بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In a way: I suppose I still can’t believe that I have moved. From London to Cambridge. But I just know that when Allah has Decreed something for us: it’s not necessarily ‘easy’ all the way through. But the way, in a distinctive kind of way, is made smooth.
I can’t believe I’m here. At this time in my life, Subhaan Allah. After difficulty: something good, and ease, is coming. This is a Qur’anic Law, a principle that we remember in times of distinctive difficulty.
Although it’s Reading Week at CMC: we had some catch-up classes yesterday (Monday). At first: I was wondering if I should, or shouldn’t go in. But I’d eventually resolved to go, since I told Dr Zainab, the BA coordinator, that I would. Gotta keep promises.
I’m glad I went. Although I felt tired: and, later, post-lunch, sleepy…
I gained a significant amount of wisdom, just by being present there, AlHamduliLlah.
Like about how: part of ‘wisdom‘ is… Speaking to people in the right way, and in ways that are good for them. You don’t talk to a child in the same way as you speak to an adult; you don’t speak to someone who might be far away from the core of Islam in practice… in the same way as somebody who already seems quite rooted in Islam as a way of life.
An analogy that our teacher, Shaykh Sulayman, used yesterday had been:
[And he’d used a board pen on the edge of the desk for illustration.]
If a child is on the edge of say, a balcony. Or right near an open window, several storeys high. You don’t shout at them. You speak to them in careful, gentle ways. Get them away from danger.
Calling people to Islam shouldn’t be an ‘ego trip’. We should speak words of gentleness, and show Islam through whom we are: what we do.
This is how my friend Jade, step by step, had come to accept Islam. Through learning about it in RE (Religious Education) at school, and her teacher had been a ‘really good teacher’ who had taken the class to visit a masjid (AKA mosque).
And then Jade had friends at uni, I think she’d said, who’d been Muslim. She’d spent time with them. And then she’d gone to work in Whitechapel, in East London, which has a sizeable Muslim community. She’d really liked the character of the people working around her. They weren’t trying to ‘make’ her come to Islam.
But we should try to be Muslims, and show, thereby, what Islam is. And if/when discussions with, and answering the questions of, different people would be good – wise – to do. Then we engage in those.
What is Wisdom?
Today I watched a lecture by one of my current teachers: Dr Najah Nadi. I feel very fortunate, and grateful, AlHamduliLlah, to have teachers such as herself.
In this lecture (which is available on YouTube,) Dr Najah had been talking about how wisdom (or, a definition of it,) is about:
Things being in their right places. And/or coming to put things in their right places.
How can we make sense of this?
Everything that Allah does. There is Hikmah (wisdom) in it. And, often, we only really understand that in retrospect (i.e. afterwards). Why it all happened, had to happen, in the ways in which it all did.
Allah is Al-Hakeem: the All-Wise. Everything is in its right, correct, meant-to-be-there place.
And then: when it comes to the difference between ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’.
Maybe ‘knowledge’ is about ‘knowing things’. Dates, events, consequences. Ideas, and so forth. And while wisdom is being able to see the connections between things: the bigger picture. Beginning from our epistemological foundations [epistemology: the study of knowledge.], Haqq.
[Haqq: ‘Truth’, in Arabic.]
At the ‘Airport’ / ‘Subsistence-Living’.
Part of wisdom, in the Islamic tradition, is: recalling death. Remembering that we are going to die. Maybe today, maybe some tomorrow.
This helps us to put things into perspective: this world is not our home. And so, if you find yourself feeling… sad, at least from time to time. Empty, in a way. And not ‘completely fulfilled’. You’re not alone. This Dunya is not going to completely satisfy us: it’s something we’re walking through.
Like waiting at the airport, with our bags: what we need. Have some snacks here and there, rest on those chairs, maybe bring a blanket with you. And: keep it moving. [You haven’t yet, *sat-nav voice here*, reached your destination.]
Your destination: Jannah. Is home, and it is beautiful in ways that we’ll never even have been able to touch before.
Truly, what we need, and what is good for us, is: enough. That’s another thing that Dr Najah had mentioned in this particular lecture:
That virtue – and goodness – is found between excesses.
Remembering our place here in this (temporary, tool, testing-ground,) Dunya: we don’t want to burden ourselves with having ‘too much’.
A conversation I’d overheard in the kitchen of CMC: had been about how the purpose of eating, for us, is not ‘to make us full‘. It’s: ‘to keep our backs straight’. That’s not to say that we should be ‘monastic’ in the sense of the word that might entail… eating plain porridge every day, and for every meal. Never laughing. Never ever feeling pretty. Not going 70 mph on the motorway [probably the only part of attempting to learn how to drive that I had ever liked: the motorway.] And so on.
The food, for example, at CMC is flavoursome, AlHamduliLlah. Varied, and healthful. Not too little, not too much. And really, really good, AlHamduliLlah.
Having a lot of money, also:
Things are only good for us insofar as they… are good, and lead to good, for us.
But feeding greed just leads to that impulse getting hungrier. ‘More’ and ‘more’ and ‘more’, for no real, good reason. Maybe a more ‘hand-to-mouth’, ‘nomadic’, traveller-y existence here: is better for us. Than ever ‘staying still’, ‘building our ‘castles’ here’, where they will not last. And feeling too ‘settled’, ‘permanent’, somehow, and ‘secure’.
*As Muslims: we’re meant to live as travellers upon this Earth.
And, soon, perhaps: on the moon/Mars also. @Elon Musk. [Death will find us, wherever we are. We should remember it, often.]
At the moment, I don’t understand probably the majority of this board. I’m tired, and I also know I’m responsible for catching myself up in this subject, In Shaa Allah.
The Height of Wisdom
Is Fear of Allah.
A frame from the Contextual/Social Sciences Library at CMC:
I have a friend, basically an older sister, who is called Anjum, and she is in her Third Year at CMC. Yesterday: she’d bought two cakes to share with the people present at the college. One: carrot cake, since our friend Iqra likes carrot cake. And then she’d asked and found out that I like chocolate. So she got a chocolate cake too.
It’s normal to call food peng, right?
I feel very blessed, AlHamduliLlah, to be around the people I’m around, at CMC.
The general Muslim community here in Cambridge, also. Maa Shaa Allah: God has Willed it. And it is beautiful.
*Today (Tuesday,) Anjum has invited some girls, some sisters, including me: to go and have pizza and tea at hers. A bit later. I love this time of year, and the darkness of the evenings. And things like this, and people like Anjum.
I do often feel a bit ’empty’ here in Dunya. Not completely ‘home’ yet, but I certainly find aspects of home with certain people. And when there’s peng food around too.
Carrying my Burdens. But they’re not actually burdens: they’re beautiful books. There’s Wisdom in them!
Yesterday: I’d been carrying a package containing four sizeable books. Textbooks. Which a classmate of mine had ordered for someone else, but she didn’t need it anymore. I hadn’t purchased my own copies yet: he kindly let me have the books. And isn’t accepting payment for them: they amount to about £40.
*Gifts from other people: are gifts from Allah. And how very kind, giving, and serving, these people are.
M-U-S-L-I-M, to quote Native Deen. I’m so blessed, to be with them.
Here’s a Qur’anic Ayah that is reassuring. ‘Glad tidings to the ones who [adherently] believe’.
Is it ‘easy’: accepting Islam? And practising it?
You have to make some ‘sacrifices’. At times, it can feel difficult. And, maybe: also lonely. Some people might ‘reject’ you, in these ways, or in those.
But if you have Allah on your side: you have more than everything.
When you give something up for the sake of Allah, He Will replace it with better. Better for you in this world, and even better than all that, in the One afterwards.
The Next Life, for us: not only is it better, for us. It’s also: lasting. Not the airport, and not the plane.
But the best destination in existence.
[The things truly, truly worth having: don’t tend to come ‘easy’, do they?]
Today, and while waiting to go over to Anjum’s place soon, In Shaa Allah:
I did some wood-burning. An order that someone has placed: key-rings for two classes of students, and for their teachers.
When things feel sad: the answers are in the Qur’an.
When you don’t feel ‘completely at home‘: Allah has addressed you in His Qur’an.
When things don’t quite completely ‘make sense’, and you’re not quite able, yet, to see the Wisdom behind everything:
The Qur’an is there. May we be people who feel completely blessed to be acquainted with The Truth. And may we be rooted in the words, the wisdoms, and the refuge that is to be found:
In the Qur’an.
Also did some laundry today: hashtag subsistence living. And possibly ‘overthought’ about something. Hashtag Dunya life.
Sasha went shopping today. And brought me back a container of red berries, since she knows I like them!
Wednesday 2nd November 2022
The time is 02:25 AM. And just earlier: I’d been dropped off, by car, by a new friend of mine, Nabiha, who is absolutely wonderful, Maa Shaa Allah. The Muslim community here in Cambridge >>>.
She, Nabiha: is a 4th-year medical student, at the University of Cambridge, Maa Shaa Allah. And what a beautiful soul.
At Anjum’s house, (CMC student accommodation,) we had pizza. And chai. And cake. And some good, healing, beautiful conversations. Dotted with laughter: the type that is real.
I finally got to meet Batul, whom I’ve heard about: she’s an Islamic Psychology student at CMC, and she’s from Turkey. And then there was also Sanaa, who is going to be a nursing student here in Cambridge, soon, In Shaa Allah.
I’m tired, and I’m really glad Anjum had invited me over to hers. Being a believer isn’t an ‘easy ride’. And: good company is so, so important. Absolutely crucial, for our spiritual, social, and also physical, wellbeing.
What an evening.
Can I let you in on a secret, Dear Reader?
I can’t believe that people like, let alone love me. These are the best kinds of people, as well. I have fears that they don’t, they don’t, they don’t. But they do: I am so wrong, and I hope I grow to become more trusting. Accepting of the love, the lovingkindness, the Mawadda, that my Lord is showing me, through these very people.
I love these people, AlHamduliLlah. I can’t even believe that, you know… this is real. That where I am, how things are right now: as difficult as aspects of it all have been. All the goodness I’m experiencing in this life of mine right now. It’s all real. Subhaan Allah.
Having grown up in East London, and around the Muslim community there. I’m now in Cambridge, being and feeling very nurtured in the Muslim community here. AlHamduliLlah.
[Anjum: if you’re reading this. Anjum is definitely like an older sister to me, and I look up to her. In the physical sense, probably, too, since I’m not-tall.]
Wisdom: this pizza-and-tea-and-cake-and-healing-conversations-and-laughter. Was meant to happen. For Batul, and for Anjum, and for Sanaa, and for Nabiha. And also for me.
*And for my poor housemate Sasha, who had to come down and open the door for me at 2 AM since my key wasn’t working. In her words, however: ‘it’s all good, g.’
I’d also: kind of forgotten where I live. This living-here thing may take some getting used to, still…
After meeting the aforementioned beautiful souls: I came home happy, AlHamduliLlah. May they be my beloved friends, sisters, in this world and in the Next One.
Have you ever felt ‘detached’/far away from… whom you know, somewhere, you are?
Allah Knows us better than we could ever know ourselves.
We’ll find ourselves, day by day by day. Step by step by step, and Overseen by none other than our very Creator Himself.
Did You Know
That nobody else in the world could be you?
Your name, your face, your abilities, particular likes/dislikes. Your ways. The things you love, by nature. Exactly where in the world Allah has Placed you. The roles that you inhabit, for instance in relation to other people in your distinctive life. Your strengths, your relative flaws/weaknesses, your life’s story.
Certainly: there is a Wisdom to all of it. To all of you. Embrace it, love it, and show gratitude to your Lord by making the most out of it. By doing yer best, me @ me [in healthy, virtuous, moderation. Not: burning yourself to ashes, as a result of over-exertion.]
I think: a part of me. Is looking forward to going to things like this:
This is something that the other sisters from today are looking forward to going to too, In Shaa Allah.
Sounds interesting. And also:
Just because we don’t know where/what our ‘future destinations’ are. Just because we’re fundamentally unknowing, and don’t know exactly what will happen, where our unique paths are leading…
Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take these steps. Accept things, like opportunities, which may be good for us.
And keep it moving, chica: thou art only a traveller here.
A fascinating lecture from the speaker mentioned in the flyer above:
I have two fellow female cousins who come to mind, when I think about… the ‘whom’ and the ‘how’ that Allah has Made me.
There’s Priya, on my dad’s side.
And Maryam, on my mum’s.
Priya is cool, confident, Maa Shaa Allah. Kinda mean, but in a loving way, but not to me. She’s two months younger than me, but I think I forget that at times. She: likes skylines, and cars. And eating chicken wings.
Maryam is sweet, and nurturing: she loves kids. She’s beautiful, Maa Shaa Allah, and funny, and unique. Priya is beautiful, and funny, too: but in her own ways. In ways that nobody but she can be.
Maryam is not Priya; Priya is not Maryam. They can never ‘be’ one another, and occupy one another’s unique, God-Decreed spaces in this world, in this Universe.
And I exist somewhere in the middle of whom they are. I am my own distinctive ‘me’ also!
How strange, though cool, to think about: others know you. Through their own eyes: they have a conception of ‘whom you are’.
How strange, and cool, incredible, that we are alive. Is this all a dream? How is this real?
It is currently 05:13 AM here in Cambridge. What a life.
[I thought I saw something move, in the darkness, in the living room. Thought it was a cat. But we do not have a cat.]
Anyway. I have this hope about things again, AlHamduliLlah. Look how Allah makes things possible: He is al-Kareem (the Generous, Gracious, Bountiful). And He is the Subtle, Kind, and Acquainted.
So let us begin again. And be beautifully us. And never stop, and never forget Allah. Until the days on which we necessarily die. Until, dear esteemed beloved fellow companion travellers [*sat-nav voice*]:
We have reached our destination.
*Here is Mohammed Salah reading the Qur’an on a plane: [It came up on my Pinterest feed. And my brother loves Liverpool, and Salah.]
Below: a Qur’anic Promise from your Lord. Even if you find yourself, say, going through the very depths of depression right now:
‘Right now’ is not forever, and things do get better. He is Ar-Rahmān Ar-Raheem, and you, personally, are a beloved creation of His. Live this fact, internalise and embody it as your reality. And dontchu ever forget it.