14/10/22: And Spiders Who Spun The Sacred Web.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

“Fear not. Indeed, I am with you [both]; I hear and I see.”

Qur’an, (20:46).

Allah is with you.

He is With you, Hearing and Seeing.


Moving.

On Sunday: I moved from London, into a house closer to my place of study, here in Cambridge, AlHamduliLlah. I’m studying Islamic Studies here at a college called CMC: the Cambridge Muslim College.

Currently, I have a minor (minor) injury from earlier today. I also had a conversation with someone I’m fairly sure had been… someone suffering from paranoid schizophrenia or some such. So: there was that. But more on all that, later in this piece, In Shaa Allah.


Sunday.

On Sunday: I packed up my things. Looked around the kitchen. And the bathroom. To make sure I had everything I needed/wanted to take with me. Again. And possibly again. And possibly one last time, just to make sure.

My mum really helped me. She even ironed the clothes I wanted to take; put it all into a big suitcase. Put my things into sturdier boxes than I’d been thinking to take. And carried things down for me.

At the moment: while slowly recovering from a major surgery, my dad couldn’t really help with carrying things. And nor could he drive the long distance.

My aunt — who’s like my second mum, Maa Shaa Allah — came along. Her husband, my uncle, drove. And her daughter had come along in the (big) car too, along with my little brother.

My aunt: her name is Salma. Other name: Suhana. But we all call her Sweetie. It’s a family term of endearment, which stuck and became popular many years ago.

*’Bengali’ (my ethnic ‘culture’) thing: to have a ‘home name’ and a general/’school’ name. Me: my ‘home name’ is Jannath. General/’school’ name: Sadia.

*Quite a lovely Muslim(-slash, I guess-universal) thing, to have special titles/terms of endearment for people. Sweetie is Sweetie; Abu Huraira (‘Father of Cats’, in Arabic,) had been Abu Huraira.

Muhammad (S A W) had been, even known to non-believers as: As-Sadīq (the Truthful one) and Al-Amīn (the Trustworthy).


But, before then: (i.e. before the move,)

I got a text from my eldest cousin.

She is currently… with child! [an old way of saying expecting. Pregnant, basically]. I don’t think I’m even registering these changes in life strongly enough: In Shaa Allah, this is going to be my first nephew or niece (as in: ‘close’ nephew or niece. I have a few ‘distant’ ones, and I do love them too, AlHamduliLlah). We all love this unborn child very much already. And may s/he be the coolness of his/her parents’ eyes.


She’s very loving: my eldest cousin, Maa Shaa Allah. We call her ‘Didi’, which means ‘elder sister’ in Bengali and in some other related languages.

Didi didn’t know I’d be moving that day (Sunday). And said she wanted to see me.

My aunt — Sweetie — told me to go to my nan’s house at about 5. In the meantime: I did some wood-burning (burning words and patterns into wood) — this is one of my current hobbies of choice, AlHamduliLlah.

When I turned up at my nan’s house at around 5…

Party popper. My cousins. Cake. Snacks, and some gifts. My aunt and cousins had arranged a lovely little ‘goodbye’ thing for me. And Didi had been there, [even though she’d not been feeling well. And she lives a ‘busy’ life.] which I found so sweet. She turned up at my nan’s to see me. And even messaged me afterwards to say how happy she was, to see me. I really struggle to internalise such genuine displays of love, I think, sometimes. But truly: AlHamduliLlah].


When things reach you: good things, good people, love, nice food, gifts…

Know that they are all from Allah. He is With you, Loving (Al-Rahmān, Ar-Raheem. Al-Wadūd), and Knowing (Al-‘Alīm, Al-Hakīm).


So, after the (evening) drive, and having moved in, and having met my housemates…

We now have a bunch of flowers on the table. From the ladz (aunt/cousins,) back in London. Oh, and:

At first, we put them in a big mug. [After cutting the stems: at a sharply diagonal angle, as per the advice given to me from one of my housemates, I’d accidentally… put them back into the wrong mug: her drinking mug.]

But then: I transferred them into a nice glass that one of my cousins had gifted me. A glass and a mug: things he’d added to the lovely collection of gifts they’d all prepared for me. Things he’d thought I’d need. [His sister, my cousin Maryam, for instance: got me a lovely frame. And a beautiful plant!]

Yesterday, my best friend and I had been talking some more about ‘love languages’. Gifts are definitely a ‘love language’ of mine. As in: the sentiment, pure thought, and consideration, underlying things. This glass, for example, which is now a flower vase, means a lot-lot to me.

Pretty glass and a potted plant from my cousins who thought it’d be useful at my new place >>> 16 million Gucci/Versace/etc. etc. bags or anything. Any day.

[They’d also given me… a Yankee candle. Cherry-and-vanilla-scented. It smells, almost… edible. So nice, AlHamduliLlah!]

And all things true, and good, and beautiful: they are all from Allah.


Yesterday, my parents had both actually been somewhat teary, leaving me at this house.

In fact: after they’d left, a bit later, my dad had been at the door again. He wanted to: drop off a bag of food from Sainsbury’s. Sandwiches, crisps, juice. Milk, porridge for breakfast. And he was still teary-eyed.

That was really sweet of him to do; one of my new housemates and I then snacked on some crisps together, and I had a sandwich.

  • Men: as my best friend and I had discussed together. Are natural ‘providers‘. And hence, for example: that norm of when you tell your dad you like a particular food item. Like: oranges. And he’ll bring lots of it home for you because you said that.

Why am I here?

For a while, I knew, I suppose, that I had religious questions. I’ve found that I’m very interested, AlHamduliLlah, in looking into and discussing certain things pertaining to… theology. Islamic Law. And so on.

At CMC, the modules we are studying in First Year are:

Islamic Law (Fiqh). Islamic Theology. Islamic History.

Social Sciences. Logic (Mantiq). Qur’an. Arabic. And Hadīth.

At times: it is going to feel challenging, but challenge is good, and it motivates us to do things, and allows us to grow.


One of my housemates, Sasha: her grandma is from Uzbekistan, Maa Shaa Allah. She was telling me about the beautiful mosques there, in that part of the world.

Sasha also really kindly offered me an ointment to use — something her grandma tends to use for ‘everything‘ — for some small burn mark scars I had on my face. Chilli burns. Since I’d eaten some fruit off of a chopping board that someone, I think, had cut chilli on.

Actually: scars are cool. They really do make you unique; they tell some sort of story. You lived, you learned, maybe did something a little foolish that time: you are so very human.

[Sasha is so very kind, Maa Shaa Allah. She: left the special cream in a place on the ground floor, accessible to me. And said I could use more if I wanted. She’s also brought a water filter jug, which she said I can use. And some limonada: lemonade.]


Right. It is currently Tuesday, and I’m actually still not fully unpacked.

Being a student at CMC: it’s a lifestyle, Maa Shaa Allah. A real journey: an adventure. We start in the morning: around 9 AM, or 10 AM.

We: eat lunch together. And gender boundaries are respectfully observed. So the men in our year group have their table, with male teachers. And we women have ours, with female staff/teachers.

We have three libraries. One of them is the men’s study area; another one is the women’s study area. It’s, of course, more respectful, and more comfortable, when it’s gender-separated.

We tend to finish the academic day at around 5. And then: we have assignments to do. Readings. The other parts of life. AlHamduliLlah.


Yesterday:

I ended up finding out the bus route to get from my house (new house) to college.

I was ‘going’ to walk. Then found the bus route (Google Maps). Then: a bus got delayed [the Cambridge bus system is not the same as the general London one.].

So I tried to unlock and use a ‘Voi’ electric bike. But, alas: to no avail.

So I ended up taking the bus, and arrived minutes before the first class of the day had begun.

AlHamduliLlah. For everything.


My best friend Tasnim: is currently studying for her Master’s (in the field of Education) at Cambridge University, Maa Shaa Allah. How perfectly our Lord has Planned things for us. We’re here, in this city, together.

On Monday: Tasnim had two scheduled meetings. One was fairly brief; one got cancelled. We’d arranged to meet up, and I waited for her in the courtyard of her college.

And: since her second meeting got cancelled, we had the afternoon/evening to spend with one another, AlHamduliLlah.

[My parents, concerned for my safety: have said that, after classes, I should try to go back home (Cambridge home) before it gets dark. And they’re trusting me enough to be here, in this city, responsible for my own doings and timings. So I’ve got to honour what they’ve said.]

Tas and I ate out. Vietnamese food: it was delicious, AlHamduliLlah. Spicy noodle soup, but it really didn’t taste spicy. More: just flavoursome, really. With a nice range of green vegetables. The chicken at that restaurant is Halāl.

I can’t tell you just how much I love my friend Tasnim, Maa Shaa Allah. I only met her at the age of 17/18. We became really close, AlHamduliLlah, at age 18. She was there for me when it felt like few other people were. And I hope she’ll be my forever friend. A true, true, true gift from Allah.

[We also: did some supermarket shopping together.]

Us. In the space of a minute. Allah hummabārik ‘alaynaa, our friendship!

On the bus journey home: I’d accidentally missed my stop. Unlike in London: in Cambridge, they don’t announce stops. You: get on the bus. Tell the driver which stop you want to get off at. Pay the bus fare (more expensive than in London). A London bus journey costs about £1.65. Cambridge: £2.80.

And: there’s only one door on Cambridge buses, the one at the front.

Anyway: after having missed my stop, I had to get off, wait at the bus stop again. A lady had been there, and I’d asked her how to do this, essentially. How do I go back the other way?

The lady, whose hair had been coloured faintly purple: had been… ‘nice‘. But also: clearly, ‘critical’ of Islam. While waiting for the bus, we had a conversation.

She’d been talking about how some lady who used to work in London or something. Had been trying to get Middle Eastern people from the Edgware Road area to ‘integrate’, not be ‘segregated’. Something about ‘modernisation’. Something about ‘Muslims’ being ‘behind’ and not ‘modern’ or something, in terms of our attitudes towards sex and sexuality.

[I politely-as-I-could-I-hope, explained to her that ‘Muslim’ attitudes towards… sex, a very human, Fitrah-based thing. [Fitrah: the natural, innate, human disposition]. When in ‘excess‘ in terms of ‘prude-ness’ and cold attitudes towards the whole thing: that’s actually often a byproduct of European/’Christian’ colonisation. Victorian ‘Christian’ ethics having seeped into these ‘cultures’, I guess for the sake of ‘propriety’. E.g.: the whole ‘covering table legs because they resemble human legs’ thing.

But, in the Islamic tradition: we are open with our questions. We don’t believe in monasticism in our faith tradition, and we don’t believe in indulging in unhealthy excesses either. We are people of the middle. Our idea is that we observe Hayaa’ (modesty, ‘holding back’) with everyone except whomever we’re married to.

There are freedoms, and there are also boundaries. We accept and appreciate human nature, and we also do not transgress against Allah’s boundaries.]


So: (a hearty, Maa Shaa Allah,) Vietnamese-style meal for dinner that day, AlHamduliLlah. Soup-er duper. Lovingly paid-for, this time, by my beautiful friend.

Tas told me to text her when I get home, so I did. I asked her if she’s home too.

No”

Came her (WhatsApp) reply.

How can I be home if ur not with me”

[Das my best fren, AlHamduliLlah <3.]


The next day: for lunch at CMC, we had some delicious tagine. (Moroccan-style dish). We eating international (and, of course, Halāl!) out here, AlHamduliLlah!

My dad messaged me in the morning:

Yay! I think my parents think I’m responsible now, AlHamduliLlah. And that means something.


Tuesday, I:

Ended up hiring a Voi bike to ride to college. The one closest to me: didn’t work, when I tried to unlock it. I had to walk a bit, to find another. Which did work, AlHamduliLlah. Only with the Help of Allah: He is the All-Powerful Creator, nobody but He.


Oh: the previous day, after I’d gone to pick my best friend up from her college, she’d ended up also coming back to mine, in order to pray (‘Asr, then Maghrib). Maghrib: we prayed in the women’s study area. Where: Tasnim met some sisters studying at CMC who are from the cohort above ours.

The people at CMC are inexplicably lovely. So loving, and genuine. Maa Shaa Allah, Allah hummabārik.

These sisters’ names are: Hafiza, Anjum, and Saffiya.

Saffiya, for example: she had four apples in her hand, picked from our apple tree. She offered Tas and I an apple each: but first went to the Arabic library (the bathroom attached to it) to wash them. The apple she’d given me was really nice, AlHamduliLlah: a needed little boost of energy.

I’ve noticed that, when we pray together in the same room, Saffiya has been praying sitting down: this is something you can do, for example, if you are injured, or elderly, or pregnant.

She (Saffiya): got married some 7 months ago. [(Relatively) ‘young’ marriage is encouraged in our tradition. If/when you meet the right person and all.]

Turns out: Saffiya had badly injured herself, while horse-riding on the beach. With her in-laws. Her bone is bruised!

But: she keeps saying, “AlHamduliLlah,” and smiling her lovely and genuine smile, even in response to questions about her injury. I find this very admirable, Maa Shaa Allah. She won’t complain.

[On Telegram: her profile picture is of her doing some archery, Maa Shaa Allah. Another Sunnah sport.]


When I hired that Voi bike:

It was a tad high up for me. I am… not tall, let’s say. But AlHamduliLlah.

I also: half-crashed into a bush. Fell off the bike once, when I tried to put my foot down. I grazed my knee, got some mud stains onto my bag. But: Khayr. [Adventure!] And scars are (or, maybe: can be,) cool!

“Wondrous is the affair of the believer, for there is good for him in every matter, and this is not the case with anyone except the believer.”

Prophet Muhammad (S A W), according to Muslim (SaHih). [Underlinings my own.]


Expectations and Advice.

Why am I at CMC?

Well, to paraphrase something a Shaykh that we’re being taught by, I think, had said:

‘Ilm (sacred learning) calls you [i.e., to it]. By Allah’s Will and Command.

And, I suppose:

Life is a journey; we truly are travellers here. It feels like, maybe for the first time in my life:

The meaning and worth of what I’m doing: isn’t simply ‘towards the ‘next step”. It’s not: ‘for’ the ‘next’ academic institution, nor ‘for‘ a ‘job’ and so on.

Moreover: it’s not stressful in a bad way. I’m not in some sustained, unsustainable, state of panic, though I know that in the past, for my ‘studies’ I sometimes used to be.

This course of study is/can be challenging, yes, and: also meaningful and good, AlHamduliLlah.

  • When people sometimes ask me: what’s next? Well… I don’t exactly know, do I? At this point: I have general understandings about myself, AlHamduliLlah, and I also know that we plan, but Allah always Plans better. // He’s got a plan for me, and one for you too, and we do our bit, the best we can; we always put our trust in Him.

This, for me: is like the cool boarding school experience I’ve never before had, AlHamduliLlah.

It is: a perfect mixture, a bringing-together-of, the Islamic schooling I’ve had/been exposed to throughout my life, for example at evening/weekend supplementary classes and such. And: my ‘worldly’ studies. School, sixth form.

CMC’s academic atmosphere and attitudes are… rather holistic, and it’s good, AlHamduliLlah.

  • It has to be for Allah. Everything else is vain, falsehood (that’s paraphrasing a poetic line of the Pre-Islamic poet Labīd. This particular line of poetry: Muhammad (S A W) favoured).

I decided to message on a group chat that someone had made, with all the current CMC students… and I’d requested some advice from students in the cohort above ours. For studies/general life management.

[I was a bit worried, for some reason, that this message I’d sent on Telegram would get aired, but:] Fellow CMC students in the cohort above responded to my request for advice really nicely and beneficially, AlHamduliLlah.

Here is a summary of some of the advice that they’d given:

Attitudes towards sacred learning:

  • Study day and night (according to Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad). Study a lot.
  • Divorce the world “three times in these three years”.
  • Ensure the adab (decency, morals, etiquette) towards Sacred Knowledge remains intact: avoid excessive joking, and the risk of accidentally bringing about a student culture in which procrastination/lack of effort are something to ever boast about. [There’s nothing wrong with socialising and so on, but sometimes studies will come at the cost of limited socialisation.]

Taking care of yourself:

  • Be merciful (and loving-kind) towards yourself.
  • “Don’t lose sight of your intentions,” “they’ll get you through the darkest times.”
  • Treat this journey as a lifestyle, rather than a degree. There’s a world of difference between the two.”

  • Focus on your path, said one brother. It’ll be different to others’, naturally. It’s between you and Allah.

One of the students in the cohort above also sent us all an email in response to my question [which, again, I’d assumed would be aired. But anxiety lies! It’s often a very skilled and compulsive liar, actually. I’m glad I’ve been so wrong about things at times.]

He advised:

For Studies:

  • Sit close to teachers. [And have good relationships with them.]
  • Discuss contents of lessons with others.
  • Ask questions until you understand. You haven’t moved cities, left your jobs, families etc. only to not ask a question because you’re nervous or feel you might look silly. If you do feel that way, take it as a good opportunity to wear down your ego. Be courageous, and ask away”
  • Have a system of review in place for all of your classes, otherwise you’ll forget. One system is reviewing content for a given class after 10 minutes, then after an hour, then after 24 hours, then after a week, then after a month, then after 3 months. This will help information settle into your long term memory”
  • Try to prepare texts before the class. Then re-read it again after you’ve gone through it in class. This will help you learn the idiosyncrasies of each genre
  • Learn how to take good notes. It will be an absolute life-saver when exams come around. I personally use the Connell Method (https://thinkinsights.net/consulting/cornell-method-great-notes/#:~:text=The%20Cornell%20Note%20Taking%20method%20discourages%20the%20use%20of%20long,note%2Dtaking%20process%20even%20easier.)
  • When taking notes, try to actively summarise, and create structures for content. Especially during the start of the year, ask as many questions as you need to understand the structure/trajectory of the module. Islamic texts are highly organised and structured, and they have a logic even to how chapters are organised
  • Share, share and share. Everybody should have access to all of your notes. If one of you is a good note-taker, then share your notes after every class. We made a Shared Drive at the start of first year, and by now, it is filled with a treasure trove of notes. There is immense barakah in doing this. None of this knowledge is ours in the first place
  • Explore your curiosities, but don’t worry if you cannot figure out what your interests are. That will come with time, probably in third year
  • Spend as much time with the teachers as you can. You don’t have to ask them the deepest, most profound question all the time. Sometimes just shoot the breeze with them. This is because (1) they’re humans and need good social interaction, (2) it will develop your relationship with them, and (3) there is so much knowledge that comes across outside of texts and classrooms; Sh Abul Hassan Ali Nadwi said that what he learned from most after classes is just spending informal time with his teachers
  • Avoid doing essays last minute. It will considerably worsen your marks.
  • Learn proper referencing and diacritics. Some markers will harshly penalise you if these are not in place
  • Prioritise hifz. Memorise at a sensible and manageable pace, but don’t stop. It will be easy at the moment because you are not very busy and have energy. As term progresses, and essays come along, that is when you’ll have to put in more effort.
  • Recite what you’ve memorised in your Sunnah prayers. Something quite beautiful starts to happen as you do this; the set of verses that you memorise become your cognitive frame for that day. You’ve repeated ayat over and over again, recalling the meanings again and again; and so you begin to see everything around you according to what you’ve memorised. Your prayers will also become much longer as well
  • That being said, don’t neglect revising what you’ve already memorised

Interacting with each other:

  • The classroom needs to be a place where everybody feels comfortable to ask questions. Everybody needs to play a part in creating an open and facilitating space. That doesn’t mean you won’t disagree!
  • When you have disagreements that are beyond intellectual disagreements, just communicate with each other using clear words. Don’t leave things unaddressed, and worse still, don’t take up passive-aggressive behaviours
  • Do nice things for each other. Today, you ask each other about readings, essays and exams. Tomorrow, God-willing, you will ask each other about things like people leaving the religion in your community, managing sectarian tensions etc. The point being is that you will, God-willing, become a network of people who do extremely meaningful and difficult things. It will serve the Ummah tremendously if you all have strong relationships. To that end, take the time to build those relationships; do favours for each other, check in with people when they’re not around, share notes, organise socials etc. 
  • Hold each other to account, lovingly. You’ll be living with each other for 3 years. Over that time, some unbecoming behaviour will come to light from yourselves and others. Help each other through those, as best you can, even when it’s very easy to become frustrated

Lifestyle

  • Do a moderate cardio session of 30 mins, at least 3 times a week. This is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health. The benefits are unbelievable. It was massively improve your efficacy as a student as well. It’s important enough that you should prioritise this over many other things 
  • Wake up early, and have an effective morning routine. If you wake up late, in a rush, and just about get into class on time, you start off your day on a back foot – all the activities of the day are thrusted upon you. If you wake up nice and early, you set the pace of the day. A good morning routine might include: prayer, dhikr, memorisation, exercise, a good breakfast, and something fun. Not all of these will be possible every day. It is important to include something fun or rewarding, because you don’t want the routine to feel punitive; otherwise you won’t be able to sustain it 
  • Based on the above, you need to be sleeping on time. To help you with this, build in certain pre-sleep routines to signal to your body that you’re about to go to sleep e.g. getting changed, putting on a lavender scent, drinking herbal tea, dimming lights etc.
  • Cold showers are fantastic. They wake you up, acclimatise your body to a moderate amount of stress, saves energy, boosts immunity and builds discipline
  • See the Wim Hoff method for more: https://www.wimhofmethod.com/
  • Eat well. A bit of comfort food here and there is okay, but you should honour your body
  • Build in periods of isolation into your routine. You will be intensely exposed to each other over the next 3 years. In order to maintain your sense of self, your vision and prevent co-dependency, you need to spend a good amount of time by yourself. The mornings are good for this, as is time spent in the masjid
  • If you don’t have to work a job, then don’t
  • Dress well and presentably. It is an easy way of showing respect to the people you are around, and to the space you are in. It is also an effective way of reminding yourself of the importance of what you are doing at CMC; we dress well at important and significant occasions. 
  • Stay clean and tidy, in your room, houses and definitely in the College
  • Have a focused set of activities to work on your mental health. This can include journaling (muhasabah), meditative practices (muraqabah), therapy etc. If you know you’ve got personal demons to wrestle with, then start that journey. This is absolutely critical; our personal demons can destroy our studies, taking the form of a bad niyyah (e.g. studying sacred knowledge for clout rather than for God), using knowledge to manipulate others etc. Once you’ve graduated and you’re in a position of authority, you will tell people about ultimate truth, and they’ll believe you. That’s a position of extreme power. If you’re not a good person, or you carry wounds that you haven’t begun to heal, then that leaves you in a position to do immense harm

I’m telling you: Maa Shaa Allah, Allah hummabārik, the people at CMC…

Are so very kind, intelligent. Interesting: a diverse mix of backgrounds. Humble, loving

Pretty awesome, Maa Shaa Allah! And we have standards of excellence to live up to, In Shaa Allah.

Some of the sisters, in complete earnest, Maa Shaa Allah: have offered to come round to my new house to help me unpack!

[So too, kindly, did my housemate (new friend! AlHamduliLlah!) Sasha.]


And the things we do, and say: are either Mufeed, beneficial. Or: ghayri mufeed. Not so.

Do you love it, or, when it comes to people: him/her? Is it, or he/she beneficial, good for you? Does it, or he/she make you happy?

Does it/do they bring you closer to your Lord, helping you to recognise and remember Him?


*Btw, the other Cambridge-bus-story I was going to mention:

An old, maybe 70-year-old, lady had been stare-staring at me on the bus. In a hostile, I-don’t-like-you sort of way. First: directly into my eyes, basically. A sinister, smiling, scoffing, sort of look. And then: she started staring at a part of my headscarf. Her eyes felt… arrogant. Like… they wouldn’t budge, even when I looked directly back at her. Things like this can feel at least somewhat… dehumanising, no?

When I asked her if something’s wrong, she’s staring at me, she: ignored me. A lady near us told her I’m speaking to her. The old lady turned her face away from me, hand out, and said, “No.” Asked me why I’m so “rude“. Said… that I’m… “impeding on [her] human rights”. [I kid you not.]

Claimed: she ‘knows [me] from before’, and ‘why am [I] so rude?’ She’s ‘always been honest’ or something: she ‘knows me from before’.

Threatened to complain about me. Then said a quite nonsensical thing or two, and got off, eventually, at her stop. [I think she’d had some sort of mental health issue, to be frank. Not racist/anti-Muslim on this occasion…]

The lady who’d been sitting near her, after I’d said I’m new, from London… reassured me that not everyone in Cambridge is like that. Although: I’ve heard that there can be some ‘snobby’, rude-behaving people about.

Anyway, throughout this weird ordeal: I tried to remind myself, over and over, that Allah is with me. Don’t be anxious: you’ll be alright.

  • But yo, what is it with me and my experiences on/with public transport?!

“Muammad (S A W) has God on his side” [from ‘Spring’s Gift’, a poem by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. About the Prophet (S A W)].

And spiders who spun the sacred web.

Today, in History, we had a ‘show-and-tell’ session scheduled for in the middle of our class. Bring/show poems and/or things relating to commending the Prophet (S A W). Aḥmad.

Ḥamd.

Mine:

And somebody else’s:


Today, I learned a bit more about my housemates. Sasha, for instance: makes her own jewellery, Maa Shaa Allah. She has a whole kit for it.

Sana, my other housemate, does crochet. Really well, Maa Shaa Allah. And both of them really like cats. They’ve got some cat treats, here in the kitchen, for neighbourhood cats.

Today, we ate dinner together. ‘Unplanned’ by us. But: I needed to buy something particular, and Hafiza told me about a big Sainsbury’s in the vicinity that would do it. Saffiya let me hitch an Uber ride with her and some of the others: on account of her injury, the college is paying for her travel to (and I’d assume also from,) her accommodation. And the Uber took us near the masjid, which the big Sainsbury’s is only a small walk away from.

So I went to Sainsbury’s. And ended up getting, as well as the thing for my home that I’d intended to buy, (frozen, spinach-and-cheese,) pizza, as well as sea bass fillets, chips, salad…

We made a meal of it today, AlHamduliLlah. AlHamduliLlah. AlHamduliLlah.

I’d been thinking: when could we eat together, as a household? Maybe on Saturday evenings, in general?

But: ‘plan’ as we might. Your Lord will always Plan better.


You have the Help, Mercy, and Lovingkindness of Allah (SWT).

And the love of His Rasūl, Muhammad (S A W). You’re a member of his Ummah, and you have

Allah with you.

Allah is With you.

Cambridge Central Mosque, from across the road.

Here is a chocolate tray bake that my aunt/cousins had put on the table when they’d surprised me that day (which one of my cousins had additionally decorated, with chocolate pieces and icing). My aunt told me to take it with me to my new house, share it with my housemates. My other cousin, I think it had been: helped by putting it in a bag, so it doesn’t get messy.

Yesterday, Sana and Sasha had some of that cake, with forks.

They were going to watch a movie, and invited me to watch with them. But I had some things to do. I have to prioritise ‘Ilm, and these studies of mine. It’s also, of course, important to be a good housemate/friend and so on. In Shaa Allah: next time. Basically, if there is good in it: Allah will make for you a way.


I do love being recognised as a Muslim woman, AlHamduliLlah. Smiles from fellow Muslim sisters. Three people have said Salaam to me on the streets of Cambridge so far! Head nods of recognition and love, smiles.

Today Sana and I started talking about the permissibility of tattoos in Islam. Sasha and I may go to the masjid together tomorrow, In Shaa Allah. Back at CMC: sometimes, we have theological Wudhu-room conversations, AlHamduliLlah. And lunchtime conversations are pretty much always interesting.

Verily, after hardship comes ease. And after periods of waiting: Allah will grant you what is best for you. Like the first sip of crisp, cool water: after long and parching fasting day. There’s Khayr (goodness) in all of it, for us.

AlHamduliLlah!

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