What It Is To Write

Thought Catalog


Writing is an individual event. One must have the motivation and tenacity to sit down in front of their laptop consistently and face the dreaded blank screen. Hoping the words your fingertips pound out will actually form something comprehensible. And if they form something comprehensible, will it actually be something that someone will want to read? And if it’s something someone will want to read, will what you attempt to convey be what they perceive? These are the questions that a writer asks himself when he sits down to write whatever piece he is working on.

Like any art, one must be willing to dredge through the bitter loneliness. No one sees your struggle to churn out that silly anecdote, philosophical rant, or witty observation. No one cares if it took you thirty minutes or six hours to piece together those 1800 words they read in three minutes. No…

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The Bannister/Barrister/Barista

Today I witnessed a girl stop to pick up an empty Starbucks cup from the floor and walk towards the rubbish bin to throw it away. At least, that’s what  I thought she was going to do.

Instead, not only did she walk past the rubbish bin, she actually slowed down to check what was in it, as though she was looking for something.

She sat down in the row in front of me and calmly placed the cup on the table. Then she proceeded to check her face in her phone screen’s reflection (perhaps she didn’t realise it had a front-facing camera) and for no apparent reason, she started to methodically ruffle her hair (this took about 5 minutes and didn’t make any difference at all to her physical appearance).

Then, she took a marker out of her giant handbag and wrote what is presumably her name on the Starbucks cup. She made sure to add lots of hearts (which looked more like blobs than anything).

Then, as though posing with a celebrity, she took a deep breath, held the cup up next to her face, made absolutely sure the writing was visible, and took a picture of herself.

She then took her laptop out and connected the phone to it. She downloaded the picture to her laptop and (surprise surprise), opened up Facebook in her browser.

She posted the picture with the Starbucks cup and wrote something about how “dat hotttt barrister” (she actually spelled it out loud), who just happened to have a massive crush on her, got her name wrong (even though she wrote it correctly on the cup) and how it was so hilarious because she has the same name as this “bannister” (Yes, she spelled it out loud. Again. And managed to get it wrong. Again).

Apparently she thinks she got served coffee by a talking handrail which works at the local Starbucks in its free time when it’s not too busy practicing law or being permanently attached to a staircase.

I’m guessing she has a very short memory span because  she refreshed her Facebook feed, saw her post pop up, and genuinely believed what she wrote was true.

How do I know this, you ask? Because she saw the post, liked it, and (I kid you not) immediately took a sip from the empty cup. She spent the rest of the lecture refreshing the page to check for likes and comments.

Meanwhile, as you can probably imagine, I spent the rest of the lecture thinking of good unisex names for a bannister and silently lamenting the death of the English language.

I’m Not An Introvert And I’m Not An Extrovert, Either (And Neither Are You)

An interesting take on the Introversion vs. Extroversion issue

Thought Catalog

Unless you’ve been entirely absent from the Internet for the past year or so, you’ve no doubt noticed that we’re pretty obsessed with the idea of introverts and extroverts lately. For quite some time, there’s been a deluge of listicles rattling off the differences between introverts and extroverts and telling us which of our favorite celebrities fall into each category.

The trend is accompanied by what you might call an introverts’ rights movement. Books expose the ways our society may be biased towards traits and qualities associated with extroversion. Introverts are being encouraged to be proud of their personalities and recognize the unique role they have to play, rather than feel they must change in order to succeed.

Despite all this attention, many people still have a skewed idea of what we mean when we say someone is an introvert or an extrovert. This is nothing new, but for the…

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25 Things To Do Instead Of Worrying

Number 15 🙂

Thought Catalog

We all tend to worry about things we can’t control—could be school, work, a friend, a relationship. We all have those days where we get stressed and pessimistic and so whatever it is today that’s bogging you down, here’s a list of things to do that are way better than worrying! Next time you find yourself getting worked up, pick one of these activities to focus on instead.

1. Call and catch up with your parents. There is no better feeling when you are down or need a distraction than hearing your mom or dad’s voice on the other line reassuring you.

2. Watch your favorite movie. Or watch the movie you’ve been meaning to see but have been putting off for no apparent reason. Get really spirited and make some popcorn too.

3. Go for a run or a walk. Put your ear buds in and jam out to…

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Alhamdulillah – The Power Of Praise

* Original post taken from The Muslim Voice Tumblr *

Alhamdulillah. So simple and beautiful. We are taught to say it from a very early age. We are taught it means “Praise Be To Allah”. We are taught to say it during both good times and bad times. We are taught to say it after sneezing. We are taught to be grateful. We all know this.

And yet, how did we forget? How did it lose its meaning? It is no longer sincere. It has become an empty phrase we automatically utter when something good happens. We have forgotten. SO LET’S REMEMBER.

Let’s start with the basics. What does it mean? 

Linguistically, Hamd refers to a person’s good atribute, an attribute so good, it is the very best. It is perfect. Hamdu is the sincerest form of praise and comes from the heart. It is praise the the Mahmood (the person being praised) actually deserves. It implies gratitude, humility, love, respect, honour etc.

When we add Al in front of it, the meaning changes. The word is now Alhamdu. It is talking about every praise possible. Every single perfection deserving of praise. Everything. At all times. Eternally. Always.

When we add the li in front of a word, it means ‘for’. lillah is adding li to Allah and literally translates as ‘For Allah’. When we combine the two phrases, we get Alhamdulillah. All praise is entirely for Allah (SWT). He alone is worthy and deserving of Hamd.

So Powerful

Alhamdulillah, I see you’ve read this far. And you see what I did there. Good job. So now, we’ve successfully understood what the phrase says. But that’s just the literal translation of it. What does it truly mean to say Alhamdulillah?

“And remember when your Lord proclaimed, “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you in favour. But if you deny indeed, my punishment is severe.”
[Quran: Chapter 14, Verse 7]

Alhamdulillah is the perfect phrase for expressing our sincerest praise. It is a means to constantly remember Allah (SWT). It is a phrase which can be used anywhere, at any time. You wake up, Alhamdulillah. You are about to start eating, Alhamdulillah. You’re alive and well, Alhamdulillah. 

There are so many blessings, you could spend your entire life saying Alhamdulillah and it will never be enough. It is the sincerity and true gratitude that is important. It’s not just about saying the phrase. You need to mean it from the heart.

Alhamdulillah is a way of changing your character. It’s a life philosophy. Be grateful for what you have, whether it’s good or bad. If it’s good, Alhamdulillah. If it’s bad, realise that there are millions of ways in which it could be worse and then consider yourself lucky. Alhamdulillah.

Anas bin Malik reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

Allah is Pleased with His slave who says, ‘Alhumdulillah’ when he takes a morsel of food and drinks a draught of water.    [Sahih Muslim]

Alhamdulillah Is Itself Perfect

We have so much to be grateful for and this is the perfect phrase. It is a gift to mankind. It helps change your entire mindset and personality. It teaches us to be patient. Everything is a blessing in disguise.

Alhamdulillah, you’ve almost finished reading this now. Alhamdulillah is a beautiful phrase. It rolls off the tongue with such ease. It’s hard to say it without smiling. It’s the feel-good phrase. Be optimistic. Be happy. And above all, be grateful. Alhamdulillah Always.

I’ll end it with my own modified version of Neil Armstrong’s famous quote:

Alhamdulillah: One small phrase for a man. One giant blessing for mankind. 

– Zaeem Siddiqui

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