) eye has ever seen. We’ll… smell things we have never smelt. Taste foods that surpass any kinds of Earthly food (yes, including Nando’s. Including chicken biryani. Including… Korean-style gochujang chicken.
*You know, I don’t think vegetarianism/veganism could really be for me…).
We’ll be wearing the very best of garments, In Shaa Allah , in Jannah. Better than any single thing on this whole entire Earth. And, for now:
It’s not quite Jannah. But: it’s not all bad, either, AlHamduli Llah .
.فَإِنَّ مَعَ ٱلۡعُسۡرِ يُسۡرًا. إِنَّ مَعَ ٱلۡعُسۡرِ يُسۡرًا
Allah Tells us twice, consecutively: that, “So verily, with hardship, there is ease.
“Verily, with hardship, there is ease.”
— Qur’an, (94:5—6).
And: it’s true. We know it to be. Two, or a series of, ‘bad days’ just means: better ones are just around the corner, In Shaa Allah .
After some days of personal ‘productivity’, ‘adventure’, being ‘social’: I just felt… sluggish, for a couple of days.
It’s interesting how, typically, at times of less-than-ideal ‘mental health’: typically, the first two things to show it are… Your sleep, and your eating habits.
You might: oversleep. Or: experience insomnia.
You might: overeat. Or: experience a ‘loss of appetite’. Or: start to really crave more salty, more sugary, foods.
It’s… normal: that aspects of life are cyclical. Coming and going, in waves.
On… Tuesday, (was it? I think it was Tuesday,) my little brother, little cousin ع and I started making a movie: to screen at my cousin م and his wife س’s joint graduation party, In Shaa Allah .
My aunt and cousins are planning to throw them a little party at the end of this week, In Shaa Allah : م and س have been together for very nearly a year now, Allah hummabārik. And they’ve both respectively finished uni, and their graduations had been only days apart.
For this ‘graduation movie’, my little brother, cousin, and I, came up with a concept. They would play the parts of two boys at school. They have a teacher called… Miss Adidas. Headteacher: Miss Nike. But they’re actually the same people, the teacher and the headteacher. The (fictional) school’s a bit… strapped for cash, you see.
In our production: the boys are about to graduate. But first! They have to complete a series of challenges, go on a quest.
- For ‘lunch’: one of the boys ‘eats’… a plastic bag, and an envelope. The other ‘eats’: a biscuit, ‘sprayed with window-cleaning spray’.
The first ‘challenge’ that they have to undertake:
Designing a date. For م and his wife س.
And so: one of the boys becomes a table. With some oranges on him. As well as a single rose.
Next: the scene with the ‘car’. Now, we didn’t have enough actors to play the parts of م and س. So they were ‘played’ by two oranges. We put a tissue on one of them: to be a ‘headscarf’. Used house-keys to be م’s ‘car-keys’. And the microwave: well, the microwave was م’s car…
So: the movie was just a bunch of random scenes. Challenges. Including: having my little brother hang from the stairs.
And then, what follows are: little video messages from family members, about م and س.
Chapter 2: Sweetness. الحلاوة.
Maybe a little random, but I quite want to try… Kashmiri chai. Pink chai. It looks good.
On Wednesday, my aunt had sent me a poster about a Muslim women’s event all about the environment; about climate issues in relation to Islam.
But then: as Qadr would have it. I had to stay at home with my brother for a while, since everyone else had been out. And also: I’d ended up getting mixed up with the actual location for this event.
But: it happened for a reason.
It happened for a reason: such an important way of viewing things. Nothing on this Earth happens without the Command of Allah . Although sometimes, we just have to wait to comprehend the awesome Wisdom, Subhaan Allah .
Outside the train station, I picked up a newspaper. And I went to the local masjid (where I thought the event had been taking place, since the poster had made mention of it…).
At the masjid: I’d seen م.
She’s actually… a close friend of Malala Yousafzai’s. She (م) is from Oxford, as far as I know, and also attended Oxford University, Maa Shaa Allah , where she’d studied English.
She’d acquired some work experience here in London, with a magazine. And م is also interested in becoming a lawyer, In Shaa Allah .
Yesterday, م had shown me a little video of when she’d gone out for a meal with her friend Malala. Just a friends’ outing.
And: a bunch of people just come up to them, to meet Malala. [Can she even go to Tesco anymore, without being noticed?]
There’d also been another sister at the masjid whom I’d ended up speaking with. She’d asked me where I’m from; said I kind of have an American accent, which I found interesting. Accents: how, even after being in a particular place for even a short amount of time; even by watching, say YouTubers who have a particular accent… Your own ways of speaking can be altered.
In general: people are just nice, Maa Shaa Allah . And even the briefest of conversations… can be quite pleasant, AlHamduli Llah .
Coming out of the masjid: I’d wanted to go… and get some bubble tea. I love bubble tea. But, oh, wait: rewind a little.
At the masjid: I’d been looking at the leaflet holders by the Reception area. Just looking. And I’d come across one written in Arabic. Since I want to practise my Arabic language skills In Shaa Allah , I picked one up.
It is: an informational sheet on diabetes. Specifically, on diabetes in Ramadān.
In Arabic: diabetes, as I’d learned, is: مرض السكري.
Essentially: ‘the disease/illness of sugar’.
Something that I: do not want to get. Something that I fear developing. And maybe I really need to cut down on the amount of sugar I consume… [Reviewing just my last article: I’d made mention of quite a few sweet foods, it seems…]
So: at the bubble tea shop… Conveniently accidentally overlooking the fact that I’d only recently picked up that sheet about diabetes…
I wanted to decide between a ‘classic tea’ bubble tea, or… a brown sugar one. The sister working at the till recommended the brown sugar one. Organic milk. Tapioca pearls.
And then: the two (Muslim) sisters working at the bubble tea place that day… were really quite afraid and disturbed, it seemed, by the presence of a fly. ٌذبابة.
Personally: neither flies, nor spiders, tend to scare me too much. Some exceptions do apply, however: like this particular giant spider I’d come across, in the bathroom of my grandfather’s home in Bangladesh.
- I recommended to the two sisters working at the shop to maybe: try to get a cup and a piece of paper to cup the fly up. But they said, I think, that they’re too afraid to do that. So: I got… the newspaper I’d been holding… and lightly swatted the fly outside of the shop.
And guess what? Those sisters kindly… upgraded my drink to a large instead of a regular, free of charge, because of this. Is this what it feels like, to be a hero?!
[A large brown sugar bubble tea… probably isn’t great with regard to my efforts to prevent diabetes within myself, In Shaa Allah . But: what reassures me, at least somewhat, is that it’s about burning off the sugar you consume, also. And that’s where exercise comes into it. AlHamduli Llah , I spent that evening doing a spot of good ol’ exercise.]
What a beautiful, noble thing. Rizq: provision. Everything that we have has been: Given to us from Allah . From Ar-Rahmān.
Clothes, food, shelter. Family, friends, wealth.
A newspaper. An informational sheet about the sugar disease. And even: a newspaper-turned-fly-swatter. Which would somehow lead to: a drink upgrade [yay! AlHamduli Llah ].
And, when it comes to wealth, Subhaan Allah : Allah Rewards us when we give money as Sadaqah. And, I think: when we do our work with effort, with due diligence. Honesty and Ihsān [Ihsān: excellence, beauty].
- Allah Loves a trier!
Chapter 3: Curry Chips.
On Thursday, my friend ت had come around to my house. We’d sat in the garden together. Did some random writing, had a comforting conversation, AlHamduli Llah . It’s part of our Rizq, it is.
We also had mango milkshakes (homemade!)
And fried rice, and curry chips. Emblematic, perhaps, of our British-Bangladeshi identities? Curry plus chips? I kid.
Something we’d spoken about together is: truth. In the sense that: sometimes, people may well say things about you. Seek to have ‘power’ over you in unfair ways. Seek to carve out, and maintain, certain narratives.
Ultimately, we are in charge of our own actions and attitudes. And others are in charge of theirs.
You know the truth[s] about you, your life, and your loved ones, don’t you?
And even if/when they — those things you know, in spite of what people may ‘say’ — don’t feel so sturdy, in your heart/mind:
So: no backbiter, no arrogant criticiser, and no other human being, ultimately, can dictate and define whom you are.
فَلَا يَحْزُنكَ قَوْلُهُمْ ۘ إِنَّا نَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ.
“So let not their speech grieve you. Indeed, We know what they conceal and what they declare.”
— Qur’an, (36:76).
وَلَا يَحْزُنكَ قَوْلُهُمْ ۘ إِنَّ ٱلْعِزَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا ۚ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلْعَلِيمُ.
“Do not let their words grieve you ˹O Prophet˺. Surely all Honour/Power belongs to Allah . He is the All-Hearing, All-Knowing.”
— Qur’an, (10:65).
Chapter 4: Whispers of the Heart. همسات من القلب. [At least, I hope that sounds right in Arabic.]
Not a particularly upbeat morning, I wouldn’t say. On the energy front: things ebb and flow, it seems, don’t they?
And yesterday, I think something I’d prayed to Allah for had been: a sign that He still Loves me. In spite of my errors, even; in spite of my mistakes.
After my not-that-great-I-don’t-think morning, I left my house. En route to the Canary Wharf area. And I’d passed by: the little café near the canals. Sort of hidden-away: to one side.
And there’d been a sign outside, about ice-cream. Oh no… more… sweet foods. طعام حلو.
Look. I actually think I thought about the ice-cream briefly; wasn’t going to buy any.
And then: two Muslim sisters working at the shop [parallels, with the bubble tea shop,] legitimately asked me if I want free ice-cream.
I think it had been a promotional thing. Giving out free ice-cream. [How can I say no to free ice-cream?]
They said they’re fairly new, working there. Asked me if I’d like a (wafer) cup or cone. I said, they can decide for me. In my head: I’d been leaning towards a cup. And this is what they’d ended up choosing for me too.
Subhaan Allah ! Allah Knows our hearts. He Knows even the whispers of our hearts; He Knows us better than we can even know ourselves.
Canary Wharf. I had a few things to do there.
I also found out that a beloved ( Allah hummabārik) family member of mine would be coming to my Nan’s. In Shaa Allah : since nothing happens except through the Will and Command of Allah .
And so I went to my Nan’s. Spent some time, AlHamduli Llah . My little cousins are such cutie pies, Allah hummabārik.
- For my cousin-and-his-wife’s joint post-graduation celebration (which will be in two days, In Shaa Allah ,) the adults have bought them matching trainers [she’s a Size 4; he’s a Size 11. This is what that looks like]:
How do you know that Allah Loves you?
Because… we’ve been Directed, Divinely, to remembering Him . To being cognisant of Him . To seeking forgiveness from Him .
To being… Muslim!
To Bee or Not to Bee.
After midnight: I’d been craving buffalo wings. And the thing is: at my Nan’s house, she basically lets us do ‘most anything. Jokingly, I asked her if we could draw/paint on the living room wall. She said yes. That’s the thing about my Nan: bright-side-of-life kind of woman, Allah hummabārik.
If we were to paint on the walls: she might see it as… art. I: accidentally spill something. She says, in earnest: it’s okay! You can do it again, if you want.
I seem to have forgotten exactly what I’d done, earlier in the day, which led to my Nan saying I can do what I want at her place. [*pretend sunglasses*.]
After midnight: I had those buffalo wings. And some squash. With extra squash. ‘Living on the edge,’ as one of my cousins had jokingly remarked.
#Living life on the edge.
We also had a bee situation to deal with. [Or was it a wasp?]
A (theoretically,) bee in the living room. We managed to get the little fella out. And I named him… Timo-bee.
At least, I found that funny…
But it was a Blessing.
Kind of unexpectedly, I ended up staying at my Nan’s house. And, the ‘changed plans’. Are blessings, AlHamduli Llah .
Even in those instances when we have to wait, to see just ‘why’.
Every single leaf that falls; every single page that is turned. A blessing all along, AlHamduli Llah .
We’re tested. We have to be patient. And Allah rewards us, for being patient, steadfast, perseverant. With awesome Rewards: both in this life, and in the Eternal One to come, AlHamduli Llah .
Eat Less Bread.
Chapter 5: Colours.
Will life ever be ‘easy’, thoroughly, consistently?
The truth is, things hurt, at least at times.
For women, for example: cyclical pains are… a real thing. In the Qur’an, Allah actually describes women’s periods as… an illness/sickness.
‘PMS’ is real: the mood swings, the depression. At those times: it can all feel like ‘reality’. Dark thoughts, ill feelings. But, you know what? This, too, shall pass. And life goes on, in its waves, in its cycles.
In life, some: go through episodes of manic depression. Some: are grieving the loss of someone, practically every single day. Some: are abused by others, or have been.
Ultimately, we won’t ever be burdened with more than we can bear. So: if you’re going through something tough right now… Your Lord Knows that you are strong enough. To not only endure this, but to emerge from it better off somehow, victorious, In Shaa Allah .
Losses and Lonelinesses.
Only recently, I’ve come across a couple who are dentists, I think. I think at least one of them is studying for their PhD, In Shaa Allah . And: she, the wife, has some ultrasound scan pictures, which are signed, presumably by friends and family.
She said she lost that child — a son — after about three months. I think she’d said that he’d been unwell in the womb.
And I hope that they reunite — mother and son — in Jannah, In Shaa Allah .
Some people, also, feel quite lonely, ‘alone’. Even in this big, bustling city, where wealth is a norm. And where friends go out with one another, and where family is but a touchscreen away.
And where you can have ‘anything’.
I’ve been reminded, in recent days: that some people turn to alcohol, within the walls of their homes, to cope. Some: to drugs. Some: to things of a more… obscene, carnal (bodily) nature.
Some find relief on Instagram and Facebook. Social media is very often illusive, you know.
Some: in music.
Reading, writing, YouTube, painting, exercise, cleaning…
And something that can genuinely be very beneficial for any person is: the consistency and comfort that shared mealtimes offer. Shared teatimes also [just yesterday, while I’d been at my nan’s house: one of her son-in-laws, my uncle, had visited her, to have tea with her, Maa Shaa Allah . And then he made some chilli con carne for the graduation party].
What else, what else?
The five daily prayers: Salaah. Connectivity, hope, comfort. Almost like… recharging ourselves, at least five times daily. When we’re on 5% or something. Medicine and goodness for the soul.
أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوب.
“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.”
— Qur’an, (13:28).
Nature. Plants aren’t a bad idea. And trees are awesome, Maa Shaa Allah .
So. I want to consume less sugar, In Shaa Allah .
In fact, there’s this 70-something-year-old woman whom I’d come across on YouTube. She looks so healthy and good for her age, Maa Shaa Allah . Her secret, she says: no sugar. [Similarly: other people who still look really good at older ages… They say, ice. Ice-baths in bowls, for your face, and the like.]
This week: I’m going to try to eat more salad, In Shaa Allah . Food is a great form of medicine — both in a ‘preventative’ sort of way, and in a more ‘remedial’ one.
Salads aren’t quite the same as… buffalo wings. One can be sort of… ‘instant gratification with fewer long-term benefits’. [When not consumed in moderation. I mean, I don’t think I want to forego buffalo wings and the like always, for life.]
And, salad: leaves. Colours. Crunchiness. Good for you, all in all.
So, today we attended my cousin-and-his-wife’s graduation party, in my cousin’s garden. It was very nice, Maa Shaa Allah .
We had food. [I had chicken and salad. Get that now-kinda-mandatory daily salad in there.] But… I had dessert first. Because there’d been a chocolate fountain there.
*My cousin’s wife is called Sadia. This is also my name. But now I guess I’m favouring my other name, at least here among my mum’s side of the family. My other name is: Jannath.
We said little speeches. My uncle, for example, had spoken about how happy he is for them, and how, also, the couple’s measure of success, really, is: their good character. Before Allah , and with fellow aspects of creation.
My uncle just had the idea that we could make our own joke-y whole-family movie. Maybe: everyone acts as themselves, satirises themselves.
When it came to my turn: I spoke a bit about that Āyah in the Qur’an, about how Allah created us in pairs (78:8). Male and female, sun and moon, and complementary. So it’s quite nice, and by Divine Design, that my cousin’s degree is pretty Maths-based, while his wife’s is English-based, Maa Shaa Allah .
My cousin spoke about the importance of communication, in marriage [he’s been married for… about eleven months now, Maa Shaa Allah . And, according to his sister, for example, it’s brought out the best in him]. He — and his wife — also talked about how they supported one another, Allah hummabārik, while working towards their degrees. “You’ve got this.”
Effective communication is quite important in close relationships in general, actually.
- Some Lego flowers that my cousin’s wife had gotten for their house:
Life is… not easy. And, still: it’s at least somewhat sweet, AlHamduli Llah . Of elements of the future, and other secrets: Allah Knows, while you know not [Qur’an, (2:216)].
The best we can try to do, I suppose, is: be sincere. Do our best. And: begin with Bismi Llah !
[Update: our movie made our peeps laugh, AlHamduli Llah !]