بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Friday: the last day of the week before our first ‘Reading Week’ here at CMC.
We had a Logic lesson: about categorising words, and the concepts/objects they represent. And then: I tried to ask my class how everybody’s doing and so on. I think somebody assumed that I was asking in order to inquisitively see if everybody else is struggling too. The answer: yes, everybody is.
Was that my intention? Just… ‘self-comfort’? Reassurance, to know that I am not alone in feeling like this is a struggle?
Intentions matter, to use my little (four-year-old) cousin Dawud’s words: “big much.” [e.g. he used to/says: “I love you big much.“]
I think part of it was seeking reassurance. But: in a two-way sort of way, hopefully. As in: how can we help each other to better this whole experience?
In general, it very much seems as though there’s a general ‘male essence’, and a ‘female’ one. Although we have aspects of one another within ourselves: men tend to be more ‘logical’, pragmatic/practical, ‘just-get-on-with-it-and-do-what-needs-to-be-done’.
Whereas, we women: I think we, by nature, care very much about the emotional, spiritual, and social aspects of things. Man and woman have been created by Allah complementarily, and isn’t gender a truly fascinating topic to think about? Subhaan Allah.
One of my classmates from CMC: who has read a Linguistics degree, followed by an International Relations one at Cambridge University, Maa Shaa Allah, said that it’s crucially about ‘organisation and time management’.
”Luck’ favours the prepared’ and all.
‘Fail to plan, plan to fail.‘
A plan is the foundation for something. And, not everything will go according to [human] ‘plan’. Allah’s Plan is surely better. But as long as we try our level bests, and then leave it to our Rabb, Allah.
At CMC, we have people with science-y backgrounds: like Iqra, who’s got a dentistry degree, Maa Shaa Allah. And someone who’s studied Physics. Finance. And so on.
It’s not really about artificially ‘detaching the ‘religious’ and the ‘secular” as had happened in Christian spheres of knowing/understanding. For us Muslims:
Everything belongs to Allah. To study Physics is to study His Signs. To be a doctor or a dentist is to better understand, and to then help and serve, aspects of His creation.
I’ve heard about people saying strange things about being ‘religious’ and intelligent, for example in terms of knowledge/competence in science as being… ‘laughable’, somehow. Like: someone, who has a friend who’d been an academic at Cambridge University [we have a range of age ranges, backgrounds, and so on, at CMC,]: a scientific mentor of his had essentially scoffed at him for being religious and being a scientist.
Muslims scientists: they know of their epistemic [epistemology: the study of knowledge. How do we ‘know’ what we ‘know? And so on.] foundations. And everything begins and ends with the Will of Allah.
The study of the material (and human/social) sciences, for example, instead of making us feel arrogant: like ‘we have the answers now’…
They should bring us closer to Allah, and increase us in awe, fear, and humbleness before Him. This Universe is simply gorgeous, Maa Shaa Allah: exceptionally beautiful, many aspects of it, and this Earth.
I think there was a time when I’d been, maybe, too ‘lax’ in matters of my religion. And then: a time when I’d maybe been ‘too hard on myself’ with regard to it.
And now: I’m better coming to understand, AlHamduliLlah, just how much Allah Intends ease, and goodness, for us, and not difficulty.
And I think, at least quietly: I was stressing about, maybe, not doing enough work as a CMC student, feeling ‘behind’ everybody else, and so on. It’s not a ‘value’ we should ever strive for: ‘hard work’ at the expense of the rights that our own selves have over us. And the rights of others.
Periods of concentrated study, and work, are good when they are good. In moderation: the middle.
On Friday: my housemate Sasha had encouraged me to relax. We watched a movie together: she’d wanted to watch, maybe, some movie about extraterrestrial life or something. I asked if we could watch an old Disney movie: The Incredibles. And so we did.
We had some snacks, watched a movie. Your friends deserve quality time with you, right? And to be looked after by you.
On Friday, too: I delivered a tutoring lesson at somebody’s house. My new student’s name is Inaya: someone on a Cambridge Muslim sisters’ group chat had been looking for a GCSE maths tutor. And, when it comes to maths: personally, I think I’m more of an English person. But GCSE maths is alright for me, AlHamduliLlah.
And while A-level Maths is something I dropped like it was a hot potato.
Which of the favours of my Lord could I ever deny?
Every single opportunity He has ever presented us with. To better ourselves, and to use the blessings He has Gifted us.
He Knows what is best for us, and where we are, and where we are going.
*I realised that me and my little brother: we’re kind of like Violet and Dash from The Incredibles.
When life gets busy: rest is very important. It’s a meaningful thing to do, in good measure.
And: on Saturday, I went to London (from Cambridge). My friend Jade had booked train tickets for me: she’d invited me somewhere, and I’d scheduled it in.
My friend Jade accepted Islam last year. She has a potential-husband-to-be, In Shaa Allah, and he’s Muslim, Pakistani. Yesterday: after a period of courtship (Halāl dating) between them, she was going to meet his parents. They all had a reservation at Efes, a Turkish restaurant. The one on Brick Lane.
[Efes is named after Ephesus: a historical ancient city in Turkey, and an incredible place to visit, Maa Shaa Allah.]
I… had experienced some train troubles. Got off the train at a stop called Foxton. There’s a public footpath there. Engurland is a good place for walks, isn’t it?
And I was wearing a Selwar Kameez: a Desi-style dress. With an open ‘Abaya on top. And the scarf matching my Selwar Kameez on the side. And: trainers. Which I’d later swapped for some boots I’d purchased from Sainsbury’s on that day (yesterday).
In other news:
My uncle/aunt had the numberplate of their car stolen recently. All caught in 4k, on my uncle’s Ring camera.
[Someone on our family group chat mentioned something about how: it could be part of a scam. People stealing, and placing on their own cars, other people’s numberplates. So that they can speed, and then speeding tickets go to the actual owner’s address…]
If this guy had attempted such a thing in Saudi Arabia [and I’m not saying that the modern ‘Saudi’ government is the ‘representative’ for Islam]: this guy’s hands could be chopped off, you know. *Certain punishments for certain transgressions are present in Islam, and we are not to violate God’s rights over us, nor other people’s rights, including their property.
Having lunch with Jadey’s potential future family, In Shaa Allah: was nice, AlHamduliLlah.
They’d essentially said that, they understand that there may not be anyone ‘on her side’, since: her family is in Yorkshire, and they’re not Muslim. So she could bring a close friend.
Jade’s potential-future-father-in-law is very understanding and kind, Maa Shaa Allah. And he’d said some words of wisdom yesterday.
By profession: he’s a dentist, and while Jade’s potential-husband is a History teacher. They: like reading. And Jade and her potential-husband have some things in common, like their loves for history, reading, and food [when I’d asked what their favourite cuisines were: he, Ibrahim, had bravely, boldly, said… Columbian. Jade: is half-Columbian. Lol!]
We had a platter of food. And both Jade and I, I think, had mango juices. The bill had come to over £100. Hashtag treated. AlHamduliLlah.
Humbleness is a trait that is really nice, Maa Shaa Allah. This family, I think, has that. The father is quite kind and caring too: he’d said, for example, that, out of this, he doesn’t ‘just’ want for his son to be happy. He wants for everybody involved (including me!) to be happy. With the proceedings and all.
At that table: I’d been sitting next to Jadey. And: turned, slightly, to face her. My soul and her soul have been Designed to be sisters, Maa Shaa Allah. We were meant to meet, and be close.
AlHamduliLlah: people, and love, and food and gifts, are gifts from God.
[I was just so happy, and honoured, that Jade would invite me to this!!!! But she thanked me several times, and I think, thought it might have somehow been ‘burdensome’ for me. Not at all. She’d not only paid for my train tickets: she also gave me some gifts.
Her potential future family also gave me a box of chocolates. How very kind! They didn’t have to: they’d paid for my meal and drink too.
And, to Jade: they’d given her a ‘Barakah journal‘, i.e. an Islamically-inspired journal. And a box of chocolates.]
When doing these things, towards marriage, In Shaa Allah:
I think it’s very important to… not be swayed solely by the ‘sweetness’ of things. Substance matters too.
What I like about this family, and about how Ibrahim has done things, is:
They didn’t, in any way, treat Jade as though ‘their son’ is ‘more important’. Ibrahim called Jade’s dad; on the phone, they’d ended up speaking about politics and history with one another, which was sweet to hear about.
And then: this meal, and having me there too.
Soon, In Shaa Allah: the families will meet. Jadey’s family from Yorkshire, coming down to London.
I’m very proud of my friend, Maa Shaa Allah. And so happy with how Allah Plans and does things.
Yesterday: I was her hype-woman, essentially. Maybe I did it to the point of cringe, but there are many good things, I found, to say about Jade.
I also: like a protective younger sister, put in a condition for Ibrahim. His parents had mentioned that they’ve been trying to encourage him to learn how to drive. I said: he must learn how to drive. Since: I don’t want Jade to be taking buses and so on at night. I would want for her to be picked up and dropped off to places.
I think the two of them had agreed, in front of Ibrahim’s parents, that they will help one another to learn how to drive, In Shaa Allah.
Sweetness can be really sweet. Substance is often brave, and it’s honourable. What we care about is true, determined effort.
Ibrahim’s dad asked Ibrahim and Jade if they’ve also had difficult conversations with one another. i.e.: recognising that they are human. That this will likely not be: ‘rainbows and butterflies’. It’s: two human beings coming together. Things like finances need to be discussed. And: times of conflict, arguments, are very natural. To be expected.
We should take a balanced, middle, approach to matters of romance and marriage. Not ‘Bollywood’, and not intrinsically ‘torturous’ either.
*I guess I felt a bit shy at that table. When Ibrahim kindly asked me if I wanted some sauce with my bread: I… said no. For some reason. And ate plain bread.
Then: I tried to eat a chicken wing from the platter. With a knife and fork. I said I’d eat it with my hands if Jade does so too. So she did, and I did.
*Allah hummabārik: if this partnership between my sister and Ibrahim is meant to be. Then may Allah bless it, from beginning to eternity. [That’s another thing that Ibrahim’s father had mentioned. That he wouldn’t just want for them to be happy together in this world. But: for eternity, In Shaa Allah.]
Here is the box of chocolates that the family had given me. And I’d opened it on the train back to Cambridge:
As far as being treated right, as a Muslim woman entering into NikaaH, goes:
If he’s eating good: you eat good also.
If he’s wearing high-quality, expensive clothes: you, also.
And if he is living in a nice house: you live in that nice house, enjoying those luxuries, also.
- A sign that you will be looked after well, in the material sense: is the Mahr. The material/money gift that the man gifts the woman. Must gift the woman. According to his means, but it needs to be an honourable gift.
After taking the train back to Cambridge:
Another meal invitation, essentially. But this time: for dinner. With my friend Tasnim, who had invited me to the Cambridge University Islamic Society dinner. She’d very kindly, AlHamduliLlah, paid for my ticket too.
And: she’d been going to Churchill College, where the dinner was going to be taking place, by cab. She’d picked me up (from CMC, where I’d gone, after getting the train back, in order to pray,) and then off we went, in our ‘carriage’. [Before then: my phone had died. And Subhaan Allah: Allah Made for me a way. Someone had been in the office right next to the library. And had an iPhone charger, which I could use.]
Sometimes, I have problems with timing. But my aim, moving forward [‘forward’ or ‘forwards‘?] is, In Shaa Allah, to arrive at places 17 minutes early. [I know ’17’ seems kind of random there. But: it’s a nice prime number between 16 and 18, so. Not as minute as 15, and not as seemingly extensive as 20.]
I also tend to have problems with phone and charge. This is known knowledge. My family makes jokes about it: it can be terrible, but one of my relatives says it’s ‘endearing’.
Yesterday, I had to use someone’s charger at the masjid (East London Masjid) to charge my phone. Oh, and: right when Jade had told me which Efes restaurant to go to [and I saw something about Jack the Ripper very, very briefly,] my phone had died.
But, again, a Muslim (Somali) sister had helped me. She Google-Mapsed it for me, and was very, very kind. As people who are beloved to Allah often are.
This sister: had moved to East London from ‘Archway’, after having gotten married.
Oh, and: the Efes branch in question had been next to… a restaurant called Jack the Chipper. Which is what Jade had texted me about, before my phone had died…
[My dad has tried, with power-banks and so on. I: recently nabbed a free charging cable from the University of Cambridge Prayer Room. A company had given free products, and someone had been handing them out, so…]
*Having friends who are studying at the University of Cambridge = having friends you can materially benefit from, you see.
El menu from the dinner:
The food was good, AlHamduliLlah. The company was better: my best friend Tasnim and I had been sitting with someone who is a Cambridge Law student. And another: Nat Sci (Natural Sciences). And another: English. Two Pakistanis, I think, and a fellow Bengali (who looked like my half-Arab cousins, actually. Bengalis and ethnic ambiguity…).
These girls, who were very lovely, Maa Shaa Allah: were curious about CMC. And so I’d told them about it. When people ask me about it: I seem to tend to first ask them if they’ve heard of Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad. And then that can determine how the rest of the answer goes.
*The speeches at the event were nice and beneficial, Maa Shaa Allah. We are very blessed indeed, to be Muslim.
Also: this was an auction event. Islamically-inspired artwork was being sold. And people were buying these pieces for up to £1000 per piece! Who has this kind of money lying about?! [Maa Shaa Allah. Some Muslims are very wealthy. It’s something that Allah has blessed them with being.]
This hadn’t been my first experience of a formal dinner at the University of Cambridge.
Previously, while on a trip there:
I’d attended a formal dinner at which they’d noted down dietary requirements, given those of us who had said we eat Halāl (and, I guess, some: vegetarian, kosher,) a special card.
On the menu for that evening had been: pork with melon slices [???].
Best believe they tried to serve me, and another Muslim who had been at the table (whose name was Ibrahim, and who’d ended up giving a girl his number ‘for Physics help’ by writing it down on a napkin!) what they’d tried to refer to as being ‘Halāl pork’[???!!!!]
My friend Tasnim has a similar story. Prior to becoming a student at the university: she’d also attended a trip, and a formal. At which they’d served her Halāl chicken. With: sprinklings of pork, as part of the meal…
[Come on. Le Muslims: we do not eat le pig meat. This be known knowledge, Cambridge University!]
But this particular event had been organised by the Islamic Society. Halāl everything.
Tasnim and I had taken a cab back.
Our driver: had been East Asian, but I’m not sure from where exactly. He’d been kind, and also: thought that being ‘Muslim’ and being ‘Islamic’ are two different things, different religions.
He also had a question about why we take off our shoes before entering a masjid. It’s for cleanliness reasons, really, as far as I know.
Someone who had spoken at the aforesaid Cambridge ISOC event had been:
My friend Zaynah (HSPS – Sociology, Politics, and Anthropology – student at Cambridge. And, formerly, at the sixth form we’d both attended, she’d been President of the Politics Society), whom I am very proud of, Maa Shaa Allah. Her elegance, her beauty, and her public speaking skills. Allah hummabārik. She’s a very lovely and intelligent human being.
[What?! A religious person being smart and confident in her Deen?!
Today: I went to Inaya’s house, for tutoring. We: did some planning, AlHamduliLlah, as well as some maths.
I took a lesson from our lesson today. About how I need to plan and organise: to set good foundations for the beautiful things that my Lord will bring about. But I need to try, and part of legitimate trying is: first planning. Organising.
Something that is nice about tutoring/teaching is: how you, as a teacher/tutor, often find you need to revise your own knowledge. To be a teacher is to also be a student. So that’s pretty cool. [And you just happen to learn more about… people. About how people live, family dynamics/relationships, and so on. About your students’ lives: I love trying to implement a balance between ‘work’, and making it relatively enjoyable. While also not ‘wasting time’.]
Plus: the feeling of actually solving a maths equation that might have been hard at first. A good feeling, AlHamduliLlah.
This morning, and like the boots (which I love. And they’re from Allah,) that I’d purchased from the Sainsbury’s back in London…
This morning I’d purchased an umbrella, from the Sainsbury’s in Cambridge. It was pouring this morning. And I hadn’t brought an umbrella from London.
Subhaan Allah: I found an umbrella that looked like exactly what I’d been looking for. Durable, classic, black. Labelled as being £10. And: when I’d taken it to the till to pay for it, the lady said that it’s actually on sale. £3! I love this umbrella so much.
AlHamduliLlah. For all our gifts, which are directly from our Lord and Maker. Allah.
My new student Inaya. AlHamduliLlah, I, so far, really like going to her house and tutoring her.
Her family is lovely, Maa Shaa Allah: her dad owns a restaurant. And her mum’s name is Lily [like Lily Potter], but I call her Khala, which means ‘auntie’ in Bengali. And also in Pakistani (Urdu, and maybe Punjabi too?), I think. So I’d called Jade’s potential-husband’s mum Khala too.
Their mum drives the girls [three girls. Inaya, Liyana, and Zaynah. Oh my goodness: another Zaynah in this article!] to the masjid on Fridays. And picks up her sister on the way.
Ibrahim’s family, also: they eat dinner together every day, Maa Shaa Allah. Their mum makes it a point for them to, and they talk about their days together, and so on. That’s how you nurture familial bonds: time spent together in goodness.
Zaynah, my new student Inaya’s little sister: is six years old. And what a cutie pie, Maa Shaa Allah. She reminds me of Agnes from ‘Despicable Me’.
So, so cute. Her face, her voice, and what she says.
She was calling her nan ‘really cute‘ today, on the stairs, and made her big sister laugh.
She: had given me a sweet. And very sweetly had sat right next to me when their mum had dropped me off closer to home on Friday, when they’d been on their way to the masjid.
Now here’s something random I’d seen today. I’m not sure why people do this:
This might just be a myth. Apparently: it could just be trivial. Done as a prank.
Don’t Waste Time.
Another thing I’d learnt from tutoring Inaya, so far, is that: we shouldn’t waste time. For example, don’t use lesson time for printing [in our first lesson, the printer wasn’t working. And so some time was taken up, with the girls (endearingly) trying to figure it out], and/or for doing things that can be done outside of lesson time. Time is very precious, and we’re there to do what we’re there to do.
To take our time seriously is to take our lives seriously. [And also rest, okay. Maybe: the Incredibles this time. And, I don’t know, Slumdog Millionaire or something the next.]
So I’ve applied for some part-time jobs. Like: at the Cambridge Central Masjid. But: turns out they’d just recruited people. They said that I should send my CV over anyway: for them to keep in case vacancies arise.
I’d accidentally: sent my CV to CMC (the Cambridge Muslim College, where I’m currently a student,) instead of the Cambridge Central Masjid, at first.
Another job vacancy:
This time, for a full-time position.
My housemate Sasha and I have a noticeboard in the kitchen. And, as well as bin collection dates, a restaurant menu, my timetable, and a bus ticket and a train ticket, and a piece of artwork that a friend of Sasha’s designed…
We’ve got some job vacancies. For what we’re looking for in our future partners, In Shaa Allah. [Sasha told me to put it on the blog…]
Maybe I’m going to start posting every Friday, and every Monday also, In Shaa Allah. We shall see, we shall see.
England is currently dipping into the beginnings of Winter. And Winter is absolutely gorgeous, Maa Shaa Allah: the transitions of the crispness of the leaves, and their vibrant colours. Into all the rain. The darkness, and the cold.
Tonight is Halloween, but I don’t celebrate it, since I’m Muslim. I do however, just love this time of year, AlHamduliLlah. Cute scarves, nice aesthetic; warmth. And we also need to take care of each other: since ‘seasonal depression’ is very much a reality.
Perhaps Winter is so beautiful on account of her intensity, coldness. A sort of beauty that is enshrouded in mystery: it’s not necessary ‘delicate’. And the lights, and the cold, and the cheerful, determined happiness we can also feel, at this time of year, through to the beginnings of Spring.
Things that are mysterious but are actually good things:
Winter. Maths. Dishwashers. ‘Mysterious’ people: people tend to contain entire worlds in those minds and souls of theirs, Maa Shaa Allah. Oh, and: life itself. These magnificently-Planned stories of ours.
I like mysteries, and I very much love positive surprises; they are from my Lord, the One and Only. He Knows, while I Know not.