بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I really love bread. For example: nicely-seasoned Turkish bread. The right spices, the right level of toastiness, in ideal ratio with the softness and fluffiness.
Bread is just awesome.
Making bread in those clay ovens. It’s such a human thing: bread.
Apes don’t eat bread: this particular food item requires processing. Kneading, and heating.
We break bread with other people. It’s filling, and fulfilling. This has been my mini love-letter to…
Perhaps it is true that the best foods in the world are:
So versatile, so very central and important.
In other news:
I feel like life is decent. It’s good, AlHamduliLlah. Although: some mornings will not be ‘ideal’.
Like this morning for me: I slept in. Felt low-energy. Like, quite low-energy.
For women: I think this can often be a sign. About the incoming onset of the ol’ time-o’-the-month. Your body’s using a lot of energy, getting things ready. So many processes and happenings. Particular food cravings (e.g. high-energy foods) seem to be common at this time.
And: while life is good. With its natural processes, and ups, and downs, and ‘learning curves’. I’ve been ‘outside of here’ too much, I’d say. Thinking about fictional characters and away-from-heres. Sometimes, you find that you actually know next-to-nothing about individuals, and places and realities. That your mind will sometimes claim to ‘know’.
Mind games, and mind tricks. The mind is a powerful thing: a vessel and a generator. Incredible. Subhaan Allah.
Thursday 29th December 2022.
Today, my brother and his friends Isa, Faaris, and Aryan: are going bowling. Isa’s our cousin. Faaris is our neighbour. Aryan: Saif and Aryan went to the same pre-school together, and then reunited, as fate would have it, at their football club.
I: had a fairly ‘slow’ day. I think I ought to stay in tune with my body’s natural rhythms.
Later: we also went laser-tag.
My aunt took us. The last time I went laser-tag was about… 7 years ago, maybe, now. With some cousins, and an old friend of mine, Aya, also joined.
This time: it was me, my aunt, her husband, my cousins. My cousin Mazhar’s wife, Sadia. [Same first name,] And Sadia’s sister, Samiya.
Oh, and: my brother Saif’s two friends Aryan and Faaris joined us too.
It was quite fun! What a rush. What a good workout too: free exercise.
Actually. It was about £8 per head, for 20 minutes. You get a vest put on you, have different parts of the vest that you can shoot at. And things to hide behind in the arena.
I found a little nook to hide in. Small enough for me. [I got discovered twice. Then my cousin Mazhar announced that I was there.]
In Call of Duty, just hiding for a while is called ‘camping‘. You’re not meant to do it. Plus, as I realised: you’re not just there to not get shot. To get points: ya gotta also really shoot.
- My uncle pointed out that I would shoot him, and then apologise for it. I’m glad: I like the idea, in this life, of being the correct ratio between savage and sweet.
Well. My cousin Maryam won the entire game. While playing, she only saw “blood“, she said. And beat all three of her brothers at the game. This girl is awesome, Maa Shaa Allah.
And then she bought me a chocolate bar later, and things for the others too.
One day, In Shaa Allah, I hope to treat this girl to something amazing. I don’t know quite what, at the moment. But it has to be amay-sing, it does.
Today I brought in the washed clothes from outside. Made myself some cardamom-infused chai, and drank it in a glass. [Carnation evaporated milk is a key ingredient]. Had some biscuits with it.
Read some Qur’an. Spiritual, and even bodily, healing and nurture and goodness.
Spoke to someone, today, who is thinking about accepting Islam, Maa Shaa Allah.
- You don’t have to be ‘perfect’ in order to be Muslim. We just have to be sincere; to truly care.
Played football outside with my brother and his friends. That was fun; it made me laugh quite a lot. A good mini-ish workout before the actual workout, which had been… laser-tag.
And then laser-tag:
Pew pew pew
The final scores: [I’m Jannath. My other name. It means Garden (of Paradise) / Heaven in Arabic.]
This was so fun. Much laughter, much… snakery. Brothers turning on sisters. And so on.
We went back to my aunt and uncle’s house afterwards. Ate together. [Saif and his friends got separate food, and went back home with my parents.]
Laughed quite a bit, because kids can be hilarious.
*Maryam (who is currently 19 years old,) can be hilarious.
Here’s the chocolate bar that Maryam got for me:
And here’s something super cute, found on Pinterest:
In the spirit of talking about classic Disney movies, from my previous blog post. There’s Geek Charming.
Lemonade Mouth, which I have so loved.
There’s the Hannah Montana movie. A real classic.
Radio Rebel. Me blogging reminds me at least a bit of Radio Rebel.
Also, with the above cat picture in mind:
We keep in mind that God Alone is the Creator of all things beautiful. Like cats, and other creatures. And the incredible Divinely-Sent love that living beings can demonstrate and exercise to one another.
Isn’t it remarkable? We say: Subhaan Allah. Glory is for God.
“I know, I’ve grown.
But I can’t wait to go home.”
— Edward Christopher Sheeran.
Friday 30th December 2022.
A principle that I would like to live my life by this week is the following:
To leave places in a better state/condition than how you found them.
Islam really is about doing things with good intentions. And we’re not perfect: we are far from.
But if we care about our states/conditions, and our places and positions with God: we’re doing alright.
What the subheading says.
Perhaps it would really help to get as much light as possible, in particular in the morning. Light and (some, when it’s helpful,) caffeine.
I wonder if synthetic light works too, in fighting back tiredness.
The above are some accidents that occurred while I was trying to clean my laptop.
So. The chocolate that Maryam got for me yesterday is peng.
Yesterday, also: at our little cousin Siyana’s house, we saw her littl-er cousins Zidane (Zee) and Mahrez. [Our cousin Siyana is so cool, and so cute, Maa Shaa Allah. She wears Spider-Man shoes, the cutest clothes, and Batman glasses].
Both Zidane and Mahrez are named after football personalities, since their dad quite likes the beautiful game, it seems.
Anyway. At one point, Maryam, Siyana and I were playing with two of Siyana’s plushie dolls. We made something of a play. About a girl and boy who meet and fall in love, but one of the plushies’ parents are racist, so they don’t approve.
Four-year-old Siyana (whose words sometimes make good sense, and sometimes not so much,) said, in response to the racism:
“This is why I live on Earth.”
Her message seems to be that: look. We share an Earth. Racism can just get over itself.
the two plushies lived happily ever after. After Maryam threw one of them across the room to me a few times.
Maryam, you see: grew up with brothers. She… was very much the type to decapitate Barbie dolls and scribble on teddies. We love a good Maryam Bint Alam.
When I was younger, sometimes after school, sometimes during school holidays, and sometimes during weekends: I would attend madrasa classes.
Sometimes, I’d stay at one institution for a while. And then go to another one.
At one particular one, [where I managed to get locked into the bathroom one time. What an embarrassing experience] we had a whole lesson on:
‘Give gifts to each other. You will love each other.’
This principle: it’s a saying from our beloved Prophet (S A W).
Gifts are an expression of love. Whether they be: food gifts. Souvenirs. “I randomly saw this and thought of you” ones. I love gifts, and gift-giving. It’s a Muslim thing.
Not in an especially ‘materialistic’ way, e.g. ‘get me a Gucci bag or nothing‘.
The ‘small things’ often mean the most, most, most. Like the marble that my student Amal from the mosque gave me. A single marble, which sits in my coat pocket: may God bless this adorable little girl.
Maryam bought me these really nice [I love them so much,] teaspoons from Sainsbury’s relatively recently. Just because I saw them and called them cute.
For my new house: she got me a really nice plant, among other things.
She pays for my food pretty often. By insistence. Even though she’s younger than me.
Yesterday, I’d been thinking about something to give to her. I wanted to give her something amazing.
Well, this morning, AlHamduliLlah: I got paid by CCM (Cambridge Central Masjid). That feeling when money comes through >>
I ordered Maryam some flowers, and a yellow candle that I think would look nice in her room. It says, “You are my sunshine” on it.
I’m excited for her to receive it, not gonna lie.
*One of Siyana’s plushies: the penguin one. She’s called it ‘Lighty’. Her mum said that, according to Siyana, this is because: Lighty lights up a room when she enters it. So too does Maryam. Maybe it’s a my-cousins thing: runs in the ol’ blood or something.
And yesterday: while we were playing laser-tag: Siyana wasn’t allowed in, to play. So my mum sat outside with her, while she had a snack that… Maryam had gotten her.
The eyes are the mirrors of the heart.
Today, I’ll be looking at people’s eyes, to see what they can tell me.
My little brother thinks that “dark brown” eyes are Muslim. “Light brown” eyes, for example, and other colours: are ‘Christian’, according to his current understanding.
- Well I ended up kinda forgetting about that plan of mine. To look into people’s eyes. But, truly, in human eyes, it seems: we can see… envy, jealousy. Pure-heartedness, innocence. Playfulness. And so on. It’s incredible, Subhaan Allah.
It’s now 06:38 AM, Saturday (31st Dec).
The last day of 2022.
Yesterday: I went to my nan’s house, where my two aunties and uncles were. And Siyana and Dawud, my two little cousins.
I: watched a bit of a movie. An Egyptian one about a Christian boy among Muslim classmates/friends. In one of the scenes: the father of this boy just… dies, suddenly, while eating with his family. So I realised the movie wasn’t quite PG. The kids watched something else.
They also: played Mario-Kart. And with their new wind-up toys. They’ve also both got new remote-controlled cars. Dawud has a white BMW; Siyana a yellow Lamborghini.
Here’s when they decided to rest the tablet on a flip-flop, and I don’t know why I didn’t stop them:
And here’s Dawud, my baby brother, helping Siyana, our baby sister:
So. I heard about two extended family members who are respectively getting married, In Shaa Allah. They both live in the US of A. Mabrook!
I hope this doesn’t sound selfish of me, but: hearing about one of those weddings. My second cousin, who I think is just a year older than me. It’s possible to be very happy for someone, and also wonder about yourself, right?
Around me: my first cousin tied the knot. Bravely, and very well, Maa Shaa Allah.
Mazhar is three months older than me: we ‘grew up together’ just like Dawud and Siyana are growing up together.
I guess I just need to fully realise that it’s not a ‘comparison’ game. Not at all. Pray for people’s happiness, and know that this happiness will reach you also. Everything in its Divine place and timing.
Sometimes people are… 26 when they get married. Or even 29. And sometimes: 18, or 20, or 22.
I think hearing about my second-cousin getting married, yesterday, triggered a strange feeling within me. But it’s a lingering feeling.
A fear that people are normal, and they fall in love, and things are smooth. And like I’m far away from that; far from being ‘normal’ and understandable, and deeply likeable in a sustained way. [Wow, is this the internet, or… therapy? Hey Sasha, wot’s good?]
And what if I die alone?
Hawaa (Eve) was formed from Ādam’s rib. And I, at least in a strong figurative way, am also of and from someone’s rib, right? But alas. Whose?
These days, and maybe even forever: whenever someone shows a legitimate interest in… me. I guess first I’m like: … me? Are you sure? Have you met me? Lol.
I really have been liked in that sense, just for being myself, and that’s nice.
But I just don’t feel the same way. Maybe the issue is that I won’t sustainedly like someone. Maybe I’m expecting relative perfection, even though I’m not even close to it. Perceive a single ‘flaw’, and realise how human everyone is.
And if I feel myself to be… not-normal. Then my love. Or, perhaps: loves. I could get divorced, etc. etc. Only Allah Knows. But: if I am not ‘normal’, then nor will my love be. And actually, that’s a very good idea.
Let’s talk about Gilmore Girls.
Rory Gilmore, whose overall ‘goodness’ is actually questionable. One could point out the entitled nature of some of her actions, and see the ‘pretty privilege’ and so forth that she benefits from, which ‘absolve’ her, ‘let her off the hook’.
Anyway. Dean, the first boy. Is sweet. Caring. But ultimately ‘wants’ of her what she is not, and does not want to be.
Tristan. Is just a bit annoying in how he constantly calls her ‘Mary’. Just because she isn’t showing an interest in him.
Logan. He’s alright. He’s ‘normal’, wealthy, ‘cool’, stylish.
But Jess is where it’s at. The sarcastic, slightly-rebellious intellectual. Who: acts like he ‘doesn’t care about anything’. But he sends Jess a ‘care package’. Food, which she loves [same, Rory. Same.]
Jess is: intelligence, adventure, wit and care. If Rory’s the good girl, then Jess is the relative ‘bad boy’. In this way: they balance one another out.
Truly: a guy who is ‘too sweet’ will give you figurative diabetes. Too bitter: why would you want that, too?
Too ‘suave’, too ‘smooth’: but what about when reality kicks in? Aren’t men like that afraid of reality? And don’t they cower from it?
Jess Mariano. The cool, if slightly ‘troubled’, character, who ‘cares’ about few things. But he cares about Rory. And that is adorable.
Being completely ourselves, in confidence: why, that’s a most excellent filtering mechanism, Dear Reader. Trust mey. In Shaa Allah, not too long from now: the things that others may ‘criticise’ about you. Another will love, love, love. Different hearts and eyes are different; perceive different things. And this is meaningful.
If I die alone, then:
It’s okay. At least I didn’t settle, and change myself fundamentally, to be less sarcastic/forthright and so on. I like these things about me, and why alter what makes you, you: just to portray yourself as being more ‘palatable’, more ‘soothing’ to certain men, and more widely ‘becoming’?
I do want my ‘meant-to-be’ in this world. But we’ll definitely, and in a brilliant way: have them in Jannah.
Xavier in ‘Wednesday’ is pretty cool too. Troubled artist vibes. A bit ‘dopey’, but in a good way. And then he gets her that phone (even though she’s ‘against technology’), and that was a really sweet, thoughtful, and meaningful gesture. [The Muslim way: giving love-infused gifts!]
Xavier’s a bit ‘weird’, no? In a good way. And committed, but never artificially extreme.
Tyler, by contrast, like Rory’s Dean: he’s… ‘normal’. Reliable. Pleasant. Makes her that sweet birthday drink with the latte art.
In this life of mine: I would like more than mere ‘pleasant’ and ‘sweet’. And Allah Knows, and He is the Best of Planners and Providers. He Knows what we want better than even we can know what we want.
- In doing this particular vlog-blog series thing: I’ve realised just how much we are our moment-by-moment, and day-to-day selves. In relation to God, the people around us, and then by ourselves. We are not: our online personas, and other attempted constructs.
From when the boys went bowling:
[Fahima is my mum. Trent and Messi are footballers’ names.]
I have actual work to do today, and for this entire week. I’m glad I spent quality time with my family this break.