As-salaam ‘alaykum! 🙂

Came back from IJ a while ago, prayed, had some pizza and now sitting at my desk to write this blog which I have been contemplating for quite a while! During my journey home (one and a half hours), I was thinking about what to write, and how to articulate my experiences over the past few weeks in this blog. It’s going to be a mish-mash of many thoughts and ideas! Here goes! Bismillah.

The past couple of weeks have been quite challenging for me, and I have learnt a lot about myself (and been reminded about how much I have to improve!). I have been quite unlike my usual self at times, but situations change people and I can only pray that whatever I change into is a better version of me, in’sha’Allah. A good friend very recently told me, that we all go through moments where the pressures of life get to us, and we also need people to fall back on for comfort during the difficult times. Even the best of us have our bad days and need support from those who are closest to us.

We had our final lesson with Shaykh Ahmed Saad at IJ on Friday 8th May 2015. Such a blessed experience to study Balagha, Hadith and Tafseer with the Shaykh! All things come to an end, and this wonderful experience was no exception. I pray that we are able to benefit from the Shaykh more in the future in’sha’Allah! We ended the lesson on such a beautiful note. Everyone read a Fatiha and the Shaykh told us the blessing of being able to learn Arabic and then recited a beautiful Du’a. Alhamdulillah! The Shaykh told us that when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born, one of the miracles of his birth (peace be upon him) was that the animals were able to speak in Arabic, and everyone was congratulating each other. This shows that being able to speak Arabic is a huge blessing, as it was an ability which was given at a time of immense joy, the birth of the final Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).

The following week was a much-needed study break from IJ! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to study as much as I had initially hoped! Khayr, Alhamdulillah. I finally got some new skincare products from Hadiya’s Essence, let’s see how they work out iA 🙂 The week after the break, we were going to be starting our poetry module! Alhamdulillah, I had been waiting for this module for a very long time! This was definitely worth the wait, I am enjoying the poetry module very much, as I am familiar with many of the qasaid we are covering, and its great to finally know the meaning behind what you sing and hear in gatherings where these poems are recited! We have recently had a new teacher for poetry, Alhamdulillah over the course we have had so many teachers and it is a great blessing to be able to benefit from as many teachers as possible!

Over the last weekend, I went to buy some box files and sorted out all of my Arabic notes and resources in order. Took ages but in’sha’Allah it will make going over everything easier in the future 🙂 Going through all the work brought back so many memories! We have to do a project/research for next Friday where we will present our 250 words to the class (our last lesson at the IJ Gap Year!). I think I would like to do a summary (poem?!) of my Arabic journey so far…

Speaking of PRESENTING… I’ve been somewhat struggling with my confidence again! Ustadh gave some valuable advice today. Sometimes, all you need is a bit of a pep talk. The countless times people have said to me “I would never have known that you were shy/scared/etc…”… It makes me wonder! Maybe I’m letting my fears take over, when all I need to do is be strong and confident with myself. If others can see a confident Sana, then why can’t I? Ustadh asked me to define what confidence is. I think confidence is when you don’t show your fears to others and are able to do something without the fear of failure, being certain in your abilities. I will only get better with practice, I will only go through that which Allah has planned and has made me capable of going through, and I will only let myself down in the future if I let my fears take over now. It is so easy to say what I need to do, but will take a LOT of practice. Alhamdulillah I have seen myself improving as I have grown up, and in’sha’Allah I will continue to grow as a person. 🙂

This Arabic Gap Year is very quickly coming to an end… The feeling is bittersweet. Sad that the experience is coming to an end, that I won’t be travelling to class and listening to Arabic every day, that I won’t be seeing my friends daily and that I won’t be in such close proximity of all my teachers all the time. However, it is also a very happy moment! Completing the intense Ibn Jabal Gap Year programme in its first year, going through many Arabic texts, reading, listening, speaking and writing in Arabic! In’sha’Allah it is only the beginning of a fantastic Arabic journey, forever improving!

Until next time iA!


As-salaam ‘alaykum! 🙂

Alhamdulillah I finally found a bit of time to write this blog which I have wanted to write for so long! It’s the 3rd May 2015 ALREADY! Half a year has almost gone by, and Ramadan and summer are fast approaching!

They say that time heals all wounds, however, I don’t agree with that statement. I miss my mother even more than before. As I journey throughout life, I can hear her voice, guiding me in the decisions I have to make daily. There is no bigger heartache than the heartache of losing your mother, I have no doubts. Quite recently I attended the janaza of the mother of a friend, and it brought back memories of when I attended the janaza of my own mother. Janaza. My mother. My own mother. It never sinks in.

I am content in knowing that my mother was a great woman, and she is missed by so many. We sometimes have guests over, and they all comment on how I look exactly like my mother. That is the biggest compliment. Perhaps they wonder why I have a smile on my face when they have come to our house to express their condolences? The pain never goes away, however it would be selfish of me to put my feelings above all of this. My mother told me not to cry, and instead pray for her. She had a blessed ending, Alhamdulillah. I have no doubts that Allah loves her very much, and that she is in the best place. Ameen. I am currently writing and compiling memories, thoughts, dreams and everything else I can think of, regarding my beloved mother. It will also contain details on the last few days before she returned to Allah, and the days which followed too. I think this would be a great way to remember all the great things she accomplished and taught me. Maybe something to pass onto my children (In’sha’Allah), and also to describe to my future spouse (In’sha’Allah) the great woman that my mother was. My mother left behind a great legacy, and I make Dua that I am able to make her, my father, the Messenger of Allah, and of course Allah, pleased with me.

I was recently looking at my bookshelf and was drawn to ‘Doorkeeper of the Heart; Versions of Rabi’a’. I came across this quote which I loved.

“I am the murderer of joy,” said the Angel of Death, “I am the widower of wives, the orphaner of children” –

“Why always run yourself down?” said Rabi’a – “Why not say instead: ‘I am he who brings friend and Friend together’?”

My mother has returned to Allah, she has returned home, where we will all eventually end up. May Allah be pleased with her, and may Allah be pleased with us all, forgive us for all of our sins which we have committed knowingly and unknowingly, and may Allah grant us all a good ending. Ameen.

Something really touched my heart earlier this week. My amazing friend Saba and I were discussing this on the train the other day. Our Arabic journeys have come so far, Alhamdulillah. Each and every student in the class.

It’s been a struggle, I feel so incompetent and quite stupid most days, but when I compare what I know now to what I knew before I started (absolutely no Arabic), it really is amazing, Alhamdulillah! From struggling to remember the first few drills, getting really bad marks in the translation exercises, hardly getting the gist of our first Tafsir class with Shaykh Ahmad Saad, to understanding pretty much the entire lesson now. It really is such an accomplishment, Alhamdulillah! It makes me quite sad to know that my Arabic journey with the Ibn Jabal Gap Year is coming to an end. In’sha’Allah my Arabic journey will continue, and I will carry on learning and practicing, however, going into the building every day and sitting in my seat and being with my classmates… I am going to miss it soooooo much! It is sometimes quite demotivating that I can’t speak in Arabic like everyone else, but it is important to remember that we are all on our individual Arabic journeys, and Allah has put me in this place for a reason, and I should be very grateful 🙂 Yesterday I was out shopping with some aunts and I saw someone who was in my class but didn’t continue the course, for whatever reason, Allah knows best. It made me reflect on how fortunate I am to have this chance of a lifetime. To study with such amazing teachers and of course Shaykh Ahmed Saad! It feels surreal, Alhamdulillah I am SO glad my mother suggested I take a gap year after university. 🙂 She was so proud of me for wanting to learn this blessed language, and Alhamdulillah this is a great motivator for when I feel like I can’t do it. I am going to miss the course so much, and in’sha’Allah I would like to keep in touch with my teachers and classmates!

We have one more week with Shaykh Ahmed Saad teaching us Tafseer, and then we will have a short break, and then continue with poetry and a bit of media with other teachers in’sha’Allah. I am going to miss Shaykh Ahmed Saad teaching us every day. It has been such a blessing to have the Shaykh, I just can’t describe. In our last lesson, the Shaykh mentioned that he had been very unwell in the morning and had contacted Ustaadh Salman, saying that he would not be able to teach us that day. Ustaadh Salman then asked the Shaykh to describe to him the progress of the class, to which the Shaykh mentioned every single person in the class and how they have improved (قوتها for me :D). The Shaykh then said that he felt the same attachment to our class as he did to his regular classes in Singapore. The Shaykh then informed Ustaadh Salman that he would come and teach us that day. SubhanAllah, this really touched my heart. During the lesson, we had no idea that the Shaykh was feeling unwell, and he continued the lesson with excitement and love. The Shaykh also brought in a Quran which was over 100 years old, which had been restored etc, and allowed us all to have a look. The Shaykh also showed us images on his phone of calligraphy which he had done the night before. It was absolutely beautiful, may Allah bless the Shaykh abundantly in this life and the next.

I am now going to have dinner, pray and then prepare the text for tomorrow’s lesson, in’sha’Allah. Please keep us in your blessed Duas!

Lots of updates!

As-salaam ‘alaykum! Have quite a few things to write about and finally got a few mins to spare, so I can post Alhamdulillah!

Had some interesting journeys lately. On Wednesday, en route IJ, I was doing some translating on the train and a native Arab sitting next to me smiled and decided to ask me questions in Arabic about where I study and how long I’ve been studying and where I am from etc! It was a really cool experience! I was scared at first but Alhamdulillah I am so grateful that I understood what he said!! He couldn’t speak a word of English, and I was also able to somewhat answer his questions 🙂 It’s just so amazing that I can’t describe… I started this course without any Arabic experience apart from reading the Quran. I wasn’t able to write anything except for my name, and I could not speak any words of Arabic apart from the well-known Islamic terms like Salaam Alaykum. So grateful Alhamdulillah. Duas for my teachers 🙂

The lesson on Wednesday was on the story اغفرلي يا ربي and we all had to memorise a section and present it to the class. I was allocated paragraph 2… Not bad, and I summarised it pretty well in my own words, and I also memorised it quite well too… However, as soon as the class started and it was my turn… I just started shaking and couldn’t utter a single word 🙁 I’m not even scared of my classmates, its just this silly fear of reading and presenting which is holding me back so much! I see improvements in myself and then as soon as something like this happens, I lose all my confidence and am back to square one! I really pray that I can fix this, shyness is good but too much shyness is a hindrance in gaining knowledge (Shaykh Nuh has said something similar to this in Sea Without Shore). We then had a session with Ustaadh Salman, outlining the new curriculum and timetable etc. It seems very intense, but iA it will work out well and we will all learn a lot. I have learnt that I am not a critical person at all. I will just take whatever I can get from the class, and trust that the teachers know what they are doing, as they have studied this more than I have, and they know the methods. Also, if I was able to do this myself, I wouldn’t have enrolled onto the course in the first place. Whatever I gain from the classes is what I was meant to gain, nothing more and nothing less. Alhamdulillah.

On Friday, my journey home was quite interesting also. I decided to go home on the underground that day, and on the bus home, an old Pakistani woman decided to talk to me in Urdu/Punjabi/English. She called me to sit next to her and she asked me questions about my life and then told me to become a doctor LOL. She also mentioned a Pakistani poet said something like, we all grab our tasbihs and say Allāh, Allāh when we need something, but once we have what we ask for, we continue with entertainment, music, television etc. She then asked where I was going and whether my mother was here too. I told her my mother has returned to Allāh, and she kept saying “Oh my God” and asking further questions… Was quite a difficult journey from then on, to be honest…

I finally started a Duas list. I have been meaning to do this for too long!! Alhamdulillah I finally got around to it. I just think its a nice way of remembering everything and everyone I want to make Dua for and also because when we ask for something and receive it, our Duas change and I want to see how my Duas change over time. I still find that when making Dua, I ask for my mothers shifa because I’m just so used to asking for that now… May Allāh grant her Jannah and ease, Ameen.

Yesterday was the #CWAssembles conference where all the regional teams came to London (Bart’s) for Charity Week regional training, instead of having one in each region. It was lovely to see everyone, and the event was a success Alhamdulillah. I’m in the National Media and Marketing team which is really exciting! Me and Anam made loads of cupcakes and took jelly sweet boxes too! Been updating the Facebook and Twitter pages recently, its good fun 🙂 Today is the National meeting at Waterloo but I decided its best to not go because I need to do some Arabic for the test tomorrow Insha Allah.

This time next week will be an event at Hounslow Masjid with Shaykha Safia! Cannot wait for that, it’s going to be amazing iA!

Okay I think this post is long enough, time to get some Arabic done iA! Might also be worthwhile to add, feeling quite upset about something today… But iA everything will be fine because Allāh is the Master Planner.