SUN 06/11/22: Being Human is like [Re-]discovering Gravity or Something. Feat. Juice, as well as some Tea.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I find I often have lots of things that I want to write about. Random thoughts, views, ‘reflections’. But: I need to be more concise. Not everything can, or should, be written down. So: what’s important, and beneficial?

Friday.

On Friday, I went back to London. Generally, on Fridays, my family members — uncles, aunts, and cousins included — meet at my nan’s house. We eat, hang out, talk. Relax. The kids play. Yesterday, a really funny moment:

My little cousin Siyana told my 16-year-old cousin Moosa to… “Get lost.

This: the icon of this group chat, gives an indication as to their general size/physique difference, Moosa and Siyana:

[He’s: a 16-year-old who looks like a man. He’s the tallest man in our family already, Maa Shaa Allah.

She’s: an adorable, Maa Shaa Allah, four-year-old, who was born a preemie. A strong one from Day Zero, this cutie pie, Allah hummabārik (May Allah bless her!)].

‘Sweetie’ is our aunt’s family nickname.

[I do indeed have over 40 texts to respond to at the moment. Some are, for example… my friend Jemima sending me 14 separate messages in a row…]

At one point, our little (also four-year-old) cousin Dawud, while eating, I think: told his mum to “Kill him! [i.e. Moosa, the 16-year-old]”.

Kids love Moosa. They can also be mean to him, and in return, he’s patient with, and loving towards, them.


On Friday, in the day, i.e. before I’d left for London:

I cleaned the kitchen. It felt rewarding to just go ahead, spend at least a bit of time, doing what needs to be done. I’d thought about saving this task for the next day, but sometimes it’s just better to go ahead and ‘eat the frog’, to use that expression.

In London: I’d taken a bus over to my nan’s house. The day had not been without its travel problems: the nearest bus stop was closed. I think I’d ended up taking a different train, and then a bus.


Being ‘British’.

As far as ‘labels’ go (and, words are important, but can never fully encapsulate things like human complexity, individuality, all the different aspects of our human experiences), I’d say I’m Muslim first, definitely.

Bengali (Sylheti,), with Yemeni roots. British; Londoner sounds more right to me, to describe me, personally, than ‘English’.

Woman.

As far as ‘class identity’ goes: ‘working class’? But my dad owns a business, AlHamduliLlah. So: … ‘middle-class’? I don’t know. And: does it matter?


Things aren’t always so ‘easily definable’. Besides: there can be so many differences between say, me, and the next person who is a) Muslim, b) Bengali and also c) British, from London. And so on.

As far as feeling a sense of deep connection with people goes:

My aforementioned friend Jemima: she’s a), Christian, b) Nigerian, and c) British, from London. And her parents are pastors. I feel quite close to her, AlHamduliLlah: probably even from the first time we’d ever properly met. ‘Meant to be’. At a Nando’s, no less: our first proper conversation, I think. She’d been holding a book about Economics. And then we were at the same school, in the same Economics class. ‘Coincidentally’.

She is the jollof rice to my [a nickname she’d given me:] … ‘Biryani spice’. [Don’t question it.]

Ten things that come to mind when I think about… ‘being Muslim’:

  • Prayer
  • Generosity
  • Love and goodwill
  • Modesty: inward and outward
  • Loving children, respecting seniors
  • Peace, tranquility
  • Beauty
  • Gratitude
  • Hope
  • The Lovingkindness, the Mercy of Allah

Ten things that come to mind when I think about… ‘Christians’. In the sense of them being ‘followers of Jesus’:

  • Churches can be really, really pretty
  • The Bible has some wonderfully poetic, wise verses in it. Beautiful.
  • Love and goodwill
  • Community
  • Miracles
  • Prayer
  • Propriety
  • Parishes, the English countryside, villages
  • Faith
  • Salvation, feeling saved, and lifted. Religion: “the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of our soulless conditions”. [Karl Marx].

Islam and ‘Christianity’ aren’t so far apart. The key difference is that we follow Jesus as one of our beloved prophets. But we don’t worship him: we worship God alone.

And now:

Ten things that come to mind when I think about being ‘British’:

  • Fish and chips
  • Tesco
  • Rain
  • Eton College
  • Public transport. And complaining about it, maybe
  • Tea and scones. Afternoon tea
  • The East End of London. Community. The white working-class Brits, Cockney accents
  • Markets
  • Waitrose and Oliver Bonas
  • Parliament, Westminster.

Once, I went to a particular part of Turkey, with my family. I’d visited a particular place where Mary (AS. May Peace be upon her) had lived for a while. There were candles lit there.

I’d actually: gone on a historical tour without my parents, who’d trusted me to stay with another family who’d been in the same group/resort [my mum’s friend had some sort of resort membership thing that she’d let us use,] as us. They’d been a Sri Lankan [I think Sri Lankan,] couple who live in Canada. They had a child, or maybe two.

And they’d just been so, so incredibly, gently, kind towards me [I’d been 16 years old at the time]. They’d taken such good care of me, and even, when they’d bought some for their own children, bought me ice-cream!


Non-Muslims are not ‘evil’. And although we, as Muslims, are fortunate enough to be acquainted with the Truth

People from Christian backgrounds, for example: we find that they often demonstrate such beautiful, even exemplary, character. They’re following Isa (AS) [AKA Jesus] after all. Many Christians are actually very close to Islam: it’s just that key difference between ‘worshipping’ a (beautiful, Chosen-by-God) man, and simply, with due love and respect, following him.


Anyway. At my nan’s house, I had some chicken curry with rice. My nan’s chicken curry >>>, Maa Shaa Allah.

I also: encountered a difficult situation. With someone I hadn’t seen for a while. I just really dislike it when it feels like people are being hyper-critical. Just singling out, and excessively focusing on, your perceived ‘flaws’.

It seems as though criticism can either be: with your wellbeing in mind. And, to this end: it tends to be phrased wisely.

Sometimes: it seems very much as though some people can relentlessly ‘fault-find’. Show little mercy. And: try to make you feel/seem small, so that they seem ‘big’.

I prefer to just try to stay away from people who seem committed (by choice. These people are autonomous and aware adults,) to being hyper-critical, cold, and mean. Sabr is certainly a virtue, and I also know better than to place myself right in the shooting range of the gun (mouth) of a person with harsh, hyper-critical tendencies.


Saturday.

I ended up staying in London for the night. Wasn’t expecting to have done so, but I did.

I love my little brother. He’s currently very much still in his ‘football phase’. I think it was interesting how it happened: one day, a little boy who’d not seemed very interested in football at all, save for sometimes kicking a ball around.

Now: football, football. Football training, watching and discussing matches, football at school, at home, at the park… Football cards, YouTube videos…

  • If I ever have a son in the future, though. Would he ever be as awesome, Maa Shaa Allah, as my little brother is? [Sorry my dear beloved child if you end up existing and you’re now reading this!]

I relaxed in the morning. Had some toast, with some hot chocolate, I think.

My brother went off to football; my dad had asked me to stay for a while, and he’d brought some lunch home for me. Chicken biryani. Some to eat for now, and some to take back to Cambridge.

I took some books from home, to my new home in Cambridge. Books including… my personal copy of the Bible, which I have found much of beauty, wisdom, and truth in.

I’d also: gone to see a neighbour of mine, whose house is near the station. She: is planning on making a significant life change, In Shaa Allah. From working in the field of Finance. Over to that of Medicine.

My dad also wanted to give me some mangoes to take with me, to Cambridge. And so he’d waited by the bus stop I’d be going to, said I could “take your time,” and that he doesn’t mind waiting. And I’d given him and my brother a hug. Took the mangoes in a bag that also contained some of my books:

Waitrose bag = British

Mangoes. And chicken biryani. = South Asian

Islamic books = Muslim?

Then again:

‘Things are just things: they don’t make you who you are.’ [that’s Macklemore by the way.]


‘We are our selves.

Not our shells.’

My housemate Sasha said that. It makes sense: often, we have all these ‘shells’. You know: how people who are far away from us come to ‘know’ us. Our Instagram, LinkedIn accounts. Daily outfits, even; how we are when we’re around people we’re not truly ‘close’ with.

But in spite of those shells of ours, however many we may hold claim to: we are our selves.


And what about when our very real humannesses: when people try to use them as ‘weapons‘ against ourselves?

When people behave arrogantly: they are either lying, and determinedly concealing their own (very) humanness. And/or they are simply delusional. It’s pitiable: I wonder how abysmal their self-image, in truth, must be, for them to gain a sense of ‘security, self-comfort’ through trying to ‘shoot others down‘.


It’s raining today, here in Cambridge. In the morning: it was almost like a monsoon rain. And currently: fairly rainy.

When it would rain, Muhammad (S A W) was reported to have prayed that the rainfall be a beneficial one.


Melancholy and Me.

I would say that I have a ‘melancholic‘ disposition. I like Autumn. And dark days, and rain. And ‘soulfulness’, and depths of emotions, feeling, and so on.

Ink on paper, and clean, warm laundry.

But I need to keep this ‘melancholic disposition’ in check, because too much of anything is not good. As Winter arrives and arrives and arrives: I need to counterbalance, maybe, the oncoming ‘sadness’ of the season. With things like:

Yellowy fruits, Vitamin C, and candlelight. Light, light, light.

And I find I really want to be loved as human being, as me, and not as ‘concept’, nor idealistic fancies, and ‘shells’.

No human being alive here right now is my ‘saviour’ in any way. And, also:

At times I think I have hoped that some men would behave more courageously: courage. That place of virtue, between weakness and inaction, and complete and utter destructive recklessness. Cowardice reminds me, maybe, of decay. Of a missed opportunity of having stood firm for what is right. To have placed the importance of how Allah Views us, over those of fellow relatively weak, and mortal, men.

And some women behave coldly. And I have absolutely loved warmth. A billion, gajillion pounds of money, or warmth, affection, and love?

I could happily watch money burn, in order to have what is true, of love. Allah’s, and that of it which He places, in the hearts of particular fellow humans.


I wonder who’s reading this. Maybe: one or two people whom I wouldn’t have wanted to read this. But I’m not in control of all that, and I know that somewhere, there are Wisdoms to it all.

I’m scared of ultimately losing. And, again: being treated as only a ‘concept’. It feels so dehumanising: whether people are being unfairly critical. And also when they come to see you as some sort of ‘spiritual ideal’ or whatever. For some men: a ‘woman who’ll wait’. A woman who’s ‘pure’, and who will help to ‘cleanse’ them, ‘accept them as they are’. Remain ‘loyal’ even when the man is not.

  • You know: it does seem to be a trope [trope: a significant theme, or a theme that seems to keep occurring] among some Muslim men… This idea that they’ll be able to secretly engage in relationships, ‘have fun’, live ‘wild’. And then: ‘settle down’, at long last, with a ‘pure, ‘good’, ‘religious” girl. Like some women are meant to be ‘girlfriends’. For ‘now’. And others: ‘wives’ and mothers. For ‘later’. But women can be both adventure, and home at the same time: we’re not just the concepts and labels that some men will lazily, simplistically, impose on us without our ever asking.
  • It’s so strange when people seem to claim to know you, without actually really knowing you. They’ll commit to seeing you in a particular light, and even when you’re saying, no, actually… It’s almost like… they’ll try to ‘correct’ you. About yourself!

Adults have autonomy, and I am nobody’s mother.

Allah Knows you, and you know you. Those whose hearts are made for you (and vice versa) know you, to the extents to which they do.

Besides. Nobody genuinely, entirely, has the answers I so seek, but Allah. His are the keys to everything in the Heavens and the Earth. To everything in existence.

I surrender; I believe. Rooted in reality, I seek to be, and not taken by fancies, airs, and shells.

*Today, while walking back from Sainsbury’s with two (kind-of-heavy, not to complain!) bags, and an umbrella, and a big carton of apple juice… I’d managed to drop the carton of apple juice onto the ground. Because I’m human, and because gravity is gravity. Isaac Newton and the apple here in Cambridge; me and this Sainsbury’s-brand apple juice here in Cambridge also!


How do I prevent myself from becoming bitter? From allowing festering thoughts descending into resentment. Anger, maybe, even. And then: is apathy what I wait to know?

Anyway.

Some things that have helped, lately:

I found myself wondering if I would suit stud earrings. And then, eventually, Allah gave me some, through Sasha: a parcel from her mum, including a set of earrings. One of these pairs had been Written for me!

I found myself wanting a backpack for myself. I went home to London and found my black SuperDry one waiting for me. It has colourful flowers on it, and my best friend has said that it reminds her of me, I think. This bag has been with me since… 2016? [It was meant to be: previously, I would basically find myself going through bags. Rips, damage, and so on. New academic year, fresh bag, who dis.

This one was, and is, enduring, however, Maa Shaa Allah.]

I: had been wondering about transport in Cambridge. Buses can be expensive: £2.80 each way. My bike in London is still in need of some repair. Today, at a perfect time, and while I’d been struggling (not crazily,) with those Sainsbury’s bags… My dad had called me. He wants for me to have the electric bike in the garage, back in London, here in Cambridge. In Shaa Allah.

Next: while tutoring at my current GCSE student Inaya’s home today: I’d found myself wondering if I wanted to eat take-away today. Chicken and chips, from The Ladz (kind of like Nando’s. But maybe even… better!)

Yesterday, I’d received some money from an unexpected place. I’d spent that money on my weekly shop today:

AlHamduliLlah, I’m not poor, materially, and I’m not ‘rich’. I like the middles: spiritual aliveness very much feels like it’s here. In a space between poverty, and… ‘comfortable’ complacency.

I don’t want to take things for granted, and very often: not-having-and-then-having can lead to increased feelings of gratitude.

So I’m not in ‘want’, not at all. I’m not in ‘plenty’ or in ‘excess’ either, AlHamduliLlah.

My Lord will Provide for me. How could I not trust Him? He has never let me down, even when seeing the Wisdoms behind some things has taken a bit of time to truly see.


Anyway. Instead of spending money on takeaway: to my surprise, Inaya’s mum had served me a cup of tea and also… lunch. Chicken wings, chips, and salad! Basically delicious take-away food. A nice surprise. Without my even asking Allah for it: He always Knows what is in the heart.

He has never let me down.

So why wouldn’t, shouldn’t, I trust my Lord?

There’s no reason, really, to feel this confused. Or resentful. Or ‘bitter’ or anything else. I just have to wait a bit, to see it.

I think, this morning, I’d been feeling melancholy. Maybe it is SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

But my housemate Sasha: she’d put fairy lights around one of the fridges in this house. She’d been sitting at the table, decorating a heart for it too. This brought me, brings me, comfort, and happiness, to see:


Just because you may well find yourself going through difficulty. Maybe even multiple separate issues, at once:

And you feel ready to feel resentful, confused, and so on. This is where we trust. How wrong, how unknowing we are.

And how Lovingkind and Almighty Allah is.

His Love is amazing. I look around me, and it is everywhere.


So yesterday, my dad had sent me home from London with mangoes, and with chicken biryani. He also wants to make sure that I’m eating enough.

I’d also, on the way, walking back from Cambridge Station to my house: picked up some more ‘Asian’ things. Like: amla hair oil. Kashmiri (pink) chai leaves. Some milk.

I tried to make this (pink) tea today, again. It: did not end up being pink.

Anyway: apparently there’s actually a whole (time-consuming) method to it.

Found this recipe about it:

The blogger from the above says:

“To me, Kashmiri Chai has always been a bit of an enigma. An aspirational, meticulously prepared drink that requires hours of attention, tea leaves from a particular region, a bicep workout, and a good dose of patience. And only then will it be the correct shade of pink… possibly.”


Forgot to mention:

On Friday morning, my housemate Sasha had made me a cup (glass. The glass that had been gifted, along with some other gifts from my aunt/cousins, from Moosa on the day I’d moved in here,) of Dalgona coffee (whipped coffee. Remember the hype about this drink during the lockdown period?).

That was a very nice coffee: no need for Starbucks. We had them with some Russian pastries/biscuits/cakes that Sasha’s mum had sent her, in that parcel. Subhaan Allah. Rizq [Provision] from your Lord: it could be coming all the way from Russia, [Imported into some Eastern European shop in Manchester, mayhaps, which is where Sasha’s mum lives.] and Written precisely for you!

The things, sometimes, that your heart wants. The Du’as that your Lord inspires you to speak. Or, not speak: but He still Knows. It’s all with Divine, beautiful, reason, Dear Reader: He Knows what is best.


Trust is built up through:

Expectations and standards. Delivery. Expectations and standards. Delivery.

Humans mess up sometimes: blips, here and there.

Allah never ever ‘messes up’. Everything, in the grander scheme of things: is in its perfect, God-Ordained, place.


Yesterday’s biryani, on a plate:

And yesterday’s chai latte. [chai = tea. Latte = milk]. On the day that I’d bought kashmiri chai: Sasha had bought a pot of chai latte powder. [‘Coincidentally’. But ‘coincidences’ are actually only Signs of Allah.]. Sasha’s a real blessing from Allah; she and I were meant to be housemates and friends.

Glass from my cousin Moosa, maybe from Tesco. Coaster from my friend Jade, from Oliver Bonas. Chai latte from my friend Sasha.

A (text) conversation with my dad:

[My tangled hair had been something that someone had constantly been bringing up when I’d gone to London. It happens sometimes: tangles, mess.]

And… sometimes, people I see comment on ‘how skinny I am’, how much ‘weight I’ve lost’ and so on. My dad, for one, has been concerned that I’ve been losing weight

I think I’ve come to realise: that when you come to love someone whom, in terms of their shells, is fairly different from you. That’s love: you’re not loving what you see of you, in them, per se. You’re knowing, and loving… them! And hopefully caring much about their wellbeing, too.

To be effortlessly, relaxedly and contentedly ourselves. Our favourite selves!

Without even ‘thinking’ about it: just being… you. And then being smiled at, and loved, for it. Unmatchable, truly.

Sasha: ethnically Uzbekistani. Likes to make her own jewellery. Her grandma was a doctor in Uzbekistan, and was called in after the Chernobyl crisis: she’d lost some of her teeth as a result of radiation poisoning.

Sasha’s vegetarian; I eat chicken.

Sasha is currently making her own zine (mini, handmade magazine). I’m writing on my blog.

Then, there’s Jemima:

Where she from? She from Nigeria. I’m Bengali.

She’s Christian; I’m Muslim.

She’s tall; I’m not.

She: seems to have this ability to fall asleep on demand, even in a lecture. I’m probably too low-key anxious to do that.

Don’t you think vulnerability is just so powerful?” randomly asked Sasha, just now. She said she loves ‘radical honesty’. And I think I love it too: it’s true, and not fake.

Jemima is just so chill, and confident, Maa Shaa Allah. I miss her laugh.

Jade: is English and Columbian. She’s from a rural part of Yorkshire; I’m from bustling London.

Etc. Those are aspects of our shells. And our souls, our selves: Allah has made us beautifully, perfectly (-imperfectly. We’re human,) compatible.

Now here is the ‘Newtonian carton of apple juice’, which fell on the roadside, earlier today:

You touch my vegetarian chicken, and see what happens.” said Sasha, when I opened the fridge. [issa joke. #Tone indicators.]

Finally:

Writing helps me. And ‘teaching‘ is probably how I, personally, best come to learn.

With the onset of Winter: melancholy. Like coldness, drizzly weather, and something like heaviness, almost misery. To counterbalance all this: I need light. And warmth. And dryness. Lightness: like the type that comes with laughter. And joy, like the type that comes with hanging out with people like my little brother, and with my student Inaya’s little sister, Zaynah [today: she was hugging her dad, and calling him ‘cute’].

Islam: submission to God Alone. Religion: the origins of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. “The heart of a heartless world, and the soul of our soulless conditions”.

The beginnings of our days, as Muslims. The ends of our nights, and then of our lives, and then our entries into Beautiful Eternity, without sadness, without fear.

Writing, also: helps me to keep going. Move with the world, move with time; keep on being here, in present time, in present tense.

Discover, reflect, revise. Know myself, and the world, better, I feel. Feel rooted in reality, think about, and write about, what’s true.

Edit, remember, record. It’s another beautiful aspect of the world: writing, which my Lord has made my very soul, AlHamduliLlah, perfectly, fittingly, compatible with. [What are some of yours? Things that bring you peace, and fit just right with your very soul?]


One comment

  1. Cats fit right in with my soul. If cats didn’t exist idk what I’d do…who id be. Yeesh….scary stuff to think abt!

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