بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I returned home (Cambridge home) from London yesterday: my dad drove me back over. The previous day, at Waitrose (supermarket), I purchased a new toothbrush. To stay in London home. I like the fact that, as well as my typical place of address, which is now my Cambridge home, AlHamduliLlah:
I have my London (family) home. And my classmates’ Cambridge home. And my nan’s home.
And my best friend Tasnim’s (Cambridge) home. Perhaps soon enough I will get another (kiddie, with-lid) toothbrush for there, for me. [Because sometimes, you can end up staying over at places unexpectedly.]
I like living like this, AlHamduliLlah: I’m reminded of the impermanence of this life. And the fact that the whole entire world is a masjid for us; the whole entire world is home, and we are travellers.
People, crucially, are ‘home’. A house without good people whom you love, and who love you, within it: it’s like a body without warmth, without a soul.
At Waitrose, I also got a carton of natural-ingredient, no-added-sugar, cold ‘white peach tea’.
And fairy cakes for my little brother, who likes them and asked for them. And whipped cream. Which I think my brother still, and since he was quite young: calls ‘whooped cream’.
I: could not reach the whipping cream on one side. The one that cost 5p less than the other one. And I: do not like asking for help, I don’t think.
So I paid 5p more on account of being small. But that’s okay because I’m convinced that sometimes people I go shopping with end up buying things for me because I’m small, and they subconsciously register me as being a child or something. So it’s all good: it is indeed economically lucrative, to be small [lucrative: it leads to a lot of profit!].
On Friday, someone had been sharing out chocolate cake at CMC. I like nice ‘little’ surprises. And lovely pick-me-ups on any given day.
On Saturday, when I went to watch my brother’s match: I was going to read some of the book I am currently
reading attempting to read. But I ended up speaking with my brother’s friend Aryan’s mum instead. Books are important; thinking is important. But what I learn must benefit… whom I am, in order for it to be meaningful and valuable, and not futile, a waste of words.
In the car, on the way back: I made a dumb joke. About how the boys were playing on a football pitch, and now they’re eating Pitch:
My brother and cousin Isa insist that I’m not funny. But I love it when they suddenly actually laugh at my dumb jokes. Yaqub, the other kid in the car, smiled too, so that makes me content, happy.
*The story with the Pitch brioche:
We were in the car on the way back from my brother’s football match (and Isa and Yaqub had also been playing football, on a different pitch. They are both named after Prophets of God, AKA Jesus and Jacob). My cousin Mazhar was driving fast.
And my mum called, telling me to make sure that Saif has a snack, i.e. a Pitch brioche from his football bag. But Isa and I had already finished the two brioches in there, earlier. And so my cousin Mazhar said he’d go to Asda and get Saif some Pitch brioches. [Saif didn’t want to eat. He didn’t want the Pitch.]
Mazhar said he’d go to Asda for this purpose, and so this is what he did. He stopped at Asda, returned with a bag of shopping, presumably for his house. And a pack of Pitch brioches. One for Saif, and one each for the rest of us.
I just read something brief today about male mentors. Boys and men having male mentors, including and also aside from their fathers/father-figures. Is very important.
And women and our female mentors.
The supplication/prayer of Muhammad ﷺ at Taif, when he ﷺ felt weak:
Islam is centred on the Qur’an. And on what we know from reported narrations of the Prophet ﷺ.
Crucially, also: we require knowledge of contexts.
And the living tradition is of paramount significance too.
People learn from people. And our connections, our relationships, with elders and with youngers: very important. We want to preserve these ‘chains’.
“’Religion’ is being used to consolidate power among certain elites.”
Said our Theology teacher.
Saudi Arabia being a so-called ‘ultra-conservative’ state and that great focus on ‘women driving’. And then allowing music concerts and WWE in their country.
Iran and the headscarf.
Intentions are what truly matter. Is the above about Deen, really, or about… political power, and with ‘religion’ as a face and an excuse?
*Someone I know who is Muslim, and who’d grown up in Saudi Arabia: describes that country, under its current government, as being a “prison” both for the mind and soul. Everything is policed. People feel stifled.
My dad gave me two gifts while I’d been at London home this weekend:
A mustard-yellow neck-warmer. And: a necklace, which I now wear.
With the following message inside the box:
Super cute, no??!!!
So you’re not sure where to begin or end?
You find yourself unsure of how and what to feel, sometimes?
Often confusing. But having good Guidance certainly helps. Qur’an, Sunnah. Male figures, female figures. Help, and support: we can’t exist, live, flourish, all ‘alone’. Dependence, when it comes to our relationship to Allah. And: interdependence, on the human level. He’s Blessed us with… people.
“There can be no heaven on earth.”
This is a line from something that someone at CMC is authoring, Maa Shaa Allah: may Allah bless his works, from beginning to end, entirely. [At least 2 people here are currently writing their own books.]
“My essential hunger for meaning.” Another line from James’ writing. James who had grown up in a comfortable upper-middle class Christian home in America. Used to listen to death metal music and play lots of video-games. And realised that we are all carrying around a void with us, and that ‘entertainment’ cannot fill this void. Meaning is what we seek; Truth.
James became a Muslim, married a Muslim, has beautiful children, Maa Shaa Allah, and is now studying Islamic Studies here at CMC.
To me, this sounds like intelligence and bravery. A ‘break’ from what he’d known, and a beginning-again. Although: he was and is still the same person. But better. From ‘nihilisms’ to life being filled with True Meaning; from darkness into Light.
*I find it difficult to read a book, and to stick to finishing it. But this first chapter of this book: Subhaan Allah. I can only but read on!
When you love someone: someone hurting them… hurts you too. Necessarily, by nature.
And someone loving them: you know to love them too. Whom they love: you simply just know… to love them too.
*When we went to Turkey on holiday in the Summer, the waiters at the hotel we’d stayed at were very friendly and kind. One of the waiters in particular: his name is Serçan (pronounced: Sīrjān). First of all: I love this name, what a beautiful name.
Secondly: he was really nice to my (ten-year-old) brother, and referred to my brother as “my friend”. People displaying sincere goodness towards children: what an admirable trait indeed, Maa Shaa Allah.
*Part of being a Believer: showing goodness to the young, and to our elders.
*For our ‘House Dinner’ on Sunday (dinner between housemates) our theme had been: Childhood. Sasha made a childhood dish: Uzbek pilaf. This had been her first time attempting the dish herself.
I contributed: madeira cake (not homemade,) and custard. And baby chicken and potato curry, which my mum had sent with me to Cambridge. Childhood memories.
That day (Sunday,) earlier, my best friend Tasnim and I ate at our favourite food place. The Ladz. Nommy! AlHamduliLlah!
We prayed at the masjid, where… A familiar face had perked his head over the decorated wooden fence between the men’s and women’s sections.
It was… my Madrasah student Ali! “This is my sister,” he’d perfectly innocently, adorably, Maa Shaa Allah, introduced me to his sister, whom I’d heard about before. He is 7; she is 6.
She is the ‘loud’ one of the two; he is the ‘quiet’ one.
The next day, before Madrasah, I’d gone to the local newsagent’s. Got myself an egg and cress sandwich/bun, and orange-and-mango juice.
There, again, I’d bumped into (not literally,)… Ali again!
“This is my teacher,” he’d repeatedly, I think, perfectly innocently, adorably, shown me to his mum. His mum, who is not Muslim, later put on a headscarf. And visited the mosque for the first time.
She stood outside our class, where Ali’s sister had insisted on sitting with us. Her mum had been calling her to leave: they were going to go to Sainsbury’s (the third British supermarket that features in this post!)
She didn’t want to leave. She sat with us while we read from the Qur’an. Ali’s father is serious, sincere, about Islam, and I can tell. He wants for Ali to read from the Qur’an; yesterday, we did.
Ali’s mother watched, and then when Ali’s sister Zaynab was finally prepared to go: she’d left too.
Yesterday, I’d come across a post on a popular Muslim YouTube channel. Featuring, alongside four other men from Britain, someone I’d gone to the same primary school as. A quite well-known, respected, ‘popular’ boy.
He’d completed a walk from Makkah to Madina, to raise money to build a masjid in Uganda.
Fahimul is among the people who inspire me, definitely. He puts Allah first, and Islam is always his honour.
Without an ounce of ‘apology’ or anything.
Sincere, and Allah always Rewards him for it.
Yesterday, at the masjid, and while I’d been eating my egg-and-cress bun in the café: I’d overheard part of a conversation. Between a young man and someone who seemed like he’d been interested in Islam. A theological conversation. At one point, the Muslim young man apologised for ‘not being able to speak well’ or something. But he was speaking very well. Gentle-firm.
Very inspiring. As far as male role models go:
Men like these ones inspire me.
In more contemporary terms:
Shaykh Ali Hammuda.
Dr Talal Al-Azem.
Hamzah from the cohort above.
Contemporary iterations of the same thing: authentically committed, and Honoured and Blessed, Believers.
Next: my cousins Moosa, Isa. My brother Saif. And the boyz at CCM. Like Ali!
*Physical fitness is very important. Gym, training, football. And, primarily: a man’s religion, and connectedly, his character.
“In the company of the blessed, people themselves change.”
Quote (as accurate as I could). Our Qur’an teacher.
As Believers, we go from darkness to Light;
We join the “cosmic symphony.“
My mind feels messy, and I don’t know some things.
But I know what’s important. When I was a child, my fitrah would incline me to only really want to do things if they felt truly meaningful. Leading to something meaningful.
For example: I wouldn’t want to make a Lego rocket purely ‘for the sake of making a Lego rocket’. It had to be for something, and I am still the same me, a contemporary iteration of me.
Truth, Meaning and Purpose. Connectedly, Goodness and Beauty.