Responsibility, and Values. Korean Fried Chicken, Sports, and… Murder.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Values. And: principles.

When it comes to such questions as:

Whom, and how, do we want to be?

And: connectedly, questions about ‘goals’, about… (this whole big conversation surrounding) masculinity, and femininity.

[I don’t think that… men, for example, who advocate for being super monetarily rich, flexing their muscles on Instagram, referring to women with such debasing names, and boasting about (pardon me, but,) ‘body counts‘… are a Muslim man‘s role model.

And: women, for example, who flaunt their sexualities in public, and speak of themselves, as per ‘modern women’s rap lyrics’ in quite… ego-inflated ways, marketing this as somehow being ‘True Confidence’. Being quite disrespectful, some of them, and calling themselves ‘bad’ as though it’s somehow… ‘good’. They’re not a Muslim woman‘s role model.]


We might feel inclined towards answering our questions: questions about direction, wants, goals, and hopes. In terms of: things. Things we can ‘hold’, and ‘show’. Things like: how heavy you can lift, and/or how you look on a given day. And/or how much money you’re making, and/or which new Prada bag you now own.

But what about our values? What are they? And our principles?

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,

Verily, Allah does not look at your appearance or wealth, but rather He looks at your hearts and actions.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2564. Found on this website.


Man-U vs Liverpool.

Yesterday: Liverpool and Man-U versed each other. [Football. Soccer for any Americans who might be reading!]

I’d come home and seen that: there were some unfamiliar-looking shoes at my house. Turns out: they were my cousin م’s.

My dad’s side family are Liverpool supporters. My mum’s side family are Man-U supporters.

So this had been something of an ‘important match’.

Well, we ate some burgers. I didn’t really watch the match: I don’t quite understand the appeal of watching sports on TV.

Once, however: I’d gone on a school trip to watch a live match. And the atmosphere had been really quite nice. Electric: a nice, vibrant, sense of unity. [Although: we’d been warned beforehand that… fans of this particular team… sometimes casually throw out a particular anti-Jewish slur…]

Football is something that brings people together. I think, in general, it’s really good for men (and for women who enjoy watching the match!)

To just be able to: meet, with family members, with friends. Like how some non-Muslims might sometimes meet up at a pub to watch sports: I think Muslim men sometimes meet up together at restaurants.

Or, at home: snacks and drinks. Call up some friends afterwards, talk about the match.

Yesterday, post-match, my cousin م spoke to one of his friends on the phone.

And: my dad received a call from my (mum’s side) uncle. My uncle passed the phone to his four-year-old son, who also supports Man-U. Liverpool, in this particular instance, had lost.

But that’s okay, because: champions remain champions, no matter what little ‘losses’ they endure. How many times have we beat Man-U? We can let them have this one.

[I don’t really care about football, but:] Liverpoool!


Sports.

Sports, in general, can be really good for (let’s focus here on,) men.

Whether they’re: gathering in order to watch the footy, or the cricket, or the… boxing. [The ethics of boxing. Thoughts?] And/or, to partake in sports.

I ended up watching some boxing with my dad, actually. Well, more: I was doing my own thing on the side. And my dad would randomly give me some of his own commentary.

I actually really quite like that my brother does this too: maybe he knows that I probably don’t know that much about football. But, he’ll talk about it, almost as if I do.

Well: Anthony Joshua ended up not winning this particular fight. He’d been beaten by Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk.

Which is great for Usyk, and wonderful for Ukraine at the moment.

And, still: champions remain champions!

So Anthony Joshua can just pick himself up and carry on In Shaa Allah . I don’t know when the next series of boxing matches might happen: maybe next year. I’m not entirely sure how it works.


The next day, I think it had been:

My dad had met up with his brother, cousins, one of his nephews or two. And: they’d been competing in some sort of rowing competition. They’d partaken as part of a team, wearing matching T-shirts. And had lunch together afterwards, I think.

After that: my dad had taken my aunt (his younger sister,) and her little daughter and baby daughter, and my mum and my brother, to… the aquarium. Where: the kids (my brother and cousin sister) had taken part in a little kids’ competition. And my dad bought an annual pass/membership thing.

[The ethics of aquariums… Thoughts, anyone?]

My dad and brother both quite like fishing, and fish in general perhaps. But: they’re allergic to eating fish.

Meanwhile: my aunt’s eldest daughter (who is currently eleven years old,) and I, had gone on a train trip. With some of my friends, as well as a new friend of ours. We’d gone to have a picnic in a park: a day trip kind of thing.


Sardina Adventures.

My cousin’s name is Sarina. And I’m: Sadia. Together, our sister-duo is called: Sardina.

Kind of like the fish. Sardines.

Even though I’d offered to go and pick my cousin up in the morning, [she lives roughly… let’s say, forty-five minutes away from me,] my aunt decided to drive her down. With her other daughter, and her little baby with her. And so: they (my aunt, dad, and mum,) had made a day of it. Their own outing, while we had ours.

So: my cousin had arrived. We went to catch our bus.

I tried to… shield her eyes from seeing… a deceased creature, a squirrel, on the road. But: she’d seen it. At least somewhat disturbing.

Bus: to train station the first. Which had led us to train station the second. Where: we’d topped up her Oyster card [like the London version of… a train card. ‘Metro card’. ‘Subway card’. etc.].

We: purchased some good ol’ hot chocolate from Café Nero. It’s almost ‘hot chocolate season‘ I suppose. AlHamduli Llah !

And: onto our next train we hopped.

I am very glad that we: my (cousin) sister and I are part of one another’s lives, AlHamduli Llah . I think this might just have been our first outing together, without our parents etc.


Responsibility.

Something that really drives us, generally, to do ‘good’, and to do better is: having responsibilities.

For example: feeling responsibility over a younger person in your care. Whether this be: your own child, or somebody else’s. [I think my aunt had asked me, before we’d left, to please hold my little cousin’s hand.

This is, after all, her precious firstborn child!]

Having responsibility: to pay bills, to feed your family, to take care of somebody who is very young, or sick. It gives rise to: our better selves. And to: maturity.

Infuses our lives with a needed sense of Purpose:

Get up, pray Fajr (the Morning Prayer). Feed a baby, tidy the house, and/or get ready for work.

Pay the utility bills; feed the cat. Maybe: help your sister, and/or your friend, with that thing they needed help with. And so on.

Each of these things that we do: Allah Loves that we help and serve those who are on Earth. In return, we are loved by Him , and by those who are in Heaven (the Angels). Subhaan Allah !


A few days ago, I had an appointment somewhere, and had been speaking to someone who is a grandfather. Of: Caribbean origin. His name: Doyle.

He’d been speaking, at one point, about his own father. A man who: had come to Britain, at a time, perhaps, when life here had been especially difficult for immigrants.

And: within a matter of four years, he’d managed to save up enough money to purchase a home for himself, his wife, and their six children.

Doyle had also been speaking about how, for example: his father had been the ‘right amount’ of… a disciplinarian presence. E.g.:

On weekends, Doyle and his siblings would be up at about 7 AM. On weekends. And: they’d be working together in order to clean/tidy their whole home, before their parents would get up. This would ensure that his father would be happy with his children for the rest of the day.

Doyle’s father had exhibited had these clear expectations for his children. Emphasising such things as: the value of hard work. As well as that of: responsibility, I imagine.

As an adult, Doyle hadn’t even been allowed to partake in ‘part-time’ employment. His father had remarked something along the lines of: if he’s going to accept part-time work, then he might as well be a part-time resident at their house.

Doyle is grateful, he says, for the values that he’d been raised with, as a child. Things like: respect. Things like: working, trying to be ‘self-sufficient’ in that sense, and serving his parents, and his family.

He wishes his father could be here, to see where he is now. How he’s continuing his dad’s legacy, and so on.

He’d also spoken about how: ‘back then,’ waking up early had been… the natural, the expected, thing to do. And he says that it’s technology, he thinks, that disrupts people’s sleep, these days. Leading to people wanting to wake up later.


Being ‘recognised‘.

One thing I quite love about being a visible Muslim, wearing my outer clothes when outside in public is that: people seem to… recognise you, when you do.

You might have, at least from time to time: fellow Muslims saying the Greetings of Peace, As-Salaamu ‘alaikum, to you.

People who love Islam, and our values, will just naturally: love you, too.

  • One of the reasons as to why our Creator has Instructed us (women) to cover ourselves in public is: to lessen the likelihood of being harrassed/annoyed in public. And, another: is to be recognised. [Qur’an, (33:59)].

Sometimes: you’re recognised by fellow Muslim people. And, you, too, recognise them: your brothers and sisters in Islam.

Sometimes: you’re even recognised by people from, say, Christian backgrounds. Who might refer to you as ‘sister’, say: ‘May God Bless you’. And, who may: refer to things like… the story of Moses — Mūsa (AS) — in conversation with you. Like how Doyle did that day:

When the right opportunity might be made known to you. And perhaps God will split the sea for you, to make the way easy for you. Will you throw down your staff and have faith?


Not quite Platform 9 3/4. But, close enough: Platform 10.

When my cousin had come with me on that cute, AlHamduli Llah , day out together:

My friends had been so kind towards her, Maa Shaa Allah . One of them had: bought her a drink. The others had: listened to her, as she’d spoken about school, about her life, and about things that matter to her. They’d showed her that sisterly love.

This little (eleven-year-old) cousin of mine: some things I love about her are that…

When she’s outside, she thinks about her family. Someone had gifted her some money, recently I think, which she had with her. She’d been thinking about what to get for her parents with it, and for her little sisters.

And: she prays five times a day, Allah hummabārik. Whether she’s at my house, or at our uncle’s house near Dover: if it’s prayer time, she makes sure she prays.

  • Moreover: she’s recently started wearing a headscarf when outside. She’d wanted to wear it sooner, but: her mother wanted for her to wear it when she’s ready, and when she understands why she’d be wearing it.

She looks beautiful in it, Maa Shaa Allah .


Picnic.

We’d found a big Sainsbury’s (supermarket) near the park. There: some of my friends got some food for the picnic. My cousin Sarina had purchased something for her little sister.

One of my friends had used one of those ‘Scan and Leave’ devices while there, at the supermarket. ‘SmartShop’. You simply: download the app. Pick up one of the designated scanners near the entrance of the shop. Scan what you pick up. Avoid long checkout queues. Pay for your things at one of the SmartShop checkouts. And: leave.

Interesting.

Technology. Efficiency. We’d also spoken about how: maybe they’ll have electric shopping trolleys or something soon. Where you just: stand on a board, maybe. Press some buttons. Save some walking energy [although: the walking aspect of doing in-person grocery shopping is probably really good for us, actually.].


With things like: picnics. Group things, outings. It tends to be the case that: everyone brings something to the table.

Or: to the picnic mat. Which my friend ز had brought.

It had also been my friend ز who had suggested, prior to our trip, that: we should maybe make a list. Of things to bring, and then each person could choose something from the list.

I: chose sandwiches. I could be in charge of the sandwiches. [I’d been planning to make them myself. Maybe: get some bread. Some tuna. Some vegetables. And make the sandwiches by hand.

But: I didn’t quite manage to get that done the day before. And so: I’d bought individual sandwiches from Waitrose (supermarket) …]

The other things on the list included: drinks. Napkins, plates, cutlery.

Savoury crackers and dips. Fruits.

It had been my friend ن who had the good idea to: not bring drinks from home, since “who has the strength to carry it“. We’d found that Sainsbury’s, and one of us had got the drinks from there, I think.


One of my friends had brought, as well as brownies: homemade chicken pastries, which I think she’d said her mum had made. And they: were. Delicious. Maa Shaa Allah .

This friend of mine: she likes hiking. Going to places of natural beauty: she personally prefers that over, say, eating out at restaurants and so on.

And: she is also an engineer by vocation, Maa Shaa Allah , although she feels as though her particular field has been ‘dumbed down’ over time. Maybe: with the development of certain technologies and all, which can make an engineer’s work easier (unless you’re the engineer who’s making that equipment, maybe).

This friend of mine: repairs equipment for the NHS (the British National Health Service). Which is pretty cool, Allah hummabārik.

We’ve got: another friend, ز, who: is into spoken word poetry. And: karate. And who: loves the colour yellow [same!]

She: may also be working for the NHS soon, In Shaa Allah , as she is currently a medical student. At one Imperial College here in London, Allah hummabārik.


Then, one of our other friends is: studying for a degree in Pharmacy, In Shaa Allah . She’s simply a wonderful soul, Allah hummabārik.

And: away from the more medical side of things, present at our picnic had also been ن. Eldest sister in her family, and a teaching assistant at a school by vocation: working with children who are autistic.

She: is generous, Allah hummabārik. This had been my second time seeing her: she’s a fairly new friend of mine. And: each time we’ve met up. She’s just: paid for my stuff at shops. Insisted on it. And, this time: she’d paid for my little cousin’s drink also.

Three of us who had gone to this particular picnic: are Bengali. And: three of us are Somali. It’s such a natural ‘alliance’ thing that seems to happen, between Bengalis and Somalis, in my experience. Somalis (just gonna go ahead and generalise about an entire race, but in a hopefully positive way,) just tend to be: such good, loving, funny, wonderful, people, Maa Shaa Allah . I think these qualities are just passed down: their mothers, for example, are awesome women, Allah hummabārik. They: seem to really emphasise the importance of maintaining a connection with the Qur’an. Having and exhibiting good values. The necessity of holding onto one’s Deen.

I think: these are areas in which we’re similar, Bengalis and Somalis. We tend to grow up having been taught the importance of Qur’an. Strong principles pertaining to things like respect, and to modesty, I’d say. The importance of education, also: of learning.

Also: although Bengal/Bangladesh [‘Bengal’ comprises both Bangladesh and a part of what is today called ‘India’. Borders, huh?] is in South Asia, while Somalia is in East Africa… As far as I know, we generally both share Yemeni roots. Which is also a blessing, since:

Muhammad (SAW) had referred to the traits of faith and wisdom, understanding, and having tender hearts: as being “Yemeni” traits. [Al-Bukhāri.] Subhaan Allah ! We’ve got this legacy to try to live up to, In Shaa Allah !

Click to access 40%20Hadiths.pdf

According to the above compilation of Hadīths, Muhammad (SAW) himself, as well as his companions, were (and/or, in the case of his companions: they strongly resembled people who are) … Yemeni.

  • If you’re able: please do remember the people of Yemen in your Du’as.
  • And perhaps consider donating some money — even a pound — to feed, clothe, and shelter, these people of the Prophet (S A W) who are, and have been, for years now, living through a very dire and unjust war/famine situation in the region.

*According to that linked publication: the Romans had referred to the Yemeni regions of Arabia as being ‘Arabia Felix’, i.e. Happy Arabia’. As opposed to: ‘Arabia Deserta’. Deserted Arabia’.

  • More ‘fun random-ish facts’: ‘Felix’ is also the first name of YouTuber PewDiePie. It means ‘happy’ in Latin. ‘Happy’ (is also the name of Iron-Man Tony Stark’s driver, and): is ‘Sa’eed‘ in Arabic.

Recently, one morning:

I’d overheard a conversation going on outside. My window had been open: the local caretaker, an Algerian uncle I think, had been talking to, I think, a neighbour or two, about how…

Back home’, though the people might often have (next to) nothing, in material terms:

They have something. They’re happy.

They have, Maa Shaa Allah , that sense of community. Responsibility and purpose, perhaps. Good food. Struggles, still, no doubt. And: a whole lot of love, and happiness also!


Murder! Murder!

Yesterday, my friend ج and I had visited…

The Jack the Ripper Museum, here in East London.

She’s interested in that true crime stuff, and her academic background is also in Psychology.

I too quite like thinking about the psychological component of these things. People like ‘Jack the Ripper’, the fictional Dr. Jekyll / Mr Hyde, and people like: Ted Bundy.

  • All of Jack the Ripper‘s victims had been women. Of a pretty particular age range, I think: women in their forties.

Oh, but before our museum trip:


Food. Korean Food.

We’d been hungry.

To be honest: recurring theme here, but, in terms of feeling well mentally. I didn’t feel all that well that morning. Heavy. But, again again again: as we know in Islam,

With hardship there is ease [Qur’an, (94:6)].

So: not a great morning. But, then: brunch. With a good friend, AlHamduli Llah .

We’d found our way, by Qadr, to: a Korean (street food) place, serving Halāl chicken. Absolutely delicious food, Maa Shaa Allah : I had a sweet chilli chicken bento box. A lunchbox, basically: with one section for the chicken, another for the rice. And some vegetables.

ج had a bibimbap (mixed rice bowl).


The Importance of… Aesthetics.

‘Aesthetics’ are very important in general. Whether, sometimes, we want to admit that or not.

When it comes to people, for example: there’s that whole phenomenon of the ‘Halo Effect’. We might instantaneously judge people, based on whether or not we immediately consider their appearances to be beautiful. And: people seem to tend to associate beautiful appearances with other positive characteristics.

Someone who is seen as being pretty might also: even without others knowing her yet, be assumed to be a good person, with lots of good characteristics.

However: appearances, as we know, can deceive.

Individuals like Ted Bundy, for example: had been viewed by some of the people around him as having been… charming. Sociable. And so on.

In the Islamic tradition, we understand that: the best ways to get to know a person, closer to the truths of whom and how they are, might just be…

To either live with them. Or: travel with them. Or: do business with them.


Aesthetics are also important when it comes to: our consumption of things.

And many restaurants seem like they are well aware of this. Branding and packaging are such crucial considerations when it comes to businesses driving up sales.

‘Aesthetics’ in terms of: ‘Instragrammability’, i.e. how ‘Instagram-worthy’ something is.

In general: we tend to like that our food looks good. Presentation, people!

We like places of aesthetic appeal, of beauty.

Also with social media profiles, and websites, and so on: that significant consideration about how pretty it all looks, in sum.

That Korean food place ج and I had gone to: pretty aesthetic, I’d say. And, perhaps that really is a key part of its appeal.

‘It’s what’s on the inside that counts’. Inside these cans: legitimately just green tea, unsweetened, with nothing else added (left). And: oolong tea, also unsweetened, and with nothing else added (right).

The eatery seems like it’s frequented, in particular, by people who work in the area. People who work in offices. The price of one lunch is approximately £10.

  • I do wonder if very many people have anybody at home to make lunch for them these days. At least one of the (quite-a-few) customers who had been lining up inside/just outside this small shop seemed like they’re fairly regular customers there. One man, I think, had purchased his lunch, and then an additional meal for himself for later. And the chef seemed to already know what he’d likely be ordering.
  • I think: although money can buy us lots of things, there’s just something about… a lunch that somebody who cares about you has directly made for you. Perhaps there is real Barakah (blessing) in that. And: a warmth in knowing that we’re not just ‘alone’ together. It’s not: make your ‘own’ food, make your ‘own’ money. We’re, by nature, more interdependent than ‘independent’. Although, also: from my understanding, there’s real blessing in whatever food you eat, which you have paid for from money you yourself have earned.

An anti-aesthetic picture of the aftermath of my meal:

Maybe: the messier your ‘plate’ looks afterwards… The more you’d been really enjoying the food!

The bento box had been closed with two rubber bands criss-crossing over it. I decided to put them on my wrist: maybe, if my brother were to play some kind of prank on me later on or something, I could use them as ammo to (lightly) shoot him.

Later: I think I’d left one of these rubber bands somewhere in my house. My little brother decided to tie a bit of his hair with it, and get the cat (whom he, my brother, has essentially named after himself) to take it off his hair. Which: the cat eventually managed to do!

Sometimes, things that my little brother does: remind me that, sure, he can be super ‘cool’ as well as something of… an anti-authoritarian rebel.

And, still: he’ll forever, In Shaa Allah , be a little cutie pie, Maa Shaa Allah , and my baby brother.


After eating at this Korean place, ج had told me about a local East Asian supermarket in the area, which I didn’t even know about, but I’m glad I do now. Noodles, teas, bubble teas.

A very nice place. Aesthetic. Decent prices. And, even: a designated Halāl section!

ج and I purchased some bubble teas in cans. Hers: a brown sugar one. And, mine: matcha and grass jelly.


The Museum.

Some strange, at least somewhat disturbing stuff being exhibited there.

And, also: things, and information, of historical interest.

For example, how, during the time of the murders, the media at the time had speculated that the culprit, the vicious murderer, could have been: a Freemason.

Or: a doctor.

An artist, or a butcher, or a barber.

Or: an “immigrant”.

  • Near the scene of one of the dreadful murders, someone had graffitied the following on the wall.

Rumours had been circulating that the murderer had been a Jewish man dubbed ‘Leather Apron’. And this had led to anti-Jewish demonstrations in Whitechapel.

  • Scapegoat: (noun, also a verb). a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of… ‘convenience’.

Given the information above: in this example of ‘Jew-blaming’, I think we see certain common themes.

Resentment; a strong dislike of certain people. An immediate, and seemingly convinced, inclination to blame them. To claim that one particular group in society is somehow specially ‘protected’ by the law. And: maybe there’s also some underlying envy there too.

Scapegoating.


Warning: murderous themes. Themes of murder.

This killer clearly had quite a… sick mind.

He seemed to despise… women. And: he didn’t just want for them to… die. It seemed he truly wanted to inflict a great deal of pain and suffering unto them.

Do you have any personal theories as to the identity of ‘Jack the Ripper’?

  • If he were a ‘madman’, surely he would have ‘gone for’, and killed, ‘just anyone’. Why, specifically, had most of JtR’s victims been women from a particular age range?
  • If he were simply ‘mad’, and not also: smart, and rational… How did he manage to plan these attacks, and get away with them?
  • And if alcohol truly is the ‘reason’. Doesn’t drunkenness (another word for drunkenness: inebriation) simply expose a person’s true thoughts, and state of mind?

Personally: I think he’d been someone, perhaps a doctor like the fictional Dr. Jekyll, who’d had to maintain a façade of ‘propriety’, properness, in public. What with his esteemed role in society and all.

And: I really don’t think he’d had much regard for women. At all, perhaps.

[Please stop reading here if you’re under the age of… 16. And/or: skip to the part that says, ‘Boundaries‘.]

I do think that the motivation of certain… perversions had been involved. Things he’d otherwise have to ‘hide’.

It’s an abhorrent thing: to come to view women as being just… ‘Bodies’. ‘Objects’. I think ج had agreed that there does seem to be a correlation between people who are… serial killers, and having addictions and so on of a… sexual nature.

I don’t know if you’ve come across, for example, that particular study, about how: when men, for example, view indecent material online… The part of their brains that activates is also the part that might be especially operational when they are using tools. Inanimate tools. I think this is how some men, over time, and perhaps strongly aided by exposure to such things, come to view women.

It’s something of a ‘slippery slope’, isn’t it? How one bad thing can lead to another, and to another, and to worse and worse and worse…


Boundaries.

Islam puts helpful boundaries on such things, for us. We aren’t, for example, allowed to view indecent material.

Men can’t even touch a non-Mahram woman. Shouldn’t stare at her; should lower his gaze [Qur’an, (24:30)].

And: if a man wants to have intimate relations with a woman, he must honour her as well as himself, by marrying her.

أكمل المؤمنين إيمانا أحسنهم خُلقا، وخياركم خياركم لنسائهم‏

“The believers who show the most perfect Faith are those who have the best behaviour/character,

and the best of you are those who are the best to their wives”.

— Prophet Muhammad (S A W), At-Tirmidhi.


Now, here’s a picture of… an old typewriter.

Imagine writing a blog article on an old typewriter.

You can’t.

AlHamduli Llah for… technology; for how things develop over time!


While walking downstairs, [this little museum has, as far as I can remember, six different floors,] I’d actually suddenly seen… a familiar face!

My beautiful friend from sixth form, Joanna!

I got really happy seeing her there that day. Fancy seeing a friend you haven’t seen in three years, at a murder museum, of all places…


Joanna and I used to eat lunch together quite often. At a time when: I’d been feeling quite existentially out of sorts for a while. And also: struggling with the ‘lunch’ situation practically each day. To either make lunch every evening, and/or to frequently buy expensive food from Central London, which is where our school had been situated.

[Out of sorts: an idiom, meaning, slightly unhappy, sad, and/or ill.]

But Allah Sends you the right people at the right time. Eating lunch with Joanna had been a blessing, AlHamduli Llah .

I know I have some quite… nerdy tendencies [is ‘nerd’ a slur?] but:

Joanna’s name, in Greek [her family is from Cyprus,] means, ‘God is Gracious’. Ἰωάννα (copied and pasted. I don’t know Greek: it’s Greek to me), romanized: Iōanna.

It comes from the Hebrew, יוֹחָנָה (also copied and pasted). Yôḥānāh.

Variants in English include Joan, Joann, Joanne, and Johanna. A masculine form: John. Johann in German.

Other forms of the name in English are Jan, Jane, Janet, Janice, Jean, and Jeanne.

Names like Anne, Anna, and Hannah, are also related to ‘Joanna’.

  • I actually have a second cousin called Hannah. And I also know a Somali sister, whom I used to work alongside, who is absolutely lovely, Allah hummabārik. Her name, too, is Hannah.

Anyway. So I seem to quite love certain ‘nerdy’ things. [Why wouldn’t you love… nerdiness?!]

Like: going to museums sometimes. Researching random things that make me feel curious. And: playing Scrabble.

Like: the quite intense game of Scrabble that ج and I had played that day. After: coming home and praying, (meanwhile, Joanna and the friend she’d been with had gone on the additional walking tour with the museum) ج and I sat down for some Arabic learning.

This friend of mine, ج, Maa Shaa Allah , had accepted Islam last year. She’s amazing, Allah hummabārik. Learnt how to pray Salaah, from scratch. And: is learning Arabic, In Shaa Allah , also from scratch.

After some Arabic:

Some… English. i.e. Scrabble.

ج pretty much annihilated the game. I’d lost with 229 points, in the end. And she’d won, with 280, Maa Shaa Allah !

Two things, then, which I think can truly help us to grow, and to improve, and be better.

Responsibility, as aforesaid. And: some good old (healthy,) competition.

[Should I… Should I compare myself to Liverpool F.C., and to Anthony Joshua at this point, and say that champions remain champions

Actually, you know what? Never mind.]

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