بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I am cold. And I think I also: have a cold. I’ve felt the beginnings of something of a fever, from at least the morning today.
This is what tends to happen to me: come the turn of the summery seasons, into these more (gorgeously, Maa Shaa Allah ,) wintry ones. I get the sniffles, if you will.
Today had been, AlHamduli Llah , my first day (induction week,) as a Cambridge Muslim College student. For the next three years, In Shaa Allah , I’ll be studying a degree course in Islamic Studies.
And I got to learn a bit more about my course, today. I got to meet some current students, have a nice meal, cooked by the college chef [quite flavourful and quite healthy! The combination I needed in life!].
I… ended up waking up just after 6AM, and then leaving the house before 7AM. Which is unique for me, but as one of my fellow classmates had pointed out today: doesn’t that say something about the internal motivation that I’m feeling for this course of study, In Shaa Allah ?
Bus to train station the first. Train, to train station the second. And I’d made it onto the train ‘in the nick of time’.
Approximately an hour and a half: the train journey into Cambridge. And my phone had been quite low on charge: while some things in life certainly change… others certainly remain consistently the same!
I ended up asking at an Information Desk on the platform, about facilities for charging one’s phone. Since, for example: the price of a charger at the WH Smith on the platform is… not the one.
The man behind the desk very kindly went to find a charger for me to use. Plugged it in, and then…
As I’d stood behind the information desk while charging my phone: he’d made a ‘joke’ that if anybody comes to the desk to ask any questions… I’m working there now, and I could answer them.
I said, sure, why not, basically. Thinking it was a joke.
But then: all the staff that had been there had dispersed. And it was literally just me, charging my phone, behind the desk.
Here is the charger, plugged in:
At ‘work’ I guess:
These people trusted me enough, it seemed, to not say random things into the walkie-talkie left there on the table…
Or to run away with those official train timetables. Which is something that I wouldn’t do. But still.
[Today I was wearing a blue raincoat-like jacket. Which I think is what people who work at train stations might typically wear, at least whilst stationed outside. So, in a way, I did look the part, didn’t I…]
Well, we had to arrive by 10:30 AM. And: I had some time on my hands. I sat down at Pret and had some breakfast, coupled with a hot drink.
Walked around a bit, and then went to the CMC campus for the induction.
The talks were quite interesting, Maa Shaa Allah . We have teachers who have been trained under ‘both’ educational traditions: ‘Islamic’ and ‘Western’, if there really is a concrete ‘dichotomy’ between these.
One of our teachers, for example, is trained, Maa Shaa Allah , Allah hummabārik, as an ‘Aalimah, a scholar, from the Al-Azhar University in Egypt. She also holds a PhD from the University of Oxford. And is funny and kind, and has a little baby who is very cute, Maa Shaa Allah . Named after a Prophet of Allah : as Muslim baby boys so often are.
Dr. ن had taught us today, for example, about: the theoretical, and practical, sides of trying to emulate the Prophet (S A W). And about how each of these facets of Islamic Studies: has آلى (instrumental,) and غاىٰ (more ‘ends’-based) components to them — components i.e. subjects that make them up.
There’s: Rhetoric, Logic, Morphology, Syntax, and more…
For lunch: we had vegetable curry with rice. And a samosa. From what I know from having attended the college in-person here and there during the Arabic course we had to take…
The chef at CMC tends to prepare a range of delicious, healthy and balanced meals, Maa Shaa Allah . With some nice salads and sauces. I love food.
Delicious in Arabic is: لذيذ. Ladhīdh!
Some of the fellow students at CMC: have backgrounds in… dentistry. Computer Science (but, he’d quit that field, in order to learn more about Islam). Finance (but, she’d left that field, in order to learn more about Islam).
One: studied Arabic in Turkey for a while, Maa Shaa Allah . At least one: is trying to be a published author/poet, In Shaa Allah . One is twenty years old, and another has a child who is just younger than I am.
So: a nice range of people, AlHamduli Llah .
One of our introductory sessions today entailed… thinking about why we are there, as students at CMC: an institution that is not quite a traditional madrassa, and nor is it quite an orthodox ‘Western’ university.
People said things like…
Interestingly: one person who’d been a CMC student… ended up going on to do a Master’s at the nearby (age-old) Cambridge University, in Theology, Maa Shaa Allah . And then: he’d become a police detective/constable!
Whatever Allah has Written for us… will be!
And I’m glad and feel honoured, AlHamduli Llah , that He has Presented me with this opportunity to have some sort of foundational understanding of my religion: my whole life. The basis of my existence.
I’m also glad that… the food is good here. AlHamduli Llah !
This is one of the shelves in the little Arabic library at the college:
And: this is me, taking a mirror selfie in said library…
Above: that little trophy on the side, beside the mirror. Is a gift that some students/staff had given to Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, who is the founder of this college, for his service to British Muslims.
Here is the homemade tuna bagel that I’d eaten inside the library, since you’re allowed to eat/drink there, it seems…
Annnnd… here are some ‘Abayas that women are free to use, if they visit the Cambridge Central Masjid and feel they need to cover up a bit more, out of respect…
[Today, AlHamduli Llah : I prayed Fajr at home. Dhuhr at CMC. ‘Asr in its Arabic library. And Maghrib at Cambridge Central Masjid…]
The Cambridge Central Masjid:
When I am at CMC, and, for example, at the Cambridge Central Masjid…
I feel like I’m finally home, AlHamduli Llah . And now that I’m currently on the train back to London (where I hope to purchase a hat-glove-scarf set, In Shaa Allah . Quick ting,) I feel… like I have a cold.