SAT 18/02/23: Where You Belong.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

To paraphrase Harry Styles:

I don’t know where I’m going, but I know where I belong.

So. My housemate/close friend Sasha is Muslim. She’s ethnically from Uzbekistan: a land of great Muslims, Maa Shaa Allah.

Yesterday (Friday,) my mum and her friend Auntie Kelly came down from London to Cambridge. Jessica came along too: Jess is Auntie Kelly’s daughter, and her dad is Albanian.

My mum, Sasha, Auntie Kelly and I went shopping: we went to B&M, a variety bargain store. And we also ate out together: my mum treated us all, and in part, this had been a celebratory lunch, in celebration of my good friend Sasha.

From back when Sasha met my aunt, (whose familial nickname-of-endearment is Sweetie,) Sweetie pointed out that mine and Sasha’s friendship reminds her of my mum’s and Auntie Kelly’s. My mum and Auntie Kelly have been friends for over 2 decades now, Maa Shaa Allah.

Sasha also reminds me of me and Yu Zhu, a friend I had from, like, Year Two to Year Six: until she moved to Canada.

There’s this memory I have of when Yu Zhu and I went shopping with my mum and Auntie Kelly. We were in the back of the car, making up random songs. And I think we’d seen someone wearing sunglasses in the car behind us: there’s a song we made that went,

Sun-glaa-aaa-ses.” I’ve since forgotten the rest of it, but it may well be written down somewhere. I was a kid who liked to write in diaries and journals.

Anyway. This is definitely something that Sasha and I would do with one another, today. Making up random songs about random things and people. Allah Knows exactly whom and what to bring into your life, right?!

Sasha’s journey in the Deen: she’s been inspiring me, Maa Shaa Allah.

She borrowed a book from one of the CMC libraries the other day, when she’d come along with me: we were both going to study. The book she’d picked up is entitled: ‘Green Deen’. Environmentalism, which is important for Muslims.

Sasha has added reading Qur’an (an explanatory, translated, copy,) to her evening routine. And she’s been wearing a headscarf outside, Maa Shaa Allah.

Allah Guides the best of hearts.

I remember back when Auntie Kelly’s daughter, Jessica, was born: some thirteen years ago, maybe, now.

I was there at Auntie Kelly’s wedding: her small civil ceremony, with a handful of guests. And when Jessica was born: she sent us a photo, a portrait, of the baby.

Today, Jessica and Auntie Kelly have a cat at home. Avery, I think the cat’s name is. Or Ava: I forget.

Anyway. Sasha really loves cats; it’s kind of a Muslim thing.

Sasha’s from Manchester, and Uzbekistan. I’m from London, and Bangladesh.

We both come from the rich heritages of Islam; we are both Muslim. I love my friend: living with her is like having a (super funny, smart, and loving,) sister at home, Maa Shaa Allah.

Today we went shopping together: Asda and B&M, and also the local Asian/Middle Eastern grocery store. Which has so much: such an assortment, an array, of good products! Maa Shaa Allah. [This means: God has Willed it.]

Allah Wrote that Sasha and I would be friends. And so: we are.

Sasha lovelily made me a smoothie today: peanut butter, soya milk, banana, avocado, honey, and ice!

At Asda: I was ‘craving’ some chocolate, but found no good sugar-free options. In a way: it’s good. Cravings tend to die down after not long at all. But chocolate: what a delectable blessing to the world, amirite?

Am currently on £325 out of the £500 target, for this fundraising thing. A no sugar month, for Cancer Research UK, via a London Muslim Scouts group. If that makes sense.

This morning, my friend Naseera, whom I just love [the soul knows!] decided to… donate to it a second time! [What?!]

*Sasha just gave me sushi socks! Her mum sent her some cool/cute socks in a package. And she gave me these sushi socks!!!! To go with my sushi T-shirt. #matching. Unlike my socks today. How am I legitimately 22 years of age in this Dunya.

Being a Muslim will not always be easy. Sometimes, life can get very, very difficult.

But God will be there for you; He will Guide you.

Sometimes I feel anxious about things. There’s just so much. So many books, for example, that you ‘could’ read, and so on. So many things you ‘could’ do. But perhaps what will help is:

Simplifying. A meal with a friend at home, for example, need not be ‘perfect’. With ‘every tick-box ticked’. Simplify; trust me, it’ll be alright.

What is the point of what you’re doing?

e.g. to spend quality time with your best friend, or to have a ‘perfect’ meal?

To read and learn in Allah’s Name, and to get closer to Him, or… to possess all the knowledge available, like money?

Sasha has also inspired me to start doing my headscarf more neatly. Again: for some years, I used to put effort into how I’d wrap my hijāb. The pins, the matching colours, the… flower headband phase [from like, more than 10 years ago now].

This is what my aunt, Sweetie, said, when she found out that Sasha is Muslim:

Sweetie’s the ‘young aunt’. The ‘cool aunt’, if you will! Maa Shaa Allah.

Here is a part of the booklet that I’m making for my no-sugar Cancer Research fundraising thing, In Shaa Allah:

Tracking some of my own experiences and learning dis month, In Shaa Allah.

Sweetie donated £20 towards it, under her daughter Siyana’s name. My little cousins call me ‘Fuldi’, which means ‘flower sister’.

Sweetie said she also wants to donate some more towards it, later! Which is super kind. She herself: has also run a race for Cancer Research. Years ago. And: in a Niqāb, no less [Niqāb: face-covering.] This had been the basis of one of my aunt’s degrees, Maa Shaa Allah: cancer biology.

From five months ago, before Sasha and I had moved into this house and become friends:

Things develop over time. AlHamduliLlah, we now have…

  • A weekly cleaning rota!
  • Weekly House Dinners! Which are themed! Tomorrow’s theme is: spa night, plus burgers!

Here are some desserts that I could not eat, at the (Jordanian! Quite popular, and recommended by my best friend Tasnim,) restaurant, yesterday:

And here are my new sushi socks, from my beloved friend, Sashew el Cashew, AKA Alexandra, AKA Sasha. Don’t be jealous ok:

I do love sushi. And I do love my homie/best friendo Sasha.

It hurt quite a bit when my friend Yu Zhu had to leave. I wonder if I’ll ever see her again. And, also: Allah Knows exactly what, and whom, to bring into your life! AlHamduliLlah!

*As well as floral headbands, and patterned headscarves: I had an ‘interesting jewellery’ phase. e.g.: a camera necklace. And a bejewelled apple one. A piano-key bangle. This was when I was like 10. I’d gone into Primark, and got, like, £30 worth of ‘quirky’ (is there a better word for ‘quirky’?) jewellery. Paid for by my dad!

At age 18, I liked earrings: leaf earrings, sort of Moroccan-style geometric ones. Among others.

What’s next? What shall be my next accessory phase? We shall see, we shall see. In Shaa Allah. But I love that both Sasha and I are into ‘#quirky fashion’. We both have Kånken bags, even though I never thought I’d get into them.

And, right now, my ‘everyday’ things are: slightly-messy casually-wrapped-around headscarf [but maybe that ought to change. More neatness, somehow?]. Coat. Neck-shawl, sometimes. Enchanted/princess ring, handmade by my cousin’s wife, Sadia [who has the same name as me]. And my Ikhlaas (‘Sincerity’) long gold necklace, which my dad paid for, and which I’d found at a bazaar at East London Mosque.

Allah really Knows us better than we could ever know our own selves. He’s Known everything, every single millisecond, every single step of the way. AlHamduliLlah!

*In Shaa Allah, for her mahr [gift a groom must give to his bride,] in the future, Sasha will ask for… a cat.

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