Bookish Pet Peeves

Bookish Pet Peeves

 

I have a ton of pet peeves when it comes to my books. I genuinely believe that a book is a treasure and that they should be kept in pristine condition at all times. They should be displayed, read and re-read.

 

I have listed only a few of my pet peeves here. Let me know at the end, whether you share any of my peeves or whether you think some of mine are just plain ole ridiculous!

 

  1. Dog earing pages

I understand the need to mark the page you’ve reached when you have to put a book down, but that’s why the good Lord created bookmarks! Use them!

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  1. Writing notes in books

So this really upsets me because writing on the beautiful pages of books is defacing them in my view. Yes, I understand that you’ve paid for it, but oh my gosh! Why is this not an offence?

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  1. Bending spines

I will never understand why people would bend a book backwards resulting in the spine becoming cracked. What if someone bent you backwards?

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  1. Covers torn off

A book’s cover is like its clothes! Never insult a book so much as to tear its dignity away! Don’t let the cover run away, ever.

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  1. Coffee spillage

Why, oh why! Beautiful white pages should remain beautiful and white…

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  1. Dusty pages

Books should not be kept in a place where it will just collect dust! Give it away or read it! Dusty books disappoint me. It’s like realising that someone ate the last macaroon.

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  1. Unread books

One thing I absolutely dislike is when books are just sitting on shelves, not being read. I much prefer to lend out / donate books that I’m not reading to those who would read them! I’m also a strong believer in re-reading books over and over again. Books were created to be loved, and they are loved by being read!

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What did you think of my pet peeves? I’d love to hear from you!

Love,

Radeyah ❤

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Religious Instruction Session with Students of Tabaquite Secondary School

Religious Instruction Session with Students of Tabaquite Secondary School

Date: Thursday 16th June 2016

Delivered by: Radeyah H. Ali a.k.a. R.H. Ali

Venue: Tabaquite Secondary School, Trinidad and Tobago

Occasion: Religious Instruction General Assembly

Audience: Forms 1 and 2 Students

Principal, Vice Principal, Teachers, Ancillary Staff, and students, AsalaaamuAlaaikum wa ramatalaahi wa barakatu, may the peace and blessings of Almighty God be with you all.

It brings me great joy to be with you all today. Just looking at your beautiful faces brings me back to a time when I, myself was a part of a general assembly at high school. In some ways, that time of my life seems like a lifetime ago, and in other ways it seems like just yesterday. This is how life is. One day we’re convinced that school will go on forever and the next, we’re wishing that our school days could return! I’m sure you’ve heard this countless times now, and it probably doesn’t seem like it now, but these are the days you will remember forever. You will remember the simplicity of coming to school, being taught and then being examined on what you were taught – most times anyway. I say to you – enjoy it fully.

Today I am here to talk to you a little bit about the Holy month of Ramadan and what it means for Muslims.

Do we have any students who are fasting today?

Okay, so hopefully I can shed some light on what fasting is about.

While I speak about the Holy month of Ramadan, I would be simultaneously speaking about five things that I want you to take away from my address this morning. They are:

  1. Be God conscious.
  2. Be patient.
  3. Have your own identity.
  4. Spread love not hate.
  5. Believe in yourself.

I’ll start by saying that there are five pillars of Islam and they are 1. Imaan or faith; 2. Salaat or prayer; 3. Saum or fasting; 4. Zakaat or Charity; and 5. Hajj or the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Thus, fasting is one of the pillars of Islam. We are currently in the middle of the Holy month of Ramadan in which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. God says in Surah Al-Baqra Ayaat 183, that fasting is prescribed for us as it has been prescribed for those before us so that we may become pious. Fasting is compulsory or mandatory for all Muslims who have attained the age of puberty.

During the Holy month of Ramadan, Muslims wake before dawn for suhoor where we have a light meal as breakfast before we commence the fast for the day until sunset when we break our fast.

A lot of the times people often mistake fasting in the month of Ramadan for starving themselves or a good way to finally loose some unnecessary weight – but I assure you, it is neither of those things!

So, fasting does not only mean staying away from food and drink, but it refers to abstinence from bad thoughts and actions and ensures that we remain God conscious throughout our days. This month is a training period for the entire year. It is a month where we are able and encouraged to be the best that we can be so that we will get into the habit of this behaviour so that we can carry it through the entire year.

This is where the first thing I want you all to remember comes in – be God conscious. It does not matter to me the name by which you call God. God is God. If you are constantly aware of a Higher Being, who is able to see and hear you at all times, your entire personality and demeanor changes. I like to use the metaphor of a video camera to put things into perspective. Imagine – there is a video camera recording you 24 hours of the day – how would you act? Would you act differently than you usually do? Wouldn’t you want to ensure that everything that the camera captures is good? Yes. We would ensure that our behaviour is immaculate and we are seen as the best that we can be.

Now, imagine that the person viewing the footage from that camera is God, and that He has an unlimited subscription to our lives.

You see, when we become more God conscious, and we are constantly aware that God is watching us, we become better people. We begin to do more of the right things and less and less of the bad things. We begin to clean our rooms, like our parents and guardians ask, we begin to wash the dishes after we use them, we begin to give the beggar on the street some of the little money that we have, we begin to improve our lives because God is watching us.

As Muslims, the Holy month of Ramadan increases our Imaan or faith which is directly linked to how conscious we are of God.

So being God conscious is the first thing I want you to take from today.

Basically then, the Holy month of Ramadan shapes us into the people that we want to be over the next year. It sets the pace for us to be patient, kind, and do good deeds all year through.

So you know how everyone likes to say that Christmas time is the happiest time of the year? Well for Muslims, the Holy month of Ramadan is like the happiest time of our year! It becomes enjoyable for us to continuously make ourselves better than we were the year before and open up ourselves to new and greater challenges to overcome.

I know that we all struggle a whole lot with patience or as we say in Arabic, sabr. The adage goes – patience is a virtue, right? – but honestly it’s a virtue that some of us just don’t have enough of. In Islam, we believe that patience is the key to overcoming any obstacle – our beloved Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w. / peace be unto him) was the most patient man that ever existed. In Surah Al-Anfal 8 verse 46, of the Holy Quran, God says “…be patient. For Allah is with the patient ones.”

Now, be honest, do any of you get impatient really quickly?

Yep, I see some guilty faces in the audience. It is indeed a challenge, but one that we can overcome if we really try.

The key is to remember that nothing comes to us that is not for us and that God has a plan for us all. If we accept our struggles and trust and have faith that God will see us through, we automatically have fought half of the battle. If we view every hardship and struggle as a blessing – as an opportunity to become stronger people, then we already have a positive outlook on the issue and we are then in a better place to overcome it. Thus, no hardship, or struggle can make us impatient because we know that God will see us through.

The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w. / peace be upon him) said: “How remarkable is the case of the believer! There is good for him in everything, but this is not the case for anyone except for the believer. When the believer receives any good, he is thankful to Allah, and gets a reward. And when some misfortune befalls him, he endures it patiently, for which he is (also) rewarded”.

So be patient. This is the second thing I want you to take away today.

The third thing I want you to take away, is to always have your own identity.

In this day and age it is crucial that as young adults you build your own sense of self. I urge you to never allow the media to dictate to you what to believe. In a perfect world, the media is supposed to be unbiased, but in reality, it rarely ever is. It is essential that you read as much as you can on all topics so that you can form opinions about the world that are your own. Do not be dependent on others to tell you what to believe or who you are.

You are being educated. You have the opportunity and the resources in front of you to think critically and to use the system to your advantage. Take every opportunity that comes your way.

At your age, you are still figuring out who you are. You are at that stage where the people around you can influence you greatly. I urge you to keep good company.

Also, you should know that if you don’t exactly “fit in” with the crowd, it is perfectly okay. You don’t have to follow the latest trends, you don’t have to do things you don’t want to or that you are not comfortable doing. You can say no, and you can be yourself. It may be difficult if you feel as though you aren’t “cool” but your older self will thank you for staying true to yourself. Don’t just go with the crowd, but if need be, forge your own path.

So that sums up my third message to you this morning – have your own identity.

So we just have two more messages remaining —

The fourth one is to spread love not hate.

You know they say, that you can’t fight fire with fire? Well it’s the same with hate. You can never overcome hate with hate. You need to show compassion and love in order to fight the hate. I have a story about the beloved Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w. / peace be upon him).

At the time when he was delivering the message of Islam, one old lady got into the habit of throwing rubbish at him when he passed her house and he had to pass it everyday on his way to the Mosque. Even when the old woman threw rubbish on him, he would pass silently without showing any anger or annoyance. This was a regular, daily event.

One day when the Prophet was passing by, the old woman was not there to throw the rubbish on him. He stopped, and asked the neighbour about her well-being, as he wondered why she wasn’t throwing any rubbish on him.

The neighbour informed the Prophet that the old woman had become sick and she was on bed rest. The Prophet politely asked permission to visit the woman. When allowed, he entered the house, and the old woman thought that he had come there to take his revenge when she was unable to defend herself because of her sickness.
But the Prophet (s.a.w. / peace be unto him) assured her that he had come to her, not to take any revenge, but to see her and to look after her needs, as it was the command of Allah that if any one is sick, a Muslim should visit him and should help him if his help is needed.

The old woman was greatly moved by this kindness and love, of the Prophet. By the example of greatness of Muhammad, she understood that he was truly the Prophet of God and she saw the beauty of Islam. She then accepted Islam as her own way of life.

This story shows us the huge impact of responding with love to hateful acts and comments. We ought to strive to spread more love so that we can obliterate the hate.

In today’s worldwide social and political climate, Muslims are painted as certain types of people. I know this to be false and as a result, I have launched a social media campaign called #IAmMuslimAndI which aims to show that Muslims are regular people who want regular things like peace, equity, love, success and a good life. In the campaign, I humbly ask for Muslims to post on social media with the hashtag #IAmMuslimAndI and state something they love to do or something positive that they believe.

I also humbly ask non-Muslims who want to support this campaign to post on social media with the hashtag #IAmNotMuslimBut and something positive that they genuinely believe about Muslims and Islam. If you want to read more about it you can find the Page on Facebook, it’s called I Am Muslim And I. If you read about it and like it, and you decide to support, it would really mean a lot to me. It’s a very small step to reducing Islamophobia but it is still a step nonetheless, and it is my small way of spreading love and not hate.

So that was the fourth thing that I want you to remember: spread more love and less hate.

Fifthly, and lastly, I want to emplore you all to always always believe in yourselves. It may be totally cliched, but I cannot emphasize its importance enough. If you believe in yourself and trust your abilities, you can make anything a relaity. You have the power within you and all you need is the belief that you can do it, coupled with hard work and determination and you will see the fruits of what you sow.

How many of you know of Malala Yousafzai?

Good. She has made it her life’s missions to fight for girls to be educated. She quoted a heartbreaking figure 32 million girls who are missing out on the first three years of secondary education.

Imagine that. And here all of you are. You all are given the opportunity to gain an education and as it stands, a free education too. In other parts of the world children aren’t as lucky as you are. Think about it. Don’t waste the opportunities that you have.

Use every opportunity you have to further your goals and become who you want to be.

When you believe in yourself, anything is possible. This quote by Stacy London really sums it up. She says: “Don’t let fear or insecurity stop you from trying new things. Believe in yourself. Do what you love. And most importantly, be kind to others, even if you don’t like them.”

So this was the fifth thing I want you to take away from this morning: believe in yourself.

So today we talked a little bit about Ramadan and what it means for muslims. As we did that, I left you with five things I want you to remember from my talk with you today.

To recap, the five things are:

  1. Be God conscious.
  2. Be patient.
  3. Have your own identity.
  4. Spread love not hate.
  5. Believe in yourself.

I hope that this was beneficial to you all and I thank you for being such a gracious audience. Thank you for having me.

I wish each of you every success in all of your endeavours and may you all grow into brilliant contributing adults in our country.

As I end, I leave you with this quote by Leah LaBelle:

“Work hard for what you want because it won’t come to you without a fight. You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to. If somebody puts you down or criticizes you, just keep on believing in yourself and turn it into something positive.”

I will end with the greeting that Muslims use during the month of Ramadan – that is – Ramadan Mubarak!

For your time, I thank you.

Bookstagram Demystified

By R. H. Ali

 

If you’re a fellow booklover and Instagram (or Instantgram if you’re learning from iimanjeetii) lover, then this post is for you, so continue reading. If you’re not, then hey, still continue reading or share this post with the booklovers in your life.

WHAT IS THIS BOOKSTAGRAM YOU SPEAK OF?

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If you’re wondering, BOOKSTAGRAM, like the name obviously suggests, is a smash up of Books and Instagram. The term Bookstagram is simply used to describe the community of booklovers on Instagram. These Bookstagram accounts post stunning photos of books together with reviews, TBRs, Wrap Ups, Recommendations and Currently Reading posts, just to name a few. For an evolving list of all the terms used on Bookstagram check out my post “Bookstagram terms defined”.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS BOOKSTAGRAM THING?

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Bookstagram is a totally exciting way for booklovers to obsess over their favourite fandoms in a new and exciting way with other booklovers. It’s perfect for anyone who loves to read and to share their thoughts on the books that they’ve read and the books that they want to read. Bookstagram is also a fabulous way to keep up with all of the new books and fandoms out there, because God knows there is an ever-growing amount of those, and we don’t want to miss any.

SHOULD I JOIN BOOKSTAGRAM?

I joined Bookstagram about a year ago, on 25th January 2015 and I absolutely love it to this day. For me, my Bookstagram account is a safe place where I can go on Instagram where I don’t have to see anything but book related posts. When I’m feeling stressed out about life in general my Bookstagram account really provides that much needed stress reliever.

Now you’re probably thinking that I’m totally bonkers, in true Alice In Wonderland style, for saying that photos of books relax me! If you understand what I mean, and if photos of books relax you too, comment down below and let me know, so that I’d know that I’m not completely bonkers, or so we can be completely bonkers together since we know that all the best people are!

FullSizeRender-6If you love books, then you should definitely give joining Bookstagram some serious thought. It is not for the weak-hearted! JUST KIDDING! Bookstagram is for EVERYONE. We welcome every single human being to join Bookstagram since for me, in my true Hufflepuff style, since you know, the sorting hat on Pottermore unwittingly sorted me into Hufflepuff, I encourage everyone to join in the reading and fangirling / fanboying over ALL THE FANDOMS!

HOW DO I JOIN BOOKSTAGRAM?

In order to join Bookstagram, you will need to create an Instagram account. This account can be one that you have been using previously, or a new one that you create for Bookstagram alone. I would advise that you create a new email address and Instagram account for your Bookstagram since WHEN (set all the goals, achieve all the goals!) you become a really big and successful Bookstagramer, publishers and authors will begin contacting you to review their books – yes there is the potential for you to get free books!

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However, don’t pressure yourself too much if you don’t get any such requests. Ensure that everything that you do on Bookstagram, much like how you should live your life, makes YOU HAPPY. Your Bookstagram should be free from all stress and worries, and should just be a safe place for you to gush about your favourite books.

WHAT SHOULD I NAME MY BOOKSTAGRAM ACCOUNT?

The name of your Bookstagram account is really important because this is how other Bookstagramers will identify you and your account. You want to ensure that the name has something to do with books or a fandom so that you can easily be identified as a Bookstagram account. Remember that as with everything, branding is very important in order to build something successful and have people come back over and over again. Some Bookstagramers choose to include their name into their Bookstagram accounts, which is a good way to ensure that your Bookstagram is associated with you.

When naming my account, I initially did not want anyone that I knew personally to know about my account. So I created it without telling anyone and I also did not include my name in the Bookstagram account name. I decided to go with Exploring Books 2.0 since I wanted to reinvent the ways that books are explored. Yes, being clichéd is my forte.

So whatever you decide to name your account should be impactful and true to yourself.

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WHAT NEXT?

After you’ve created your Bookstagram account, here is a checklist of things to get you going:

  • Write a bio on your account including your name, your bookish goals, and something personal about you. In my bio, I included my name, pen name, nationality, age, Goodreads Reading Goal, my YouTube Channel name, my Twitter, Snapchat and Personal Instagram handles, as well as a link to my YouTube Channel. You can add anything you want.

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  • Post your first photo. This can be a photo of yourself, a photo of book(s) or your bookshelves introducing yourself and explaining in the description that you are new to Bookstagram as well as your vision for your Bookstagram. Your first photo should be very impactful and attractive to ensure that if people happen across your account, they would not leave without following you.
  • Follow other Bookstagram accounts. You can find accounts by searching the hashtag #Bookstagram. Like and comment on these accounts and begin to build your relationships on Bookstagram.
  • You’re ready to being your beautiful Bookstagram journey!

If you found this post helpful, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Also, don’t hesitate to share with your friends. Remember that Bookstagram is for everyone and anyone can be a Bookstagramer!

Don’t forget to follow me on Bookstagram @ExploringBooks2.0 and let me know that my Bookstagram blog post sent you!

I wish you every success in your Bookstagram journey.

 

With love,

Radeyah x

Facebook Page – R.H.Ali

Twitter – @RadeyahAli

Instagram Accounts – @RadeyahAli @ExploringBooks2.0 @ArtofRHAli

Snapchat – RadeyahAkaRHAli