09/10/22: Boxes, Money, and Gifts.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

You have got to be… you. Settle down into whom you are; be him/her, be completely loved, In Shaa Allah, being for him/her. You.

Yesterday, one of my friends went on a date with her prospective spouse, In Shaa Allah. They: had ice-cream. Ate out. [No touching, for the time being. Not even a spud.]

Walked around, visited a masjid. And: he’d remembered what her favourite type of flowers are, from when they’d first started talking. He’d surprised her with a lovely bunch of them, yesterday, at the end of their meet. [I approve of them two. Whole-heartedly, Maa Shaa Allah. Green flags all around, Allah hummabārik.]

Maa Shaa Allah: my friend spoke of the comfort and happiness she’d felt.

She’d also been wondering… how come it’s not quite like what we might see in movies. You know: the crazy fireworks, the wildly poetic lines [e.g. Jane Austen’s: “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.

Or Cory Matthews’ “Look, Topanga… If I had to dream up the perfect woman… she wouldn’t even come close to you.”].

The ‘everything being ‘perfect”, almost as though… you know… those are scripted movie characters. Edited, sanded down, and sculpted. Ultimately: it’s not real.

But you are real.

With your shynesses and your silly humour. How you like to cover your mouth when you smile. And so on. I reckon: the aim is to be with someone, In Shaa Allah, with whom you can feel so comfortable. And loved, and happy [though: moments of friction and conflict are also inevitable when it comes to al-Insān, the human being].

There will likely also be moments of electricity. Just: organically, naturally. But I don’t think good, healthy, relationships are ‘meant’ to mimic Disney, or Bollywood/Hollywood movies, all the time. Less drug-like, fantasy, escapism. And, more: real, affectionate, loving and comforting.

Super poetic lines can be brilliantly gorgeous, Maa Shaa Allah, and all. But: you know… isn’t it way better when it comes out of someone’s mouth… naturally? When the softness, the tenderness, of sincere, authentic feeling… takes you by surprise sometimes. Unexpected; unforgettable. [Awww. I love love.]

.رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

“Our Lord! Grant us that our spouses and our offspring be a joy to our eyes, and do make us leaders of the God-fearing.”

Qur’an, (25:74).


The Car Boot Sale.

Last month, my aunt and I took some old things to the local car boot sale: she’d been raising funds to help out some of the victims of the flooding in Pakistan.

And, yesterday: we went there again. My aunt – and her husband, my uncle – is very involved with the masjid, Maa Shaa Allah. And yesterday, she’d been selling old things in order to raise money for a masjid.

Over the years: I’d forgotten just how nice it can be. To sell your old things, meet people in your general community, and spend time with family members, at the car boot sale.

We had to be there, to set up, at 07:30 AM. Made about £100, in the end, in total, Maa Shaa Allah. Put our money in… you know those Danish biscuit tins that grandmas sometimes use in order to put sewing things into? Yeah: I had one of those.


For the local car boot sale, at a local school: we have to bring our own tables. My cousin Moosa arranged to pick some up from the local community centre: where he does boxing with his mates, I think, and with his mentor figure, his dad’s friend: Moosa’s Uncle Abjol.

As Muslims: we know something that is more deep and true than mere ‘friendship’. We know: true brotherhood, Maa Shaa Allah. Thicker than blood.

Moosa’s friend Aminul, who holds the keys to the community centre, had helped him, yesterday morning, with bringing tables (a table each) from the centre to the school, for the car boot sale.

I know of Aminul from a summer scheme we’d both been on at the same time, some years ago. And, when he saw me yesterday, he’d said, “As-Salaamu ‘alaikum” to me.

Sometimes: I think I feel shy with saying Salaam to people who are about the same age as me. Based on, for example, how we’ve grown up: it might seem like Salaam is something you really only say out of respect, to people who are older than you, senior to you.

But no: we can respect people who are around the same ages as us, too. We can respect and love younger ones too: give them the greetings of Peace. The greetings that the angels had said to Ādam (AS), and what we will say to one another in Jannah.

So: note to self. Say Salaam with honour. You’re a Muslim, AlHamduliLlah.


Yesterday, at the car boot sale: on the stall next to us, we had a lady called Christine. A grandmother, selling some of her grandchildren’s toys. Quite a lot of them unopened, actually.

She was really lovely, Maa Shaa Allah. We chatted here and there, and my aunt also bought something from her stall: a toy baby car-seat, for my aunt’s daughter’s (toy) cat, Misty.

And: on the stall to the right of us, we had a lady — Muslim sister — who was just so exuberant, Maa Shaa Allah. [exuberant: full of energy, excitement, and cheerfulness!]

She was so funny, so good with customers, Maa Shaa Allah. Set up her stall really well: with a nice table, tablecloth, clothes rail. She said she’s used to doing Bazaars: I think she helps to run a fairly regular one.

Her husband later joined her at her stall. Their conversation went something like:

How’s your day been, love?’

It’s been good, AlHamduliLlah!’

Such a pure, and genuine, sort of love between them, Maa Shaa Allah. Like the sort of spousal love that Allah describes in His Qur’an: we ought to find respite, comfort, loving-kindness, and affection in our partners.

The couple had their teenage son join them for a while too. And I found it so incredibly sweet, Maa Shaa Allah, Allah hummabārik, how the sister had referred to her son as, “Dad.” Had spoken so beautifully with him; they have banter as well, between them, it seems. Mother and son. I’m not sure if this is present in other ‘ethnic cultures’ too, but: Bengali parents, one way of showing affection, is… referring to their own children as “mum” or “dad“. SO adorable, Maa Shaa Allah.

Also: the sister’s husband, although he’s Bengali, I think, had been conversing with some people who had come to their stall in fluent Arabic. To the point where: I think I’d noticed that one lady thought he’d been Arab himself.

Turns out: the sister’s husband is an Imām. [Imām: one who leads the prayers at a masjid. Delivers Khutbahs. Counsels people, gives advice. And so on. A leader of the Muslim community.] Very often: Muslims learn the Arabic language in order to have a better grasp of our religion, via learning Qur’an and Hadīth.


Today, I am moving out, In Shaa Allah: to go and stay closer to my place of study, In Shaa Allah.

Currently, I am studying Islamic Studies at a place called the Cambridge Muslim College, AlHamduliLlah.

Isn’t it incredible how: everything could have been ‘different’ if not for a certain specific set of events, decisions, and so on?

Today I received an email: an echo from the past. From when I’d been a reluctant student at King’s College in London. Feel free to try to hack into my account.

Expire away, dear King’s College password. [Why do they seem to still think I’m a student there? We are O-V-E-R. Over.]

My present and ‘future’, however, are in Allah’s Hands. A gift. And upon Allah Alone and Almighty do we, the believers, rely.

Present, AlHamduliLlah:


Packing:


Wearing a headscarf: I do love to be recognised as a Muslim woman, AlHamduliLlah.

Like yesterday, at the car boot sale, when:

An older sister from Istanbul had started speaking to me. She said she’s Muslim too [not all Muslim women wear a headscarf]. Her name is Jasmeen, and she kindly commented that she thinks I have a beautiful name. [I do love my name, AlHamduliLlah. I can’t imagine having a different name.]

She asked me if I’ve ever been to Istanbul before. And I have, AlHamduliLlah. I love Istanbul: the cobbles, the peace, the beautiful and serene masjids.

The people, the beauty. Maa Shaa Allah.

We also had two sisters — about my age — who’d come to our stall. They’d purchased some things, including a hanging frame with religious calligraphy on it. They agreed that they could hang it by the door: currently, they are students in London, Maa Shaa Allah.

One had an American-sounding accent. Turns out: she’s from Dubai. Ethnically: part-Palestinian, part-Filipino. Like this YouTuber:


Some – or even many – people who have grown up in places like Saudi or Dubai: have American-sounding accents. Since: they’d attended international schools in those countries.

The two sisters from yesterday: I don’t want to run into the risk of doing that patronising thing of saying, ‘I wear a headscarf. They don’t’ but I wanted to say that: you often can’t really tell how close to Allah someone is, just on account of external things.

Sometimes: people may wear a hijāb and ‘Abaya, but may not… pray, and not demonstrate good character at all.

Whereas: others may not, at the moment, wear a headscarf and so on when in public. But perhaps they carry one around, in order to pray when it’s prayer time. Perhaps they care so deeply and naturally about their Deen that they want for it to be the first thing that they, and others, see, upon entering their home, Maa Shaa Allah, Allah hummabārik.

I love my religion. I love my brothers and sisters in Islam.


Here is something we had on sale at our stall yesterday. An ornamental bowl. I’m not entirely sure where it’s from. Perhaps from our garage, maybe from Istanbul:

Today, In Shaa Allah:

I will move into my new place, and may Allah make it a completely blessed place, and experience, for me.

Today, also, In Shaa Allah:

My uncle – my aunt’s husband – will be going on a run. A ‘fun run’ to raise money for the masjid. He’s taking their daughter, our cousin Siyana, along with him, like last time, when he’d pushed her along in her pushchair.

Two other (little) people who will be running in this race will be:

My little brother, my beautiful boy [who… is sometimes quite mean to me, LOL. He threw my sandals out of the house ‘for fun’ I suppose, the other day.]

And: my eleven-year-old cousin Isa. Whose sister is my beautiful, Maa Shaa Allah, Allah hummabārik, little cousin (three years younger than me,) Maryam [but she is significantly taller than me, Maa Shaa Allah].

Here is their page for this sponsored run. Maa Shaa Allah: they reached their (initially, £500) fundraising target:

https://www.launchgood.com/campaign/saif_ahmed_runs_for_limehouse_masjid#!/


Yesterday, at the car boot sale:

Both my cousin Maryam and I had the same idea, but at different times.

I saw a book I wanted to get for my brother. It’s the book version of a movie we’d seen together, and I love it: ‘Wonder’. Auggie Pullman, his older sister Via. And their dog, Daisy. But we have a cat in our house: Safi.

Maryam got a book, from the same stall as I’d gotten Saif’s from, for her little brother. She also got some for our little cousin Siyana. And a couple for herself, to read.

When she and I walked around, looking at some of the stalls together: I’d seen a (new, in-box) stationery set I wanted to get, for my Islamic studies. I was going back to our stall, to get some money to buy this stationery set with. But my little (taller-than-me) sister paid for it. That was such a sweet moment: I don’t think I can forget it.

Not only has Allah blessed Maryam with money, Maa Shaa Allah, Allah hummabārik: but, like Khadījah (RA), she does so much good with it. And so, her wealth has Barakah in it; may Allah Preserve her, and Love her.


So: I’ll be packing my things into a suitcase or two today, In Shaa Allah. And, maybe: some boxes.

I found some boxes that someone had been giving away, on a neighbourhood app I’m on. A while ago, the lady had said that someone is picking them up unfortunately: they’re no longer available.

But, very recently: she said that they hadn’t turned up. So the boxes are mine, if I want them.

Do you know who came with me, in order to go and pick those boxes up?

My cousin Maryam. We also, AlHamduliLlah, went out and had hot chocolate. And carrot cake. Together. Paid for, by insistence, by her.

And all our food, as well: my nan’s, my aunts’, mine, Siyana’s… Maryam, who is eighteen years old, Maa Shaa Allah, and Allah has blessed her with money she earns herself, Allah hummabārik… She’d insisted on paying for it all.


‘Put-downs’.

We had a lovely conversation, AlHamduliLlah. And a necessary one.

For example: one thing we’d talked about is… How it seems as though certain people try to make others feel/seem ‘small’. Out of their own insecurities. In order to make themselves seem/feel ‘big’, by contrast.

Sometimes: it can be people who mask themselves as being your ‘friends’. Constant, seemingly, ‘put-downs’, but in the form of mere ‘humour’. And a whole lot of boasting, sometimes, too.

I think your soul knows. ‘Intuition’. When something, and/or someone, is genuinely good for you. Is not seeing you as some sort of ‘prop’ to compete with, probe into.

But as: a genuine whole human being. To feel blessed with, to have as a friend. And to love.


Maryam and I ended our day… at the local launderette. I needed to pick up some of my clothes. She came with me. And then she went home in an Uber.


This might sound slightly random, but:

I think something I generally miss about secondary school is… the banter. The humour. Teenage boy banter can be hilarious, for example.

Kind of recently, on the bus:

I couldn’t stop myself smiling. Some boys, in school uniform, got on. And one had referred to his own friend, and not even in an insulting way. Just: really randomly. As being a “single mother with five kids.” My aunt and I found this so funny.

And then, one pointed out that his friend’s in the seat that’s meant for pregnant women/elderly people. So: he should get up, I think he’d implied, and give the seat to him.

At least one of them had been Muslim. And so, when offered Haribos by one of his friends… He’d said he can only have the Halāl ones.

Meanwhile: an old lady, a fellow Muslim, had been sat next to me on the bus. Talking about death or some such: how we all die and so forth. And so: I’d found myself caught between smiling at the hilarity of those guys on the bus. And then there’d been the heavier nature of the conversation I’d been having with the sister.

[And, finally: the Kit-Kat I had with me, which I wanted to eat.]


For my dose of random humour:

You may have heard of the Sidemen [some boys from secondary school used to joke that I look like Calfreezy. And I: kind of see it, you know.]. And, perhaps, of the ‘Beta Squad‘.

I’ve never (yet, In Shaa Allah!) received flowers from a boy. But: one time, someone who’d been part of our school’s version of the ‘Beta Squad’ gave me a Peppa Pig book. And some doughnuts. Both from the local Sainsbury’s. On my birthday.


And now:

Get ready for…

The ‘Crazy Duo’. My little brother Saif, and my cousin Isa. Have made their own YouTube channels. ‘Crazy Saif’, and ‘Crazy Isa’.

Go and like and subscribe!

https://youtube.com/channel/UC41WY3LThIc6TxirDhcyn0w

That one is Isa’s^. This is our iMessage conversation from yesterday: when we’d been in the same house (our grandma’s):

And then we have my little brother’s channel:

Crazy Saif.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKLQNtKXr1pY9vOdt4K5xNw/featured


You know what?

Often, the anxious thoughts in my head threaten to ‘get the better of me’. I think something negative; my mind convinces me that those thoughts are ‘true’ and ‘correct’.

Like when I’ve misheard things that people have said: I’ve been so very wrong before.

Saif and Isa: when they act ‘mean’ to me. I guess I worry if they really think I’m… a [looooser] and so on.

But that’s how siblings are, right. You have your nice moments:

Like how excited I think they were, to tell me about their YouTube channels. And when Isa actually laughed at one of my jokes. Isa once said that if he actually hated me: he would just simply ignore me.

Isa, for example, has always loved animals. In Shaa Allah, in the future: we can see him becoming a vet, or maybe even a zookeeper.

Saif loves football. And his wit, as people notice, Maa Shaa Allah: it’s hilarious. And can be, at least at times, somewhat savage.

[The other day, I asked him, in front of one of my friends: where he gets his energy from. “Pepsi,” he very quickly responded.]

Although I have fought and argued, ‘fallen out’ here and there, with my little brothers, and with my sister Maryam, and so on. These things do happen: it’s natural, inevitable. And I love them always.

Maryam is the little girl that her brother Mazhar and I used to accidentally make cry when she was little, ngl. Now she keeps paying for my things, bro.

Saif and Isa are the little boys whom I’d sat with, once, on the stairs. Back when this house had belonged to my grandma. And we’d been having random conversations about dinosaurs and things. AlHamduliLlah for absolutely everything. Look at us all now!


Dear Reader:

“Loving can hurt,

Loving can hurt, sometimes.

But it’s the only thing that I,

know.”

Edward Christopher Sheeran.


On the topic of money, and spending:

Below is a mug that my dad’s close[st] friend brought back for me, when he’d brought us all gifts back from Niagara Falls.

[This morning: I had a mocha, AlHamduliLlah. Literally: coffee mixed with hot chocolate. Yesterday, Maryam and I went to a shop in East London that had been charging £5 for a mocha. Who does this ‘hipster’ café think it is??!]

This friend of my dad’s:

Is very wealthy, Maa Shaa Allah, Allah hummabārik. He: owns a water company, in Bangladesh. Basically Bangladesh’s version of Evian. You see ‘Mum‘ drinking water in hotels, in restaurants, in people’s homes…

This man. When my family goes to Bangladesh. As a gift: he’ll arrange for us to stay in resorts. Get drivers for us, Maa Shaa Allah. Casually gift sums like… £500. He was literally allowed to walk onto the plane to say goodbye to us one time, as far as I can remember: he’s known.

And, also: he is so very humble, Maa Shaa Allah. Doesn’t show off, doesn’t brag. Prays to his Lord, who has blessed him with this wealth. Speaks when it is good. And gives, in charity, Maa Shaa Allah.

Allah does not look at our wealth, nor our appearances.

He Looks at our hearts, at our Taqwa, and our good actions.

And may we be with those who are Loved by Allah. The ones who greet, and are Greeted with, Salaam.

Salaam!

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