بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Hope is the thing with feathers.
That no matter how hard life gets: the important thing is to live it with hope.
Recently, it feels like things have been piling up. ‘A little’ doesn’t seem like an accurate addition to that sentence. Probably: a lot.
Emotionally, and my lingering fears about a whole general situation in this life of mine. Spatially: I’m still waiting on this house of mine (which I’m renting a room from, essentially) to be cleaned. Many of my things are in boxes; studies are proving to be somewhat intense, although there is immense benefit in it all too, AlHamduliLlah.
Recently: and maybe it’s in line with personal cycles, and with the cycles of the world, i.e. we’re currently dipping into Winter, a season kind of notorious for how it can bring about additional feelings of sadness, anxiety, and so on. I’ve been feeling like… I don’t know, just a ‘bad person’. A ‘bundle of mistakes’, at least at times.
I’ve made mistakes. I probably make them every day. Yesterday: what with the hectic-ness of everything, I didn’t manage to let somebody know about a particular change. We have this Muslim women’s group, and some of my friends and I are trying to run some sort of event every month for it, In Shaa Allah.
For yesterday’s event: someone had gotten in touch with me, over a neighbourhood app I’m on, about a venue we could potentially use. And then: I suppose as things piled up, for me, I ended up passing on responsibilities pertaining to a) venue, and b) a guest we’d have [she has her own skincare etc. business; we met her at a local summer fair, on Eid] to one of the other sisters, my good friend, who runs our group too.
Although I’d been planning to go to this particular event: I’m not living in London anymore, at the moment. And going, and in the middle of all this: would have proven somewhat difficult. So I didn’t go, and asked if the others could take over, which, AlHamduliLlah, they did.
But the lady who let us use the venue, initially: was not happy. So not happy. She was angry that my friend Safiya had now been contacting her, and not me. She thought I simply couldn’t be “bothered” to let her know of the change. “Just ridiculous” and “unacceptable“. On the day of the event: she said she has ‘no choice’ but to cancel. [Mrs Birling from the play, ‘An Inspector Calls’, vibes.]
I really was sorry. In the relative messes of everything: I didn’t manage to let the lady know that there’d been a shift in roles. Was our event, which some people had been looking forward to, going to be cancelled?
No. Allah makes for us a way: He will Provide for us, from places we don’t expect.
Someone in our group… offered her home to be used: an apartment in London, Maa Shaa Allah. She was so, so lovely about it all, and welcoming. Even apologised for not being able to prepare lots of food in time for it.
She legitimately opened up her house. Said these gatherings, basically, were something she’d do, with school and sixth form friends sometimes.
The event went really well, AlHamduliLlah.
And I just felt profusely apologetic, and somewhat terrible. You know those times when you might replay, and dwell over, lots of things you’ve done ‘wrong‘?
Maybe: the best we can do, is know that we are human. That we will slip up, try as we might. The important thing is thinking about how best to remedy the situation afterwards.
But I also love it when people are mercifully lenient, and relatively easygoing about things. God is Merciful to those who are merciful on Earth.
I get that, sometimes, mistakes can come across as… showing a lack of ‘care’. But if someone’s sincerely trying to apologise to you… I don’t know.
I feel like, and maybe this is just me worrying, I’ve got a bunch of things to apologise to people for. It’s a solipsistic [solipsistic: very self-centred] way of seeing things, isn’t it? But, I don’t know. Sometimes, I feel like people have had these expectations for me. And that: try as I might… I just can’t meet them.
One extreme might be: ‘caring’ so much that you… emotionally paralyse yourself. Become a walking apology, ‘too sensitive’. The other might just be: acting like you do not care at all. Do not apologise, when you (necessarily) make mistakes, ‘cold’. And that’s not nice: people deserve to know that you care, right? That you regard and respect them.
Something I’m liking about studying things like Hadīth and Islamic Law is:
Learning about why things are the way they are. The history of the construction of sub-systems within the Islamic legal framework. The ‘schools of jurisprudence’, for example. Hanafī, Mālikī. Shāfi’i, Hanbalī.
And: thinking about the principles underlying them. Like: the principle of justice.
And that of: beauty.
And that of: the middle, moderation. I think I’m trying to be someone who apologises, for sure. To rectify the hurts that I will, unfortunately, sometimes end up causing (even while trying, in the first place, not to). To, In Shaa Allah, seek to do better.
And, also: I’m a human being with a soul. I’m not a doormat. So when it feels like people are being… unfairly critical, belittling in how they may try to pick apart and tell you about your ‘flaws’ and mistakes and so forth. What to do?
Maybe I need to work on listening. And: giving things some space. Time spent alone, with Allah, in the masjid, or at home. Journalling. Thinking about things. And, if it is good: apologising in the right way.
Impulsivity: ‘quick reactions’. Are not good in response to these things. For example: immediately, one’s Nafs may incline him/her to just defend itself when a point that feels critical is made. Listen, me @ me. Wait it out, and think about it.
Do you ever feel like you’re somehow… ‘uniquely’ prone to making mistakes?
Is that an example of having a solipsistic outlook on things, again?
- Making mistakes is in human nature, you know.
Also: sometimes, we are tested through other people, and their errors and so on. And sometimes: they are tested through… us.
I really like it when people are… kind-hearted about things though. Like, that nurturing ‘it’s okay, it happens. These things happen,’ attitude.
As well as having moved out of my parents’ home for the first time: I’m actually undertaking my first academic degree at the moment, In Shaa Allah.
It’s been a surprising, but no doubt, interesting, AlHamduliLlah: journey for me. I’ve considered applying to/have applied, by now, to study a bunch of subjects, having not quite been sure about what I wanted to ‘do’. Are you ready for the list?
I thought I wanted to study: English. And:
Sociology. Politics. But then: Philosophy.
Psychology. Religion, Theology, Ethics. Islamic Law/Theology.
Always, Allah has Complete Knowledge of our journeys. And of where we are going. We put our trust in Him; He will not let us down.
Basically: the ‘humanities’ subjects are… the ‘study of humanity’. The father, the king, of all these subjects, you could say, is: ‘Philosophy’. Beginning with questions like: what is a human being in the first place?
Why are we here?
What is our nature?
How do we relate to others?
What is shared among us? In which ways do we differ?
What do humans like? How do we live together? How should we govern ourselves?
How awesome is the human mind?! Maa Shaa Allah.
The thing about studying the ‘humanities’, from an ‘areligious’ perspective, and without being spiritually/intellectually rooted in ultimate truth, Islam, is that…
It can all turn out to be… a whole lot of… fallible, human conjecture. [conjecture: an opinion/conclusion that someone might form without having complete information about it].
The study of humanity, in Truth, begins: with Revelation. We have our Pre-Truths, our frameworks through which all else fits in.
That we are fundamentally human, unknowing, while Allah (SWT) is All-Knowing, All-Wise. That is the basis of our lives here on this Earth. We are here to know, recognise, remember, be grateful to, Allah, our Creator.
- The Cambridge Muslim College: is rooted in this idea. That all truth is God’s truth. [Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad said that]. And so: although some are seemingly disapproving of my choosing a ‘newer’ academic establishment to be a student at, and so on… I have faith, and trust. That CMC is a place where good things have, do, and will continue to, over the years, and In Shaa Allah even centuries, happen.
As far as essay-writing is going:
Hmmm. Well. I had an essay due in the day after I moved. We… don’t speak about that essay.
And then a couple more.
Since I’m using this platform as a semi-public journal, In Shaa Allah, I’m going to somehow try to put these initial essays of mine down below. And, hopefully, In Shaa Allah: over the next three academic years, see how I may change and develop, in terms of my ‘academic writing’.
Essay the first:
I really have to learn to try to express due gratitude to Allah. Because knowledge of ‘the humanities’ subjects is integral to Fiqh (Islamic law) studies. And things are quite interconnected, actually.
[The above piece of work: any typos and so on, I’ve left in. This piece of writing is based on a 42-page reading we had to read. And I: struggled. Reading online, from a PDF. Taking notes into a notebook. The due date.
One of my classmates, as well as my best friend: recommended that I read the first part (abstract, introduction,) and the conclusion. Decide what my main points might be. And then add to those, from skim-reading the text.
So: new plan. Do that next time, In Shaa Allah. Abstract and introduction, followed by conclusion. Make a structure for the essay, on Word. Skim-read, looking at/noting the subheadings. Perhaps make notes in a notebook/on paper. Plan! Write! Proofread. Awesome sauce.]
Advice from one of our class members, Raiyan:
Also: I ended up turning this essay in late. It was due last Thursday; I asked our teacher if I could submit it a little later, after the class:
He responded to my Salaam, and then said, “No problem.“
And then, after having tried to balance everything, do what needs to be done [pause here. My housemate Sasha and I went on a supermarket run. She’s very kind and caring, this girl, Maa Shaa Allah. Like a sister I never knew I had in the world.]…
Let’s resume. And then, after having tried to balance everything, do what needs to be done, the essay was still being constructed. The 42-page reading and all. I ended up actually sending it over… four days late. Not at all because I ‘wanted’ to. But it’s what ended up happening.
And, relief, AlHamduliLlah:
We have kind teachers, Maa Shaa Allah. Their standards are high, and they are kind and understanding.
This teacher of ours replied:
Today, AlHamduliLlah, I prayed at Cambridge Central Masjid again.
I quite love the material of wood. Timber. It’s so… beautiful. In a realistic, Earthly sort of way, Maa Shaa Allah. You can see the prints of nature on it. As far as I know: the pulpit that Muhammad (S A W) spoke from had been made of wood, made/developed by a women’s carpentry business.
Inside the building of this masjid, there is… an exhibition room. Showing the developments of certain inventions, by Muslim scholars/polymaths.
The masjid also has a café area. Where you can make yourself a cuppa. With brown sugar. Drink from compostable cups. [We’re stewards of the Earth. And we’re meant to walk upon it gently.]
And here is a house that is being overtaken by red foliage this Autumnal season, Maa Shaa Allah:
Our dining room table [a bit of a mess, at the moment.]:
Sauces at Sainsbury’s. What’s life without a bit of sauce?
I really don’t like arrogance. I really, really don’t like arrogance. At times, I worry that some of my actions are indicating arrogance, but: we have to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves.
Rudeness, belittling others, looking, speaking, ‘down’ on them.
It’s fundamentally delusional, centred on lies, and hiding a bunch of personal insecurities, isn’t it?
This morning: I ended up being late to class. And I don’t want to be late to class, ever. Maybe I should cease from immediately presenting my ‘excuses’, but:
The bus got cancelled/delayed. Other means of transportation were unavailable to me.
And now for some personal accountability: what I need is more order in my life, In Shaa Allah. A proper night routine. And a proper morning one.
To be out the door an hour before class starts, to be on the safer side.
And today, another apology. The landlord’s wife had come over, to speak to us. About some things they were sorry for, with regard to the house. She explained her situation and circumstances, basically highlighting how human she is. And then: sought to make amends. Got a pencil (one of mine,) and a paper (a pastel-coloured one, offered by Sasha,) and made a plan.
Wrongs are pretty much always going to happen. Now:
How best to make right of them?
Here is what my brother made when we’d visited the Science Museum (in London) together:
Part of student living would appear to be:
Putting together — or, concocting, to use a more dramatic term — random/interesting food combinations, for meals.
Food really is such an important consideration. So fundamental to our humanity, our social sides, the curious/creative/adventurous sides of us, when cooking. Our physical beings, our days, our lives…
This sadness that I’ve been feeling. Feelings of betrayal, and hurt. Of unsolicited contact. Will it last forever? Or will my Lord cleanse my heart of it all, this coming (next) day?
These fears that I’ve been experiencing. I hope they’re unfounded. I hope they’re unfounded. I hope they’re unfounded. And if not: then, my Lord always Knows best.
My friend Tas and I ate at a local food place which is better than Nando’s. My housemate and I went there together the other day, and I really liked it, so I went again with Tas.
Nice decór at this food place:
On the topic of cars…
[I love kids! What joys they bring to the world, Maa Shaa Allah!]
Here is my little cousin Dawud’s line-up. Girl, your mcm could never.
This is my uncle (Dawud’s dad,) and cousins:
Throckmorton’s real name is Moosa. But, once I saw a meme that spoke about someone called Cousin Throckmorton. So.
Cambridge Muslim College, in terms of years it has been ‘alive’: is fairly ‘new’. With regard to things we learn: not always so ‘new’. Sometimes: 1400 years old, sometimes about the beginnings of human kind. We are all from one soul. And then, from that soul: his mate.
And from Ādam and Hawā:
Every type, variation, similarity, and difference, between us. Subhaan Allah.
And where we are, and how we meet, and whom we know. What we learn from them [e.g. how to make mashed potatoes, from actual potatoes. Learnt that from Sasha]. How we’re going to grow with/alongside other people. And, hey, also: what they’re going to grow in, maybe, as a result of knowing us!