Ramadan

London Bridge; “You have no right to be afraid.”

-I am someone who is paranoid by nature. Anyone who has had the misfortune / pleasure of speaking to me for a while knows this.

-My family and I fled Yemen in the year 2000. Our financial situation was dire, my father’s health was critical and my mother said the country was going to fall apart soon. We called her paranoid. Of course I am grateful to her now for getting us out when she did, given that Yemen has been a state of war coming up to three years now. The city where I used to live in particular has basically become an ancient ruin.

-I moved to England in 2000 and I had a few months of peace and a promise of a new life in a civilised country where people were nice then boom, 9/11 happened. 

-We became the most hated people alive real quick that year. And by we, I mean muslims. Sure, nothing major happened to me, but the comments were there, the minor physical attacks were there. I was always on edge. Always looking behind my back.

-I westernised myself as much as possible not even to fit in, but to become invisible. I did not want to become anyone’s target. I refused to wear the hijab for the longest time for this very reason.

-From America to Paris and everywhere in between, the world fell apart in terms of these horrific attacks in the name of Islam. We became that neighbour everyone bitched about and ganged up on.

-The attacks eventually got closer to home with Manchester falling last week and now London being targeted as well.

-Having just finished watching a video of Police instructing people in a bar to get down for their own safety, my ever so alert ears picked up the dulcet tones of a not so gentle man saying, “fucking muslim cunts.” And honestly my heart bled.

-No one cares though, right? No one wants to hear how I feel, how much I fear for mine and my family’s safety. After all, it’s “my people” doing this so I have no right to be afraid just like everyone else. Nay, how dare I indulge in such emotions only available for privileged non muslims?

-I have no idea why any educated being thinks these people would think twice about mowing me down if I was walking on London bridge tonight. I assure you, that van would not have slowed down to spare my life just because I was “one of them.” They’d just think; “her family would understand, she left the world for a good cause.”

Because these people don’t care. They have got zero awareness or care on how their actions affect others’ lives. They do the deed and boom gone, then it’s people like me that have to face the consequences of something… wait for it, we didn’t even do. 

-Do not generalise the actions of 1000 crazy muslims onto the 1.6 billion of us minding our own business, or trying to as we watch too much Netflix, stay up too late on the weekend and stumble into work with one eye closed. Not. Unlike. you.

-Still, I take some comfort in imagining these men’s reaction when they see that what awaits them in the skies above are not “72 virgins” but God’s wrath for taking away the lives of innocent people. 

-Until the next attack, where you will look at me like I am everything that is wrong with the world and make me feel shit about my day for doing absolutely nothing, I shall remain on edge and paranoid, not unlike I was 17 years ago, because I have no right to feel afraid. Apparently.

Attachment and Vimto

Not to be confused with attachment to Vimto, which I am guessing many of you, particualrly if you’re Arab, suffer from this month. I’m also guessing that that’s all anyone will get from this post; that I am attached to Vimto. But I shall give ya’ll the benefit of the doubt and proceed anyway.

-Vimto is the the number one drink that is consumed during Ramadan in the Arab world, and when I say consumed I mean in abundance and when I say Vimto I mean the asli one they sell in Arab countries… not the anaemic mess found on the shelves of Tesco.

-The orginal Vimto is hella concentrated and hella red, as you would know if you have had the misfortune of breaking a bottle of it and getting it in the neck from your angry mother. 

-All the above, paired with the fact that you need a lot of sugar to make this beverage drinkable leads me to conclude that Arabic Vimto is bad for you and yet we still crave it’s comfort after an 18.5 hour fast. We are attached to it… which leads me to my next point…

-Attachment is a female dog. I’m not against cussing, but I am trying to make a special effort for the Holy month. Mashallah me.

-Time, and time again, we get told not to attach ourselves to anyone or anything wordly. Because this dunya is fragile. It’s not just the deen that tells us not to attach ourselves to anything wordly, psychologists, sociologists, poets all warn us against this too.

-What do we go and do though? We attach and get attached. We latch ourselves onto the first source of comfort we want to be around. Not always as a recipient, sometimes as a provider as well. This is what I like to call the hero complex.

-I have a serious case of the hero complex. I always think I can save people in need. Which is the stupidest notion in the world wallah. I need saving myself so how the hell am I going to save anyone?

-My life is a constant battle not to attach or get attached to anyone or anything in the dunya. I get frequent reminders about this from life that I don’t heed because I am human I suppose and I was designed in a way that makes me crave attachment in most it’s forms.

-I guess the only way to break the chain of long term + attachment = pain is to eliminate the element of expectation from the equation. Deny it all you want, but we all expect something in return when we invest in someone or something. You work because good work ethic sure but the wage slip helps. It doesn’t always have to be a reward though. Expectation can sometimes purely be not being rejected or abandoned.

-I invest in people a lot. My time, my energy, my emotions literally anything I have, I give. My mother says this is my major weakness by the way. So when people turn around and they either reject it all or leave after they have bled me dry, I just look at them and think… but all that time though…? You can walk away but what about me? I’m in too deep, you can’t leave me now…

(Are you thinking #issues yet?)

-You mourn the time you wasted on that activity or person. And you swear you would never get attached to anything in this fragile dunya again. But then of course…sigh.

-I’d like to end this rant with a reminder to myself; “You cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whomever he pleases.” [28:56] Ergo, you can try and make someone see the light until you are blue in the face. If they insist on being blind you and Specsavers have a snowball’s chance in hell of changing that. Just pray for them.

-And… people leave us all the time, regardless of promises, who we are and what we meant to them once upon a time, the chance of abandonment and drifting apart is huge because life… So, self preservation is key. After Allah, you only have you. It feels horrible not being able to fall back on anyone and to have this constant void where you want a shoulder to lean on, but take comfort from the fact that we were born alone and we die alone… everyone that comes into our life in between is but a visitor and visiting times inevitably come to an end.

-Have a blessed rest of the month.

Tam x

Ramadan Vibes | Day 21

So, my daily blogging, that soon turned into weekly blogging, has now become fortnightly blogging. What is up with that? I blogged for day 1, day 7, fully intending to then blog for day 14 but whaddya know it is day 21 and here we are.

Minor doe, these things happen.

I hope all your Ramadans are going swimmingly well inshallah. Mine is going aight alhamdulilah. Something feels missing though and I can’t put my finger on what.

For the most part I have been good. I’m keeping up with my reading of the Quraan- compared to previous years when I would fall behind. My salah is slower and more focused. Astagfurallah I am flopping in terms of making it for fajr on time. I am that human who sleeps through 4 alarms but wake up for the 5th one which is there to wake me up for work.

I don’t even know what that says about me as a person. May Allah guide and forgive. Maybe that is why I am feeling so down. Part of me wishes I wasn’t working for the whole of Ramadan so I can stay up and worship without feeling like I need to go to bed so I can wake up to work on time.

Another part of me is relieved that I am working during Ramadan as this helps pass the time. In fact, despite the 19.5 hour fast, I have felt that fasting has been Alhamdulilah pretty easy this year. Bar the weekend when I literally feel zombified with all the free time…

Except it is not really free time as I have deadlines hovering atop my head like a black cloud. I have timed signing up for a course very poorly in that I did not account for how stressful I would find it to meet deadlines in Ramadan. I am sure there are millions of students who have to do it so I have no grounds to complain, huh?

To sum up this weird and self centred rant that has done nothing to enrich your reading experience (for which I apologise, but not that much coz you are still reading so clearly you are getting something from it) …

– I am feeling slightly empty inside. My life feels devoid of emotion, but more importantly devoid of purpose. You know how people have dreams and ambitions? I have none. I have tried and tried to think of what I want to do with my life but I am coming up with nada. I am very good at my job Alhamdulilah. But I don’t know if it enriches my soul.

When people hear this they tell me to go and chase my dreams. But if I don’t know what they are, which direction am I supposed to start running? Then of course I feel guilty for feeling any of this stuff at all coz well, people are dying and starving all over the world and here’s me with my first world problems like sob-sob.

Anyway, spare a prayer for little ole me during the last 10 days. God knows I am in need of some clarity in my life. I wish this post could have been more positive especially that I have been granted the honour of seeing the last 10 days when so many others have lost their lives before getting to this point. But, it is what it is hey?

Ironically, this time last year I was urging everyone to stay bright. Subhanallah how times change.

Ramadan Vibes | Day … 7!

Ok, so, blogging daily for Ramadan turned out to be an epic fail didn’t it. Maybe a weekly task would have been more realistic. I haven’t blogged since writing about Day One. Honestly, I do not seem to have the time. My sleeping is all over the place. I literally aim to stay up until Fajr, which then leaves me only a few hours to sleep before waking up for work- which I perform in just fine, thank you very much for your concern, Katie Hopkins.

Anyway, not much interesting has happened to me in the previous few days per se, I am honestly just trying to treat this Ramadan like it will be my last, in case it actually is. Last year, I feel I wasted a lot of time on YouTube videos of a non-Islamic nature…

…wait, that makes me sound like I am up to no good on YouTube, let’s rephrase that.

I basically would follow all these vlogs of YouTubers, envying their lives, because that is what social media leads you to do. This year, I am using YouTube for Islamic lectures that I listen to whilst waiting for Fajr and Maghrib. I have found a few non patronising speakers that I can relate to- whose words and lessons I feel comforted by. So that’s good!

To stop this post being as non-eventful as it is turning out to be, I thought I would examine some of the things I was writing around this time last year to see if I am in the same frame of mind today.

“Anyway, given the emotional wreck that is my mind lately, I just felt like binging last night, being healthy be damned so I did just that. I had like an Iftar party.”

Wow, I wrote that on the 7th of Ramadan last year, I am happy to report that my mind does not feel like an emotional wreck for now, a thousand times Alhamdulilah and may Allah keep it that way. As irony would have it though, I did have Cheetos for my Suhoor yesterday.

“The one thing I looked forward to last night, was a reunion with my tea which I split up with since the beginning of Ramadan as by the time we break our fast it is too late to drink tea, given I need to be up early for work the next day. Hurrah for the weekend. I didn’t need to be anywhere for the weekend so I had me a date with my cup of tea and it was glorious”

I actually made every intention to make myself some tea post Iftar this weekend but somehow after eating and cleaning up the table and driving Pops to taraweeh, I no longer feel like making tea. I mean if someone made me a cuppa I would have it gratefully, but making myself one does not appeal. Yes, I know how spoilt that sounds, ok. Don’t judge me in Ramadan. Sad face. Alas, it’s Sunday night and not even like I can make myself one after Iftar, as I have work tomorrow and my sleep is already all over the place.

Oh well, how’s everyone’s Ramadan going?

Ramadan Vibes; Day 1

Ramadan Mubarak ma peeps.

So, I guess I am late to the Ramadan posts party. But, honestly not much to report on this end. I wondered whether I would blog or not this year. I did last year and I enjoyed it though, so I thought I would give it ago this year too. I don’t know how committed I will be but lets go with the flow.

Today was hard. There, I said it. I wasn’t hungry or thirsty but I had a splitting migraine that made me knock out straight after coming back from work. I had planned to use that time for acts for worship but I literally couldn’t for the pain. I read though that if sleep is used as a means of restoring energy to fast better it can be an act of worship too so Ima take that defense and run with it…

Working during Ramadan is both a blessing and… not such a blessing. Sure the time passes like mad, but you are exhausted by the end of it. That said, come weekend I dunno what to do with myself.

Anyway! I am rambling. Things I want to focus on this Ramadan include; Duaa like crazy, gaining some perspective; my uncle passed away this weekend and honestly this is making me wanna treat this Ramadan like it is my last one. Finally, I am on the hunt for Islamic lectures with a heavy psychology influence to listen to, because I find them relateable and light hearted. If any of you peak Arabic check out lectures by Mustafa Hosny on YouTube. A friend reccomended him and I am hooked. He has a way with words may Allah s.w.t. reward his efforts.

Food-wise, I planned to be healthy but then I had carbs and ice cream. The consolation being they were not monstrous sizes; I couldn’t if I wanted to! Consolation no. 2 is that suhoor is bananas, dates and water #checkmeout !

I pray your Ramadan is going swimmingly well inshallah and may all your duaas be answered in a manner that comforts your heart. Please remember witty ole’ me in your prayers. All I want is peace of mind.

Share Your Story With Me

Go on… it only takes a minute and it feels kindda good after.

I am going through a YouTube videos phase these days. You will often catch me making jokes about becoming a YouTuber on my blog too. Something appeals to me about it but I lack the confidence, time and ideas to see it through. Still, perhaps one day.

Moving on, I came across a pretty good video that I liked today, I will link it for your viewing pleasure somewhere on here. It involved a YouTuber giving strangers a Dollar for their story.

The idea was fascinating to me because I do sometimes catch myself thinking; I wish I can talk to someone right now who actually wanted to listen to me. By God’s grace, I do have some people in my life who fulfil that criteria. But sometimes, in the interest of not burdening them too, I stay quiet and that is where this avenue comes in handy.

I have been desperate and stuck for something to write about for a couple of weeks now and was thus inspired by Kareem’s idea for a post. I can’t give you a Dollar for your story, but I can read it and cherish that you shared it with me. The risk of course being we are a closed up culture as a whole and maybe no one wants to share their inner deep thoughts.

It can be something light too though,  or something funny, or inspirational. Whatever floats your boat really. Share it down below. I don’t have enough of a follower base for this to be wildly successful, but we will not worry about that too much just yet.

In the interest of fairness, I will share something first; a small part of me. I wish it could be cheerful, but in the mood I am in right now…. #leSigh

I am a notorious people pleaser, I have lived my entire life pleasing others. Honestly, I don’t know if it is a culture thing or a self-esteem thing or both, but I am (sadly) forever looking for someone to be proud of me, be it my mother or my boss or a friend. It doesn’t even have to be someone superior to me, I have longed to be accepted by people younger, less “powerful” -for lack of a better word- than myself.

Every year, I tell myself I will no longer be this person that craves to be accepted and every year, I fail at this resolution even more than the previous year. The positives of being someone who always seeks for others’ approval is that you are a peace maker and you are not confrontational per se.

The negatives are when you don’t get this approval, you sink into this unforgiving pit of depression that is seriously difficult to resurface from. People don’t seem to understand why you let yourself succumb to such nonesense and immediately demand yiu cut the crap and bounce back from it.

Honestly, that’s like telling a French person to suddenly become Japanese. It ain’t happening. That said, I am currently in the proccess of teaching myself that you can be the juiciest and ripest peach in the world but there will STILL be a certain sector of people that loath peaches for no rhyme or reason and that I just have to learn to be ok with that.

I am looking forward to a day where I no longer care about the negatives that people think / associate with me. But more importantly, I am trying to learn not to crave other people’s approval like my life depends on it.

Also, I need to lose this hero (or heroine) complex that I seem to have developed of late where I expect that if I go out of my way for someone (which I tend to do, a lot) that person will appreciate this act and me forever. Unfortunately, some people will take your kindness and treat it like a God given right and you can do very little to make them appreciate you.

So there you have it, a chunk of me that I dislike slightly and is no out there. Please feel free to share something about you. I would live to give it a read. Enjoy the video and have a lovely Monday!

Don’t Say You Did This For Me

A while ago, during Ramadan to be precise, I wrote a little something that was inspired/ induced, I am not sure what wording to go with here, by my religion being “named and shamed” in the media. Today, I was reminded of that post, and if you watched the news in the last couple of hours, you will know why.

Whenever the media prepares it’s annual, (and these days monthly) brainwashing ritual of the masses, so it can turn them against little ole’ me- I start to fret. I get just as scared as you when a terror attack happens. I fear for my life and safety just as much as the next guy, believe me. I am barely 5ft tall.

You know when I get mad and not just sad though? When the low lifes who do this shit say they did it for me and the future generations. Even worse, that they did it in the name of my religion. To them I say;

You are fake. You are a fraud. You are decietful. You did this for you. You blew your self up and left me to pick up the pieces, to take the blame for something I am not guilty of and face people’s stares, having to respond to questions I do not know the answers to.

You say you did this for the greater good. Where is this good in what you do? How does it benefit you, your neighbour, society, or humanity like “our” religion preaches? I did something for the greater good today. I moved a shopping trolley that a troll, probably you come to think of it, left in a parking space.

That is something that will benefit everyone. By doing an act as simple, and in your eyes insignificant, as this:

  • I stopped the trolley scratching someone’s car due to the heavy winds it was being swayed by.
  • I vacated a parking space that someone could now use and saved them some time.
  • I gave the supermarket employee one less job to do.
  • I inspired someone watching me to benefit society in some way by doing their own act of kindness.
  • And I restored someone’s faith in humanity.

Please. I urge you to stop doing things I did not ask you to do. You are putting us all in such horrendous positions where we cannot go about our day to day life anymore. People look at my headscarf like it is a giant padlock on my brain and treat me accordingly, like I am an opressed victim of my religion, due to your actions.

My bag, that I clutch to my chest so protectively in public, is concealing nothing but gum wrappers, mashed up and expired half a chocolate bar, smudged everywhere, broken pens and feminine hygeine items I do not want anyone to see. But my embarassment is confused with guilt and my bag thus gets searched without my will anyway, due to your actions.

Don’t tell people that you kill in the name of God. Times have changed. When Peter Sutcliffe aka. The Yorkshire Ripper killed 13 and severely injured 7 prostitues because “God told him to,” no one branded every bearded Christian a raving, murdering lunatic and certainly no one blamed Christianity and God. But now, because of your lack of mercy, that poor uncle with a beard is getting attacked when walking home from the mosque and all he wanted was an early night after Ishaa prayer. Because of you, a Sikh gentleman is getting beaten up, because biggots are too lazy being morons to research their supposed target/ enemy before launching an attack. Who then gets the blame? The religion and God you were supposedly making a stand for.

I work hard every week and EARN my weekends. I go into town to have a nice lunch and am forced to jump back on the bus because there is an EDL march induced by your actions and fuled by the people’s own biggatory, my lunch be damend.

I just want to go to work, have a laugh or two, pray five times a day and mind my own business. Why will you not let me do that? Do not tell me you kill because our fellow muslims are being killed and you are avenging their death. Do not tell me you will kill an American or a French or Jew  because they killed and continue to kill muslims.

First of all, that life you took? It was not yours to take. Second of all, do not compare deaths and pain and destruction based on categories like religion, gender and social class. It is counter-productive and irrelevant. Death is death. It is sad wherever it happens and whenever. Every soul lost is someone’s something, somewhere. Do not trivialize that. You have no right to. And finally, has your killing undone anything? Are those lost souls back? Are you done spreading joy yet?

No.

Do you get blamed for it all like you rightly deserve?

No.

Who gets the blame?

ME

…and him and her down the road, who mind our own business and hurt no one. Who else gets blamed? Ironically, the religion and the God you supposedly did this for.

Way to represent man, way to represent.

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