بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Today, we’d taken cable cars up a mountain. To see a castle. My goal in life is to be a Muslim princess.
“What does that even mean, child? Princess of which country?” I hear you (not really) ask.
Muslim princess. It makes sense, don’t question it. The thing about the human brain is: that it often can’t easily separate ‘fact’ from ‘fiction’. A fiction is still a ‘true’ subjective experience, no?
Here’s a cake I found at lunch today, at our hotel. It had a plastic sword in it, and that’s really why I got it. My brother (Saif. Which means sword in Arabic,) kept the sword. Fitting.
I ate the cake: that was my lunch. A quick lunch. We had to rush off, in order to go…
Castles are so cool. And mountains.
The above image shows a food dispenser, with which you can pay 1 Lira (equivalent to just less than 5 pence) to feed local cats and dogs. A key Islamic principle: looking after the living beings around us.
Our bodies, animals around us, people in our care…
They are entrusted to us, from God.
The other day, we’d gone to the beach. And there’d been an issue with my brother’s shoes. I think they’d been wet and sandy. We’d gone to purchase some new sliders for him.
In the meantime: I carried him on my back.
Ordinarily: he wouldn’t let me carry him anymore. The pre-teen teenage years are soon, for him: what if this were my last time ever carrying my little brother?!
My little cutie-pie. gooji gooji goo.
From 10 years ago… [I flipped to a random page]
My brother sat behind me, on the bike I drove. Today was a pretty special day, AlHamduliLlah. Haff to protect my baby.
I never used to habitually call my little brother my baby until my friend Samaiya referred to her own little brother, who isn’t even that much younger than her, as hers. And then it occurred to me: oh. Same here, actually.
Today, we’d met a lady called Seda. [Pronounced: ‘Sedé’. Meaning: voice.]
A very lovely woman, and one who loves to laugh. A true laugh. We stan women who truly laugh.
I met her at about 13:30 today. I’d gone to the hotel’s dining hall to quickly grab a bite to eat (the cake with the sword,) after prayer. Fixed myself an elma çayı: an apple tea.
Went downstairs, since we were going to be picked up for quad-biking at this time. But I didn’t find my parents downstairs.
I’d also: left my cap upstairs, in the dining hall, which is on the sixth floor. [I’ve been wearing a white sports cap on top of my hijāb. Something I’d picked up from a journalist/YouTuber whose vlogs I used to watch]
Outside, Seda, our driver for the trip… had been there with her husband. A lovely, jolly lady. She’d jokingly asked if the tea had been for her.
I said she could have it if she wanted! It’s untouched. And I asked if she and her husband wanted tea. They politely declined, but then accepted: coffee. Such lovely people.
So I went to the sixth floor, retrieved my cap, got two milk coffees from the hot drinks dispenser. Found my brother on the way out, and he’d handed the two coffees to Seda and her husband.
This was from Allah’s Lovingkindness and Provision, to them: two beings He Himself had Fashioned. As Muslims, we are fortunate enough to often be vessels for God’s Lovingkindness.
It truly seemed as though the coffees touched Seda and her husband’s hearts, and I would like to remember this. She said she didn’t have breakfast, so the coffee was good. And she’d later given us bananas from a bag in the back of her car.
We became friends. I, Sadia, and she: Seda. We both have little brothers. Hers is studying at university.
Seda holidays and works here in Alanya, Turkey. She lives in Bursa, also Turkey, where she takes care of her elderly mother. She’s invited us to go there, maybe next Summer.
A happy, jolly lady. I love ‘words of affirmation’, especially against the fires of self-doubt I can sometimes feel. And the vocalisations of, let’s call them, haterz.
Seda said she thinks I have a “very good” face. She called me beautiful! [Aw! Not saying that to ‘show off’, but this blog is also like a personal journal for me…] And said she thinks I have a heart that is “hot”. Maybe this is a Turkish expression. I love it.
In the evening, after dinner, (and after I’d overcome my desire to eat cake afterwards… We aren’t supposed to fill our bellies…) I went on a walk by myself. Safe Muslim country and all. Purchased some souvenirs, including a gift for my friend Jade, who’s getting married soon In Shaa Allah. Something that smells like mango: she and I both like mangoes. And then:
The shopkeeper of one of the shops said that the nearest mescit is 300 metres away. So I walked there. A kindly elderly man did his Wudhu at the ring of outdoor taps. Made Duʿa afterwards. And then showed me the way into the women’s section, after ensuring I’d placed my shoes at the entrance in the correct orderly way.
The women’s section at this mescit is upstairs, a balcony overlooking the men’s prayer hall. Like in London Central Masjid, Regent’s Park.
This mescit here in Alaiye, Turkey: beautiful indeed, Maa Shaa Allah. In a ‘quiet’, flowers-and-stone, blue and white and flowers. And jameel calligraphy-with-the-Names-of-God overhead kind of way. Sort of small, and in the best kind of way. Home.
And May Allah bless every man that had been there, at the night prayer (ʿIshā’) today. May He bless our Prophet and example, Muhammad S A W. And may we have, of this life and the next: all that is true, and good, and beautiful.
*teşekkür ederim is ‘thank you’ in Turkish. Te-shek-kur eder-um.
Thank you, God.