Summer Smorgasbord

Summer Smorgasbord

Long Summer Days - Investing - Writing & Eman

Long days

As we come to the end of Shawwal a friend reminded me that it would have been better to finish the 6 additional fasts of Shawwal earlier as iftar time is getting later and later. With June 21st, the summer solstice, marking the longest day of the year. Anyone planning to fast that day in the UK will be fasting for about 19 hours as sunset isn’t until 9:30pm!

This reminds me of a graph showing the changing prayer-times throughout the year. (Code for the graph can be found on GitHub)

Sunset and prayer times changing throughout the year in the UK

The initial data-set was taken from Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office using the 17° 30' rule - this calculates Isha time as being much later than most mosques, so please consult your local mosque for more accurate and appropriate prayer times.

I find it interesting however to see how much the prayer times change across the year. 4:30pm in summer is still duhr/lunch time but by winter time it’s already well past sunset. Such is life in high-latitudes.

For a detailed exposition on prayer-times for countries in high latitudes i highly recommend checking out “Shedding Light on the Dawn” by Dr Asim Yusuf. An excellent, comprehensive and well-researched book - from an erudite scholar. On a more minor point I have to say it’s an excellent book-title, very punny & I might also add that Dr Yusuf has some excellent recitationtoo!

Writing about Writing

I’ve been whiling away these extra long days thinking more about writing as a process. I read a great piece talking about the virtues of writing and have summarised it in my own blog post. That is to say i have been "Writing about writing about writing"...

“[Writing is] the best way to learn faster, build your resume, and find peers and collaborators who can create job and business opportunities for you.” — David Perell

I think it’s a nice piece with the author expounding upon the value of writing as a personal and social exercise; as well as offering some tips for getting started and being successful. I highly recommend reading the original article but I’ve also compiled a short(ish) version for anyone else interested and wondering if they should start writing more.

In summary by putting your ideas out there, other people can see what you’re about, see what you’re thinking and get in touch if something resonates with them. Great for collaboration, great for learning, great for life in general.

That being said, if my “serendipity vehicle” has worked for you and there’s something that has really resonated with you please reach out! I’d love to hear from you about what you’ve enjoyed or even better what you’ve disagreed with!

Basics of investing 💰

Taking some advice from friends as to something they were keen to hear about, I’ve been writing about “What to do with too much money???”.

I can’t say it’s a problem I personally have but a lot of friends have been asking for what to do instead of having money just sitting in their current accounts.

My first suggestion of “I’ll happily keep it” was not exactly met with roaring enthusiasm but i’ve clarified some of my thinking around investments into a short piece on index funds which you can read here:

I’ve aimed to provide some basic information that insha’Allah helps one to make better informed decisions. The main considerations are around:

  • Why invest and not just keep money in a current/savings account?
  • Trading vs long-term investments?
  • Is there a halal/haram aspect to this and how we can easily make sure we’re on the right side of that?

There are also a few brief asides around tech stocks and compounding returns but generally it’s all very simple advice, let me know your thoughts!

Intention to action

Last week I published my slightly longer piece about building taqwa, which you can read here:

It’s been great to hear from people about which bits resonated with them and I’d still love to hear any thoughts you have on the piece; or anything similar you’d like to see touched upon in future insha’Allah.

Part 2 should be ready next week insha’Allah. Focusing more on tangible actions — whereas part 1 was focused on mindset. In the interim i’m trying to focus on putting more of part 1 into practice! It’s easy to read a book and summarise it into a blog-post, but actioning on it is where the real value lies.

One thing I’ve found really helpful are motivational talks. This week I stumbled upon some excellent talks by Suhaib Webb. They’re a few years old but each talk was based around popular films & tv-shows at the time.

I have to say they’re engaging, insightful, uplifting and entertaining; I would highly recommend them. His talk on “Breaking Bad” was really well done, delving into the meat of show and really breaking down the character motivations from a spiritual lens.

“Catching Fire” is an incredible talk that I’ve learnt a lot from. The talk is about the gentleness and kindness we should have with others; as part of our overall etiquette as Muslims. He also focuses on the time, learning and effort we need to put in to purify ourselves and achieve paradise in this life, before achieving it in the next. Mostly unrelated to the film, but an excellent talk. Watch it here.

Thanks for reading

If you’ve enjoyed anything you’ve read and think it may resonate with your friends, family and coworkers please pass it on. Likewise I really welcome any feedback, thoughts and ideas. I always love to hear how pieces resonate with people and I’m especially interested to hear the bits you disagree with! So please get in touch!

Have a good week, and I look forward to being in touch again soon.

All the best, Asalamualaikum, may peace be with you, from Tawfiq