Linguistics Fanatic!

When I first joined King Edward’s School (KES), I had to learn two new languages – French and Latin. These languages were compulsory for everyone. I’m a linguistics fanatic, so I’ve been enjoying learning both French and Latin for the past two years.

This academic year (my third year in KES), we have the choice to pick an additional language to learn aside from French and Latin. We had a choice between German, Spanish, and Ancient Greek. Being a lover of anything to do with languages, I was torn between which one to choose. If it was up to me, I would have taken all of them! But my French teacher told me that since I was already learning French, modern languages like Spanish and German would be a bit too easy for me, and advised that I challenged myself.

So here I am, taking Ancient Greek! As expected, only a small percentage opted for Ancient Greek, and the rest picked modern languages. Not many chose Ancient Greek because learning it means having to get to grips with a whole new alphabet, plus a difficult grammar. But I’m glad to be part of that small percentage who have the opportunity to learn such a challenging language.

We’ve had a few lessons, and we’ve been mostly focussing on how the Greek alphabet works. But, I’ve already fallen in love with the language, and these first few lessons have been enough to tell me that I’ll enjoy it!

“Hypiaine”,

Omar Mukhtar

p/s: That’s Ancient Greek for “Goodbye”!

My First UM Credit!

Alhamdulillah, I got my very first credit of the new academic year! This credit will build up towards my entry into the Liber Aureus, or in simple English, the Golden Book!

This is the art piece that I was given a credit for. Art is one of the two creative subjects that I chose, and this year, we’re starting with a portrait project. Our first task was to draw out a piece from a collection called ‘Falling’ by @claralieu. The series is a symbolisation of her mental health issues, and we’re taking the same approach as her by carefully studying the facial expressions and features of people.

We used two different media here for two very different effects: the left is done in graphite pencil, and the right is in watercolour pencil. This project is a very interesting one, and I’m looking forward to progress with this year’s work!

24 more credits to go,

Omar Mukhtar

My Post-Lockdown Hair!

After my first haircut in 6 months, behold…my new Post-Lockdown Hair!

I know, I know, sorry to disappoint all of you who pleaded me not to cut my hair. But I was kind of in need of a fresh new look, especially after lockdown. So finally, I decided to pay a visit to my barber’s after half a year!

My hairstyle wasn’t the only thing that changed, though. I’ve moved up one year, which means that now I’m in Year 9, the third year of secondary school – or as we call it at KES, the Upper Middles. By the way, here in the UK, we start our academic year in September, not January.

Of course, with the new Corona-Land that we’re now living in, this school year is quite different. With everyone trying their best to limit the spread of any infection, a lot has changed with all the new rules and regulations in place. It’s now compulsory to wear face masks whenever we’re moving around school, we can only stay in our own year group bubbles, and there’s a new one-way system in place for all the school corridors, which means getting from lesson to lesson takes longer than usual. 

But, both teachers and students are doing everything we can to make school a safe place for all of us. And honestly, being able to have face-to-face classes, despite all these restrictions, is much better than having to attend online school!

Fresh New Me,

Omar Mukhtar

#thepawsomelion

#MyPostLockdownHair

My Epic Lockdown Hair!

Surprise…I present to you my epic Lockdown hairstyle!

I guess all of you must have noticed that I haven’t had a haircut since the lockdown started way back in March. Oh boy, you can’t imagine how much I’ve been missing my barber during the lockdown. I was so looking forward to chop off this extra ‘epic’ hair of mine.

However, when the lockdown eased, I kind of had a change of mind. I didn’t want to take any chances with all that was still going on. Not only could I catch Covid-19 myself, but I could also be a carrier, and since Mrs Mom is one of the people at high risk, I myself didn’t want to take that risk of possibly bringing the virus back home. So, here’s the result of 6 months of my PAWSOME self with zero haircuts!

My original plan was to have a haircut before school started, but again, I had a change of mind. I decided to surprise my teachers and friends at school. So on the first day back to school, Thursday 3rd September, a day after my 14th birthday, I marched back to school eager to see the reactions from my classmates. As soon as I stepped into the classroom, all heads turned, staring at me. They couldn’t recognise me, not even one of them. With my face hidden behind the mask, plus my ‘epic’ hairstyle, they all thought that I was the new boy in school! It was only when I removed the mask that they realised it was me!

In a way, I’m actually glad that I put my haircut on hold, because I managed to see the look on my friends’ and teachers’ faces – their reaction was totally priceless – bless them! However, now it’s time to bid adieu to my Lockdown Hairstyle, and make way for a long-due haircut!

Rest In Peace Lockdown Hair,

Omar Mukhtar

14 Beautiful Years…

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was once asked by a man, “Who is most deserving of my good company?”. The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man asked, “Who is next?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man asked further, “Who is next?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man asked for the fourth time, “Who is next?” The Prophet replied, “Your father.”

This shows how great the status of mothers is in Islam. And of course, we should be so grateful to our mothers because of all the hardships they’ve faced, carrying us in their womb for months, going through pain to give birth to us, fighting death to bring us into this world, not to mention all the hard work they put in to raise us.

However, my story is a little bit different. It wasn’t just my mother taking on all the responsibilities and work. I am truly blessed that I don’t just have a father who we greet at the front door every time he comes home from work, speaks a few words throughout the day, and is invisible anytime else. No, Mr Dad shares the same responsibilities as Mrs Mom, and has always played a big role in the house – cooking, cleaning, bathing us and caring for all of us. In fact, not only has he been an amazing father, but when Mrs Mom was ill, he filled in the role of a mother as well, which he’s been doing for the past 7 years.

For as long as I can remember, he has treated Mrs Mom like a queen and me, Fatimah and Ali like princes and princesses! So I pray to Allah that He treats Mr Dad just like a king, and that he is rewarded for all the care he has given his family – his immeasurable love would be impossible to repay! And of course, I pray that Mrs Mom is showered with blessings for everything she has done for us. Mrs Mom always says that she feels guilty that Mr Dad has had to do more than she does. But to me, that guilt is unnecessary, because even though she has been ill, she has done more than enough, not just for me, but for all of us!

Today, I’m officially 14 years old. For me, birthdays aren’t a day to celebrate yourself or claim gifts from your parents. It’s a day to give thanks to Allah for the life He has blessed us with, and above all, to celebrate our parents. So today, I’m not asking for anything for myself. But I want to thank Allah for blessing me with 14 beautiful years – Alhamdulillah! I thank Him for giving me two irreplaceable parents, who not only treat me as a son, but as a friend too. And I pray that He gifts both of them many more happy, healthy years of life…Aameen!

Happy birthday to me,

Omar Mukhtar

The Grieving Butterfly

Grief. It’s not something that goes away. But it is one of the many things in life that changes. Grief is like a butterfly, starting out from a little caterpillar and morphing into a butterfly. No matter the form, the grief is there, and it is valid, whether you are still a caterpillar or already a butterfly…

Spinning my cocoon,

Omar Mukhtar

It’s Okay To Grieve

Yesterday, I wrote about #TheLanguageOfGrief. For those who’ve been following us, you’ll know that we’ve been writing about grief to raise awareness for more than a year now. In response to yesterday’s post, there were comments saying how grieving is ungrateful or harmful & how the right thing to do is to pray & make du’a. Before you read any further, remember that this is not an attempt to lash out at these comments or start an argument with anyone. It’s to create a better understanding of grief.

Think of it this way: if you’re ill, besides praying, you go to the doctor for treatment, not wait for it to go away. The same thing applies to grief. Grief is when you acknowledge your feelings of sadness. It doesn’t mean rejecting Allah’s decree. After all, as Muslims, it’s our obligation to pray 5 times a day & make du’a to Allah, regardless of whether we’re experiencing loss or not. Plus, a single post doesn’t prove that all we’ve been doing for the past year is be miserable. Trust me, there’s not a day that goes by when we don’t pray & make du’a for our beloved Mamajee.

Take the story of the Prophet Ya’qub (PBUH) as an example. When he was separated from his son, Prophet Yusuf (PBUH), he cried until he turned blind! This story isn’t saying that we should grieve until we cause harm to ourselves, pulling our hair out, wailing until we can’t speak anymore. But what it’s saying is that grieving is ok. If Allah’s most beloved messenger wept over the loss of their loved ones, it justifies that there is nothing wrong with grieving. Hence the idea of seeing grieving as ungrateful for what Allah has planned, or a sign of a weak Iman is totally irrelevant. If anything, it’s painting a picture of Islam as merciless and cold, when actually Allah is The Most Merciful – the complete opposite!

Sharing is healthy,

Omar Mukhtar

#thepawsomelion

#GriefAwareness

The Language of Grief…

People say that the language of the heart is love. But for me, the real language of the heart is grief. It’s proof of our love. Our love for the loved ones we have lost. Our love for the ones we would give anything to bring back. The tears we shed, the silence we hold, the longing we feel – all that does not come from our heads. It comes from our hearts. Grieving is a way of our hearts speaking out. The best thing to do? Don’t silence the language of grief. Learn to speak it.

Speaking from the heart,

Omar Mukhtar

#thepawsomelion

#griefawareness

Leaving 1441…Embracing 1442!

Today is the 1st of Muharram, which is not only the beginning of the Islamic New Year, but also marks that fateful Hijrah our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made from Mecca to Medina, fleeing persecution and establishing the Muslim community more than 1000 years ago. He made his Hijrah to escape evil and find a new beginning, as commanded by Allah.

This Islamic New Year, we should honour the date by following in the Prophet’s footsteps. Today is the turning of a new leaf. The opening of a new book. Yes, this Islamic New Year brings to us a set of blank pages with which we are free to do what we want. And no, not just figurative pages – these are REAL pages we have. The books that the angels have been writing about our deeds in all last year have been sent up to Allah with the arrival of the new year.

Now, we each have an empty book, waiting to be filled with our deeds. So let us do something worthwhile with our first page! This is not just a transition from one year to another. This is an opportunity to carry out our own Hijrah. In fact, this year will witness our family’s very own Hijrah – InshaAllah.

I pray that each of our Hijrah is as fruitful as the Hijrah our beloved Prophet (PBUH) carried out, the Hijrah that marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. And I pray that this Islamic year is the year that Allah gives us strength to carry out our Hijrah…Aameen!

Salaam Maal Hijrah,

Omar Mukhtar

#thepawsomelion

1 Muharram 1442 AH

5 Years Of Sparking Joy!

This is my brother, Ali Omar Mukhlis. He’s brought light and happiness into our lives for so long…and today marks 5 years since he was brought into this world and began showering us with joy!

Ali is more than just a brother: he is an amazing son that surprised Mrs Mom and Mr Dad – their very own #SurpriseNumber3! He’s a best friend that’s always fun to be around – even the rainiest days seem like summer with him. His smile, his laugh, and his joking personality all make him a lovely lil’ guy, but what’s most important is that underneath that cheekiness is a kind, caring heart that loves and keeps all of his family and friends close. In his own way, Ali manages to love us and make us the happiest we can be. And as he grows, his love only gets bigger…as well as his hugs!

Today, this fun-loving, family-minded, part-time artist and full-time foodie officially turns five years old! In truth, it feels much longer than that – the joy-filled five years I’ve spent with Ali, from the moment I walked into that hospital room to greet my newborn baby brother, all the way up until now, has seemed like an eternity (and a very well-spent one at that). Me and Fatimah are so lucky to have him as our brother, and there’s no denying how great a son he has been to Mrs Mom and Mr Dad!

For his 5th birthday, I pray that Allah blesses Ali with all the good things He has to offer, and rewards him for the happiness he has given us by showering him with a hundred times the amount of joy he has given! I pray that these five years he has spent with us will only be the first few of many, and that Allah guides him on the right path and he continues to spread joy.

Happy 5th Birthday, Ali! Never stop making people happy…

Your Lalajee,

Omar Mukhtar

2nd July 2020