My writings

How diverse is London?

We frequently get told that we live in such a diverse city. This is true. Everywhere I look, I see people who look differently to me, have different morals and belief systems and lifestyles. Despite the dissimilarities, we are able to live, work, socialise and spend a lifetime with people with whom we are not the same.

 

Politicians often repeat the fact that they are proud to be serving ‘the’ diverse London, but how much of this verbal reassurance of London life being united and diverse actually true? How much of this reality do we seem to overlook and ignore?

 

As a Youth Worker, I try to engage with the young members of the youth club in discussions about the communities in which we live and interact with. A few weeks ago, I asked the young people to annotate around a drawing of a tree, which we named, ‘The Diversity Tree’. We annotated on the following:

  • Roots: our life influences and beliefs
  • Trunk: our life structure and aspects that are quite firm and fixed
  • Branches: relationships and connections, directions, hobbies, interests and goals
  • Fruits on trees: Achievements and things we are proud of about ourselves
  • Thorns in bushes around tree: Challenges, threats and difficulties we face

Doing this activity was fun and interesting to see how we are similar in some aspects and very unique and different in others. I’m still very happy to see how colourful the tree is in representing us as individuals, but also how we bring life to the tree when we come together as one.

 

I then put forward the statement “London is diverse enough” and asked everyone to share to which extent they agree with it. Here some of the points of the discussion:

Yes because…

  • There are over 300 languages spoken in the UK.
  • We celebrate diversity in London through food markets and festivals. We are interested in finding out about other cultures.
  • Some areas of London are becoming more diverse than they used to be.
  • In some areas there are different types of shops and businesses owned by people from different backgrounds, there are equal opportunities.
  • Celebrations are promoted for all people e.g. Chinese New Year, Eid, Christmas, International Women’s Day
  • There is the option of same-gender schools as well as mixed-gender schools.

No because…

  • Discrimination against minorities still exists.
  • Not all races and people from different coloured backgrounds are fully included within society and social groups.
  • Patriarchy
  • Adverts and commercials on TV and posters are still dominated by white models. Although this is slowly changing, it is still the current situation.
  • There are still many areas in London and on the outskirts that are still not accepting of others and a lot of racial and religious discrimination is felt.
  • The LGBTQ+ community face violent aggression and attacks.
  • Lack of inclusivity (things could be a lot better)

Prior to this day, I was travelling from Essex to Holborn, and had realised even more so how segregated London is. I’ve always known that the areas in which we live and work are influenced and shaped by our social class and other aspects of our backgrounds. My observations during this journey made me reflect on this and took me back to my uni days. I believe it was during the first year of my undergrad when we were discussing  an extract from Bev Skeggs’ Formation of Class and Gender (1997). In this, she states that white working class women could never become white middle class women, even if their employment and living standards change, due to the fact that they can never fully change their cultural and social likes, dislikes and ways of living. She discusses the power relations between women in North-West England and explains that class for women is often used as a means for exclusivity. Isn’t this a recurring experience for males and females living today too? After reading The Good Immigrant and Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race, I’ve come to know more about the shared experiences of exclusivity in schools, the workplace and in people’s social lives too.

 

I could never really give a definite answer to the question I posed to the young people myself; London is changing, the world is constantly progressing (sometimes regressing) and is never in a content state. I am comfortable and happy to have been raised in this city. It is rich in culture, in it’s history and there are many opportunities to offer. However, all these things are not from London. I believe that it is the people of London who have made it as such.  My hope is that inequalities can be addressed, structural and institutional discrimination can be challenged without fear and changes can be made. Only then can London truly be diverse and accepting.

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Re-visiting the Past: Hosseini

I’m the biggest procrastinator I know of. Since my last post, I was brainstorming reflections from the books, ‘The Good Immigrant’ and ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race’. My observations at work and day to day experiences in general, were just informing everything the authors were experiencing. I would take notes on my phone and that’s exactly where it remains today. Knowing that I wouldn’t be starting anytime soon, I re-read Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.
When reading a book more than once, it’s always the case that the reader responds differently than the previous time; there are new discoveries, experiences and different emotions felt. Two years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to sympathise with Layla’s mother, Fariba, in understanding why she was mellow and not willing to engage with her husband or her only living child in the household. Of course, she cared for her daughter, but she felt defeated in not being able to protect her sons. In losing Ahmad and Noor in the war, she felt that there was no one to care for anymore, and also neglected her daughter. In 2016, I was not able to see this. I was frustrated with her, confused as to why she wouldn’t notice that Layla needs her mother’s love and attention. Being able to see her perspective taught me something about myself, that I am now able to understand the emotions and life experiences of both Layla and her mother. I was no longer defensive for Layla. I at first thought, she was being portrayed as a victim, but actually felt the pain that resides in Fariba’s heart this time round. She was torn and did not receive the help she needed. Today, we might suggest counselling sessions or be able to understand the state of someone’s mental health to some extent, but these facilities were obviously not available in that context.
I’ve shared one of the many things I’ve reflected from the narrative of Fariba’s experiences, but of course, it’s everyone’s experiences that ties the story together. Hosseini is magical.
I’ve set myself a reading challenge on Goodreads for 2019, and am on my third book at the moment. I’ve completed Memoirs of a Geisha and Othello, and am now halfway through ‘You’, a psychological thriller. Perhaps I may read ‘And the Mountains Echoed’ sometime this year and compare my thoughts on the relationship between Abdullah and Pari. Maybe I’ll do a part 2 to that post too? Let’s see.
Until next time,
Happy Reading

A Virtue of Disobedience by Asim Qureshi

I was so excited to start reading this book that even amidst Eid preparations during Ramadaan I would squeeze out a few minutes on the last few days to read whatever I could. I remember sitting on the train on my way to work, the poem at the beginning just gripped me. I was literally unable to turn the pages as I kept re-reading lines over and over again.

The structure of the book made it easier to engage with the content, I felt as though I was on a journey with many other readers and Brother Asim himself when moving on from one chapter to another and I hope that you will pick up the book to join in too.

He starts off on the topic of ‘Time and Trauma’, in discussing that time doesn’t really heal trauma and pain for people. In fact, many times these experiences and fears are passed on from one generation to another due to the psychological impact an individual and groups of people face. It is important that we reflect and think about the way that people have responded to their traumas, how they dealt with anxiety and their circumstances, so that we can learn how to treat people better and respond now and in the future. He mentions the importance of learning from history, especially as a third of the Qur’an is Allah relating stories of the past so that we are able to take lessons and act with knowledge and guidance when we are faced with similar trials.

Then, in ‘The Cycles of Iblis, Exodus and Oppression’, he explains that the basic rule of Iblees and his followers (e.g. tyrannical rulers) is to divide the masses and take over with authority and oppressive leadership. Their aim is to distract us through the differences that we have in society, and unfortunately we have played along for so long that it is difficult to see past those differences and realise that everyone is being affected in one way or another. We cannot be bystanders, we cannot be passive in experiencing the injustices that exist in our communities and societies. The first step to build courage in having discussions about our experiences with those that are similar to us and build relationships and networks with people and organisations that also have a vision for there to be systematic changes, not for one ruler to end his or her leadership only for injustice to be passed on from hand to another.

The next chapter ‘A Community of Witnesses’ reminded me of a saying that goes by “If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem”. But how can this be? Of course, by not doing anything and not speaking out against wrongdoing. As a Muslim, especially, my imaan cannot allow me to just watch. We hate the actions with the heart, and use speech and actions to speak even if it is against ourselves. In my final year of studying Sociology, I was particularly interested in how the media has the power to connect people globally through digital media, and to also further divide and separate experiences also. The term ‘distant suffering’ was playing on my mind throughout this book. It is the effect whereby a person can be watching a video of families and children being massacred and still continue to eat their evening meal without being affected. The pain and suffering does not reach us emotionally or physically, and therefore we find it easy to just move on in our lives. Of course, this isn’t the case for all people, but this is the case for many. We are all witnesses to reality and the truth is not hidden from us, and I now, more so than before, feel the responsibility to not allow the truth to be mixed with falsehood or distorted in any way.

In ‘A Matter of Representation’, the discussion of our identity being complex is present. For those who come from a minority background may have multiple factors to be discriminated against. For myself it may be the fact that I am Muslim, female, Bangladeshi and come from a working-class background. The fact that I was born and raised in the UK won’t really be taken into account as there are more factors that show me to be ‘different’ which shouldn’t really be the case. Due to these differences (which shouldn’t be an issue anyway), individuals and groups who physically appear to not look ‘British’ are under closer surveillance by the system and government. The conversations about who and what is British and who and what is not reminds me of Benedict Anderson’s take on the ‘imagined community’. There is no natural way to be or co-exist, we make our societies into the way they are and I just think that everything just falls back to people working towards living in an ideal society where everyone’s beliefs and practices are the same. Obviously, this isn’t realistic. Responses to and reports of crime and incidents of White People and People of Colour are misrepresented and unequal, and so are the socio-economic opportunities that are available. Quoting Jessie Williams, Brother Asim illustrates how the only time different cultures and lifestyles are attractive or accepted is for commercial purposes. Moving onto a political representation of Muslims, we see that those Muslim MP’s are not necessarily representative of the majority of Muslims living in the UK, despite this, their opinions and ideals then become the expected values and ideas of the Muslims. Brother Asim reminds us that true representation is when an individual abides by the truth and is supportive of the group they claim to belong to. After giving the example of Qarun and the secret believer under Fir’awn’s leadership, we see that being part of a group doesn’t necessitate loyalty to the cause. We can see this to be the case as rather than protecting the honour and dignity of Muslims, many counter-terrorism and prevent policies are encouraged and supported by these Muslim influencers in our society, through which mainly Muslims are affected. This is why representation is not enough, in fact, it is useless if these ‘representatives’ have their own agendas.

In the penultimate chapter, ‘A Virtue of Disobedience’, we are taken through 3 stages of resisting to discrimination, oppression and misrepresentation. We are reminded that the perception of individuals and groups are shaped by the media, think tanks and government due to the control they have over language and narratives over the masses. These narratives then shape the way that minorities are treated and suspect communities are created. In order to resist this, we need to utilise 3 things:

  1. Language – The terminologies and definitions of words that do not have clear meanings are decided and used by those who have authority above us and are thus are able to manipulate us into following and using their definitions. The example given is of the term extremist/extremism, in how our take on extremism is subjective. The government and media have coated this term with links to terrorism, so much so that when someone hears the word ‘extreme’, connotations linked to acts of violence are thought of immediately. What we need to do is take language into our own hands and not allow others to define us, we need to set our own narratives by using alternative terms that do not re-affirm what is told about us. This is how we can have control over what we say about ourselves and others.
  2. Knowledge – Everyone knows that knowledge is power. Brother Asim states that it emancipates us from ignorance and gives us the awareness that the ignorant do not have. Through banning texts, music with politically incorrect lyrics and programmes, the government tries to hide information, facts from us. We see this to be the case in tyrannical regimes throughout history and even in our current day, where school curriculums brush over world history so that there is more of an emphasis on one’s national history and events. By covering up the truth about Islam by only selectively reading what interests the state, and making it seem as though the Middle East is in desperate need of Western governance, the general conversation about Islam would be that it needs to be reformed through liberal values and ideals and unfortunately even Muslims believe so too. When researching and challenging this, we need to ensure that we don’t make statements without having concrete evidence and knowledge about the issues we speak of. When we have true knowledge, courage and conviction, no one can take that power away from us.
  3. Community – This isn’t just about working collectively in unison, but being collective in our mind-set and goals for society in getting rid of tyranny, discrimination and oppression. We all have the ability to help and contribute, and to be able to do so, each individual needs to assess their situation and circumstances to see how we can best responsibly take part. It is true that it’s difficult to unite, but going back to the previous chapter, we come to realise that it is the intention and aim of Iblees and his followers to divide the people further until there is no good work to be done. An individual can never do something themselves, it is collective effort and sincerity that motivates, energises and sustains and what is needed for this to happen is discussions on strategies of community efforts that extend nationally and globally.

In the final chapter, ‘Patience on Truth’, we are advised to always be committed to the truth no matter how difficult our situation gets. We are to always bear in mind that People of Colour will always receive backlash for resistance, and thus straying away from the truth or even exaggerating the truth is not honest of us and it will always have a negative impact on our efforts. Brother Asim ends the book with mentioning individuals who stayed truthful in and to their causes and sacrificed their own liberty and safety in order to protect others. It is this act of selflessness that I really admire and take inspiration from. We are reminded of the time in Prophet Yusuf’s life (AS) when he was told he can be released from prison, but he refused until his case was re-opened. Why? He wanted his name to be cleared and he wanted the truth to come out. Despite being imprisoned for years without evidence against him, without an ongoing trial, he remained patient and he did not exaggerate about what happened to him. He remained patient and truthful, honest with himself first and foremost because he knew that Allah is on his side. When we are able to speak the truth and hold on to it, be patient and enjoin righteousness, we know that we are doing the right thing.


There are so many things to reflect on from this book, and I truly believe one needs to read it to know. Of course, this post does no justice to the book and neither is the content remotely close to what’s within the pages, so I really do recommend you to purchase the book as there are plenty of examples from the past and present that we can relate to and understand. I am truly grateful that Allah guided me to my degree and allowed me to complete it, as it was specifically the content in my second and third years that really made me want to explore different types of issues and topics I am passionate about.

I pray that Allah accepts the efforts that Brother Asim has put into his work and this book, and those that continue to work in raising awareness and challenging oppression on a daily basis.


Until next time,
Happy Reading.

Reflections and Selected Quotes: The Good Children (Roopa Farooki)

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The novel starts off with the theme of regret of brothers unable to protect their sisters from their mother’s toxic treatment and from forcefully being taken out of education and being placed into another family through marriage. Contrary to the typical representation of South Asian ‘brothers’ in novels who are able to voice their opinions and be emotionally and mentally strong, Jackie (Jamal) and Sully (Sulaman) struggle to even maintain their own identities with dignity. This in itself shows how they are unable to defend themselves against the unjust decisions made by their mother against themselves, so how will they ever be able to prevent such treatment with their blood sisters?

Within their home in Pakistan, we see the structure of a matriarchal family. It is apparent that the father was struggling to place his foot on trivial day to day matters and maintain his honour and dignity in contemporary day Pakistan as his wife had the final say. Not only that, the mother, as the head of the home was able to manipulate servants, her husband, children and guests and win their awe over through her “charming” smile and carefully chosen words. Once again, we see how males also struggle to maintain their familial traditions and principles when there are conflicts of power within the home.

Even after moving to America and London for studies and becoming academically and financially independent, Jackie and Sully’s relationships are far from that. Whether it be with colleagues or prospective life partners, both brothers feel inadequate of being with the other person due to lack of communication and not knowing how to approach the other, forget fulfilling their emotional needs. However, I do admire the bravery of breaking away from social norms and expectations. Although a lot of their South Asian principles were compromised, their behaviour and mind-sets appears to be conflicted with western expectations of what should and should not be. Towards the end of the novel, Sully and Jackie realise that Pakistan is where they belong. It is where they had left their identities.

Farooki focuses on a cycle of the ‘child’ being used as a tool in adjusting to one’s role as a mother or father. At first, we see how their mother (I don’t think her name is ever mentioned) places herself at the centre of every matter, thus making herself the only one who benefits from her decisions. When her children become parents, they don’t impose the restrictions they had on themselves upon their children. In doing so, they realise that too much flexibility in their relationships didn’t do them any good either. However it is too late to change things. In neglecting what is best for the ‘child’, not only were marriages and family ties broken, relationships and bonds were destroyed too. As a consequence of not receiving love in their childhood, they had showered so much onto their own little ones that they were unable to strike a balance of two extremes. The false portrayal of religiosity of their mother led Sully, Jackie and Mae far from religion, with only Lana left behind to pick up the pieces which she kept close to her heart throughout her life. They all “grew up in a place that pretended piety, but the truth was that we were all tangled up in revolting ways”. Nevertheless, all 3 of Lana’s siblings were able to rely on Lana to be sensible in everything she said and did in religious matters, as she was sensible. Not strictly over-doing it like her mother, and not living a life absent of God-consciousness like everyone else. Religion was her comfort-zone. Even after the passing of their mother, Lana is the only one seen to be holding a Qur’an and reciting it during the mourning period.

Now.. Jackie. We see that even as a doctor, he feels unable to help the patients in his own home. The ones suffering from the disease of a broken family. He is able to help those who are emotionally distant from him whether they be in hospitals, refugee camps or over the phone, but stumbles and struggles with his family. He can deal with blood, but not his own. He is so close to home, yet so far. Every year, he visits Pakistan to help those affected by the war but does not make nearly as much effort to find out how his bed-ridden mother is doing. It is the same with Sully. He wants to prove to his wife that he can be successful and give the world to her and their son, but in doing so, he does not realise that he has forgotten what it means to be a husband and a father. He lives like a stranger in his own home. Unable to even find cutlery and juice, we see how his obsession with uplifting himself in his career results in his marriage going downhill. His son no longer wishes to recognise him, let alone speak on the phone. Once again, failed parenthood due to only thinking of one’s self. Both brothers struggle with their emotions and tending to their loved ones. It is only unfortunate that they realise their role in their family through the death of loved ones. At least it is not too late to make the most of the time they have with those left in their lives.

There is so much to get from this book. I love the way it was written – I got to find out how all the main characters felt through the first and third person narratives and the constant switch from past and present. This really helped in understanding why and how actions in the present were being shaped by experiences and memories from the past, for everyone.

I also wanted to share my favourite quotations from the book. These made me think a lot:

  • “Our education, their marriage. Our crime, their punishment”.
  • “That I grew up in a place that pretended piety, but the truth was that we were all tangled up in revolting ways”.
  • “The servants did what they were told, just like we did when we were children”.
  • He’s a writer; he spills his guts instead”.
  • “The rich have no race, and we all speak the same language”.
  • “I wonder if that’s the inevitable cost of getting what you want; that once you do, you don’t want it anymore”.
  • “Separated again, like we were in our rooms, at our table, on the sofa. Another pragmatic partition”.
  • “He knew how words could be weapons”.
  • “I think you’re the bravest of us all. It’s easier to run away than to stay. You stayed. You were here”.
  • “She supposed that war was liberating; people did things differently, they realised they had less time, and less to lose”.
  • “Occasionally Mae resented how easy it was for her [mother], and had to remind herself that this was what motherhood was meant to be, correcting the mistakes of her own childhood, rather than getting her own back”.
  • “We all go back to where we belong”.
  • “Lana knows it is impossible to hold on to anger across a lifetime, to keep the storm seething and the thunder rolling and the lightning flashing, just s it is impossible to remain madly in love”.
  • “She grieves for the living’ those who are falling apart, their pieces shattering on the ground, scattering with the wind. For those who do not believe or belong”.
  • “The living deserve the truth; the dead have already discovered it for themselves”.
  • “It was a gift that she had, knowing when to offer comfort, when there was no solution to offer instead”.
  • “It was like the moonlight had stripped all subtlety from us both along with our colour, and we were just black and white all the way through”.
  • “You don’t live in the past. You live with it”.

And when Sulaman finally felt he was able to do his part….
“I didn’t cry for my father, but I cry for her. The soft. Living part of me, wimpled in my soft white clothes, rocking in the chair. I’m so strong enough to weep, and as I finally split open, it feels that the tears of years are released. The walls of this white room come tumbling, crumbling down; they flatten and fall. The glass box breaks, and I can finally be touched. I’m free”.


Until next time,

Happy reading.

Appreciating Allah’s beautiful creation


In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Especially Merciful.

السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you.


“And on the earth are signs for the certain (in faith); and in yourselves.
Then will you not see?” (Qur’an 51: 20-21)


Ship Tour: Antalya to Alanya


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We saw other ships and boats along the way. It was nice waving to others enjoying their trip through the Mediterranean just as we were.
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Beautiful.
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This is MASSIVE! SubhanAllah. You really do feel tiny when faced by other creations of Allah.
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This Castle, which is 820ft high, was built on the remains from the Byzantine and Roman rule. During the Ottoman Empire, this and other buildings in the area were used as defence with individual villas built in surrounding areas. Now, there is a museum with exhibitions for public viewing.
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When my eyes fell upon these two colours, I felt so amazed. I mean, the two types of water meeting in the oceans and seas is enough to make you appreciate Allah’s design as it is, but seeing this melted my heart even more.

 

“I would have you know that a pebble proves the existence of God just as much as a mountain, and the human body is evidence as strong as the universe that contains our world: for this purpose the small and slight carries as much weight as the great and vast.” [Al-Jahiz]

That’s all I have to share… for now.


معالسلامة
May you be accompanied by safety/peace.

We are never ‘alone’…

Growing up, I realised that no matter how many times I wailed and no matter how thick my tears were, my words would never reach the ears of those who only wanted me to keep my mouth shut.

Attending a school where everyone was trying to fit in and make the right friends, I realised how I had spoken too soon and how it had caused much more harm than good. I really felt that I was the only one going through the usual teenage ‘problems’. One day, I thought of using my words in a different way, in front of an assembly of my entire year group – those who assumed they knew me and those who would spread rumours about me both online and in classes. I was thinking that this one time that I was presenting myself to them with my thoughts and feelings might just make them realise that this life is valuable, and it is a gift. We have no right to take the gifts of others, nor do we have the right to ruin their gifts. Gift gift gift. We have taken these for granted and fail to see how much others value theirs. But, I had hoped too far and expected too much. Some hearts just don’t relate to the ones that are aching.

As the years went on, I felt silly for thinking that only I know how I feel and that no one can help me. I should not allow myself to believe that there is no one there for us. There are those who care about us and love us. Whether it be our parents, siblings, close relatives and friends, our neighbours or a stranger on the train, there is a genuine and honest concern for one another that we share between each other. In recent unfortunate and heartbreaking events that our communities have been suffering, we have found individuals and groups of people who have shown one another that they are willing to support and protect one another, no matter how bad things get. Whether it be by sharing a smile, asking how one’s day went or spreading awareness of the injustice and discrimination one is facing, these are the things that make us one. These are the things that make us united.

In these times of confusion and fear, it is important that we reach out our hands and help people before them having to ask us, to comfort someone before them having to turn to us, and befriend someone before them having to cry to us.

Reflections: Revive Your Heart, Nou’man Ali Khan

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Especially Merciful.

السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you.


Before starting with this book, I expected it to be very similar to ‘Reclaim Your Heart’ by Sr Yasmin Mogahed with some academic touch to it. You could say they are quite similar, in the sense that the main element of both books tackle the issue of us, as individuals, changing ourselves first and foremost instead of always expecting other people to fulfil their roles and responsibilities. However, they are also quite different, but that’s now what I wish to talk about right now.

They say when you love someone or something, you start to be influenced by them. Your speech, actions, your mindset even changes. We see this in the way that Ustadh Nou’man gives naseeha (advice) based on the profound lessons he learns whilst studying the Book of Allah.

He begins by dealing with issues of the heart. He delves into the first issue we all need to reflect on an change: asking Allah for help. With insights into the life of Musa alayhissalam and other examples from the Qur’an and Seerah, Ustadh takes us through a journey of how we can make our du’as meaningful and life changing. After reflecting on it, I really appreciated the next chapter of the book. In going through how we can build a strong Muslim community, Ustadh goes back to the matters of the heart. Personal aspects. What are these? Taking criticisms, making assumptions, and also the responsibility of being leaders. Without a sound, focused heart and mind, we cannot build that community that we are all aspiring for. Many examples and stories are given in encouraging us to take heed from generations of the past and apply them into our lives. Ustadh makes you have a different outlook on everything, to be more positive and optimistic for others and towards others, to have taqwa of Allah in doing so, so that we don’t become from amongst those who cause more divisions because of a few differences.

The next step: our financial dealings. Usually when we listen to the seerah or read it, we don’t usually think about the significance of the order of events that occurred. SubhanAllah, the first thing that the Muslims were taking care of as soon as they settled in Madinah was their financial investments, and doing so without being unfair or unjust. Allah commands the believers to be honest and open with one another and to show clarity when trading. Ustadh highlights different scenarios and tells us that if we aren’t fair in our finances, the way we buy, sell and manage, then there will be more corruption in other aspects of our lives and other peoples’ lives as a result of it.

In speaking about contemporary issues, Ustadh Nou’man discusses issues based on the current social climate. They are: discrimination against daughters, Islamophobia and our roles and responsibilities as Muslims, and music. After addressing these topics, he talks about the main topic of the book: Putting life in perspective.

Throughout the Qur’an, Allah reminds us that this dunya is nothing, absolutely nothing in comparison to what Allah has in store for us in the akhirah. So why should we, especially as believers in the akhirah, put any value to the dunya when it will end anyway? From my understanding, the main message being portrayed here is found in Surah Al-Asr, that when it comes to the concept of time, mankind suffers a loss unless we are accumulating good deeds. A believer no longer has ‘free time’, because every minute, every second should be used to invest for the akhirah that we are moving towards. The fact that we believe in returning to Allah should make us realise that none of our actions are meaningless. They will all come to show in our book of deeds – things we remember saying and doing, and things we have forgotten too. Nothing will escape us on that day and Allah will hold us to account for every single thing. So, after knowing all this, do we really want to hold grudges against one another and not move on? When we compare all that we go through in this world to what will come in the hereafter, it literally weighs nothing in our minds, and that’s how it should be.

In his final naseeha, he talks about the life in this world being so short. There are people who have been spending thousands of years in the graves, so what is the time that we have in this world compared to the time we will have 6 feet under the ground, compared to the eternal hereafter?

I highly recommend that you have a read of the book. I couldn’t possibly summarise over 200 pages of Ustadh’s hard work, nor can I ever do justice to it. I promise you, you will develop a greater appreciation for the Qur’an, as all he refers to are the words of Allah! There’s so much to learn, and I pray that we benefit and implement even one thing to make our lives in this world and the hereafter a success, not regret.


معالسلامة
May you be accompanied by safety/peace.