بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Truth be told: sickness has been ailing my head, and my stomach. It has been heavying my leg, and dragging down my feet. Like a weight upon my soul, which is embodied.
But I am a lot better than I have been. AlHamduliLlah: my Lord is the One who Cures me. And getting better, step by step and day by day: it will teach me not to take my health for granted. The fact that I can walk, and do things.
You are in God’s Eyes.
His Lovingkindness is amazing. Far more than any human being has ever, and could ever, show you.
Today, I woke up. Really. I woke up.
For breakfast, I had chai. Cardamom-infused. And some mini cookies. And… macaroni cheese, not gonna lie. Accidentally threw away the packet again, and fished it out of the recycling bin to read the instructions. Classic.
Woke up with the sniffles. Vapour rub (Vick’s. Classic South Asian remedy) and warmth helped. I’m already cured!
The Spirit of these here Times:
- Herbal Essences hydrating coconut conditioner is amazing for hair, from what I can tell of it. [Or perhaps it really is true: that different shampoos/conditioners are better for different hair types.] And Johnson’s nighttime wash (the purple one) for babies is really good. Smells good too.
My little brother, at age ten, has never used anything on his hair but Johnson’s baby shampoo. And his hair is very healthy and silky, Maa Shaa Allah. Gentle, including gentle products: is good.
I watched the first thing that had been recommended to me on Netflix today: I was going to watch ‘Farha’. The rest of it. But decided to watch the Harry and Meghan documentary today. Fascinating. Plus: God is All-Knowing, the Subtle and Acquainted. Nothing is without reason: it’s simply quite… amazing.
This house (on the way, the seven-or-so-minute walk between, from my house to my nan’s flat. Previously: we lived in the flat and my nan lived in the house. But in 2020, we swapped). When I was about 8 years old: a man shouted at me from that middle window there. An adult man, and not an old one.
From what I’d understood at the time: he’d been having a heated argument with his girlfriend/wife. I was walking with my aunt’s carer [my aunt has learning disabilities] and with my Nan and aunt.
I have a habit of… looking. At things I want to know more about. That’s gotten me into some ‘trouble’ before. I think I now know better: how to do it without people noticing, really. People are so interesting. Fascinating.
“What the F*** are you looking at, you F***ing P*KI?!” shouted the man. And I said nothing, since: what do I even say to that?
Over a decade on from this:
I’m not afraid of men like this, who behave like this. They’re angry.
I’m looking at: a man who could have said something nice, or kept quiet. To a stranger child. But he’d chosen to verbally abuse me, and that had been his choice. Did that make anything ‘better’ for him, in any way? An attempted transference of whatever of negativity he’d been experiencing at the time?
Something I’ve been thinking about recently, in thinking about identity is this:
That you, we, are whom the people who
- Know, 2. Love, and 3. Want the best for us
say we are.
By direct and exact contrast:
What of the people who do not know us (well,) and who do not love us, and who do not want the best for us? [Truth be told: oftentimes the motivation behind this can really be… envy. The green-eyed monster. And sometimes, people are really struggling with their selves, and I’m sorry that they have gotten you involved]
What about what they, who do not want to love you, have said about us, and are saying, and will say?
Well: it can hurt for a moment. But it’s okay. They don’t 1. know, 2. love, and 3. want the best for us.
My best friend sees me in a very lovely way, AlHamduliLlah. I’m full of compliments for her, and she is filled with an honest good outlook on who I am, also. What Tasnim tells me about me: I trust, and it’s true, and I am blessed.
What: someone who might act like they ‘know’ you, and who definitely doesn’t love and want the best for you:
Maybe they ‘hate’ you, and want to see you hurt, and fall. Maybe they hate (what they think they know of) your religion. Don’t worry about what they say.
We came back from our holiday week [in German: there’s one single word to say ‘holiday week’. Mayhaps the English should be: holiweek,] in Turkey, last night. AlHamduliLlah: from start to finish, what a blessed trip. After a couple of trips during which I’d been particularly unwell. But look how
And Gracious Allah is. I just never thought…
Today my Nan made me a cup of tea. In her yellow ‘Nan’ mug. She said, back in Turkey, that she makes Duʿa for me separately. “Alada,” in Bengali.
And I am not whom meanie-pie strangers to me will ever say I am.
This is the East London Mosque Prayer Times calendar that’s on display in my Nan’s flat. On the cabinet where the electric key is.
It’s December 2022. I turned 22 this year, AlHamduliLlah.
You know, for a while: I really felt this big anxiety about being in the world. About strangers, and what they would be thinking about me. The media’s noise, the anger of aspects of the world.
Is she… dangerous?
Or does she smile? Is she ‘one of the good ones’?
Is she ‘educated’? Clean? Polite and respectful?
Does she speak English?
I realise, now, that: a… melon, for example. Never has to waste energy in declaring that she is not… a banana.
[Imagine a melon, here, saying: “I am not a banana. I am not a banana. I am not a banana.”
While some random dude from the EDL shouts at her: “You are a banana. You are a banana. You are…“]
We’re literally here to… be. Muslim. Ourselves.
I will not prove you ‘right’ nor ‘wrong’ about things. That is not my ‘duty’.
Not mine to carry.
This is Lauren Booth: the sister-in-law of one Tony Blair.
In Turkey somewhere.
I just found and subscribed to her channel today.
Adab (manners) are core in Islam. The centre, and the heart.
Some people… say things to their own children, it seems. And maybe I can’t really, meaningfully, comment on that, since I’m not a parent (yet, In Shaa Allah). I don’t know what all the sleep deprivation, the need for a lot of patience, and so on, for example on holiday, really feels like.
Children make messes. They vomit, they feel overwhelmed, and they cry.
On our flight yesterday, we’d overheard… a father telling his young (maybe two-year-old?) daughter:
“For F***’S SAKE. SHUT UP!“
My brother and I just looked at one another.
The girl carried on with her ‘baby talk’. Which was comprehensible: it made sense. She’s learning all about the world, in a conscious way. And about whom she is within it.
“You’re a nuisance, you are. What are you? A nuisance.
What are you?” said her annoyed, maybe tired, maybe he didn’t want, wasn’t himself prepared for, children. Father.
The innocent, though, yes, child-like, and energetic, and talkative, child sweetly, and still in her squeaky and positive voice, responded:
she’d learned to say.
*You know: sometimes the ‘authority’ figures. Like parents, and teachers, and the media. Who ‘teach‘ you things about yourself. Can be so very wrong. They’re not teaching you about you. They’re telling you about them: whom they are, and choose to be.
When we’re old enough, and more aware:
We can instead look to God.
And come to understand ourselves, day by day by day, via the lenses, instead, of all that is True, and Good, and Beautiful.
While in Turkey:
At breakfast, I’d seen a man with bright blond hair. [Blonde with an ‘e’ is for women. Blond is for men]. Maybe he was Polish, or maybe German.
Anyway. He was eating lettuce. Like it were a chicken nugget or something. For breakfast!
I aspire to eat more salad. He had his proteins and so on. And a separate bowl for salad. I think it was the same the next time I’d seen him.
Salad is, how you say, very good for you. The colours, the nutrients…
How to enjoy eating salad? [For me: salad is the side to the side. E.g. chicken, chips, then salad. While, for some: it is the main event. The real deal.]
More on Islam in Turkey.
There’s a wing of the hotel that is for staff members: it seems they live there. A very nice hotel, Maa Shaa Allah.
And in this staff wing…
Is a mescit. A place of prostration: a prayer room. It is open to guests too.
So interesting, since: I’d actually been thinking… Does this hotel have a prayer room? Well, it had stickers showing the Qibla direction on the ceilings. And yes, it had a prayer room too. So pretty. In a ‘quiet’, and soul-embracing, and home-like way.
The pretty grill on the window. And the flowers. It was wonderfully small.
The beautifully-scented and pretty prayer mat, rolled up on the ground. Ready for use. I’d asked a lady walking past which way the Qibla is, there. She’d come in and shown me. It was towards where a big blue glass piece of art is.
The lady put on a long skirt, and prayed there too.
What I love about Islam there, and indeed in Cambridge, England, is:
That people’s Islam flows like water does. Gently, and completely, inextricably, compatible with life. And with whom and how we have been Created, as children of Ādam.
Some women work out on the fields. And some men will be carpenters, like Jesus (PBUH).
Other men will be shepherds. Like Muhammad S A W.
Some will wear shepherds’ clothes. Others will wear the type that is typical, and most suitable, for carpenters.
Some women will wear these kinds of clothes, while others: those. Different jackets, headscarves, tote bags, bike helmets.
What remains consistent, between Muslim and Muslim: is that we care to try to adhere to those principles. Towards and concerning: Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.
Islam makes complete and perfect sense.
Now I’m at my Nan’s house. I was going to go back to Cambridge today, booked my ticket. But: turns out I don’t need to go and tutor Inaya tomorrow. She’s on an Islamic study retreat. Her family is lovely, Maa Shaa Allah.
Staycation here in London, then.
We’re currently watching Episode 1 of the Prince Harry and Princess Meghan docu-series. My mum, and of course, lots of people… love Princess Diana. My mum used to work at a nursery called Animal House. She remembers that “everyone cried” when they’d learned that Diana had died.
Meghan Markle, similarly: is a true princess, Maa Shaa Allah. Beautiful, even in spite of people’s spite.
And whatever whoever had been saying about her. Like, let’s face it: the ones who felt they didn’t want for the British Royal Family, and their ‘pure’ (white) blood to be ‘tainted’ by her presence. Jealousy, bitterness, and resentment. Racism. [Also: pssssst. She isn’t a ‘gold-digger’, dear presumptive and bitter naysayers. She is the gold!]
Some decided, right from the start, and even before it: that they didn’t like her. Didn’t want to like her.
In truth: Meghan Markle didn’t ‘taint’ anything.
She made it better. [If you ever find yourself in which you are ‘different’: there’s so much value in that! It means: you bring something, and also have things to learn!]
Meghan Markle’s presence in the royal family exposed some things. The darkness that had been present in the hearts of some people.
And I really respect the way Harry protected her.
He, you see, is somebody who 1. truly knows her. 2. truly loves her. And, 3. truly wants the best for her, his beloved wife. Sometimes: it really, really doesn’t matter ‘what ‘the people’ say’.
Be-you-tiful. In the words of Taylor Swift:
“Don’t you worry your pretty little mind:
People throw rocks at things that shine.”
Try, if you can, to spend as much time as possible in the company of people who love and uplift you, and whose souls smell like love.
And get yourself away, as much as you possibly can, from those who do and say evil; who even ‘as a joke’ seek to tear you down.
*Oh, and pssssst. You’re also fully allowed to make accidental (human) errors, mistakes, and have your natural and inevitable flaws. Just try to remedy your mistakes afterwards. And beware of the detractors who will try to cling onto, and exaggerate, your human errors. As though they have never made any of their own.
In the words of someone who’s on the same Islamic Studies course as I am:
“It’s okay. It happens.”
It doesn’t, and will never, make you any less good, and beloved by all the right beings!
You ever just want to ask someone, for example commenters online, if the Daily Mail is their dad?
But then you have to stop yourself, because you are Muslim.
Keep calm, shrug it off, and carry on.
They are neither knowers, nor owners, of the truths of you.
I’ve heard tough stories about Muslims who have reverted into Islam. Beautiful people, accepting the Path of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
Facing quite a lot of hate, even from their own families. Being served pork by their mothers. Abused. Made homeless.
I’ve heard of revert Muslims who’d been made homeless, looking for places to stay. People trying to help them out, by reaching out on WhatsApp. Their safety is very, very important. Once, I saw a sister at the East London Mosque, who was looking for somewhere to clean herself up, since she’d been made homeless. The East London Mosque has shower facilities.
And I know we should do more to help people who are homeless.
Your Rabb Knows you, Loves you, and Wants the best for you.
[Mushfika works at the Islamic secondary school I used to work at. She: was a receptionist there. And had been studying for a degree in History too, like in the evenings. She then became a History teacher, and she is amazing, Maa Shaa Allah.]
Nabeelah is a friend of mine; my best friend Tasnim had introduced us to one another. Nabeelah wears a Niqāb. She is so cool, and various, Allah hummabārik. Volunteering, baking, cycle-instructing, being awesome.
We had sushi and chocolate together, the first time we’d met. Hence why she’s saved as Nabeelah Sushi.
The second time we’d seen each other, ‘coincidentally’, had been… the very next day! At an event in a different place.
I love you, and Allah Loves you too. You are in His Eyes. He is Fully Aware that you are reading this right now.
Your Creator Loves you, He Loves you, He Loves you.
And He Wanted, at this very moment, for you to know.