Thoughts + things I dipped in and out of in quarantine

I’ve spent the last week isolated in my room with covid-19 (hurrah). I had my booster a few days prior so my symptoms were very mild and the isolation shorter than last Christmas Alhamdulillah. In between eating three full meals prepared by my lovely mum and sisters and wondering whether my youngest sister and primary nurse will give me an after eight or orange with my meal, teaching my mum how to use the coffee machine over FaceTime and organising my bookshelf one too many times, I watched a lot of TV and read a number of things.

TV:

I watched the entire second series of Emily in Paris and I have nothing to say really, other than I like Alfie, Gabriel became boring very quickly.

The Girl Before (BBC Iplayer) – v good!

Don’t Look Up – good but I think if I stopped watching halfway I would not have missed much!

Confessions Of A Shopaholic – an old favourite

Stepmom – good enough

Why Did We Get Married? – solid 7.5/10

Devil Wears Prada – another old favourite, I disliked Andy’s boyfriend even more.

Endless Love – 8/10

New episodes of Grey’s Anatomy ❤ I love love Greys and miss two characters very much.

Some thoughts 

  • I have too many clothes
  • I must dust my bookshelf more often
  • There is something strange and prison like, about having food served to me outside my bedroom door.
  • Everything tastes spicier than usual – either, my spice tolerance has reduced or covid this time around, gave me a heightened sense of taste
  • I thoroughly enjoyed all the virtual conversations I had during this period of isolation (I was speaking to many different people for an article)
  • I do not enjoy having coffee or tea made by anyone else (oat milk with black tea requires a heavier hand and the milk frother needs to be treated carefully)
  • I don’t think I will stick to a hair washing routine and wash after 3 or 4 days, life is too short and freshly washed hair is lovely.
  • I will be teaching my 14 year old sister some basic cooking skills. Her days of being my sous chef, peeling potatoes and simply chopping things is over.
  • Flowers and plants make everything better.

I finished listening to this brilliant podcast by the Qarawiyyin project: The Feminine Critique: there were many varied points of discussion here, I really appreciated how the speakers reiterated that the purpose of this discussion is and should be focused on becoming pious women ourselves.

I listened to the first episode of season three of my current favourite podcast: To My Sisters. I love these incredible ladies and learn so much from their episodes

Reads

I should have been reading It Ends With Us which is my current read but I found myself reading bits of different things:

I finally read the last chapter of Nabeel Al-Azami’s book: Muhammad (s): 11 Leadership Qualities that Changed the World”. I find Al-Azami’s book to be incredibly inspiring and a perfect approach to the self development genre as it is rooted completely in the seerah. I’d like to write about his book one day, learning about spiritual intelligence and emotional intelligence in his words has been transformational but for now, I need to sit with it for longer. I am so grateful for this book and pray Al-Azami’s grave is widened, his rank elevated, and that Allah is truly pleased with him for he has left a wonderful legacy. May we all leave a legacy as meaningful as his and be taken when Allah is most pleased with us.

I went back to In The Early Hours by Khurram Murad. It is a pretty small book and written concisely with so much depth and wisdom, I prefer reading this book over a long period of time and will leave you with two of many beautiful passages:

Your time is your life, and your life is your capital; it is the basis of your transactions [with God]. and the means to attain everlasting felicity, in the proximity to God the Exalted.

May Allah enable us to be among those who purify themselves for it is God who causes whomever He wills to grow in purity: and none shall be wronged by as much as a hair’s breath [al – Nisa 4:49] Were it not for God’s favour upon you and His grace, not one of you would ever have remained pure. For it is God who causes whomever He wills to grow in purity: for God is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. [al – Nur 24:21]

Wasifiri’s latest edition: The House of Wisdom, Libraries and Literatures of Islam kept me company. I’m still reading but so far, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the poetry featured and thinking about the structure of acquiring knowledge and the production of knowledge in Islamic tradition and cultures over time. 

Essays

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad: “The Multiple Horizons of British Islamic studentship” in Travelling Home 

Sh Hakim Murad makes an argument for the teaching of Islamic studies in “hybridised spaces” like CMC and Zaytuna college, the hybridity being that they engage with both western scholarship and classical Islamic scholarship. Although he rightfully critiqued the Orientalism prevalent in many Islamic studies courses in western universities, I liked the idea that Islamic studies at western universities “are a kind of Hijra within, not to faraway colleges in dar-al-Islam…”

This essay was interesting to read alongside Justin Stover’s article : There Is No Case for the Humanities. Both Stover and Sh Hakim Murad engage with the question of how useful the Humanities are the kind of graduates they produce.

It was humbling to read an academic article after a while, I thoroughly enjoyed Stover’s essay. He argues that there are, at present, no viable reasons defending ‘the case for the Humanities’ and actually: “what most humanists value about the humanities is that it gives them participation in a community in which they can share similar tastes in reading, art, food, travel, music, media, and yes, politics. We might talk about academic diversity, but the academy is a tribe, and one with relatively predictable tastes…” I liked the distinctions he made between a more transactional form of acquiring knowledge, how “the humanities provide cover for the economic engine that the contemporary university has become” as professors of the Humanities (unintentionally) produce the highest paid consultants and corporate slaves. He contrasts this with the initial purpose of the university, to: “read things and think about what they mean”. Stover relates this state of acquiring knowledge in the Humanities and the shared interests to be aligned with “a particular class”, as a fellow student of the Humanities who desires to continue and maybe, at some point, just “read things and think about what they mean” I need to think some more about this particular bit and how the interests of “a particular class” are changing as the canon and curriculum changes with the decolonise movement.

Beyond that, I’ve started to drink hot water and lemon with my breakfast daily and have left isolation. I’ve enjoyed making myself a coffee with a dusting of cinnamon. I hope you weren’t expecting anything profound and are inspired if you find yourself in isolation or, with some time to “read things and think about what they mean”.

All my love and prayers, 

Maj 

One thought on “Thoughts + things I dipped in and out of in quarantine

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  1. this was lovely to read as always, and a well-timed reminder for me that it would do me good to read more islamic literature 🙂 i’m glad to hear you’re out of isolation now, and i hope you’re all well and healthy x p.s. i deleted LinkedIn so never got to say this to you there, but your writing has inspired me to start blogging again, so i owe you a big thank you for that ❤ hope your article goes really well inshallah, and may Allah put so much barakah in it, ameen x

    Like

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