بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Both in London and in Cambridge, England: there is frost outside, sheets and beds and blankets of it. A frozen-up, crystal layer of white, painting the world. Freezing it, decorating. Beautiful,
dangerous. And Morocco won the match against Portugal yesterday, in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. This is a major win, Maa Shaa Allah.
The players fell into Sujūd (prostration) out of gratitude, afterwards.
People celebrated out on the streets, including… in Trafalgar Square, in London:
[Meriem is a girl whom I tutor weekly, in GCSE Maths. She’s half-Moroccan, half-Algerian. And her little brother, Abdur-Rahman, is so so so cute, Maa Shaa Allah!]
Moroccans… are good vibes, Maa Shaa Allah. Muslims… are good vibes, Maa Shaa Allah.
My Moroccan-French friend whom I met some three days ago, at the local bus stop here in Cambridge:
Both her countries had played yesterday [France… against England. It… ain’t coming home.]
Sigh. Sometimes I love being small and so on. I guess I could get used to being babied.
[The above was after I’d seen her momentarily, in the evening, cycling back from the masjid, where she’d dropped off one of the children. She’s working as an au pair here in England. And: the eldest of the two children she looks after… is in my class at the masjid, where I’m a teacher!
Everything is by Design.]
Normalise pet names! I love pet names! And nicknames!
Of course, not all Muslims are Arab/speak Arabic. However: Arabic is, for us, the primary sacred language. We love the language very much, and culture and language are inextricable.
In Arab culture/language, it is/has been typical to ‘nickname’ people based on what their most honourable characteristic, as you perceive it to be, is.
So: my little brother would be… The effortlessly-joy-bringing. If there were ever a concise but complete way of saying that, in whichever of our three languages… English, Arabic, or Bengali. [I’ve also got basic Spanish. The language of… my GCSE in the subject. And, also: one of my closest friends, who is family… is Columbian.]
Tasnim, my best friend, would be, in my eyes… The uniquely-gifted-with-emotional–intelligence.
Sasha, my housemate: The colourful-and-caring. [She acts ‘mean’ sometimes too. But I’ve reasoned that ‘meanness’ is a means of individuals trying to assert ‘dominance’ over others, aw. Maybe when they’re feeling threatened/insecure. Bless.
Here is something that reminded me of her at T.K. Maxx:
Sasha wears Crocs indoors: they can be put into ‘sports mode’ for when you’re doing more ‘adventurous’ activities indoors, apparently. Her pair of them are also complete with colourful push-pins as decorations.]
My cousin Maryam: the generous, and the wonderfully-good-with-kids. Maa Shaa Allah.
My sister Jade, the sincere. The good-hearted one.
And so on.
*Muhammad (S A W) had popularly been known to the people around him as… the truthful one. And: the trustworthy. Even people who’d rejected the Message he’d brought to them… would still trust him with their property and wealth and so on.
London, Liverpool Street.
Welcome to London. Concrete jungle where capitalism runs rampant. Glass cages abound. And it’s also a uniquely special place, of course.
The Royal London Hospital is where I was born, almost 22 years ago, now. I wonder where I’ll die. Maybe here in Cambridge someday. Maybe: God Knows.
[I sneezed earlier, here in the living room of our home in Cambridge. And Sasha wanted to know what the Muslim response to someone else sneezing is. It is… saying:
YarhamukaLlah to the person who sneezed. Meaning: May God Show you Kindness. May He have Mercy on you.
Sasha got me to write the transliterated version of this saying on a Stickie on her laptop. Bless.]
The Bus Arrives.
Sometimes, buses will arrive… when you least expect them to. But the very, exact one that you get onto: that one, precisely, was meant for you.
The bus arrived for me, yesterday, when I wasn’t quite expecting it to. And then: there it is.
Right on Divine time. Cinderella’s carriage; my 100 bus. Shelter from the elements, a relatively quick, undisturbed journey home.
Back at home: my nan was really happy to see me, AlHamduliLlah. We watched the first parts of the new Netflix movie, Farha, together. My nan, though she didn’t understand the Arabic, and though the English subtitles were probably too quick for her: she understood the gists of things, from the movie. It’s hard to be human and not understand the various parts of the human experience.
We’re all quite the same, and different.
My mum, brother and I were also picked up by my mum’s friend, our Aunty Kelly. Her daughter Jessica was also in the car. My mum and Aunty Kelly have been friends since their late teens.
Yesterday, we went out and ate at Nando’s together, followed by dessert at a place behind the masjid. Also went to T.K. Maxx. My mum bought her friend a gift: a bag. Aunty Kelly, also, habitually gets presents for us.
Here is a shoe at T.K. Maxx that my little brother said is ‘my shoe’:
I suppose an irony, here, is that my brother’s shoe size is still smaller than mine, at the moment. He’s currently ten. And I’m going to be 22 in 8 days, In Shaa Allah [God-Willing].
My little brother and my mom [American accent]:
My brother makes me laugh so much. He’s such a joy, a light in my life, AlHamduliLlah [Praise is for God. We often say this to express gratitude to our Creator].
At Nando’s, my brother edited a video for his YouTube channel:
I cannot get over how cute this child is, Maa Shaa Allah.
By the door in my old room, which my brother has finally taken [he’s been waiting to,]:
In our house, we don’t do ‘Merry Christmas’. But we definitely do:
Eid Mubarak! [‘Blessed Eid!’]
The next Eid [it happens twice a year,] will be in April. Think: colours, decorations, nice things to do. Food, nice clothes. And so on. There isn’t necessarily a ‘set’ thing that everybody must do on Eid (although taking part in Eid prayers are encouraged, for example at the masjid, or in some parks, where they are held).
You can… go laser-tag. Go to a museum. Eat ice cream in the park as a family [we did this once! My uncle took us]. Have a party at home. Etc. etc. Just: make sure you make it special.
Eid is our festival, as Muslims!
Here is something else I have in my old room. Which is difficult to take down, I think, because I used this particular (strong) kind of tape to put it up:
This is what I need to eat, basically. To get that range of vitamins and minerals in. I had to do a bit of research for this. Now I need to find some recipes and so on that are actually tasteful, as well as nutritious.
[The highlighted things are food items that seem to fit into multiple vitamin categories. Like spinach, and broccoli. Good stuff!]
Here is what the leader of the local (East London) Muslim Scouts had posted on his WhatsApp status yesterday:
My little cousin, Sarina, recently joined the Scouts. I saw on her mum’s (my auntie, Eva,) status: saying her Scouts pledge. Promising to serve God, and the king. [We want for Morocco to win the World Cup. And for King Charles to accept Islam! How incredible would that be! A Muslim Britain!]
My dad’s Liverpool hoodie. Which I stole [in a Halāl way, of course]:
You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Not with God, and the Angels, and your brothers on your side.
And then, while I’d been on the train, there was this:
And, after getting myself a chai latte [I should probably save money and carry my own flasks of hot drinks around……
But this time: call it… guarding against hypothermia], I’d stopped at CMC’s two outside libraries. As CMC students, we each have our own key to the Arabic-language library. And we were also told the code for the other one: the English-language Islamic Studies one.
Part of being a traveller, which we all are, in this world:
Is having places to stop off at. Have a warm drink, a bite to eat. Rest. We have prayers to pray. And then we’re off again, journeying
through this life.
In my case:
I was picked up by my tutoring student, Inaya, and her dad, in their car. From CMC. I went and tutored Inaya, from 2:45 to 4:15. Then came home, had hot drinks with Sasha. She sprayed glitter into a Yankee candle. And then I:
Taught my next (online) tutoring session of the day. GCSE English, with my students Yasin and Shaiful.
AlHamduliLlah for everything, like all the good that we have been Provided with! All from Allah.
*I also… need to change my Voicemail greeting. Back when I was… 18 [?] … I decided to record a ‘funny’ Voicemail message. The usual ‘Hi, sorry I’m not available at the moment’ etc.
And then I decided to say, at the end… “Beeeeeep.“
My uncle, among others, found that really funny. And now: … my tutoring student, and her family, have discovered it. Inaya said it made them have more love towards me, basically. And that now they’ll be way more protective over me [aw! But still, I’m embarrassed]. Oh, man.
I do love being loved. I really love being loved. And I also would like to be (truly) respected. Hmm. I don’t have to be ‘inhuman’ and steel-faced, to be ‘respected’, however, do I?
I’m okay with showing my humanness more. I hope that I will truly be loved. And not merely ‘respected’, or ‘admired’, or just seen and acknowledged, and that’s it.
Still gonna change my Voicemail message though…………..
[Please leave your message after the tone.]
It’s snowing! Sasha told me to come see. She opened the garden door. It is snowing-snowing!
This world, this existence, is awesome, Subhaan Allah. And I am glad that a significant part of me is still, very much, and hopefully unchangingly: a child!
This paragraph was typed by Sasha:
Hi everyone! Oh my gosh Sadia has given me an opportunity to write something on her blog, truly I’m honoured! I could not pass up on THAT 😉
I’ve been reminded that this blog IS called Journey to the Heart of Islam and I’m not allowed to swear or write anything inappropriate so…here it goes.
One of my favourite things to do with Sadia is genuinely to just have discussions! I feel like we have the best discussions…sorry not sorry. The other day we had a discussion about incest- hear me out – and whether it is actually morally ‘wrong’. Sadia even made a lil’ diagram on our whiteboard (how cute).
We came to the conclusion that if you really think about it, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with incest, and it has existed in every society we can think of, historically and in the modern day. It’s just one of those things we’ve learnt to have a stigma about (let’s be real a lot of westerners think its gross but like…hello have you checked your history sweetie? A history lesson is clearly due, which is unfortunately beyond the scope of this blog). An interesting take away – if you ever find yourself have strong feelings/opinions about something and you’re not sure why, maybe it’s time to reflect and dive deeper. Examine those thoughts baby.
On an another note – I saw four cats on our estate the other day. FOUR, guys that sure is a jackpot in this weather…
I’ll end with a picture of our cat friend Yoghurt – he’s a very chonky, well loved cat 🙂
May we all be as loved and nourished as Yoghurt
*SADIA would like to add here, to clarify: that marrying between cousins is fine, if that’s what someone wants. Nothing else! Not ‘incest’ in general, according to my worldview. Just to clarify.