بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
“We’re all just muddling through,” in a way, says my housemate, Amina.
I asked Tasnim, my best friend, if life… ever gets ‘better’. She said: no, and this was significant. We just get new struggles/tests, and new blessings.
There are no ‘heavens’ here on Earth, although, at times, we get a glimpse of aspects of life, which feel like they may belong Over There, in Jannah.
Moments like: the relief of sleep, sometimes. And the uplift that children bring, to the soul. By nature, ‘effortlessly’. Good food, pretty scenes: delicate, floral.
Oh, Jannah: how long must we wait? May God Grant it to you, entirely, Dear Reader. For now, however:
It is about getting through. Sometimes: muddling, trudging, even crawling, and in struggle. It will never be ‘more than we can bear’ [See Qur’an, (2:286)]. You’ve got this: in a Dunya way, and with our eyes looking to the Heavens. Aspirations of Jannah.
Realism (here, muddy, mundane, current and temporary). Idealism (which inspires and motivates us: there. Blissful Gardens, Heavenly, unimaginable, truly worth striving for. Even when we feel world-wearied, at times).
Here is a cute pink kettle. Location: Tasnim’s house. Her housemate Ada‘s kettle, from Hong Kong, which they, the housemates (house-friends,) share:
And here (was) my breakfast, from this morn: [And I need to remember to… take my iron tablets regularly!!!]
The Dean, the ‘Dumbledore’, so to speak, of the Cambridge Muslim College is… Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad. Whose younger brother, Henry Winter, is a football journalist. And who’d: attended Westminster School, Maa Shaa Allah. And who’d: been foundational, as a person, to the founding and building of the gorgeous Cambridge Central Masjid.
And Allah Created him this way. I also like noticing similarities and parallels, and we are all from the same mother and father, Ādam and Hawaa, upon them be Peace. I went to Harris Westminster Sixth Form, which is just down the road from Westminster School. And my younger brother, of which I have one, like Shaykh Abdal Hakim, loves football also. And: differences. I’m not a revert Muslim, and my parents are not an ‘architect and an artist’, like the Shaykh’s (according to Wikipedia).
My father runs a phone-and-computer shop, and my mother is a Learning Assistant at a primary school. I’m currently reading a book about ‘social class’, and I did grow up in council-homing. Studio flat, flat in a rough part of East London, back then. Nan’s house. Flat in Wapping. And now: back to Nan’s house, but it is our home now, and while my nan lives nearby.
My little brother is the cutest, and he can be very sharp: cutting, in his responses to things. Maa Shaa Allah: his wit. His name means ‘sword’, and I got to name him myself, back then. This boy: this boy is a light in my life, Maa Shaa Allah. Present moments only stay for so long. Like my baby brother’s chubbiness, and his adorable sayings and doings, Maa Shaa Allah. And his little table ‘desk’ from IKEA in the living room. And his small red chair.
My name is Sadia. My little brother is Saif Ahmed. You know what siblings are, by Qadr? We are inextricable. Blood-bound, and ‘womb-tied’. [Even when one, the ten-year-old one, can say really mean things to the other one, the twenty-two-year-old one, who practically and unapologetically fawns over this child. Even then.]
I wonder what Allah has got Planned, for my life’s story. But it’s been pretty cool, in my eyes, AlHamduliLlah, up until this point. Even with the (necessary, growing,) pains of Dunya. Even when I did not know at all, and all the subtle, ‘small’, details. They mattered. My Lord Commanded them: not a single thing takes place, occurs, exists, without His Command. [See Qur’an, (36:82)].
And even if/when I cannot see everything: whom I am, where I have been, where I am going. I close my human, limited eyes: this is what I should do. And trust my Rabb: Sustainer, Creator, and Cherisher. He Will Guide us!
Dunya is dull, and it aches. And: things are cyclical here. Ups and downs: and, yes, a Perfect Balance.
But today’s ‘down time’ led to God Allowing me to reflect. On, for example, the fact that I am exactly where I’m meant to be. And, still: I’ve got to make it mine. I’ve got to make this, my world, mine!
Yes, there is a particular ‘style’, ‘brand’, or what-have-you, to the Cambridge Muslim College. Dignified, ‘classy’, elegant. British. Bookish, scholarly. In terms of what I care about, and thus, generally, share with the other fellow students there: I fit right in.
And: our differences, our unique personalities, identities, ancillary interests and so on… necessarily mean that we bring something. Capito? [That’s: ‘understood?’ in Italiano. I know that because I have family who have lived/are from there, Maa Shaa Allah.]
Kauthar from the masjid… she gave me half a purple heart. A plastic purple heart. So, if we both see one another at the masjid, and both happen to have our parts of the heart on us at the same time: we can put them together! [No, but for real: I’ve done nothing, it feels, to ‘deserve’ this love from Kauthar. (Anxiety questions: what if it ends up… being ‘false’ somehow? And/or ‘fading away‘? No: “But never doubt I love.” Shakespeare, Hamlet)].
And I think the darknesses of the Dunya make the brightness, the light, stand out that much more. Subhaan Allah: Glory be to God.
My best friend Tasnim said that being with me is like “food for the soul,” for her. I write this not to ‘show off’ on a semi-public platform, but because I want to note it down of course.
And you know Tasnim? Well, she is also: food for my heart, and for my stomach! The way this girl feeds me!!!! AlHamduliLlah.
And a fellow CMC student said, in an email: “You are truly a treasure to the Ummah (and to myself and my family in particular)”. I did not think this about myself, and have considered my ‘place’ in things to have been ‘small’. ‘Unimportant’, and so on. But, no. AlHamduliLlah !!!!!!.
Allah Provides good opportunities; we just need to do our part. And He Loves us for the ‘small things’ that we may wrongly, accidentally, ‘overlook’. Did you smile at someone today?
Truly, truly, truly: well done. Glad tidings to you, Dear Sir/Ma’am.
Did you: bring a fellow Muslim a glass of water? Enhorabuena: congratulations in Spanish to you.
With Allah: You’ll be alright.
Carpe Diem: ‘Seize the Day’.
And good opportunities!
And unexpected phone calls, conveying good news! AlHamduliLlah.
Got a call from my uncle, Abu [i.e. ‘father of’] Dawud. Re something.
I love my little cousin Dawud. If I ever, in the future, have a son, God-Willing, who is like him… I know I will practically be overflowing with love. It will spill from me; it will have nowhere to go, it will have to be ‘over-the-top’, and make itself known!
[Note to self: don’t be overenthusiastic with young adorable babies, however. Because you could well scare them by accident. Crazy lady. Like the time I accidentally borderline over-enthusiastically greeted Baby Yusuf, James and Nurjahan’s son. And…… he started crying. That one time. But he’s been okay with me ever since, AlHamduliLlah!]
Tasnim said I can pay her back for the 1. accommodation, 2. lovely company, AlHamduliLlah, and 3. delicious food that I have acquired here at her abode… by giving her a shout-out on my blog.
And so: this shout-out is for TASNIM. She is a person. She let me use her antibacterial wipes. She made me noodles.
“Why does this sound like a Year Three entry for what you did on the weekend?” asked Tasnim. She continued:
“Are you waiting for me to say something so you can write it down? *Quiet fits of laughter*. Stop doing that. Stop looking at me like that.”
“On the edge of something /
Face to face with, changes, what’s it all about?
Life is crazy, but I know, we can work it out.
‘Cause I’ve got you to live it with me.”
‘Girl Meets World’ is a TV series that I, and my aunt – dad’s cousin – who is a year older than I, love, and have loved. It’s so classic.
“Light up the stars,
I’ve got some pages to turn.”
And, part of the premise of the show is this: a father and a mother, and an arguably ‘sheltered’, protected daughter. But now she ventures out into the world, and onto the New York Subway, and into ‘high school’. And she is tasked with: ‘finding’, ‘carving out’ her place in the world. And with: making it hers.
Throw them up into the air
Moments happen everywhere.”
Riley Matthews, the protagonist, is bright-eyed and somewhat excitable. And naïve, in a not-necessarily-negative way. And then, there’s her ‘edgy’, street-wise friend Maya, the one who’s ‘been through life’ in a different way.
My aunt, Farhana, has said she thinks I’m more like Riley. Whereas in my head, I thought I was more like spunky, somewhat rebellious, black-boot-wearing Maya.
In any case: I love that these are, God-Willing, going to be my years. A belated adolescence, in a way, since my actual adolescent years actually felt like ‘adult’ ones. This is a delicately delayed ‘becoming‘, I guess. For one reason or another: I quite like the idea. AlHamduliLlah.
*Incidentally: random but funny and endearing…
Recently, an eight-year-old girl I know said she knows what a period is. Some girls hit puberty when they’re nine; some, when they’re, like, sixteen. Anyway, what unadulterated innocence: the girl said that a period is like, in the Stone Ages, or like 2022 and 2023. i.e., Time periods. Bless.
Recently I heard that Farhana’s elder sister, Farzana: her cat, Minnie, died. Minnie had been suffering from cancer, and ended up being ‘put down’, since she’d been suffering a lot from the pain.
I think she is buried in their garden now. And I know how much Farzana loves her cat. Her mum loves Minnie too. Cuddling her, and taking good care of her. May Allah Bring ease and comfort to their hearts at this time.
The people I love, love cats: my brother. Farzana. Farhana. Sasha.
My dad loves cats too; Farhana and Farzana’s mum, also. ‘Cat people’ are special, blessed people, Maa Shaa Allah.
Where there are cats: like in Turkey, and in Madinah…
There is goodness.
Friday 19th May 2023.
I really love the Arabic language. When I say how rich and meaningful this language is. Maa Shaa Allah. And here I am: I have only gotten a slight taste of the language, and, connectedly, the worlds it en-houses. What remains, to be uncovered? Like a diver, seeking to touch and find: the oysters at the bottom of the ocean, its very floors.
Deeper and deeper, and further and further. The azure, the murkiness, and then the blues.
To understand the Arabic language better would be: to understand myself, I think, through a new language. A new sort of beginning; a different, likely better, perspective.
It’s so… poetic, and so deep. Maa Shaa Allah.
Today, I ended up sleeping in a little. But my dad transferred me some money, AlHamduliLlah! I… took a cab – a Bolt – to the College. And had a cookie for breakfast. And had a good Arabic lesson, with Shaykha Dr Najah. AlHamduliLlah.
She said, essentially: exert yourself. Strive! Use -all- your ‘power’, all your capacity. Not only ‘a part’. And you will be:
Najah. Our teacher’s name means ‘successful‘.
Your name matters, you know. It is the one that God, your Lord, has Chosen for you.
One of my names means ‘happy’, ‘God has Helped’, and ‘blessed’, as far as I know.
My other name means… Garden. [i.e. of Paradise]. And girl, do I love flowers! And gardens and trees.
A *Moment* of ‘Pain’… leads to Gain, Gain, Gain.
A mother, and the way in which, specifically, a mother exerts herself… A’iyshah says that her mother used to be feeding her baby with one hand, helping her other children with the other. Take care of the family’s food at the same time. She used to have a homemade sling – her Dupatta – across her, for one of her babies.
I’m not saying that such things are inherently ‘painful’, per se. But they can be demanding, on a woman. And motherhood is probably the most richly rewarding venture, journey, in human ‘job’ terms, in the world.
Sometimes, what is good for us: is difficult. For a moment. A moment. And then: come the necessary rewards! Like… carrying out one’s night routine. Very rewarding. Albeit: it can feel, for a moment, ‘difficult’, eh?
A moment of ‘challenge’/struggle. Of exerting oneself. Sometimes: the harder thing to do… leads to fruit trees of positive results, benefits! The most rewarding path is steeper. [Reminds me a bit of when Zuhair in our class, who reminds me at least somewhat of my little brother, showed us all a clip from Kung Fu Panda. About the main character struggling. Feeling… ‘less-than’, perhaps in comparison to his peers. But you’ve got to learn to quieten your mind. Train, relentlessly. 5000 hoops a day, I think, is what Kobe Bryant does, for training. To be a champion. Drills to optimise and maintain the skillllz. And have faith: in Allah.]
“Your story may not have such a happy beginning. But that doesn’t make you who you are.
It is the rest of your story. Who you choose to be.”
A Kung Fu Panda quote, no less. And more:
“*Sigh*. Maybe I should just quit and go back to making noodles.”
Master Oogway says: “Quit, don’t quit. Noodles, don’t noodles. You are too concerned with what was, and what will be.“
“So: who are you, Panda?”
“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.“
The baby learning how to walk. The stumbling, the falls. When the time is right, and with the due support and assistance. The FatH: the Opening.
And also: the fact that, for example, JK Rowling tried to have Harry Potter published, like, twelve times, was it, before… FatH. Victory, opening. And now: look how the books have taken the world by storm!!!!!
JK Rowling did not give up. And neither did you, the baby, while learning to walk, and to acquire language.
My mum came to England when she was, I think 12. She learned English, and how to live here.
Br Asif came to this country knowing only Urdu, at age 24. And now: he’s completely fluent, Maa Shaa Allah. Allah Helped him.
There will, most likely, be ‘dark days’. Hard times.
Zuhair mentioned that there was a scholar who: tried to grasp a particular text. Twelve times. Without success. And then, and since Allah is the Teacher, and He Speaks through parables:
The scholar noticed an ant. Struggling, failing, with pushing a crumb of bread up a hill. Twelve times, the ant struggled and failed, but the thirteenth time: success. A lesson.
“Life is better.”
Br Asif was talking about the transformation that comes about, through Learning. And it can be: like stopping yourself spinning in a particular direction. Slowing down. And reversing the direction. With due hard work, effort, strain. Yet: it’s always worth it.
Everything in your life:
It’s from Allah. Be content. Now: it’s how we will perceive things. It’s not about life ‘becoming’ better. Life is better. We must develop ourselves to see this.
Allah Will Help you. He Will also Challenge and Teach you. And it will make your life’s story, your journey, all the more valuable, golden!
We are very lucky, to be here at CMC (the Cambridge Muslim College). AlHamduliLlah. Allah Put us here: this goodness, being here, is not from us!
- The learning is the tools towards… God!
Here is the board from our first week at CMC. The Why[s] of our being here:
And Allah Has Planted you where you will blossom and bloom; where you will be most fruitful!
Allah Facilitated. So many things: everything it took. For me to be here! Subhaan Allah. I must reflect and be as grateful as I possibly can be! Allah Knows!
Yesterday, I ‘accidentally’ stumbled across some old photos I have. ‘Accidentally’ pressed on the ‘Google Photos’ app on my phone. Girl, it took me back to, like 2013 and 2014!
For example, I found out that my baby brother, when he was 2, threw a crêpe at a stranger once:
*I find my brother hilarious, and so fun!!!! AlHamduliLlah. A major, major blessing in this little life of miine. And: I do also have a ‘parental’ role towards him, don’t I? I’m almost 12 years his senior. So, for me: it is about navigating the balance between sibling and friend, protective guardian, and maternal figure! i.e. trying to enforce discipline, while trying (trying) to keep a straight face!
Also found, discovered, this birthday card I’d written for my brother, when he’d turned 2. So: I was 13…
[I discovered that my brother and I used to do things like… play WWE together! And jump on the bed, but quickly stop when our mum would come in. Writing is: an aid to memory. A great reminder! A communication for whatever is in the hearts. AlHamduliLlah.]
We also used to play indoor footy together. And: back when I had an X-box [which I would use in order to… build an awesome underground lair on Creative mode on Minecraft! I don’t think this qualifies me to be a cool ‘gamer’ person, however…] I would play YouTube game tutorials, of racing games, for my baby brother to ‘think’ he’s playing. And now: if he misbehaves with me… really the only thing that seems to work is… my threatening to unplug his PlayStation. Tactics.
Shaytānic was-was (whispers) can get to us, at times. Can try to convince us that: we did not love, or spend enough loving time with, our beloved ones. But I am so glad that I’ve written about things, AlHamduliLlah. Settled, concretised, truths. And recorded things. And if you want to know what – and whom – a person loves: pay attention to whom they speak about. And: whom they photograph!
My baby brother <3. A huge part of my life, AlHamduliLlah. And the time I have spent with him: they were seeds. He is a part of me. I can’t: he has always been… so cute!!!!! May God Bless my baby [brother].
This is us, at our uncle’s wedding, last year. Our uncle and his wife recently had a baby as well! Mabrook!
And this is from when our aunt, our Sweetie, (I think,) took a picture of us by the canal. When I’d been writing, maybe, and my baby brother had been with me, AlHamduliLlah:
[My friend Tasnim says that my little brother is… like the ‘boy version’ of me!]
Who am I without Islam? [Nothing.] And without my close relationships. Like: best friends, and brother. And without: whatever else you have discovered, from how Allah has Created you, is such a part of you. Even if you don’t expressly always ‘see it’, since it’s just so natural, so normal and ‘effortless’ for you. For me: writing, and flowers. Loving the Qur’an in its original Arabic, and language, and my baby brother. And using exclamation marks, perhaps! This is how Allah Has Crafted, Authored, Written, Made me to be. Shaped, Intentionally. Commanded, inevitably.
[Do you notice when certain people ‘mirror’ the kinds of language that their loved ones have tendencies towards? People are mirroring you; you are mirroring people! It’s an awesome (naturally-occurring,) thing, Subhaan Allah, to pay attention to!
Children: mirror. Adults, grown-up-children: we… mirror! Language, habits, attitudes, perhaps, even. The tendency to do this is built into us, as beings! So be careful, where and if you have agency over this: whom [and what]. you. surround. yourself. with.]
Saif Ahmed effortlessly makes me smile. Saif Ahmed and Dawud Alam and Siyana Uddin and Iqra Shaikh and A’iyshah Rana and Sasha Val and Tasnim K Ali and Kauthar from the masjid!!!!!!!! make my heart smile. AlHamduliLlah!
And here is what my desk looked like, when I was 13 years old:
While here is what it has looked like, more recently, in Cambridge home, AlHamduliLlah. My books sit on the fireplace shelf opposite: half of the bookshelf is mine, and the other half is my good friend Sasha’s. Who is leaving soon, In Shaa Allah. And change can be daunting, but necessary:
Even if I don’t always think I ‘know me’. The loved ones whom Allah has Graced and Blessed my life with: do! AlHamduliLlah. Allah Certainly Knows me, His Own creation. Even prenatally. Even posthumously. Even eternally: beyond the barriers and parameters of Time.
He Knows that I love, love the Arabic language. Even before I know how much, the sheer depths to which, I do. And will. With the turn of a page, or a hundred.
And: that I use exclamation marks! And that I would be endeared, today, by the fact that one of my friends purchased for herself, a bunch of beautiful flowers today. Pinks, amid whites. She wanted to get herself something, to make herself happy today. And: it is from Allah.
Today, I’ve felt like: yes. This is my place in the world! AlHamduliLlah! Make it mine. I also: was reminded about how much I love language. A thing of the heart, language. I also love, have loved, the Spanish language! AlHamduliLlah. Shall we revive my active loving of this language, In Shaa Allah?
My God-Gifted place-in-the-world: I loike it. I love it, AlHamduliLlah.
And I know that Dunya has its ups and downs. Its necessary pains, and its joys and eases and breakthroughs! Love, in Dunya, is a thing of balance: it won’t ‘feel good’, in every moment, all the time. Yet: underlying all of it is the Mercy and the Lovingkindness of Allah.
He Knows that I lovvvve my baby brother. A gift from Allah, whom I never, (i.e., with all my limitations: could never) as a child, saw coming!
He Knows what is best for me to do; where is best for me to go. Whom and what best to bring into my life!!!!!! Like the Cambridge Muslim College; like this green coat I have! Like young Mustafa, and like beautiful Sasha and Tasnim!
He Knows. To know ‘the world’, ‘my world’, my place in the Universe, best:
I must adherently trust my Rabb. The All-Knowing. The Bestower.
The End. Peace!
P.S. and this is when our uncle, I think: made my baby brother ❤ ❤ ❤ fly!!!: Into the sky!!!! To infinity, and beyond! In Shaa Allah.
“Up in the heavens, beyond the sky, //
We’ll be there for the rest of our lives.”
— Little Things, by Siedd.