10:14:00 PM

Since mid last year, I think at least around 80% of my time is spent lying down: recuperating, recovering, healing, coping... whatever you call it but basically since I wasn’t able to do a lot of things that I always was able to do before, or go out of the house as much anymore. Most of the time I’m either in bed or sofa bound.

I guess if any of us (me included) looked at that situation at a glance, it does seem like a totally negative situation, coz basically I lost the ability to move about and do things that I always did and was able to do before. 

But through all this, I realised that since last year and ever since I was not able to move around much, I was able to do one of my favourite things that I loved doing as a kid, before life became too hectic: 

Reading books and get lost in them! 

I have so many books that I bought and wanted to read over the years but I just didn’t really have the time to do so before. But, Alhamdulillah, because of my condition where I didn’t have much choice anyway, I decided to make good use of my situation and decided to start reading again.

Alhamdulillah I’ve completed reading a number of meaningful and relatable books throughout this past year while I’m mostly bed bound. Even at times when I’m in a lot of pain and couldn’t even hold the book up, I will put it by the side of my bed to continue reading. Even through my pain, I was still able to read so Alhamdulillah for that ability to read. Through my pain I rediscovered my love for reading and the pleasure, comfort and enjoyment I get from it. The gems I learned from the books and how they changed my perspective on life and world views and even the simplest things in life.

Nowadays, we are bombarded with a lot of information (some beneficial, most of them are not) through the internet and social media. Reading is skipped for fast information. With Instagram and 160-word limit twitter and all this fast information at our fingertips, it teaches people to skip through words and just look at photos and not even read captions, what more a book. There are even apps that summarises books so you don’t have to read them. 

I myself am guilty of using lots of apps on the phone and I also read summaries of books that I previously convinced myself that I had no time to read. I guess these apps are good when we don’t have the time to read the whole book and just want to read the takeaways or brief summaries. But really, nothing beats the feeling of reading an actual book, holding it in your hand and just be engrossed in it. To absorb the words flowing through the hard work of the writer. To feel its essence and message and spirit. 

In this new technology and era, we are spoilt for choice for the things we want to read. Hardcover book, paperback books, e-books, audio books, online articles, blogs, instagram captions, there are all sorts of ways. But I think it’s okay as long as we continue to read. It is what we read that matters not how or where we read it. So just, read.

So hey, personally, even though it does seem like a negative situation that I’ve been dealing with my illnesses, it really is not all that bad for me you see. I get to do one of the things that is my hobby since I was a little child a little bit more than when I was physically healthier. 

I’m able to read. It seems like a ridiculous statement especially if you're reading this right now, you'll mostly likely be like "of course everybody can read!". But no, I have witnessed first hand during the humanitarian mission that I went to that there are people from different parts of the world who cannot read, who do not have access to education, who have other more important things to deal with which is bigger for their survival in this world than the ability to read because of poverty, because of their living conditions or because of disabilities. We may be surrounded by people who can all read but trust me there are so, so many people out there who can't. So, the fact that we are able to read, is truly an amazing gift granted to us by God.

That is a gift that we all take for granted.

So, how do we choose to use this ability to read? What do we choose to read about? What are the things that we let our minds consume while we read?

It was something that I myself took for granted for many many years. Last year when I was away from social media for about 3 months, and again earlier this year I was also away for about 2 months, I realised that even though I was dealing with my illnesses I was able to have more time to myself and that I wasn’t going to just waste it away feeling sorry for myself. So I started to read more. More than before. 

With my condition, I read books much slower than I used to, but now I appreciate this time more. I need to stop holding it after a number of pages before I continue again. Now, I appreciate the moments when I can read because there are a lot of times these days when I’m just in a lot of pain I can’t even hold a book while lying down coz am just dealing with the pain.

So, if I can tell my old healthy self something it would be: R-E-A-D! Read more. Because it’s amazing. Read as much as you can. Read those books that are relatable to you. That interests you. It will bring so much comfort as well as it’s just so therapeutic, if you find the right books or reading materials to feed your soul. And when you get in the groove, it becomes a habit. A habit we all need to instil again. In conclusion, for me, rediscovering the pleasure of reading is one of the positive outcomes of my negative situation.

In this month of Ramadhan, I’m also reminded that the first verse ever that was sent to our Prophet was : IQRA’ which means read. (Surah Al-Alaq, 96 : 1). It was a command for us to read. That was also something that inspired me to read more.

I really hope to get to read more books and share about the books I’ve read on here!

Anyways, here are some of the TOP 30 QUOTES I found online that I feel are relatable to  my rediscovered love of reading:

1. “Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.”

- Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

2. “If you can’t read the entire book, read the page. If you can’t read the entire page, read the sentence. Read.” 

3. “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are”
- Mason Cooley

4. “Maybe this is why we read and why in moments of darkness we return to books : to find words for what we already know”
- Alberto Manguel

5. “She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live” - Annie Dillard 

6. “If you don’t like to read you haven’t found the right book”- J.K. Rowling 

7. “Keep reading books, but remember that a book is only a book, and you should learn to think for yourself.”
- Maxim Gorky 

8. “We lose ourselves in books. We find ourselves there too.”- Anonymous 

9. “Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood.”- John Green 

10. “Reading gives life more life”-Anonymous

11. “The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.”

- W. Somerset Maugham

12. “Reading a book doesn’t have to make you better, but it will make you feel better.”

13. “Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while”. 
- Malorie Blackman

14. “Read and be better don’t read to just be”- Anonymous

15. “Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body. As by the one, health is preserved, strengthened, and invigorated: by the other, virtue (which is the health of the mind) is kept alive, cherished, and confirmed.” 
- Joseph Addison

16. “Reading is never a waste of time”- Anonymous

17. “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” - Harper Lee

18. “We have to change books if we want books to change us”- Anonymous

19. “I do believe Something very magical can happen when you read a good book “
- J. K. Rowling

20. “The book is not an escape from life but a shortcut to a better one”- Anonymous

21. “I think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense.”
- Harold Kushner

22. “There is no chance you’ll read all books in the world, but there is a chance the one you read is the right one.”
- Anonymous

23. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” 
- Dr. Seuss

24. “A book never runs out of battery” -Anonymous

25. “We read in bed because reading is halfway between life and dreaming, our own consciousness in someone else’s mind.” 
- Anna Quindlen

26. “Don’t think too much before you reach for a book. Think while you’re reading it.”

27. “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.” 
- Charles William Eliot

28. “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy books and that’s kind of the same thing.”
- Anonymous

29. “The habit of reading is the only enjoyment I know in which there is no alloy. It lasts when all other pleasures fade. It will be there to support you when all other resources are gone. It will be present to you when the energies of your body have fallen away from you. It will last you until your death. It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as you live.” 
- Anthony Trollope

30. “Reading books makes you better”- Anonymous

To end the post, below I’m sharing 2 of my favourite supplications in relation to knowledge which we can try and say daily.

For knowledge:

My Lord, increase me in knowledge.

رَبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا

Rabbizidnee AAilma

Surah Taha [20:114]

Morning/evening remembrance:

O Allah, I ask You for knowledge that is of benefit, a good provision, and deeds that will be accepted. (Recite in Arabic; upon rising in the morning)

اللَّهُمَّ إنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ عِلْماً نَافِعاً، وَرِزقاً طَيِّباً، وَعَمَلاً مُتَقَبَّلاً
(Recite upon rising in the morning)

Allaahumma 'innee 'as'aluka 'ilman naafi'an, wa rizqan tayyiban, wa 'amalan mutaqabbalan

Ibn As-Sunni, no. 54, Ibn Majah no. 925. Its chain of transmission is good (Hasan), Ibn Al-Qayyim 2/375


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