Innocence, and Our Differences.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Chapter 1: What is a ‘roadman‘?

When you think of the slang term ‘roadman‘. What do you think of?

Boys and young men who… wear tracksuits and hoodies? Who tend to… spend time, in groups, outside?

Is drug usage — and distribution — a necessary part of the term’s actual definition?

I so wonder.

Sometimes, it seems as though… there’s at least a hint of classism running through these ideas. Stereotypes. That: to speak a certain way. Dress a certain way. Be from certain areas, and so on: can somehow ‘warrant’ your being… labelled, in… less-than-favourable ways.


Removing the ‘drugs‘ aspect: if, to be a ‘roadman‘ means… to wear certain clothes, speak in certain ways (that, we can say, might be particular to certain regions, such as East/South London,) and hang out with your friends outside.

Then: I went to secondary school with a lot of people who would come under such a ‘classification’.

And: if you ever ‘label’ a group, broadly, and come to view them as just somehow being one amorphous [amorphous: a beautiful word that means ‘shapeless’] blob

Maybe you’ll come to overlook the fact that these are… real people. Individuals. Decent human beings.


And, yes: it seems drugs can be an issue among ‘working-class’ inner-city boys.

Drugs can also really be a problem among: Etonian, Cambridge-ian, Oxford-ian ‘upper class’ suburban boys. [Cocaine, apparently, is the ‘drug of choice’ among monetarily wealthier people who do that sort of thing…]

  • If a person… takes drugs. Succumbs to peer pressure or something. Becomes addicted. [In Islam, drugs, all forms of intoxicants: are forbidden for us.] Still: emotional intelligence is such a key part of being a believer, isn’t it?

  • A person who has taken drugs: somebody else might simply dismiss them as being… a ‘low-life‘. ‘Junkie‘. And so forth. But, truly: that could be you; that is a person too. Do you know this man’s story, his situation, and how good his heart might be? What if you, too, have a responsibility towards him — a duty that you may end up completely corrupting, by shunning him completely?

This reminds me of a real-life story I’ve come across. A story set in Egypt, I think it was. So [I shall tell it how I remember it, In Shaa Allah ]:

A man — an elderly Muslim man — used to stand on the streets and call people to the masjid, to pray. Just: lovingly call them in.

And, once: he’d called in a man who had been known to drink wine, and who used to become intoxicated through wine drinking.

The elderly man had called in this brother one day, when, presumably, the brother hadn’t been ‘drunk’.

Now: some people might have simply dismissed this man. ‘Drunkard’. ‘Hopeless’. ‘Bad Muslim’. And so on.

You know what ended up happening that day: the day the kind-hearted elderly Muslim man had invited the other brother into the masjid to pray?

The brother — who had been known to drink. But: it could well be that he was still loved by Allah — ended up passing away that day, while in Sujūd [prostration] at the masjid. Perhaps: Allah had significantly Opened the doors of His RaHmah for this individual. Allowed the man to go into the masjid, and pray, and perhaps repent. And then his soul had been taken.

How you live is important. How you die is also important. And Allah had honoured this man with being allowed to return to his Creator while in Sujūd.

*A lesson I take away from this is that: one person might be… say, a scholar. Wearing clothes, saying things, that lead to people labelling him as being very ‘religious’ and ‘honourable’ and so forth. But the heart is a more hidden thing.

Allah Knows what is in the hearts.

And: it may be that the next person… The one others might dismiss as being ‘lowly’, for this reason or the other. Who, in truth, has a far higher status among the angels, and with Allah .


Chapter 2: Friday.

Friday, and: a fairly ‘freshly-arranged’ plan. You know how things come up? ‘Unexpectedly’, but it’s part of Allah ‘s Plan for us, individually.

Que sera, sera: [a Spanish idiom that means,] Whatever will be, will be.

That morning: I had to get up early. Get on a train.

It’s quite awesome, Subhaan Allah , how things work out sometimes. As limited, stressed, human beings: we might find ourselves worrying, at least a little, in the moment.

But the Plan of Allah is far greater.

**Everything in its right place, and at the right time.**


The day before that day: I think I’d had a fairly ‘unproductive’ day. Although I’d published an article, revised over a bit of Arabic, and I think also: tidied up my space.

I think I’ve learnt to be more… understanding towards myself, when it comes to days like these. It often is my self’s way of telling me: that we need some rest. Don’t want to ‘burn myself out’, and sometimes it really does take a day or two, to: slow down. Process things. Regain strength. Take it slow, y [that’s ‘and’ in Spanish, everybody] ‘go with the flow‘.


Before getting on the train: I had a bit of time. I’d missed the slightly earlier train time. Which was good, actually, because: now I had time to grab a bite to eat. As well as: a mocha. Coffee mixed with hot chocolate, basically, which is really nice as a ‘treat‘ sometimes. The mocha from Pret [a ‘fresh’ food chain. Organic coffee] is really nice. But also, perhaps: quite strong. Organic coffee and all.


On the train: a lady had been sitting across from me. Speaking on the phone with her nan. I mean: we’re not meant to eavesdrop on any private conversations, as Muslims. But: I didn’t have headphones with me, and I’m pretty sure the lady knew I could hear.

She’d been talking about her nan’s carer, presumably. Wanting to know, I think, if her grandmother is being taken care of properly.

Family is a very beautiful thing. And a very precious thing too, Maa Shaa Allah . One of the things that truly help to anchor and nourish us in this world, AlHamduli Llah .

And you find you could be: moving, at fairly high speeds, in some cross-country train. Thinking about, say: your brother, and what he might be doing today. Your best friend, and what she’s going through at the moment.

And: your nan, and whether or not she’s had a proper breakfast, and her medicines for the day.

  • I can’t lie: the thought of growing old can be an at-least-somewhat scary one. To grow into fragility; to eventually, perhaps, become dependent on other people to help you with the ‘basics’…

Sort of to reiterate: if something is meant for you, it is already yours.

It will be yours; it is yours already. If Allah Wants for it to be the case: then it is absolutely inevitable.

This includes: certain opportunities, with your name all over it. And: chances to do things over. If you’ve erred, and/or ‘messed up’, once or twice. It’s okay: when the thing, and/or the person, and the time, is right: Allah will Open doors. He Will provide for you, from places that you simply did not expect. Things will ‘fit’ into place, like a more-than-perfect puzzle.

In Shaa Allah : you’ll see!


So I saw two friends of mine today. And, a third: who is, I’d say, significantly older than I am, and we’d actually met one another, as a result of Qadr, at a particular event we’d both been at. Right place, right time: to become acquainted with the right people, AlHamduli Llah .

I also briefly saw Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad (I’d encourage you to look him up on YouTube if you don’t know about him!) and his wife. They’re both, Maa Shaa Allah , so… involved. Active, in the community, Allah hummabārik.

To be: occupied with doing good work. A good way to live, now, isn’t it?

And: if we’re not occupied with doing good works, which both stem from, and fortify, good faith, (Īmān,) then… we’re either engaging in… things that are ultimately a bit… pointless, aren’t we. And/or actually bad for our selves, for our souls.


My two friends and I went to the Cambridge Central Masjid. The beautiful ecologically-inspired one. Since it had been a Friday: Jum’uah day. It had been packed, Maa Shaa Allah .

My friends had been inside, while I’d waited outside. I sat on a bench. Beside a lady — a mother, presumably ethnically Indian — and her little daughter. Her daughter’s name is: Hikmah. Which means wisdom, in Arabic. From Surah Luqmān, the sister had mentioned.

The lady’s daughter’s hair had been so adorably curly. She also had these pretty little earrings on [Awwwwwwww. Allah hummabārik].

And her mother had said that she wanted for her daughter’s hair to be straight instead. Which: I understand.

The pressure on girls/women to adhere to certain ‘beauty standards’. You know: be fair, have straight hair.

As though: having lighter skin/hair/eyes: is somehow ‘better’. To be taller is ‘better’. But: it’s actually not. Those are often distinctively Eurocentric markers of ‘beauty’.

Allah has created women with such diverse beauty. Little girls: like flowers of the Earth, Maa Shaa Allah .

[I tried to politely, non-intrusively, explain to the sister that I think her daughter’s hair is beautiful, Maa Shaa Allah , and that people pay actual money to get their hair to look curly!]


It was really nice to sit outside the masjid on that hot summer’s Friday.

  • Apparently, part of the architectural inspiration behind the Cambridge Central Masjid is: Jannah.

Heaven.

And: I got that impression, when I saw people streaming gently out, after the (congregational) prayer. Wearing beautiful, simple-and-elegant, attire. A diverse range of ethnicities, a lovely, garden-like, array of clothing styles.

Young and old. Conversing, meeting, shaking hands. It feels quite nice, to be surrounded by such goodness.

Trees, flowers, sunshine, and Salaah. Babies, and children; families, friends.


After that, and after getting some (as healthy-as-I-could-find, I guess,) snacks, I took the train back into London. And:

Made my way to a former-colleague-of-mine’s home (by invitation).

Her children are very cute, Maa Shaa Allah : they’d made a cardboard toy house in the living room. Coloured the outer walls with colouring pencils.

And: upstairs, the kids played.

And also: a Qur’an lesson had been going on. A relative of my former-colleague (whom I refer to as Khala, one word for ‘auntie’ in Bengali,) had been teaching Arabic to someone — perhaps a Muslim who had reverted into the faith — online.

It actually puts things into perspective, you know. Those of us who have, AlHamduli Llah , grown up having Arabic classes. Qur’an classes. At home; at schools and centres. We tend to: just be able to open the Qur’an, and read the Arabic script with fluency.

And this student of my Khala’s relative’s: had been learning the very ‘basics’. What sounds do these vowels make, when doubled [‘Tanween’], and so on.

  • It’s a big blessing: if Allah has provided you with an opportunity to learn the Qur’an. It’s also a big blessing: if Allah has provided you with an opportunity to teach the Qur’an.

.خَيْرُكُمْ مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ وَعَلَّمَهُ

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” [Sahīh al-Bukhāri].


On the way home: I actually ended up experiencing something less-than-favourable on the bus.

A group of teenage boys who’d gotten on the bus. I don’t think they’d been from East London, which is where I live.

They sat down, and one of them had been ‘vaping‘ behind me, a bit too close. They’d sat down in a cluster at the back of the bus, near to where I’d been. There’d been an empty seat next to me, although I didn’t really want for any one of them to sit there. [Personal space.]

And when, I think: one of them had suggested to the other to sit on the seat next to me. The other had harshly responded with: “[*Expletive*] eff that!”

Maybe this whole occurrence isn’t really ‘that deep’. Maybe it wasn’t… ‘about’ me. Maybe: he just really didn’t like that seat.

But: for some reason, it… made me feel a n x i o u s.

Tense: like something bad might happen, I think. [Again: maybe this was all just a manifestation of my anxiety. Maybe: it hadn’t been ‘because of me‘. Not: ‘because of my religion’, and my ‘race’. Sometimes my mind just flips to that.]

In any case: I got off the bus shortly after they’d got on. At my stop.

I know that anxiety can be ‘irrational‘ at times. It’s also: quite a protective feature, I’d say. I guess it’s about taming it, so that: it’s more useful than not.


Chapter 3: Home and that.

The next day: a cold matcha latte in the morning. Some errands completed, AlHamduli Llah . Some: needed rest, and relaxation. And also:

My little cousin had come around, to hang out with my brother. And so too had one of our neighbours, who is my brother’s and cousin’s friend. [Their friendship trio is so cute, Allah hummabārik.] This neighbour of ours: ethnically, he’s half-Irish, half-Pakistani. Muslim. And he’s basically like another cousin of ours, at this point. Which is really nice, AlHamduli Llah .

The boys had been making funny videos together. Sort of: Dhar Mann style.

Dhar Mann is really popular among kids/young people, you know. Entertainment — YouTube videos — with a fundamental moral basis. Each little video: aims to ‘tell a story’, and to teach some kind of moral lesson.

*I really think we, as Muslims, need to produce more of our own such media too. Which is really engaging and beneficial to kids/young people. And rooted in Haqq.

[Haqq: Truth.]


A key principle, it seems, in matters of Islam:

Balāghah. The art of reaching people, essentially. To reach someone; to speak to themYou have to be able to ‘speak their language’.

Speak, teach, and so forth: in ways that engage and appeal to them, specifically.


Men who are hurting.

Some men are really… hurting.

Let’s talk a bit about… men’s mental health.

Although I know: I don’t know about the full extents of things. This is just some of what I understand about things so far.

Men and women: we are not the same. We have been Created similar where we’re similar. And also: differently.

Men, I think, can experience lots of anxiety, and depression, as a result of the (natural) inclination to want to provide for their families, for example. I don’t think I really considered how much this really is the case: until I’d heard someone at school, about his worries with going to university, and to provide.

Men, I think: often handle their inner strains and so on… somewhat ‘silently’. They might: go to the gym regularly, among other things. And all in all: I think men also have this inclination to be strong. Be strong for the people they love, and for themselves.

Men are roughly three to four times more likely to end their own lives than women are.

Suicide is, unfortunately, the single biggest cause of death for men under the age of 45.

And sometimes: you really don’t know. Wouldn’t be able to guess that that is how someone has been feeling.

Back to that earlier topic of… drink, and perhaps drugs: again, using intoxicants is forbidden in Islam. And it seems as though many men who are going through experiences of depression: choose to ‘self-medicate’ through using such things.

One researcher, a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University (USA) says:

There tends to be more substance use and alcohol use among males, which may just reflect the distress they’re feeling – but we know it compounds the issue of suicide.” 

  • In general, as Muslims, following the paradigms of emotional intelligence that had been demonstrated by Muhammad (SAW)…

If someone is engaging in… substance abuse. They’re not necessarily… ‘evil‘. It could well be: a big sign of distress, and a major call for help.


Isolation.

Isolation is a killer.

And, I think we could say, a major issue in this ‘modern world’ of ours.

To even: find oneself in rooms that are filled with people. And to still feel quite… alone. Have you ever been there, experienced that, before, Dear Reader?

To just feel… disconnected. ‘Floating around aimlessly‘, almost, maybe.

And you might feel: like you’re not ‘loved’.

‘Empty’. World-wearied.

Among men: maybe a particular issue that can compound such feelings is… Not feeling valued. And appreciated, which is such a central human drive and need, isn’t it?

To feel valued. And seen. And held. Appreciated. And not, say: belittled, seemingly at every opportunity. Even: ‘sarcastically’. Even ‘small things’.

Those things can also be a real source of harm, and they can build up over time.


Chapter 4: The Europe here in England.

So I think I’d been craving a (Pret) mocha again, this morning. And then: it’s like I’d registered what the temperature outside is, currently. Essentially: not ‘mocha weather’, unless it’s on a lot of ice.

Also: Pret was closed. Another ‘plan’ diverted. For the best.

‘Plan’ the second: to visit a lovely acquaintance of mine. But this has now been moved to tomorrow, In Shaa Allah .

Still: this morning, I was hungry, and decided to grab some food from the local supermarket, and then go and eat outside somewhere. In the sunshine. I found a nice (clean-looking. Which is just crucial.) bench. On a ‘piazza’ [piazza: a public square or marketplace. An Italian word.] near Tower Bridge.

I’d basically: walked down a bit, from where I’d been ‘planning’ to sit. We ‘plan’, but Allah always Plans better!

A pretty-ful bench, Maa Shaa Allah

So, yeah: I had some antibacterial wipes on me. And: a falafel wrap. And a cold coffee. And: some healthy (healthi-er, let’s say,) snacks. Including a lil chocolate bar: which melted in the heat.

I ended up taking a few pictures for some visitors — presumably tourists — who’d wanted photos of them sitting on the bench. The ‘flower bench’ I’d seen today (pictured above). Visited by: families. Parents, children, children’s children, sometimes.

Friends.

Solo walkers.


I’m glad that that ‘plan’ from earlier that day (i.e. yesterday,) had been rearranged. AlHamduli Llah : a bit later on, my dad had come up with a somewhat spontaneous idea, to go to the beach. My nan and aunt had joined us, and so too did our ‘adopted cousin’: our neighbour ف [It takes, like a matter of seconds to go from our house to his, via their back garden]. His mum was really happy to let him come with us.

So, to the beach we went. Canvey Island. The boys (my younger brother and his best friend, Allah hummabārik,) took: a football. Badminton set, which we didn’t end up using. A foam rocket launcher.

And: on the beach, they’d drawn out the outlines for a little ‘football pitch’. Played, threw rocks into the sea. We talked a bit. Found some shells and some crab… carcasses.

ف expressed how much he hates seagulls: since a seagull had stolen his ‘chicken nuggets’ while he’d been on a trip to the beach, in Nursery.

But seagulls, too, are not… ‘amorphous blobs,’ you see. We cannot blame — nor vehemently [vehemently: with very strong feeling,] despiseall seagulls for the misdeeds of one chicken-nugget-stealing one!


I still don’t completely ‘get’ the appeal of beaches, personally, in the day-time. Having fun at beaches: I think it really quite depends on whom you go with.

Come evening time, it’s quite nice to see the sky above the sea change colours. Like brush-strokes of pink, and luminous orange, and different shades of blue.

The beach, Canvey Island. Featuring: some of those ‘football pitch’ markings.

My family members and I prayed Salaah there, on the beach. Peaceful.

Even if you feel a little ‘anxious’ at first: what will people think and all.

But I do also know: that if you truly love a thing, and feel connected to it: in those moments of connectivity, everything else can truly just fade in the background. It’s just you, and what you truly love, and believe in. [If that made any sense at all…]


One thing that is interesting about the lovely best-friendship between my brother and our ‘adopted cousin’ ف is that: they’re quite similar, Maa Shaa Allah [they look similar. Like similar things, have similar ways of being, and of doing things,] and they are also quite different.

I think that’s what you need, really, in any close bond: enough similarity for a sense of familiarity, comfort, and connection. And: enough difference to make it interesting!

ف is around three years older than my brother, and one year older than my other cousin who also hangs out with them. He (ف) attends a Grammar school, Maa Shaa Allah , which is one of the oldest schools in London (founded in the 16th Century, CE).

He has to: leave his house quite early, to go to school. His dad drives him to the ‘school bus stop’, where the school bus picks him up, at 07:30 AM!

ف is into: football and cricket.

My little brother likes his: football and running.

ف loves eating… calamari. He likes eating mussels and clams too.

My brother loves eating… chicken wings. He loves eating Turkish food too.


ف told us that his favourite thing about the beach is… the “beauty” of it. His family regularly goes on holiday together, Maa Shaa Allah : to places like… Le Touqet. A small seaside town in France.

And: to places like Portugal.

Egypt, I think. Dubai and Turkey. Learning how to paddle board, and casually seeing dolphins and whales, and so on.

Recently, upon returning from a summer trip: ف had… posted a gift (a souvenir) for my brother, wrapped in brown paper, through our letterbox.

[Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Friendship. I love friendship.

May Allah allow these boys to be good friends with one another for life.].


After spending some time at the beach; after watching those shoots of pink (hints of the sunset) come about in the sky… we all went to a nearby Turkish restaurant to eat.

  • Bread. I do love bread.

And: a nice family platter. AlHamduli Llah .

Lourdes: a town in France.


Oh, and I seem to have forgotten to mention:

That day, (yesterday,) I found that I’d received a message. From: someone I haven’t seen in, like, three years. It took me a little by surprise, but it was really quite kind, and I much respect the sentiment behind it.

Basically: at school, (sixth form. Equivalent to: the last two years of ‘high school’ in the US,) there were these boys who were generally nice. And: sometimes they would make comments/jokes that could be construed as being… racist. And, perhaps, anti-Muslim.

I think I’d expressed, once or twice, that I felt uncomfortable in classrooms where this sort of ‘banter’ had been going on, seemingly continually. I’m pretty sure they’d apologised back then.

But yesterday, I received a complete apology, and it made me respect this person a lot, actually.

He said his intentions had been: irony. To put himself at a distance from what they’d been saying; to make it clear that he’d been speaking ironically.

He said that his understanding had been that: it had been something along the lines of ‘friendly banter’ with people he had a good rapport with. And without intending to have come across as being xenophobic.

All in all, it felt like a genuine, well-intentioned apology; he basically said he couldn’t imagine what it’s like to be on the receiving end of comments of this sort.

I know that this person is a good person, and, again, I think offering a genuine and sincere apology to those you may have even made uncomfortable is: quite an honourable thing to do.


I’d also found out yesterday that: someone else who’d gone to the same school, but from the academic year above us… Had been learning Arabic in Egypt over the summer, Maa Shaa Allah . In term-time: he actually studies Maths (at least, as far as I know,) at Harvard University in America, Allah hummabārik.

  • One Book that our Creator, Allah , has Authored is: the Universe. Whose language, we can say: is that of Mathematics.

And another Book that He has Authored is: the Qur’an. Whose language is: clear, comprehensible, classical Arabic.


[To clarify: I don’t have ‘male friends‘, and nor do I agree with the idea.

So if, say, someone from school pops up and just kindly asks how I’m doing and everything: I guess my advice to myself is… Don’t be mean and robotic. And also: don’t act… very familiar, like you would with a (female) friend.

*Somewhat separately, I think: one moment when I realised how it-don’t-make-cents [misspelling intended] ‘male-female friendships‘ are is when…

I’d been sitting with someone, and speaking to her. A lovely woman, Maa Shaa Allah . And a single mother.

At one point during our conversation, someone from a school she’d gone to back in her home country had… called her phone, just out of the blue I think. Bear in mind: this is a guy who’s married, has a family. (The call had been on loudspeaker, near me, so I weren’t eavesdropping…)

And… this man, in ‘catching up’ and all, started referring to her as ‘babe’ on the phone………? Like… does he call his ‘male friends’ ‘babe’ too, or…?]


So: at present, the only ‘male friend’ I’d say I have is… hermano [‘brother’, in Spanish]. Hermanito. My little brother.

Except: yesterday, I’d asked my brother to list who his closest friends are. I kind of wanted to be on the list, you know.

He said:

That he’s ‘close friends’ with my money, but not necessarily with me…

#savage. #Dior savage.


Something that I’d say is quite noticeable when you go to Canvey Island is that: there seems to be a sizeable Jewish community there. This is actually something I’ve, I think, read about somewhere: how quite a few Jewish families had migrated from places like London, to places like Canvey.

Maybe: with the purpose of establishing communities. Lower costs of living; more reasonable house prices, and the like.

I think: when I see Jewish families, they do ‘stand out’ to me. Because they look different. But: different, by nature, isn’t a ‘bad’ thing.

Also: that helps to put it into perspective, really. When you see a practising Jewish person: the women, for example, with partial head-coverings, long skirts that go below their knees and so on. Compared with: we Muslim women, who often… Cover our entire head-and-necks. And wear completely-covering outer-clothes in public.

And so: some people might just look and think… This does ‘stand out’. Because… it’s just different, to them.


Racism in Italy. And in Morocco.

I watched a short clip on YouTube recently. A South Asian man recounting some experiences of blatant, shameless, racism that he and his brother had experienced in Italy. In a church, no less, and perpetrated by a priest.

When people single others out, and proceed to treat them badly. Demeaningly. Showing little human regard to them. On account of things like ‘race’.

You know, when I went with my family to Italy (near Florence, in… 2017), for example: at Carrefour, (a European chain of supermarkets,) we’d been made to… Put all our bags into these ‘special’ plastic bags. All sealed up, and we’d had to carry them/put them into the shopping trolley as we went around the shop. And it really did seem as though… we’d been the only shoppers there who’d been made to do such a thing.

Another example of, I’d say, racism that I’d seen, while going abroad with my family… In Morocco… Airport security or something had singled out a black African family. In front of everyone. Just… being quite degrading in their approach, in how they’d been speaking to them, in particular.

This family had kids with them too. And it’s like…

[Morocco is in Africa too. Why, perhaps, do some want to feel ‘superior’ by trying to belittle others?

These things signal: such a lack of manners. A lack of true confidence and security. A whole lotta ignorance. And, perhaps: arrogance, also.]


Presuming Innocence.

People, as we know in Islam, are born… innocent. There is no ‘original sin’, for instance, that plagues us from the moments of our birth. We’re born pure.

And, when it comes to viewing ‘Others’. It’s a good rule of thumb: to presume innocence.

To try to make excuses for people, in our minds. Maybe, also: try to understand.

And don’t blame a person for the faults of, say, somebody who might look like him/her, in these ways, or in those.

We have more in common than that which divides us.

That’s what MP Jo Cox (Labour) had said in a speech once. Sadly, her life had been tragically cut short as a result of a violent attack that had been perpetrated by a far-right extremist. She was murdered.

Jo Cox was an awesome woman, Maa Shaa Allah , and someone who’d believed in something so beautiful.

I kid you not: her (Jo Cox’s) daughter (whose name I won’t disclose here,) actually attends the same primary school as my brother. They’re in the same class, and her family lives (or, well, I don’t know if they still do,) on a boat.

And: I hope that this little girl grows up to be as amazing as her mother had been, In Shaa Allah .


Chapter 5:

Today, quite a few guests — extended family members — had come around to ours, and again, I: met some relatives I didn’t even know I had. [It be like this, for me.]

Shoes.

Our ‘adopted cousin’ ف had been here too. The boys played football, made funny videos. I took the kids to the park.

I have a little (seven-year-old) niece, actually: a second-cousin’s daughter. Her name is ن, and she is adorable, Allah hummabārik.

Today I learned that: ن loves Maths, just like her older brother. She likes playing football with him sometimes too.

She: loves art. Like: drawing/painting galaxies. And maybe some aspects of what I now know about her had been somewhat surprising to me. Because: she tends to be quite sweet and quiet when I’ve seen her.

ن’s favourite car, she says, is the Tesla Roadster. And she also loves cats.

If she could have a cat of her own, it would be a ginger-furred cat, she says. And she would call him/her:

Gingy.”


When guests come around: sometimes, they bring… sweets, food, gifts, and flowers!

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