I have no idea why you were unjustly stopped and questioned, but I am sure it has absolutely nothing to do with that press conference you called for the international media, in which you described the alleged lead-executioner of the latest bogeymen of the West as (formerly) a really lovely chap.

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To walk alone

I get hypertension whenever I wander onto the news feeds of our starlets of social media. That’s probably because, reading their shares and forwards, I soon conclude that I can only be a turncoat, so completely cut off from this thing we call community. But the truth of the matter is that I have never been, and have never been allowed to be, a part of that community.

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The light of faith

Consider this: I may have been inspired and guided to the light of faith by the way you carried yourself: by a smile, the appearance of modesty, the appearance of humility, a kindness imagined.

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Grains of sand

Daft as it may seem, it has taken me four decades to realise that there are over seven billion people on earth, and most people we come into contact with in our lives we will never encounter ever again. If you’re lucky enough to live in a little village, then you may be surrounded by friends for life. But for the rest of us? There is our family and the smattering of others we occasionally entertain. In some ways, the Internet has made our world smaller; some have that reach to be known to all. But the rest of us: we’re just grains of sand, blown by the wind.

Get over yourself

I still don’t understand why the pious Hanafi insists on bashing Muslims who hold positions wholly consistent with those of Abu Hanifa, by appealing to the opinions of the most rigorous contemporary Hanbali scholar any of us know.

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Popularity stifles creativity

First, there’s the perpetual pinging from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the compulsive gaze which cannot help glancing back, just in case it is missing something.

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Compulsive liker

Sebastian just cannot stop himself liking my posts without even reading them. Within three seconds of me hitting the publish button, he will be there, affixing his face to the bottom of my latest post, like a rubber stamp.

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Closing the door

It’s true. I’ve been time-travelling again, prising open doors that were never properly closed. Now an inner voice rebukes me.

Remember O soul, it says, the world is the realm of tests and trials. Those tests are finished. If you failed them, no matter: try to pass whatever is to come. Verily with hardship comes ease. Verily with hardship, another ease.

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On apologies

It is possible, of course, that I am simply losing my mind. Perhaps it is a consequence of experiencing Groundhog Day over and over through the pandemic. Or perhaps it is a whisperer whispering into my heart.

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Lowering the gaze

I confess that, with the exception of my wife, I don’t really know how to behave around women—and practising Muslim women, in particular. I have a long history of putting my foot in it, with that eternally awkward and self-conscious behaviour of mine.

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Call them back

How many have been driven away from the truth by sectarianism? May the One guide those same souls back to the truth once they have overcome their traumas or whatever it is that has taken them away.

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The challenges of our time

Our activist friends this morning are sharing Yasir Qadir’s talk at Cambridge Central Mosque, lauding his insightful observations on the clash of ideas taking place in western civilisation. Actually, I was already aware of the talk, for I had seen it appear in my YouTube subscriptions at the weekend, but I passed over it, for I knew it would only wind me up. In that respect, it did not disappoint.

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So Folio seems to be one of the last surviving Muslamic layman’s blogs of the interwebs, somehow surviving the advent of social media. That does not mean it has any readers (7 readers a week on average, so not quite Dead Parrot sketch, but close), but yes, it remains active, as I witter away, mostly to myself. I think 2008 was the height of the Muslamic blogosphere. Some brave souls lasted another five years, before hosting their send-off tour in 2013. One or two lasted until 2016.

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I don’t trust myself, even less others. I never trust my own motives, always interrogating myself as to what lies behind my intentions. I am a man. I know both the darkness and the light within. I know that I could do great evil if I let my guard down. I know I could do great good, but with ulterior motives if I wanted to.

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Don’t be blind to what is obvious: to what is right in front of you. There you will find your blessings. Not out there, amongst the unknown and hidden. Your sustenance has been decreed for you. Your true companions too. All others are just passersby, soon to be forgotten. Do not seek to be known. Be content with those that know you. Your world is standing right before you, waiting for you to take notice. Be content and grateful for what you have.

Pure prejudice

What if I beat myself up for twenty years, thinking that the way you treated me was because of something I had done, when it was nothing like that at all? What if your contempt for me was founded not in my behaviour, but on a sectarianism I had never considered? Is it my fault that those who took me under their wing in those early days were Salafis? Is that all it was? That you considered me a Wahabi and therefore a heretic before I had even got started?

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The pleasure of writing

These last weeks, I have returned to a novel I first started writing in 2007. I have enjoyed reacquainting myself with the characters. The last time I had touched this manuscript was late June 2011, and it looks like only for about fifteen minutes. Wow, a decade ago. Well, we have been busy in that time.

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The cycle of life

The tides of time. How the years pass us by. Some of those I knew at university have already seen their own children graduate. Some then were already married and had started a family when we were in our first year of studies; those children now all grown up, with children of their own. Some I once knew are now grandparents.

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Between us

It’s funny. I didn’t feel so all alone until I walked out amongst the people.

Until then, when I was truly alone, I was doing fine.

But now these heavy blues. I wish I had been content with my solitude.

Just me and my Lord.