FRI 25/11/22: Similarities and Differences, Challenge and Change.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Challenge is good.

Choosing the Path of Goodness: it is not ‘easy’. It is often steep, and often ‘challenging’.

Struggle’.

And it is so, so good.

We don’t want to get too comfortable in a temporary home. These ‘houses’ of ours: are only hotels. And we have work to do, constantly.

Struggle‘. And: beautifully woven in-between, and, even throughoutsweetness. From friends, and hugs, and bites of sweetness. And smiles, and so much of goodness.

A trajectory to Jannah. [The Heavenly Gardens, Gardens of Paradise.]


Today, I went and tutored my GCSE student Inaya again. AlHamduliLlah, for that opportunity, and how it came about, and how Allah chose it for me.

Subhaan Allah.

I am weak, and being human, being Muslim: life is certainly not without its struggles. AlHamduliLlah: they’ve been Selected by God, for me. And so I know that there is Wisdom behind them.

Incidentally, [incidentally: by the way,] today Inaya was telling me a bit more about her personal experience of going to secondary school here in Cambridge. [After lesson time, not during…]

According to online (Census) figures, 6000 Muslims call Cambridge ‘home’.

Meanwhile, back in London: the figure is closer to… 1.28 million, Maa Shaa Allah. A large proportion of the UK’s total number of Muslims… reside in London.

I’m in a different place right now. I suppose I am a ‘minority’. And: being a ‘minority’ often leads, maybe, to stronger, less-taken-for-granted, feelings of community. We’re bonded by what we’re similar in, and this is strengthened and made beautiful, if we maintain the right attitudes towards individual differences, as a result of our differences.

  • Today, Inaya was telling me about a fellow Bengali boy at her school, who, despite being smart, Maa Shaa Allah, and not a ‘troublemaker’, is often targeted by teachers. Openly, unapologetically. He was late for class once, and, since they aren’t allowed to do body searches themselves, they’d called his father in, so as to search him. What were they looking for? Drugs. What did they find? Nothing.

Teachers openly advise students not to spend time with this boy [!]. Essentially: they’ll unapologetically humiliate this student in front of other students, over and over again, and collectively.

Other students are ‘bright’, while, despite doing well, Maa Shaa Allah, in his exams: he, to them, is simply ‘not’. They’ll express surprise when he does well in tests, though it is not uncommon for him. And so on.

He just ‘accepts’ it. But probably wants for something to be said, done, about it. He’d (humorously) asked Inaya if she could cry about it, on his behalf, complain about all that unjust mistreatment.

I so hope it gets better for him, because the extent of all that… sounds unavoidably traumatic.


I have cousins who have grown up in Folkestone, a coastal town in Kent. At one point, I think one of my cousins was one of the only members of a ‘minority’ at her school, and I think, the only girl to wear a headscarf.

Meanwhile: at my secondary school, lots of girls wore headscarves, and even Selwar Kameezes as part of their school uniforms, and long skirts, and ‘Abayas. People from Bangladesh, Somalia, and a handful of people from other places, like Turkey/Cyprus, Eritrea, Senegal, China, England… And that was just my form class, at a comprehensive secondary school in Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets, East London.

[Also had one of my first cousins, Mazhar, in my form class. He and I, though we had very similar upbringings, very often going to our grandma’s house: I’d say we’re quite different from one another. He: modifies his car with his friends for fun. And is comfortable with being extroverted and partaking in… Bengali banter, which I just… how?

I: would happily make a PowerPoint presentation, accompanied by only a chai latte and a candle, for fun. And yeah, I have favourite punctuation marks.

These are our respective natures, and they are different, even though, in our earliest years, we were raised in tandem as though we were ‘twins’. Matching high chairs, matching clothes, including… matching Brazil football T-shirts…

We were, and are, so different to one another, as people, back then, and now. Even between Mazhar and his younger brother Moosa: there are clear core differences. People are different: even identical twins.]

Here is a part of our family group chat, when Mazhar was teaching his younger brother Moosa, I guess, how to fix new hubcaps [just found out that that’s what they’re called. On Ecosia, a search engine that allows you to plant trees by searching things!] on a car:

‘Ranga Mama’ is a title of respect for my uncle, in Bengali. ‘Throckmorton’ is what Moosa is saved as on my phone, after I saw a meme about someone’s ‘Cousin Throckmorton’ in a maths problem.

One of my cousins, in Folkestone: was insulted by other girls for being “black“, even though her skin is fair. But: because she’s different. And so, sometimes, we might feel pressure to whiten our skins, stay out of the sun, straighten our hair… Do all sorts…

To ‘fit in’.

Here, I do feel at least somewhat ‘different’.

I go to a Muslim college, where we are bonded by the strongest possible kind of bond: that of Islam.

And I notice that there are differences between us. Subtle, clear, and important. On account of factors like: where we’ve grown up, upbringings, and so on. I have things to learn from others, and perhaps they, too, have things to learn from me.

It’s ‘organic‘: I won’t force myself to ‘assimilate’ and consciously, anxiously, artificially, try to ‘fit in’. I also: won’t isolate myself, I hope, and be deliberately very ‘out-of-touch’ with the people around me.

We’re here on this Earth to be ourselves: these blueprints that God Himself has equipped us with. Be ourselves in our favourite ways, and also with and for (our beloved) others.

  • By default: Allah Loves us. We’re Created in the best of forms!

It’s not all that useful, is it, to be afraid of change, and of differences.

And maybe, it helps in the way of not taking things for granted: being confronted with what is relatively ‘Other’ than us. It makes us think about, interrogate, whether consciously or not: questions of whom we are.

People who are different from you, in various ways, will likely pick up on aspects of ‘you’ that you may otherwise ‘take for granted’, not grant much thought to. We’re realised both as a result of samenesses, and as a result of contrasts.

Who are we now?

The same ‘I’ that we have always been. People will perceive different things from us, based on whom they are, their own perspectives. Sometimes, for better; sometimes… prejudice. i.e., for worse.

Even when people make harsh-seeming references to people who ‘do drugs’ (“druggies”, “junkies”,) and so on. I don’t think such people are ‘evil’, corruptive’ forces by nature. Oftentimes: I know that they’re people who are really struggling. Like the person from my secondary school whose grandma passed, and whose life felt like it was upside-down, it seemed. He didn’t know what to do. ‘Rumour’ has it that his mental health deteriorated; he turned to drugs, and some people end up socially rejecting people who experience such things. I think I could see the pain, and the sense of aching lostness, in his eyes when I’d seen him at a local market since. He’s still the same good person I’d known in Year Seven.

People deserve our best opinions of them, and this is something I’m working on, In Shaa Allah.

To be more curious and loving and compassionate, as opposed to tribal in a bad, imbalanced way, and judgemental, cold and untrusting, kind of way…


There’s also a person who got into drugs in the Brick Lane area, over in East London. I watched some sort of interview with him that someone had done. And, in it, the brother was talking, as far as I remember, about his love for Allah, and Islam.

But the people rejected him, and turned away. Family disowned him, and so on. I don’t think some people will even look at him anymore. How alone he must have felt.

Yet, sometimes: people will happily show so much ‘love’ to people who are doing all sorts of other sins.

As humans, by nature, we do make mistakes. We do sin.

Often, what fellow people, fellow Muslims, need from us is not for us to look at them through rejecting, ‘appalled’ eyes. But through eyes of humanness, humbleness. A hug, a heart, and a hand. To quote, I think, one of my cousins:

Let’s be real.’


Other people need saving. Guiding, and help. And so too do we.

To make reference to some of what we’ve been learning in our Logic classes:

Being a human being, a Child of Adam…

What’s universal about us:

  • We love: we need love
  • We eat: we need food
  • We drink water: we need water
  • We have faculties of reason, thought, and intelligent communication, via language (which is an absolutely phenomenal quality of ours, Subhaan Allah!)
  • We feel pain
  • As children, we love to play
  • We laugh
  • We cry
  • We bleed
  • We smile
  • Etc.

And so on.

Then, there are some particulars, which can vary between human and human:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Skin colour, race
  • Profession
  • … Height [I say this as a small person.]
  • Personal interests, hobbies…
  • Languages spoken
  • Political views
  • Etc.

And so on.

The ‘universals’ are points of similarity. Know that when we walk into a room filled with any fellow human beings… Even if some, or perhaps seemingly quite a few of, the ‘particulars’ are different, between you and them:

They are already familiar to you: knowable, and known. Really quite familiar: you’re the same.

Similarities are points of connection, familiarity: recognition of a shared experience. Differences are also points of conversation: of interest, and fascination, and learning. Lots of learning, and appreciation, hopefully.

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.

Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allāh is the most righteous of you.

Indeed, Allāh is Knowing and Aware.

—Holy Qur’an, (49:13).

From one soul, came all of humanity. And then: his mate. And all these similarities, and all these wonderful variations…

Subhaan Allah!


In the Hands of the Almighty.

But you’re okay. You’re in the Hands of the Almighty. You’re okay.

Today, I tried to go to a mosque election. A new panel, a committee, essentially: is being elected at the Abu Bakr masjid here in Cambridge.

*Question: What is the value, and the relevance, of ‘democracy’ in Islam?

Should I ask my teachers? Y [] Also Y []

  • The Abu Bakr masjid is smaller than the Cambridge Central (‘Eco’) one (which opened in 2019). The Abu Bakr masjid: looks like a house that has been converted, and it seems to be quite special to people.

Even my friend Faaizah, who is from London, has a particular attachment to this masjid.

My tutoring student Inaya: her father had grown up in a house opposite it.

This masjid matters to Inaya’s family: they seem to go there quite regularly. Beloved to Allah are those people whose hearts are attached to the masjid. Inaya’s family is a blessed one.

And, today, at their breakfast/brunch table: Inaya’s younger sister Zaynah, who is only six years old… Had been trying to say the word ‘juxtaposition’, Maa Shaa Allah. [Maa Shaa Allah: means, ‘God has Willed it’. We often use it to express being impressed. E.g., she’s so clever, Maa Shaa Allah!]

Zaynah was accidentally, I think, saying: ‘ducks in position‘.


The company you find yourself around/choose to be around… Is unbelievably important.

Together, their voices will become your ‘inner voice’. You become a reflection of them; they are extensions of you, in a way, and you are an extension of them.

Inaya has a beautiful family, Maa Shaa Allah. They are very successful in Dunya terms, Allah hummabārik, and Islam is the crown that binds them together, and quietly beautifies their lives, their family, their home.

As Muslims: we care about our portions of the world, of this Dunya. About our cars, and our businesses, and so on. And these things mean nothing if our love for our Lord is not the force that reigns supreme in these very hearts of ours. This takes work, sure, but none of the best things come ‘easy’, now, do they?

Here is a ‘gratitude brainstorm’ that we did, here at our house:

[Feat. Something about Logic, one of our modules at CMC].

Sasha wrote: ‘That I am not stupid, God bless!’

Methods of Delivery.

In a Netflix series I was watching back in London, before moving here:

[A Kuwaiti series. It helped me at least somewhat with my journey of (gradually) learning Arabic! Immersion: maybe the best way of learning.]

This series is about a group of Kuwaiti students, who are on a scholarship, and they go to Cairo in order to study at university (a ‘Western’ one. The adopted and encouraged ‘culture’ there, in this series, seems rather French). Anyway: that series, I feel like I’d watched it at just the right time, since, not long after… I, too, moved, in order to study.

In that series: the male students live together, and the female students live together, in a separate house. This is how it’s done at CMC too.

Anyway. This drama is set in, I think, the 1960s.

It seems that one method of… food delivery… back then, in Egypt, according to this series, had been: having wicker baskets, which would be tied onto ropes. And then, they could be dangled down from balconies, down to street level. Couriers could be paid to collect groceries, put them into the baskets, to then be hoisted up.

Wicker baskets. Imagine: at some point, at shops, also, perhaps the shopping baskets were wicker baskets, and not the metal variety we commonly see today. Time moves; things develop, and change…

While some things, principles and ideas and so on: stay consistent, remain the same.


The other day, here in Cambridge, England:

I saw a little… what looked like… a toy car-robot-thing. But: there hadn’t been a remote-controlling-driver around.

Turns out: this is an initiative that the Co-Op (Co-operative. A supermarket) is a part of. Robot deliveries, basically. And: they can sing to you, too, apparently. ‘Starship’ is the name of the app you can download, to use it.

[One time, one of my cousins in Folkestone and I: when we were, maybe eight years old… We went to the Co-Op in Folkestone together, with a family friend. And: the (older, responsible) family friend forgot to inform our parents. They thought we’d gone missing… Panic. One of the adults was crying…

Incidentally, living in a city is quite different to living in a town, isn’t it? I’m happy that I grew up in a city. I’m happy that now, I’m living in a place that feels more like a ‘town’.

We bring things, we learn things!]

  • Are we becoming… ‘Wall-E people’? ‘Lazy’, living ‘automated’ lifestyles?

It’s pretty cool though. You open the car up, and inside: your groceries. Straight to your door.

Today, one of our neighbours was standing outside, waiting for his Co-Op delivery to arrive in this way. I think the car was… having some trouble finding his home: it went all the way to the end of the road.

Technology: as wonderful and brilliant as it can be… it doesn’t always work the way we want it to…


Language is… a method of delivery. Delivering Truth, delivering thoughts and ideas. Conveying meaning.

That’s what communication is.

Muhammad (S A W), our Example, delivered the Message, while here in Dunya. Language is so, so important. Clarity of language. Conciseness, and eloquence. And: reaching people in the right, the best, ways, considering, for example, where we are in the world, and which time.

Muhammad (S A W) had been conveying the Message in Arabia, some 1400 years ago.

Today, I am in England; it is 2022. The Message, of course, remains unwaveringly True.

The principles always remain the same. Our obligatory practices remain the same. And also, some things, like methods of conveyance (e.g. how we have things like YouTube videos, and blogs now…) change. Naturally. Organically.

Change is not a ‘threat’ to Truth. And, also: Truth does not ever ‘bend’ or bow to ‘worldly changes’ that prove antithetical to it.

Islam was Designed for all kinds of people, all kinds of places, and for every single time period, from Muhammad (S A W)’s time, to where we are now, to the end of Time itself…


When Delivery Goes Wrong

Occasionally, my housemate Sasha and I will order drinks from outside. Like the other day, when we ordered drinks from Caffé Nero. A chai latte for me [Caffé Nero’s chai latte >>>. Caffé Nero in general >>>!] and… a different, chilled, drink for Sasha. Which was on a Buy-1-Get-1-Free offer. So: we thought, let’s get the other one, maybe we could store it for later, or see if one of our other housemates would like it.

What ended up happening was: the two chilled drinks (iced cinnamon swirl lattes x 2) ended up… being spilt on the way here. We ended up being refunded. And: we got some free cups out of it, so there’s that.

Delivering things, including messages, with great care, and in the best ways… Super important, if you actually want to get the message – and/or the chilled drink from Caffé Nero – across, without compromising any of its… sweetness, and meaning.

Moreover:

It’s not about ‘making Islam relevant‘ per se. Islam already is relevant: it’s universal, across space, and across time. For all types of people.

It’s our responsibility to truly realise that, and to practise this principle. Islam is just as much for the Bedouin Arab man and woman from the 7th Century CE, as it is for… the 21st Century Cambridge town-person.

There’s diversity here, and we love that. The flowers of the Earth are diverse; so are people; so are we Muslims.

It’s about loving our differences, being ourselves within our beautiful Deen. And also: not transgressing sacred boundaries.

Not being so keen to ‘fit in’ that we’ll ever overlook Sacred Law. We’re a self-respecting tradition, AlHamduliLlah. Liquid and flowing as and where we need to be: where it is good. And solid, unwavering, when it comes to the dimensions that pertain to Truth.

  • The Sunnah, the Prophetic Way: something that is beautiful about it is that… it explains itself. It’s: prevention, it’s cure. It’s community, clarity, balance, and clear parameters and definitions.
  • It’s wisdom… And we find honour in the very fact that we are Servants of God, and followers of His Messenger (S A W). That’s where any senses of honour we may lay claim to, are to be found.

Suqi.

From the Middle East, South Asia and beyond, your halal groceries are finally at your doorstep. Halal meat, spices, and your favourite traditional snacks…’

Check out Suqi on the App Store! A Halāl-food delivery app, available in London.

[This isn’t a sponsored ad: just, when my friend Jade, cousin Sarina, and I had been outside the masjid in Regent’s Park one day not too long ago… The owner of this start-up had been handing out leaflets outside of it. Seems pretty cool. Try using the code FAMILY15 to potentially get £15 off your first order! *Minimum spend £25 for that offer.]


Does my hijab smell like tagine? I dropped some on it.”

Said a friend of mine. She’s very adorable, Maa Shaa Allah. And bright, and hardworking. And funny. Her name is A’iyshah.

Here is a picture of what her desk set-up looked like, for our Tuesday Qur’an class:


Challenge is very good for us.

For refinement purposes. For purposes toward reflection.

Look at the world around you.

Look at every single truly valuable thing.

Butterflies: cocoons. A process not so… ‘beautiful’, by itself. Chrysalis, metamorphosis.

Diamonds. The sheer amount of pressure needed, in order to generate a diamond at the end.

Stars: supernovae. Fusion, explosive messes, heat. Coming together, to form something so naturally…

Profound, Maa Shaa Allah. Quietly. Beautiful.

You, too, as a human being. Birthed in the hardest of conditions: the pains of childbirth. Your spiritual births, and growths, also: it can be painful. There’s sweetness in it, and from it. And: it’s meaningful.


Just keep swimming.

And pedalling. And walking, even when your feet ache. Goodness and ease are coming: the other half of the hill, the bike ride on the way down, thank you gravity!

Keep smiling, like our Prophet (S A W) would. And sometimes your heart will feel heavy. And you will feel fear.

  • Your whole being is something beautiful: even if you can’t see it all properly at the moment.

In any case: we have champions to follow in the footsteps of. Khabib. Malcolm.

Salahuddīn.

Ibrahīm (AS).

Muhammad (S A W). Were their lives ‘easy’?

Do they have Allah?

He is the Creator of everything.

Of you, and of every fellow human being you have ever felt inspired by, for example…


One of the staff at CMC: recently came back from a trip (partly for work, partly for leisure,) to the Philippines. She was talking about how similar it is, to Bangladesh. And about, for example, an ‘underground river’ there, the marvels of Allah’s Universe…

Signs. Āyāt.

Moreover: today was a good day, AlHamduliLlah. I especially liked: the lecture by Dr. Ingrid Mattson, at the end of the day.

Dr. Ingrid Mattson: I’ve come across some of her work before, I’m pretty sure. And I got to see her in person today, AlHamduliLlah [too shy to actually speak to her, just yet. But: I’ve now got her email!].

She was wearing a white headscarf today, and a lovely yellow coat.

Dr. Ingrid delivered a talk today about holding public figures/leaders to account, touching on history, theology, and on the topic of ‘spiritual abuse’, also: that is, when people abuse in the ‘name of religion’.

She’d spoken about some of the personal sufferings, the traumas and the shame: that affect our community/Muslim communities. Certainly, we’ve got to work on consciousness and healing: if we, as people, and as communities, and then as an Ummah: want to flourish.

[Sometimes, when people are very… unhealed. They may be operating in a distinctively ‘post-traumatic’ way. Like when some people, for example, might present religion as being an angry, agitated, and harsh way of being. Rather: Islam is about good balance.]

“I’m an optimistic person,” Dr. Ingrid had said about something in particular. “I have a lot of hope.”


The next day: Tuesday, Dr. Ingrid Mattson had delivered a talk at…

The Cambridge Central Masjid. It had been about ‘The Pastoral Presence of the Prophet S A W’.

Prophets of God had often been shepherds, right? Responsible for their flocks.

Muhammad (S A W [an abbreviation for a way of showing utmost respect to him, saying May God’s Peace and Blessings be upon him,]) taught us that, actually, each of us is a ‘shepherd’. We all have (at least one!) people, and/or living beings, that we have authority over, and are responsible for, at least in part.

Children, younger siblings and cousins, cats, and so on.

We need to tend to those in our charge, with great care. And: gently, not harshly, as to agitate them, and/or scare them away

And: each of the ‘sheep’ in our flock… are part of the wider group. They also have their own subtle differences, personalities. Points of individuality, and so may require different things to best nurture them.

You can view a recording of Dr. Ingrid’s talk at the masjid, here:


I love engaging with my work when there is real love between me, and what I am studying/doing. AlHamduliLlah: at CMC, there is love between me, and what I am learning about, and studying.

Interesting, illuminating, stuff.

This week, I also started a new job, AlHamduliLlah. A relative while ago, maybe a couple of weeks back, I realised that… I don’t want to keep relying so much on my dad to pay for my food, rent, and other expenses. I sent out my CV to places like Sainsbury’s, a branch of Clinton’s Cards here in Cambridge. And to Tiger (i.e. ‘Flying Tiger Copenhagen’).

I was rejected from Tiger. Rejected from Clinton’s. A few other places haven’t gotten back to me. Sainsbury’s said ‘they want to invite me for an interview’, but then their website/portal said that there were no interview slots available.

I’d noticed that a few fellow CMC students… work at Cambridge Central Masjid. As evening Islamic school (i.e. madrasa) teachers. [Two of said CMC students/CCM teachers… are married, Maa Shaa Allah. They are both in their third and final year at CMC, for the BA program, and married one another earlier this year!]

I ended up trying to apply to become a Madrasa teacher. There: at, probably, Maa Shaa Allah, one of my most favourite places in England! And possibly in the world, also! The Cambridge Central Masjid.

Accidentally sent my CV to CMC instead of CCM, initially. Then they said they’d just recruited staff, but would keep my CV on stand-by in case vacancies arose.

One day, I was called in for an interview. With two of the Imāms of the masjid, Imām Sayful and Imām Sejad. And Imām Sayful’s wife, Sabana.

They are in charge of the madrasa program at the masjid. Imām Sayful is also a secondary school teacher, I think they’d been saying. And his wife is also deputy head of a school, Maa Shaa Allah.

At this interview: I had to speak a bit about my teaching experiences. And I had to read some Qur’an in front of them. That day, last Wednesday, must have been one of the best days of my life, AlHamduliLlah. I loved, for example, reading the Qur’an that day. [And even… picking up kitchen tissue from the nearby newsagent’s afterwards. Affixing it to the back of my bike, and going home…]

CCM offered me the job, AlHamduliLlah!

I started work there this week. I mainly observed on Wednesday, and taught today. When I was asked if I would want to teach the older girls, or the younger kids, I said I didn’t mind. I’ve been assigned a class of younger kids, and they. Are. Absolutely adorable, Maa Shaa Allah. I love them.


The other day, at the masjid, I saw Tony, who is a builder who’d done works at our house here in Cambridge. And he also works, normally, at the Central Masjid. I am so happy, AlHamduliLlah, to say that… that is my place of work!

The circle in the sky in the above photo…

Someone flies a jet here in Cambridge every Friday, apparently. And draws a smiley face in the sky.

Subhaan Allah. All things considered:

How is life even real?!


Dear Reader,

If you ever want a free tour of this gorgeous place, the Cambridge Central Masjid…

[They offer official tours. And also:]

I can show you around. You can pay me in… cookies, if you wish.

There’s an exhibition room there, at CCM:


I love this place, AlHamduliLlah.

Cambridge, and the Muslim community here… >>>

While it is Autumn…

And when it rains…

Shoes at the masjid…

This is from when I’d sat down in the masjid’s café (where worshippers and general visitors are welcome to have a complimentary cup of tea or coffee) to review one of my CMC lectures:

I’d actually seen someone from a school I’d formerly attended, there at the café that day too. His name is Isa, and he’d been in Year 13 back when I was in Year 12. He’d obtained a degree in Physics, Maa Shaa Allah, and now works in London, where his office is.

But his mum has moved here, to Cambridge: she loves the masjid here, as well as the Muslim community. And so, Isa sometimes stays over here, at his mum’s place, and goes to the CCM café to work remotely from there. [Post-pandemic: opportunities to work remotely… a hidden blessing, no?]

Isa had been at Dr. Ingrid’s talk at the masjid too. So too had someone who’d been in Year 12 when I was in Year 13:

Her name is Aatqa, and she is studying to become a doctor, at Cambridge University, Maa Shaa Allah. At the talk: I noticed someone with a nice red coat, bag, bike helmet. A really nice (and put-together!) aesthetic. It was Aatqa!


I love my kids at CCM. I love the people at CMC also. I love living with Sasha too:

Left: what I found on the living room table. Right: what she’d put in my bag… Sasha the menace, I tell you. SheNANigans!

I like being the same as people, in some ways. I like being different from the people I am around, in others. Both similarities and differences are important. So long as we can feel like valued members of communities.


Yesterday, Sasha was watching ‘Wednesday’ on Netflix, at the kitchen table.

I love the character of Wednesday Addams. I have consistently loved her character: so dark, and ‘weird’, and confident. Unapologetically brilliant.

In ‘Wednesday’, Wednesday has a roommate called Enid. While Wednesday loves the colour black, (same! But not in a ‘Wahhabi’ kinda way,) Enid loves colour. Sasha loves colour… She’s like a whole bouquet of colourful flowers, this girl, Maa Shaa Allah.

Enid loves hugs. Wednesday does not, so much.

[Sasha loves hugs. I… Hmmm…]

I’ve learnt a lot from her, AlHamduliLlah. Like how to air-dry my clothes in better ways. We’re similar where we’re similar, and different where we are too!

Me as a person:

The prep school across the road from CMC…

Looks like an old English boarding school, no? Maybe even a bit like Wednesday Addams’ Nevermore…


A lady at the masjid today thought that some of my current students… were my kids. [I’m 21 years old. They’re 7/8. Do I look like a mother already?]

The lady was Bengali herself, but thought I was Yemeni.

At CCM, I also have a young student called Bilāl, who reminds me so much of my little cousin back in London, Dawud. Bilal is Egyptian and his dad is from Dubai. Yet he reminds me so much of my (Bengali) cousin Dawud, in terms of appearance and in terms of his personality and manner of being that… I’d almost, at one point, called him ‘Dawud’!

“Da—… Bilal!”

I sent my uncle, Dawud’s dad, a voice note about this on WhatsApp. He responded with a heart, and said, “we miss you”. How sweet! I miss them too.

  • In Shaa Allah, Dear Reader, much more about my current CCM students (I have the seven-and-eight-year-old class!) in the next article. Since: it’s Friday. I came back from work, had some Subway. Long day, long week, AlHamduliLlah.
  • Tomorrow, In Shaa Allah, I’m off to my second home, London, for the weekend. If Cambridge is my Madina here in England, then London is my Makkah, isn’t it?

3 comments

  1. As salaam alaikum. I’m curious, what is your process for writing, is it compiled over time or do you just sit down and write everything over the course of a few hours? When you spoke about the people who did/use drugs and how society views them, it made me think of the Hadith where, as Muslims, where supposed make 70 excuses for one’s actions or behavior instead of judging harshly. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • Wa alaikum Salaam! Thank you for commenting. My process for writing:

      I tend to sort of write ‘as and when’ I feel I want to include something in the next article. Then I save draft, and carry on next time.

      My aim these days is to make sure I publish something every Friday. Then, for other articles: if I feel like they’re ready to be published, I just go ahead and publish them on different weekdays. Yesterday, since it was Friday, and since I wanted to publish something, I did end up sitting down and making myself write for a while.

      Absolutely: beautifying our thoughts about people. It’s something I’m trying to learn. But I’ve found that, Subhaan Allah: whenever I have reflexively, immediately, thought/assumed something negative about someone… I’m proven wrong! Thinking better is just better. And if people *are* wrong, then that’s between them and Allah

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