One of the most important things to do whilst studying is to strike the right balance between work and relaxation. Many people who come here end up on one side or the other, burned out from over working or scarcely benefiting because of wasting too much time. For the first two months of my stay my life was very much work focused, studying around 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. The productivity was incredible, but by the end of it I was exhausted! Its simply not sustainable to keep that going for 7 months!
On top of that, I was living by myself for the duration of that period with only odd encounters with people on evenings and weekends. My entire life was focused on studying as I read, ate and dreamt of what the books I was given! More than that, I fully embraced Arab life as I saw nearly no foreigners whom I could speak English – and the only English person I did see regularly insisted I spoke Arabic to him for practice! The benefit of this was immeasurable; I lived entirely like an Arab for 2 months, exploring the city and culture at my own pace and immersing myself in the language and religion I came to study.
But by Eid-ul-Adha I was completely burnt out. Studying became a chore and concentration levels began to dip. No matter how much you love something, too much of it will cause you to meltdown, and that’s what I faced! Whilst in class, my teacher mentioned to me a hadith to me which stuck with me;
روحوا القلوب ساعة بساعة Roughly Meaning; Let your heart have rest (from time to time); an hour (work) for an hour (rest)
– I needed a break!
Since then, I’ve been blessed to have many visitors over from back home, had two flat mates move in and had the pleasure of getting to know some of my fellow brothers here in Cairo better. My time has been divided by many visits and holidays inbetween the usual study and worship. I have had many wonderful trips around the various touristic hotspots around Cairo as well as becoming familiar with the lesser know places around the city. I’ve also begun to explore places outside of Cairo and planning a few more trips in the remaining 2 months I have left in Egypt.
Alhamdulillah, this long break has been a refreshing and much needed break as I have regained the energy I first came here with. I now feel fresh and ready to carry on with my final 2 months of studying before heading back to the UK.
So to wrap up this chapter of my journey, I wanted to share some of my travels these last few months to give an idea of what things you can get up to in Egypt. Enjoy!
A clip of our camel & horse rides. Watch out for the end as our horse gallops away!
No matter where you are and what your circumstances, when the time comes in – you have to pray!
Out in the middle of the desert, I spot a date palm and decide to taste a few!
Part of the guided tour by Ustadh Idris Tawfiq
In the masjid of Masjid of Al-Hakim, birds circle around the courtyard peacefully.
Why you had to “be there”
As we’re casually riding our Ta’ta’, a random man in a motor bike decides to tag along to take us on one of his tour packages. He doesn’t take no as an answer!
Walking in to Sayyidah Zainab mosque 7am in the morning for the beginning of the march, I expect 15-20 people. Walking into the masjid to this chorus of Nasheeds was one of the most powerful experiences I will remember of Cairo, and this Nasheed will stay with me forever!
A compilation of short clips I took of Tahrir square during the November revolution.
4 thoughts on “An hour for an hour”
Looks cracking blood! A really descent summary of your trip. I am really fascinated by what Ustadh Idris Tawfiq has got to say about Al Hakim though! I am going to google it.
cracking blood? Ill take that as a complement 🙂
Great commentary on the photos!
Tahrir square looks remarkably calm, must have been something to be there during the original protests (and during what’s going on at the moment)
Thanks 🙂 Definitely an experience I wont forget!