TUE 08/11/22: The ‘Outward’ and the Inward. And: God is Great.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Monday 7th November 2022.

We had lunch, here at CMC, earlier; we’d prayed Dhuhr in Jamaa’: congregation.

The middle of the day can feel sluggish. Caffeine is a substance that fuels this ‘modern world’ of ours. But I reckon… gentle naps are far better. Sunnah, also: the midday nap.

I find myself wondering, at the moment:

Is it better to have this, and continue it: this [semi-] ‘public’ journal?

Or should I revert to what I used to do: write here, here and there, sometimes. And mostly write in personal journals?

Pros of writing ‘privately’:

  • You can explore the depths of your thoughts and feelings. No judgement. Say how you feel about individuals, circumstances, and so on. Be creative, be weird.
  • Ink – black ink – can look very nice on paper.
  • Discover yourself, and how you feel, and whom you are.
  • ‘Indulge’ in your feelings. In your ‘own world’.

Cons of writing ‘privately’:

  • Where is the benefit? You get self-comfort, self-discovery out of it. But what would be keeping you in check? Preventing you from too-firmly believing yourself, and your own limited, fallible [fallible: capable of being wrong], self-centric perspective?
  • Perhaps it’s more fruitful to have conversations with the right people, whom you trust.
  • Because: you either discard of your very-personal, very-private journals. Or: somebody else reads them, maybe after you die. Maybe private-journalling is good sometimes. For clarifying one’s own thoughts, making one’s mind less filled with amorphous [amorphous: without shape,] thoughts, which may lack structure and solutions.

Pros of writing [semi-] ‘publicly’:

  • You can provide people with some (hopefully) entertaining things to read. Life can be really funny, and interesting. And you can witness the Signs of Allah, daily, and in action.
  • Sacred Knowledge, beneficial knowledge, can be spread.
  • People may well resonate with what you are writing/seeking to express. Like how, ‘growing up’, I’ve quite resonated with the content that certain YouTubers have produced. Humans learn from, and inspire and are inspired by, fellow humans.
  • Digital archive of experiences. Hopefully it can become a Sadaqah Jāriyah (continuous source of charity) also.

Cons of writing ‘publicly’:

  • People can come to know about you, and your life. Even complete strangers can think they’re now somehow ‘familiar’ with you.
  • People might think I’m ‘preaching’. And so, whenever I fall short of ‘perfection’…
  • Gotta filter some things. But maybe: that’s actually a very good thing. You remember that Allah is Watching, and remember to keep things healthily in check.
  • ‘Over-sharing’? People can come to know so much about you, and your life.

Sunday.

Yesterday: Sasha, my housemate, had been doing some creative stuff at the kitchen table. With her coloured pencils, among other things. She was making a ‘zine’ (mini magazine). A good way to process… emotional trauma, actually. Through creativity, exploring how you feel, in a ‘real‘, and also ‘light-hearted’, way. I quite like the idea. Bringing a sense of clarity and structure, over to otherwise confusing, messy, incomprehensible [incomprehensible: you can’t understand, make sense of, them/it.] things.

Things feel better. Step by step, Allah has been making things better. It’s a process, and there is beauty and goodness in the journey.

For example: we now have a living room. As well as: a nice table, AlHamduliLlah, in it. A ‘bookshelf’ above a closed fireplace. We may be having a new housemate or two join us soon, In Shaa Allah.

I tidied up a bit more. It’s interesting how things get better, and grow: bit by bit, and step by step. Subhaan Allah. The Glory is God’s. And the Supreme Wisdom is His also.

One part of gratitude is: thanking Allah. With our words. And another part, perhaps, as well as internalising it and feeling it in our hearts: is making the most/best out of what we have been gifted, via our actions, our doings and our choices.

Like implementing helpful routines: bit by bit, and step by step. Leaving the house on time. Proving to yourself that you: can be trusted.

  • Tidying up: a rewarding thing to do. Life happens: it’s an ongoing process. Until you… (die).

Monday.

Who is my ‘audience’? I don’t know exactly who will be reading this… but Allah does. It’s for a reason.

For the time being, however: I’m in conversation with my self.

Today, we had our Hadīth class in the morning. We’re in Week 6 (or, including Reading Week, is it Week 7 now?) of being Students of Knowledge, here at CMC (the Cambridge Muslim College. Training the next generation of Muslim thinkers…).

After a week of doing things, relaxing, doing some work, and also taking some time and space to do other things… I feel rested, and more refreshed, AlHamduliLlah. 5 weeks of daily work: certain paces can’t be indefinitely sustained. Rest is good, and we are human.

Our teacher, Shaykh Sulayman (Van Ael), stressed the importance of building good foundations for our studies. Memorisation is also highly crucial.

Break the ego,’ he said. In blogging, even: it can’t (shouldn’t) be about my ego. Maybe that’s a pro of this, over the alternative of ‘private journalling’. This can’t be about Nafs: i.e. it can’t/shouldn’t be ‘me, me, me‘ wa [wa = ‘and‘ in Arabic] ‘I, I, I’.

It should be more:

‘We, we, we’. [That’s three yeses in French, lol]. And, most crucially:

Allah.

And if I want light as a result of all this: I must put in a good amount, and quality, of effort and so on. Seeds, growth, and then fruit.

  • We grow as a result of being outside of our ‘comfort zones’. We don’t want to stay still, stagnant, ‘un-growing‘.

To be a ‘scholar‘, in the Islamic tradition:

Is to be like a fruit tree, offering benefit. We’re fortunate enough to have access to the Truth, and to even hold its Light in our hearts, no exaggeration.

We study ‘to know your religion‘ [said Shaykh Sulayman]. To better understand the Qur’an and the Sunnah (the Way of the Prophet (S A W)).

[Religion: mankind’s relationship with our Creator.]

If we act with sincerity and live in this present moment:

He Will Guide us.


Did you Know that some renowned scholars from Islamic history: had many women teachers? One example of a (male) scholar that Shaykh Sulayman had mentioned: had 40 female teachers. And, another: 70.

There’s an Adab, an etiquette, a way, that we should seek to demonstrate, when we are talking to people of the opposite gender. But that’s not to say that we should never/can never speak, when it’s beneficial, to them, at all.


Anyway.

Children are still dying in Yemen. Hundreds of thousands of them. Malnutrition, a lack of food, bombing and bloodshed. We should try to zoom in, and see that each of these little children is just as much an innocent, scared, child, as any of your little relatives and so on.

Our world is being ‘led’ by fools, murderers, and charlatans. Clowns, jokers. Men and women in suits, fake, ‘camera-ready’ smiles. And with much blood on their hands.


And if it is dark outside: then Allah, of the Heavens and the Earth, is the Light.

Islam is how He is telling us to live.

And so there is no better. No human being has any ‘better’ claim to: Truth. Beauty, and Goodness.

To [adherently] believe in your Lord is to ‘grasp the firmest handhold‘, to draw upon that Qur’anic expression.


Buddhism.

‘Buddhism’ is an interesting ‘religion’, since it doesn’t really factor in… God.

But some of its principles, certainly, are good:

Like the thing about acceptance. Of ageing, of the fact that we likely will be sick, at least here and there, along the way. And that we will die. Peaceful, content, acceptance.


Khayr.

Even in the acutest of adversities: we can extract goodness (Khayr) from it. In these ways, or in those. There’s Khayr to be found in it.

Like, I don’t know: remembering whom you are, AlHamduliLlah. Feeling motivated to do things better: the inspiration to do something good – excellent, even may come from, I don’t know, being harshly, maybe even unfairly, chastised.

But it’s in the nature of the believer: to extract the, and turn things into, good. Like a fruit tree: soil and seeds, muddy and dirty. Into ripe, luscious and stunning red fruits: apples.


Tuesday 8th November 2022.

It’s amazing just how Merciful, Lovingkind, Allah is. Absolutely amazing, and purely amazing.

What could we ever possibly have done to deserve the Fadhl [Fadhl: favour, grace,] of Allah?

This morning, I’d left the house later than expected. My fault. Everything we do matters in some way, and I need to take better account of the ways in which I spend my time, for example in the evenings, and then in the mornings.

Anyway. I didn’t want to be late to class: Qur’an class, with our teacher, Ustādh Kazi.

Give everything its Haqq.’

Whether that be: your children. Your studies.

The way you pray to Allah. Give everything its Haqq. Todays Development session with Dr Talal was just… beautiful. Exactly what I needed to hear, AlHamduliLlah.


This morning:

I’d been thinking about whether to take the bus (but: it wouldn’t have been arriving soon enough). Or: a Voi (hireable, electric,) bike. Or: a Voi (electric) scooter.

Then I’d reasoned to take an Uber. And: didn’t have enough funds in my current account [I have a savings account, a bank account with money in it from my father. And: my current account, for day-to-day, ‘small’ spending. The last of which: is low on funds at the moment.]

Anyway. What to do?

Well, I’d said: AstaghfirulLah wa atubu ilaih. And sent some Salawāt to Muhammad (S A W). If you ask for forgiveness for your Lord, for instance: He makes ways out for you.

In surprising, unexpected ways. Subhaan Allah.

A message had emerged, on my Uber app: saying that…

There aren’t currently enough funds in my Monzo card to make this trip [embarrassing? Nah. It happens.] but since I’m a ‘valued customer’ of theirs: I can still make this trip, and pay them back later!

Subhaan Allah! How awesome, and awesomely unexpected!

My driver for the morning was a lovely lady called Nawan. We’d spoken about some random things, like about international students from China. Nawan used to live in the Crystal Palace area, in London, but has since lived in Cambridge for about a decade now. She quite likes living here, with her family, AlHamduliLlah.

I walked into my Qur’an class right when Ustādh Kazi had been commencing the lesson.

Some lessons I’d been reminded of today:

That if we believe. And commit to doing good deeds: prayer, charity. Then know that Allah is With you. His Aid is with you; His Victory is coming.


Today’s Development session with Dr Talal was enlightening. In that quietly profound kind of way. These teachers (are human, and also,) are wonderful human beings, Maa Shaa Allah. Allah hummabārik. Teachers are leaders.

And then we were led, for Maghrib prayer, by one of the Imāms of the Cambridge Central Masjid. Who’d, earlier: offered to give up his own seat, for our History teacher Dr Mariam, and also for me. Those who are close to Allah, Maa Shaa Allah, are not ‘self-important’. Though Allah and the Angels love them.

Notes from today’s Development:

Tuesday 8th November 2022

DEVELOPMENT

  • Will our journey of seeking knowledge be for us, or against us?
    • Most severely tormented on the Day of Judgement, according to a Hadīth: someone whose knowledge did not benefit him
      • Someone who learned for the sake of boasting. Not for Allah.
      • ‘You’ll find your fame, you’ll find your fortune’. Actions are but by intention.    
      • All the things we debated and discussed: they didn’t benefit us. What benefitted us in the end: was our actions’.
  • Before Fajr, Tahajjud: remember that we are with Allah (S W T). Not a ‘mechanical’ thing.
  • Live in accordance with your ‘Ilm
    • Do something about it. There’s the ‘Ilm, the ‘Aml, and the Hāl. The state: being a servant of Allah, standing before Him, in the still of the night, in utter humility
      • Cultivate Taqwa, Khashiya, of Allah, within ourselves

We should have messy desks, books around us, papers everywhere.

‘An overly clean desk […] is a sign that [a student] isn’t working as hard as s/he should be.’

Not ‘Ilm for the sake of itself. But for the sake of Allah.

  • Take account of yourself. What did I actually do, apart from my studies? What did I do, of ‘Ibādah?
  • ‘Ilm is not something that is just about the ‘mind’, e.g. debating/writing books.
    • Don’t be devoid. Don’t let yourself be hollowed out
    • How are you in your Salāh?
    • Take cyclical account (Muhāsabah) of yourself.
    • You want to arrive at Allah, and at Eternity with Allah. Mere ‘knowledge’ is not enough.
  • 20th C: there were Christians who had memorised the entire Qur’an. Peak of Arabic.
    • But if we don’t live in accordance with Knowledge: it won’t benefit us.
    • We need all 3: the knowledge, the actions, and the states of being.

E.g. using our knowledge of Theology to help clear cobwebs in others’ minds. Beneficial.

Practise the Sunnah of the Prophet (S A W).

Cultivating the state.

Indifference to the Dunya. ‘I have it, I have it’. ‘I don’t have it, I don’t have it. Next.’

  • A lack of happiness with what people have:

Driven by ‘I should have’… ‘Why don’t I have what they have’.

Dr Talal said he knows at least one entire family on Prozac – antidepressants

Allah Knows better. AlHamduliLlah. If I have it, I have it.

We must be indifferent to the Dunya.

Poverty/wealth: are means. Not ends in and of themselves.

Allah is the source of my cure, not the pill. But still, take the pill. Take heed of causes/effects.

Allah is the source of love, of happiness: of everything we could ever want.

  • If you don’t do what is needed, then don’t expect the outcome that you’re seeking. In this world and the Ākhirah.
  • Act upon your knowledge. 2 Rakat of sincerity > 1000 Rakat without sincerity in them.
  • ‘Ilm is a Wasīla: a means to action. ‘Ilm without action has no value. It can be a proof against you. Our very body parts will testify against us.
  • Give things their Haqq.

I feel incredibly blessed to be a student at CMC, AlHamduliLlah.

From primary school (nurturing, calm, fun, formative), to secondary (business-like, factory-like… ‘prison-like’. Plus ‘teenage phases’). To sixth form (intense, ‘highly academic’, ‘knowledge for the sake of itself’, almost, however), and the Qur’an/Islamic classes I’ve attended throughout and in between. This is the best place I’ve arrived at so far, Subhaan Allah, and I am very, very grateful.

Things are meaningful and beneficial when they are for, with, towards Allah.

And everything else is vanity, falsehood. Everything else is hollow: will fall to complete dust.

  • I’m currently at one of the CMC student accommodation houses. My classmate Ayesha kindly drove me here, said this place is open to me, any time. I’m feeling very happy about where I am at the moment, and how Allah has brought me right where I’ve needed, and have deeply wanted, to be. Subhaan Allah. I’m happy; I’ve been scared. But Allah is Greater: Al-Hakīm, Al-‘Azīz. The All-Wise, the Almighty.

The Best of Helpers, Best of Providers. The Knower of all things in existence.

[When He Wants something for you: He only says, “Be!“. And, by Divine Intention and Decree, and thus complete inevitability… it is.]

Allahu Akbar: God is Great.


From @duhprez_ on Twitter [I came across it on Pinterest, however. #multi-platform things.]:

Bless. Allah is the Fā’il: He makes things happen. And sometimes: the ways in which He’s Planned these lives of ours. Can really, really take us by surprise! So long as we maintain Taqwa the whole way through…

Remember, be cognisant of the fact that, Allah is Great, and we are His servants.

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