بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Am I publishing too much these days? Email subscribers: is this proving annoying [be honest] and am I cluttering your inboxes? I’ll try to maybe only publish twice a week from now on, In Shaa Allah.
- It is currently 07:58 AM in the Triple-S household (our names are Sasha, Sadia, and Shirley).
- Lover of cats. Isn’t really obsessed with how cute little kids are
- Ethnically Uzbek. Loves borscht (an Eastern European beetroot-based soup). Also loves Armenian food #cultured
- Quite rude sometimes, in a jokey way
- Loves the colour pink
- Wears decorated Crocs indoors
- Loves the smell of paper
- Psych student
- Has one sibling: a 29-year-old brother who gave her a box of Lush products recently
Sadia (das me):
- Lover of flowers and wooden things. Finds herself obsessed with how unbelievably adorable little kids are
- Ethnically Bengali. Loves a good biryani. Also loves a good lasagne #cultured
- Not very rude, except sometimes (as a joke), and then it gives me a rush or something. Randomly sings quite a lot, and then Sasha sometimes says that you wanna know what her favourite sound is? …… silence.
- I love the colour yellow
- And the smell of burning, like of burning wood
- Islamic Studies student
- Also has one sibling: a 10-year-old brother who saved me as ‘Weirdo’ on our Netflix. Apparently he’s ‘funny’, but I’m weird.
- Eats Halāl
- Lover of chocolate cake and chocolate ice-cream
- Ethnically Nigerian
- Leaves quite early for work sometimes, and is also a student [and she’s relatively new to this house]
- Likes to read
- Goes to Church
We also have a housemate called Gabriella, but she’s currently away, staying with family, and is also set to move out by the end of this month, In Shaa Allah.
This morning, I:
Woke up for Fajr. And went to the mescit: i.e. the garden shed that I’m using as a prayer room. I love it so much.
Fundamental to our religious experience, as Muslims, is the ‘natural world’. Timber, and so on. So I like praying on that wooden floor, ‘outside’. Fresher air.
The word ‘mescit’, I’d picked up in Turkey. When we found a prayer space halfway up/down a mountain. With an adorable mother dog, and her baby, hanging out outside of it.
*I love Turkey. What a blessed and beautiful part of the world, Maa Shaa Allah. In fact, CCM (Cambridge Central Masjid) and CMC (Cambridge Muslim College) have Turkish-inspired elements. The prayer room at CMC: I fell in love with as soon as I walked in. And the large maroon prayer mat inspired me to pick and purchase a maroon prayer mat from Etsy.
The particular mountain-side mescit we’d prayed in, in Turkey: was quite a simple place. A room, and a prayer mat. Guarded by Angels, most probably.
As well as the slightly bigger mosque (so ‘quietly’ pretty,) I’d visited in Turkey:
There was also the mescit (prayer room) inside our hotel. A pretty space, and quiet, and ‘spiritual’. Some frames, with religious artworks and writings. A scented prayer mat. A window with a grill, and the street below, and bordered by some flowers, if I’m remembering correctly.
From Sainsbury’s yesterday, I picked up (why does that sound like I shoplifted?) – purchased – a peppermint mouthwash by a brand called ‘Waken’. Aesthetically appealing, recyclable packaging, natural ingredients, no alcohol. And I also got a Dr. PawPaw tinted peach pink lip balm. It’s nice: I like it!
Here is my mescit (with the prayer mat folded):
Now it’s time for me to…
Make my lesson plans for CCM (Cambridge Central Mosque, where I teach).
The word for ‘place of prostration’ (i.e. where you put your head on the ground in Submission to God) in Arabic is: masjid.
In Turkish: mescit.
And the English, mosque, is derived from the French version of the Arabic, masjid.
Going to have breakfast (cake, on this occasion. Coffee and walnut-flavoured. I know: I could eat something more balanced…) with a glass of oat milk.
- At about 08:35, I FaceTimed my dad (I call him Abba – one word for dad in Bengali. Other Bengalis might call their dad Baba, or Abbu). I thought he’d be up, assuming my brother had school today. Turns out my brother starts school again tomorrow. But I’m glad I called and had this brief conversation with my dad.
- Yesterday, my little brother went roller-skating with my uncle and cousins.
This is something (jokingly) annoying I did, to annoy Sasha [her oat milk carton is the one on the left; mine is on the right.]
She: coloured the heart in.
And this is when I put my oat milk carton into the recycling bin:
Into the unknooooown:
- Planning this term’s Islamic Studies syllabus for my class at CCM:
Learning From the Basics / Not Taking Things for Granted.
It’s quite ‘easy’, isn’t it, to ‘take for granted’ what you’re just so… used to.
I remember one time, a boy in my class said that he’s Muslim, but didn’t know who Isa (AS) is. [ʿIsa is the Arabic way of saying Jesus, upon him be Peace.]
And another, who was also from a ‘culturally’ Muslim background: didn’t know how to read Arabic script. Not because there’s anything ‘deficient’ about them in any way. But because:
They hadn’t learned in the same way that many of the people that I know, have. It’s ‘easy’ to take for granted that what I’ve known, growing up: is because of the weekly madrassa classes, and the weekend ones, and the private tutors at home. And growing up among Muslims: family, community.
This is what I’m used to: and ‘immersion’ is how human beings learn best. We tend to absorb what’s around us. Like how a child learns to speak for the first time: s/he will absorb the language[s] spoken around him/her. That’s their world, that’s what they know.
*It’s never ‘too late’ for us. Until we die, that is. Muhammad (S A W) became a Prophet at the age of 40. He was good at verbal communication, but could not read nor write (Arabic). And he’d migrated from Makkah to Madinah at the age of 53.
For next term, In Shaa Allah, I’ll be teaching the youngest class at CCM. The youngest boys’ class (AWWW!)
Reasons why I’m used to interacting with and looking after young boys:
- My cousin Moosa, when he was younger [What??!!! He’s in sixth form already?!!!] He loved Ben Ten, and Spider-Man
- My cousin ʿIsa, when he was younger [He’s in secondary school already???!!!!!] He loved, and loves, animals
- My baby brother [He’s ten years old already??!!!] Spider-Man. My actual heart
- My cousins Amir-Hamza, Tanbir, Tahmid, Zayan
- My little cousin Dawud ❤ ❤ <3, my baby brother. Oh my goodness: how is this boy so cute, protect him at all costs, every single one. Can melt your heart in 0.5 seconds, and also loves cars.
- Some of my tutoring students over the years
Maybe I ‘take for granted’ that looking after children is… quite natural, for me. AlHamduliLlah. It’s not the same for everybody. And I think we also appreciate our own experiences and abilities and lives when we come across, meet, befriend: people whose lives and experiences have been different than our own.
*Two people I’ve seen at the mosque, friends, who have seen my little students… have remarked how they seem like they can be a “handful“. It doesn’t seem that way to me: I love their energy. P e r s p e c t i v e s. [Although, yes: you definitely require patience in order to be a teacher. Or an elder sibling. Or a parent.]
Little boys tend to love, in different stages and phases sometimes:
- Dinosaurs. Grrrrrrr. [Sasha loves dinosaurs too.]
- Books about dragons and things
- Space, rockets
- Certain toys. My brother had a whole big fidget spinner phase. And a Kinder Eggs one.
- Videogames. Sometimes: beginning from Roblox, moving onto Minecraft etc. etc.
- Nerf guns
- Football / basketball
[And then come the phases, typically, naturally, of… girls.
Followed by the pursuit of money-making. Naturally, from around the ages of 16-24, as my friend Tasnim points out. It’s an innate thing: for men to feel the drive to be Protectors and Providers.]
I don’t believe in the complete rigidity of what ‘boys should do’, and what ‘girls should do’. But, naturally and typically, generally: there are differences. And these differences aren’t a ‘bad’ thing.
Yesterday, Sasha and I were talking, kinda randomly, about gender. And about ‘capitalism’, and ‘spirituality’.
Sasha taught me that:
When colonisers reached Hawaii, they were shocked to see that the native people would rest in the afternoons/evenings. This is because it was typical of them to have risen early, done what they needed to do (‘sufficiency’,) and then rest more, afterwards. The colonisers (and rampant capitalism is strongly interlinked with colonialism: the desire for ‘more’ land, more power, ever-more resources and wealth and profit,) thought those Hawaiian people had been ‘lazy’. But, no: they had a balanced way of living.
No ‘hyper-work’, no ‘exhausting oneself’ for the sake of feeling more worthy and ‘productive’. I want this in my own life, In Shaa Allah:
A culture of sufficiency. And an attitude of gratitude.
Instead of: a want for ‘more’ and ‘more’. Hyper-competition. Excessive work stress. And greed (which gives rise to, fosters… ever-more greed,) and utilisation of way-more-than-is-sufficient resources.
I feel very blessed, AlHamduliLlah. Because of my mescit in the garden, for one thing. And also because I get to teach these adorable little children, and from ‘the basics’. Like: the Arabic alphabet.
A childhood classic:
Subhaan Allah: this is very special. This time in my life is very special.
Although I’ve been at least a bit worried about my ‘timeline’ regarding… degree and so on. [I took a gap year, and then the Coronavirus happened. Applied for uni again, but things ultimately didn’t work out: that was the year of the cancelled exams. I taught at a school for about a year, then did a foundational Arabic course with CMC, ready for this Islamic Studies degree.]
I’m doing something a bit ‘less typical’, I suppose. Maybe not everyone has ‘understood’, but God Knows; everything has been in His Wisdom. And that’s sufficient:
I know that I’m in the exact right place, at the exact right time. Like I always have been, before. In God’s Wisdom, my friends: what He doesn’t Want for us is not ours.
Whatever He Wants for us is inevitable.
It’s 10:45 AM and I’m tired. Nap time.
Ways in which I am like a child, and do not regret this:
- Nap time
- Difficulty with attention span, unless it’s something that I’m really interested in, and really draws my attention
- Juice boxes. Yes to juice boxes
- Yes to breaks
- Baby products are really the best products sometimes. Gentle, goodness
- Randomly want ice-cream/cake
- What I find funny sometimes. Sasha said she’d want to run herself over with a vehicle if she had to study Maths as much as the kids in a show she’d been watching had to. And I found that so random and hilarious
- I make a mess:
Ways in which I adult:
- Writing to the council and so on
- Write essays
- Make my own food
- Have to do dishes and laundry and clean the house
- Gotta organise my own (today’s versions of) play-dates, if I wanna maintain friendships
- Go places and do things by myself
- Order things from Amazon sometimes
I have much to do, in terms of assignments before CMC resumes again, in 5 days. But first:
Coffee. No, no.
- In which ways are you the same as your ‘childhood’ self?
In which ways have you changed?
Look how core your identity is: it’s innate, natural, it’s been present through the years.
And look how much you’ve grown.
- “Structure breeds functionality.”
Got that from a YouTube channel: Halal Moaaz. This is one reason why the Muslim five-times-daily prayer is so brilliant. And even if a day has felt so bad in terms of lethargy and so on: if you prayed, it’s been very fruitful, AlHamduliLlah.
Similarly: hierarchy breeds order.
Where do you feel valued?
Sometimes, we have to face some places and people in which we don’t feel completely valued. Sometimes: those things are difficult to ‘change’.
But it’s good for us to charge ourselves [a charging reference from me, queen of having my phone at like 5% charge] in places and spaces where, and with people whom, we feel truly seen, heard, smiled at, and valued.
In at least someone’s eyes: your ‘insecurities’ are worth far more than diamonds, more than pure gold.
We all have insecurities. On the intellectual, physical, sexual and otherwise levels. Some of our insecurities are quite deep, and hidden.
And at least someone would only really see beauty in it. Didn’t God make you so beautifully? Can’t question it.
For example: me and… my height. I’m just over 5 feet tall. Allah Intentionally Chose for me to be this height; He Designed me this way. And people – boys at school in particular – would point out my height to me. That doesn’t necessarily make it a ‘bad’ thing. It might be noticeable to some people, but actually: I think it subconsciously makes people treat me like a child, at least at times. So they buy things for me sometimes, and my friend Elma calls me “baby” [aw! <3].
And my relative smallness means that I can also do some kinda cringe things, without it being cringe. Because I’m not 5’5. Yay!
I think it also helps with… my brother seeing me as a peer of his, and not as some condescending ‘grown-up’ figure. My bro and I are close, and I really love this. It’s all with good reason: all in God’s Wisdom.
It is currently 12:11 PM
Rest o’ the day plans, In Shaa Allah. God-Willing:
- Finish Islamic Studies curriculum plan
- Essay 1
- Presentation for Qur’an class
- Go for a walk or something. Maybe to CCM (Cambridge Central Mosque). That place is blessed.
As-Salaamu ʿalaikum, peeps! ❤