Today, I would like to talk, first and foremost, about
d e p r e s s i o n.
I’ve found that lots of people, if not everyone after reaching adulthood:
We’re all suffering from at least something. A bundle of physical, and mental, struggles. And people I wouldn’t have ‘expected’ to have been suffering from certain things: were, and are. We can hide things pretty well, in general.
Some people have bipolar disorder. They do.
Others have chronic anxiety; OCD. Pain.
Personally: I suffer from…
And I don’t want ‘pity’. But I do – we all do – benefit from support.
Some days, and moments, are definitely better than others. But, trust me:
Depression. The dullness, the flavourlessness, and the ache.
Like a colourful wall being stripped of all its colours. Until grey
Like a fruit being peeled of its skin. Cold. And all the heaviness; the overthinking.
The Dunya, intrinsically, is not a ‘Happy Place’. Now, how to cope? How to get through this world, with good patience, and meaningful things, and so on? Without losing our minds?!
Be merciful to yourself.
You won’t be super ‘productive’ every day. And so on.
It’s excellent to have close friends and family who understand. And things you do, to recuperate.
Support from our loved ones: is a lot.
That cliché thing about you’re not alone. We’re actually, actually not. There’s so many people who experience the same, although sometimes we don’t immediately see it.
- I just got back home to Cambridge, from London. Maybe it’s completely fair to say that I often feel done with this life. Maybe I just want to eat some chips now.
- Update: put some chicken and chips into the oven. Why do I have chicken in this house? Well. I had a housemate called Sana, who’s now left this house. She’s Muslim. Left behind some Halāl frozen chicken; said she won’t be coming back for them, so I can have them. Poulet gratuit, as a French person might say.
- My mum also put some (Turkish grill-style) seasoning into my bag (one of my three bags,) before I left House London today.
- It’s raining. May Allah make this a beneficial rainfall.
Justice, in terms of ice-cream.
It is such an unfavourable thing, isn’t it, to (intentionally) give gifts to certain children, and not the others who are there. And to give certain children special treatment, and special words, on account of whom their parents are, and how much one decides that they like those children’s parents.
It’s like a way of punishing a child. For no reason but cruelty, pettiness, immaturity. There was a lady who didn’t like my family: she didn’t like my mother since childhood.
And she: would give gifts and kindnesses, extravagant names of endearment and words, to my cousins. Allow them to help her in the kitchen. And overlook me. Like, in quite a showy way. I could feel the deliberateness.
I don’t know what she thought she’d been achieving in her strange exclusionary practices. Some people, some practices.
- I also remember one time. After some wedding we’d attended. Some distant relatives or family friends or someone. [South Asian thing: ‘big’ weddings.] And: the groom, I think he’d been. He’d bought all the children of his new relatives ice-cream. But excluded me, I guess because I wasn’t directly related or something. [In my memory: it feels like he did see me. Yet, in hindsight: perhaps he just… accidentally didn’t.] One of the girls offered to share her ice-cream with me. Oh, man: why are adults like this sometimes. I think I just felt embarrassed.
- My housemate Gabriella: has a similar story. As a child: she was out with a friend of hers, and with this friend’s dad. The dad takes the two little girls to McDonald’s. And only gets his daughter food! …………….. .
“Be whom you needed when you were younger.”
Girl, if you’re getting the kids ice-cream. You’re getting every child there ice-cream, ya hear me? It doesn’t matter who this boy’s father is, or who that girl’s mother is ‘not’.
“Surely Allah Loves those who are fair.” [Equitable, just.]
— Qur’an, (60:8).
If your father told you to clean your room. And also offers you payment for doing this. £100 for cleaning your own room: it’s a chore, and you have to do it.
Your dad who: pays for the house, the car you use to go to school. Electricity, the cost of which has been on the rise. He buys your food. He bought you ten new, and not cheap, things this month.
And you turn around and say,
“No. No, no, no, no. And: oh. No.”
Does your father have a right to punish you?
Yes, of course. What complete disrespect you just showed him.
[I just thought of that “Are ya winning, son?” meme.]
Now imagine he gives you a chance.
“My beloved child, you need to clean up your room. I love you, but disobeying your parents is disrespectful, and I thought we taught you better than this. But if you just say sorry, and do it: even if it takes you a bit longer than expected. I understand. I’ll also quadruple it and pay you £400.”
The son looks his father right in the eye, and says:
“I. Said. NO.
And no, I will also not stop getting all the carpets dirty.
I know better than you!!!!!”
- God is far, far, far more Merciful than any human being – any father, or mother, – could ever be.
Ah, but He is also far, far, far more Majestic. You don’t disrespect your Creator. He Created you, and it is especially arrogant to know what the Truth is, with that ennobled mind that Allah has Himself Given the human being.
And to know that adhering to the Truth has been made so easy for us.
And to then say: “No.”
Like Iblīs (AKA Satan) did. Human beings do not know better than God. And He has a Right, no doubt, to punish the unrepentant, arrogant human being.
[It’s literally been made as easy for us as this: if you’ve sinned. Just ask God for forgiveness: He forgives everything, if you just… ask.]
“Indeed Allah forgives all misdeeds; indeed, He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Bestower of mercy.”
— Qur’an, (39:53).
So what could possibly lead to a human being missing out on so much forgiveness, and so much reward for all the ‘small’ good things we strive to do?
When a person thinks he ‘knows better than God’ somehow. It is the height of disrespect and self-delusion.
A Prophetic (S A W) saying from the collection of Sahih Muslim:
“None shall enter the Fire (of Hell) who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of Īmān [adherent belief,] and none shall enter Paradise who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride [Kibr, in Arabic. Thinking one is ‘bigger’ than the Truth, and also: scorning other people].“
This is how tiny a mustard seed is:
Behold, some random images from the internet:
So, as Muslims: we try to have faith. And keep arrogance out of our hearts and doings.
Allah has Given us intelligence, and some pretty awesome capacities. AlHamduliLlah.
- Do not mess with the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. It’s completely futile, and you will regret it. Perhaps even eternally.
- Islam isn’t only what appeals to the heart in terms of good feeling. We’re also warned about the Jaheem, the Fire, too.
We are told that God’s Mercy, His Lovingkindness Prevails Over His Wrath.
And He is the very Origin of justice: who are we to ever question the Justice of the Lord of it Himself? [We’re very limited beings, we.]
Doing the easier thing. Don’t burden yourself:
It’s Sunnah to… not make life harder for yourself. Choose the easier choice.
On the train journey here:
A firework went off in the darkened sky outside. And then another. And then a third.
2023 is in an hour and a bit.
Oh, and: they spelt my name right at Starbucks today.
Yesterday: was Friday.
A blessed day.
Muslim men (although Muslim women can, and some do,) attend the congregational Friday prayer: Jumʿuah.
It’s Sunnah (from the Prophetic Example,) to:
- Take a bath (ghusl)
- Clean one’s teeth with Siwāk (a particular type of stick, from a particular tree). Arguably: it’s less about the stick, and more about the point, the principle of hygiene. Mouthwash, tongue-scrape etc.
- Use perfume, if you can
- Cut your nails on this day [and, generally, as a Muslim, we know that part of cleanliness is making sure you remove your underarm hair, as well as your *below-bellybutton* hair. Don’t let it go for 40 days without removing that hair.]
Go to Jumʿuah! Greet fellow Muslims, hug, shake hands.
- The Jumʿuah prayer consists of: a sermon (a Khutbah) that you listen to. Followed by two units of prayer: we follow the Imām. Don’t worry if you’ve never done it before. Maybe: just ask a veteran fellow Muslim friend to take you. And follow him/her!
- *If it makes things feel less daunting, go with a friend whom you can comfortably joke with. If you get things ‘wrong’: it’s fine, we all do! I was born into a Muslim family, and still have to look around to make sure I know what I’m doing in Eid prayers/funeral ones, for example. It’s okay!
*The time between ʿAsr and Maghrib prayers on a Friday. Is a particularly blessed, special time. To have your prayers to God accepted!
God’s Forgiveness and Lovingkindness are Vast.
*Don’t be a complete loser, and lose out on it.
Sunday 1st January
2022 I legitimately wrote 2022. It begins.
It’s strange: I don’t really ‘care’ that it’s the (Gregorian) new year, anymore.
Back in London, I used to like stopping by at the memorial park near where we live. Tower Bridge is not too far away from it. To look at fireworks.
The last time I went to see these had been:
Three years ago, now!
A lady who seemed drunk gave my cousin some sparklers. I took my Harry Potter glass goblet, with mango juice in it.
Look. We just have to seek out the good alternatives to the stuff.
Mango juice instead of champagne, may-haps.
A chocolate protein shake instead of a ‘spliff and a Red Bull’. [Those are some random lyrics I remember from the boys at secondary school. ‘And even though life gets stressful: all I need is a spliff and a Red Bull’.
Change that to: ‘And even though life gets stressful: all I need is a chocolate protein shake and some potted plants.’
My breakfast is ready.
And yesterday, I did some laundry. Washed my coat, for example.
And thought about sewing another torn piece of clothing.
Not taking things for granted.
Things actually cost… money? And money legit actually has to be earned, hour by hour?
Housework: making a home. This is something that we really can’t take for granted, unless we want… individual, familial and societal collapse, and breakdown.
Think about it:
Generally, people have grown up with ‘someone at home’. And we want good daily meals, and to not eat alone.
And clean, stable homes, and warmth in them. Our homes are not offices: they’re homes.
The (especially) women who have been ‘making homes’ for generations. Do we deny the goodness, and the deep importance, of all that they have done, and do, daily?
It’s important for us not to take things for granted.
Each… carrot, or cauliflower, for example, that we eat. Had to be grown from seed.
*We often appreciate more: things we had to work for. This is known as the ‘IKEA Effect’ (saw that in a video by one Ali Abdaal, who’s a YouTuber). i.e. people seem to be more likely to appreciate, and afford more value to, what they themselves have built, with effort/struggle. Than what’s ‘ready-made’ and handed to us.
So perhaps it’s true that the culture of ‘instancy’. Isn’t so good for the way of life and being that we are trying to inculcate and nurture within ourselves: that of true gratitude.
Someone had to… replace the toothpaste when it was finished. And clean the bathroom mirror, maybe for the third time this week.
And empty the bins: recycling, food waste, and general.
Someone had to leave for work, maybe at 07:30 AM. He worked for 9 whole hours that day, maybe, and earned enough for…
That new sofa, I don’t know. And someone is paying all the bills: internet, phone, car stuff, and the rest.
Someone arranged for the carpets to be cleaned. And washed the inside of the washing machine using vinegar.
All these things, considerations. To bring about stability, wellbeing, goodness, and peace.
*Man, I think our oven needs cleaning. But alas: how? As my housemate Sasha sometimes says: Google is free.
And when your food is finished: it all needs to be cleaned. The cooking things, the dining things, the table.
When the council writes to you: you need to respond. Responsibilities.
Oh, don’t even get me started on what single parents gotta do. A lot.
Today, I was going to tutor my student Inaya, but we’re going to reschedule In Shaa Allah.
Currently have a mug of Ovaltine with me. My friend Jade gave me this mug, and a beautiful bead-embroidered coaster, before I moved in here.
I think: while some, if not quite a few, are ‘disapproving’ of this way of life that my Lord has Selected and Favoured for me. Sacred Knowledge, and living in a house. The ‘right’ people love it for me, AlHamduliLlah. Like Jadey-Pie.
Quality > Quantity, people. As Wednesday Addams says when Bianca asks her if she’s made friends with a plant.
[Yesterday, in London: my brother and my cousin Isa were watching Wednesday. And being mean to me. So I said I’d give them a spoiler if they didn’t stop being mean. They carried on. So I… spoiled it for them! Gotta keep my word. I’m also not allowed to lie, so yes I did spoil it for them.]
This is the card that Jade gave me before I moved here [I love her, and she greatly inspires me, Maa Shaa Allah, Allah hummabārik]:
In Winter, it can feel difficult to feel motivated.
What about with prayer?
As Muslims: we pray (at least, i.e. the compulsory prayers are,) five times daily.
In terms of what’s necessary: each prayer can take up to four minutes to pray. Our daily meetings with our Lord, who is Seeing and Listening.
I feel this tiredness, in Winter, which can affect my physical motivation to go and pray. I also experience a particular heaviness in my body, as a result of an ailment I have. But, truly: that’s no excuse for me. My nan is a stroke patient, who clearly struggles, but her faith, her love, is stronger.
A lack of ‘motivation’, in terms of tiredness, heaviness, can be an issue, and
Sometimes: the feeling doesn’t come first. Sometimes, and maybe even often: it’s the actually-doing-it that then generates the feelings of motivation, and reward. Maybe there’s a term for this ‘effect’ somewhere.
But, yes, that is what I experienced today. I: cleaned the bathroom sink. Cleanness is something that motivates me, may-haps. Did Wudhu (ablution. We have to wash ourselves in order to be ready to pray these prayers).
Spritzed some perfume onto my prayer mat. Perfume from an Islamic bookshop in Whitechapel; prayer mat from Etsy. And I prayed. The feeling followed. *Note to self: if you feel yourself in a ‘rut’ in that sense. Get your Wudhu place ready. Do Wudhu. Get your prayer space, and your self, ready. And pray.
AlHamduliLlah: we’re Muslim.
What helps/might help you to feel more physically motivated, to pray?
A particular scarf/perfume that you wear, which you associate with prayer? Maybe: a particular lamp, or decorating a particular corner of your living room in a particular way?
[*We’re not saying that these individual and particular things, e.g. burning a cinnamon-scented Yankee candle, are obligatory for prayer. Therefore: it’s not ‘Bidʿah’ (an innovative practice) in the negative sense.
We’re all individuals, and after what’s obligatory for us, we prefer different things, and different things work for us.
We try to present ourselves to our Lord in the very best of ways. Indeed God is Beautiful, and He Loves beauty.]