WED 18/01/23: Bless You.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Today, this evening, I got really happy about… pasta. A’iyshah had spinach and ricotta tortellini and is making me some too! Here at the CMC sisters’ accommodation.

Today, I want to write about Ali, my student at CCM (Cambridge Central Masjid). Yesterday, he wanted to sit next to me. Because he said he is the teacher: something like that.

I let him read out a part of our Islamic Studies book to the rest of the class. Him and Omar: Omar is the youngest son of the landlord of our (mine, Shirley’s, Gabriella’s, Sasha’s) house.

Yesterday, the boys learned about saying Jazaak Allahu Khayra: may God reward you with goodness.

They also learnt about a significant part of Islam: Purity. Cleanliness, AKA ṭahāra. We’ve got to keep our bodies clean, and our hearts. And our rooms and living spaces. We’ve also got to take care when using the bathroom. Men should sit, not stand. Wash with water. And so on.

A moment that stood out to me from Madrasah yesterday was this one:

After praying Salāh (the last of the five daily prayers, ʿIsha) in congregation, Ali (AKA Alexander. He also: has a Muslim father and a non-Muslim mother,) came to me and shook my hand. He said: “Tabaarak Allah,” i.e. May God Bless you. I thought this was impossibly adorably sweet.

He said and did the same with one of his friends, a classmate. And also gave his friend a hug.

*We had a new student join us, yesterday. Moosa. Such a cutie, Maa Shaa Allah. He said he likes this new Madrasah, although he was initially scared, I think he’d said, of starting at a new place.

When Moosa arrived, Ali gave him a handshake and a hug. And made him feel at home, and among brothers.

*Also: when kids can’t pronounce their Ss properly. It’s just thoooo cute. Maa Shaa Allah ❤

When Ali’s father had come to pick him up, he (Ali’s dad) asked me if Ali has been polite.

And if he prayed Salāh well. Yes, and yes. May God bless Ali, this adorable little man.

Today, a moment that stood out to me was this one, AlHamduliLlah:

So, earlier on, a beloved staff member, Zahra, had prayed beside me. And: she’d placed a circular stone down on the ground before doing so. Generally, Zahra and I pray the same way, but there are some slight differences.

Zahra is Shīʿī. About 10% of the Muslim population is Shīʿī, and it is the second most popularly-adhered-to branch of Islam, and while Sunnism is the first.

A Muslim is one who believes in the One and Only God, Allah, and follows His Last and Final Messenger, Muhammad (S A W).

*I felt worried that Zahra might think that this somehow changes things between us. That maybe she would want to conceal her practice.

Zahra is such a lovely individual: I can’t even explain. It’s like she’s not even from this Dunya: she has such a pure heart, Maa Shaa Allah, and such sincere and gorgeous eyes. [The eyes: mirrors of the heart and all.]

Anyway, the next time we prayed beside one another, I was closer to the shelf where the Shīʿī stone sits. And others were around the area. I picked up the stone and placed it on the ground for Zahra, out of love, and also (to show her that I love her.)

Zahra kissed me on the cheek and said, “Bless you” so sweetly.

Another person whom I so love: her, let’s say, her ‘aura’, is:

Hafsa from the masjid. She’s an administrator there, and when we first met, she hugged me, and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “I’m going to give you a kiss.”

Hafsa refers to the children as ‘sweetie-pie’, and she is sooo kind and sweet towards them. Firm-gentle, which I love, without either one of these qualities being at the expense of the other.

After Ali and Zahra, the next person who said ‘Bless you’ to me, this week, had been:

My classmate and friend, Iqra. A qualified dentist, Haafidha of the Qur’an [she’s memorised the Qur’an, Maa Shaa Allah,] and an ʿAalimah (learned woman of Islam). Oh, and she’s in the Royal Navy, and has to do training for it:

She asked me, yesterday, what I’ve been reading these days. She’s reading a book in Arabic, to better her Arabic skills.

I said I have ‘Book ADHD’. I.e.: I pick up a book, read a bit, and then… pick up another one. I do not remember the last time I finished a book from cover to cover. Woah, not even a single one, in recent years, I don’t think.

Anyway, Iqra said, in response to my book ADHD: “aw, bless you.”

And then I’d ended up staying over at their house again, last night. Since: I’d come back in Ayesha’s car, and was going to walk back to my (Cambridge) house.

But my phone was dead. A’iyshah and Ayesha were at the masjid, at a Qur’an recitation event, and Iqra doesn’t have an iPhone.

I hadn’t brought my charger, since I didn’t even bring a bag with me yesterday. One class, and I wrote on paper. [Real reason for not bringing my bag: I wanted to wash it again, since it touched something gross.]

*Qur’an class was amazing yesterday. In that exquisitely soul-assuring, ‘gentle-firm’ way. The whole essence of the Qur’an: that Allah is in complete, perfect, control. Of everything, including your direction in life, all your provisions, and of time itself.

Anyway. I thought I would know the way back home. But I got lost. More than once, along the way. I decided to go back to the sisters’ accommodation. And as per Iqra’s invitation from just earlier to stay over: I did! Qadr of Allah, and what He Wills, happens.

Above: Ayesha is so very maternal and kind. She sorted out breakfast for me <3.

I’m an introvert. I’m ‘social’, and I keep to myself, naturally. Not out of disregard towards others, but: my energy runs out, ‘social battery’ and all.

Ordinarily, I’m not really a ‘phone-talker’. But yesterday, AlHamduliLlah, I ended up speaking to four people on the phone.

Someone who called me with such a lovely, energetic and excited way of speaking. He wants to put on a show, In Shaa Allah, about ‘Muslim Education’ on the Islam Channel. Recently, actually, I met someone who visited CMC with his children: he’s a Muslim journalist from Barbados. The first Muslim newsreader there, of the 7 o’clock news. Media and Education are certainly two fields I’m interested in. And of course, Islam. When we, as Muslims, go into any field that our Lord has Chosen for us: we want to imbue what we do with true morality. And with iḥsān: high standards, beauty, and excellence.

Teaching appeals to me; learning appeals to me. I love the Qur’an; I love beautiful mosques, and people. And journalism also appeals to me: the pursuit of truth. Projects, travels, adventures; stories and storytelling, living as a ‘wayfarer’, and finding the right angles. It was the Qadr of Allah that I would meet this lovely uncle with the great journalism background, and that I would figure out more of what I want: Allah made me, and knows me better than I have ever known even my own self. This uncle’s wife, also, is a teacher of Islamic Studies, and of science. [It’s not somehow ‘Dunya studies’ ‘V.’ ‘Religious Studies’. No: it’s Allah’s Universe, and these are parts of it.]

Allah Facilitates. If He Wants something for you: remember how he made the two parts of the sea tower, and split, for His beloved prophet, Mūsa, upon him be Peace.

My aunt, maternal aunt, also called me. Her five-year-old daughter, my cousin Siyana, was asking about me, bless her. They want to visit me in Cambridge soon [and when my aunt visits me, she also leaves me with foooood. Hers and her husband’s cooking >>>]. ‘Coincidentally’, I’d just been thinking about my aunt’s family earlier that day (yesterday). About them coming to Cambridge, even. Since: my student Ali from CCM says he wants to be an engineer when he’s older. And sometimes he says things with an attitude of respect and loyalty and love to Islam. Sometimes he says things like: he wants to be an engineer first. And then maybe he can think about praying and everything.

My uncle (my maternal auntie’s husband,) is a Muslim. He prays, he is very actively a part of the masjid he’d grown up near. He’s also: a mechanical engineer. And a very good husband to my aunt, father to his daughter, child to his parents and to his mother-in-law. Brother-in-law: he even takes my mum shopping sometimes, drops my brother off to football. Goes to the gym. Made me chicken pies for my Cambridge home. He’s a really good uncle to us. AlHamduliLlah.

*Something that Dr. Abdallah Rothman, Principal of CMC, had spoken to us about yesterday (after I asked, lol. Even though one of my classmates ‘didn’t approve of’ the question I was going to ask… but my place is just as meaningful as his is, there!) had been about time, and time management. It is Allah who is in control. If He Wants for you to be able to do and manage and balance, and do very well, so many things. Then: you will be able to. But we have to prioritise: our connections with our Creator first. And, trust Him: everything else will follow.

The next phone call of the day had been: with my friend Jade. Just generally, about life, and about her upcoming wedding day, In Shaa Allah. She wants for me to be one of the witnesses of her wedding contract: her nikāḥ. Which is absolutely amazing. I cannot even believe that she invited me to that first meeting with her future family, and to be her Maid of Honour, and to be a witness. What a complete blessing and privilege, and we thank Allah.

Finally, I spoke with a bro. Someone who went to the same sixth form (school/college) as me, who had been in Year 12 when I was in Year 13, some almost-four years ago, now.

He: is going to accept Islam, become a Muslim, soon, In Shaa Allah. But had some questions, for example about the Shahādah, the Islamic declaration of faith. Interesting questions, and theology is fascinating, Maa Shaa Allah.

*He reminds me of my younger-but-way-taller-than-me cousin Moosa, bless him. A good heart, good vibes. A thinker. And God wants good for him, and that is not for no reason.

*I really love jam. Jam with butter, on bread. And also honey with butter, on bread.

Pretend sneeze: *atchoo*.

Bless you.



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