Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Bookbike London teams up with Barking Learning Centre

February Half Term 12-21st February

This is a brief summary of the volunteering we carried out over the February 2021 Half Term School Break.

We were approached and supported by the Barking Learning Centre to support local residents who were affected by the Coronavirus lockdown. Almost one third of recipients (61) have suffered with mental health, including, anxiety and depression, PTSD, Psychosis, and OCD. 

Of the 185 families we visited the total number of females reached was 124 over 16 separate trips during the holiday period.

Thanks to Zoinul Abidin and the team for the fabulous books - You’ve all made a community very happy. 



Homeless hostel


Mental health patients




Teenagers 16-18




Elderly over 65


Toddlers 0-5




Teenagers 16-18


Foodbank recipients


Total 185



White English














Distance covered 

167.7 km 


Friday, February 26, 2021

I want my child to become a Hafidh (Molana Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia)


Review by M E Rahman 


As a passionate advocate of many years for the art of Quranic memorisation I picked up this short and concise guide with great anticipation and gusto. The fact that the text is a short one greatly intrigued me as I strongly believe that instructions in such matters are far more effective in brief.  


It was reported that the Prophet (SA) said: “It will be said to the companion of the Quran: “Read, ascend and recite like you used to recite in the world, for surely your abode is the last verse you read!” 


This guide by the Author takes great pains to highlight the traits a student of the Quran should focus on developing, namely piety and good conduct with one and all.  


Becoming a Hafidh of the Quran is not an exact science. Aside from the standard three-year processes delivered by various institutes we now see a shift in learning culture with parents investing in studying of methods and implementation of tips, resources and brain exercises to assist the student with memorisation.  


There is also the new phenomenon of the older and more mature student, who has a long-term plan and is content to memorise a few chapters per year. 


This is the Author’s very first book and it greatly interested me that he is a fellow blogger and used this medium to first transcribe his thoughts, tips, and guidelines. He states he isn’t an expert but rather someone who wishes to share his love for the Quran and useful recommendations and insights gained over years of teaching students in various settings.  


Before one reads the book, they should be reminded that becoming a Hafidh is not obligatory on everyone and if a community has a few Huffadh to carry this obligation then the rest are absolved of this duty. For context it is useful to note that not all the Sahabah memorised the Quran, nor was the Master of Hadith Imam Bukhari a Hafidh either. 


And so, with this regard the Author exhorts parents to strike a balance, to have realistic expectations and be aware that their children may not be equipped to fulfil this. This scene reminds me of watching football parents on the sidelines, screaming, shouting and profusely expressing disappointment at the performance of their little charges, little realising the downside and psychological impact on the wellbeing of the child. They also berate the officials and everyone else connected as their frustration spills over like a volcanic eruption. They live their broken dreams through the lives of their children. 


In such circumstances it is better that a child memorises the essential Surahs and practises them consistently. Many students as such who do complete memorisation with such parental pressure behind them may never go on to look at or revise a single page thereafter as their experience has developed a complete loathing for the Quran.  


It is all about creating a balance, one which expertly takes into consideration all needs and aspects of the learner, with the main intention becoming to preserve the memorisation. Imam Ibn Ul Munadi narrates in Mutashabih Al Quran, “The Salaf were always afraid of forgetting the Quran after they memorised it, because it was classed as a shortcoming.” 


The Author skilfully addresses the hopes of “Hifdh Parents, describing them as “A mum or Dad whose social, emotional, physical and psychological decisions are governed by what Para (chapter) their children are memorising.” It is preferable that families work together to develop a love for the Quran and encourage each other to instil its important messages within their lives. This can only enhance the learning and memorisation journey for the student. 


The Author provides expert tips and analysis and I have hand picked some for the benefit of the reader: 


  • Observe your child’s memorisation aptitude and seek advice and a second opinion. 
  • Instil the love of the Quran – One method is employing the use of Audio Qurans. 
  • Introduce the culture of learning the Quran early in their lives. 
  • Provide incentives and rewards for achievements and milestones. 
  • Have a set timetable – Order and discipline is important. 
  • Encourage healthy competition. Do not chastise for one child not emulating the good results of another. 
  • Model by engaging in some memorisation yourself. 
  • Ambience and environment is crucial. I have seen instances of banging doors, relatives and family barging in, loud TV and music in the next room. This is a nightmare scenario for a student. A serene and relaxed atmosphere without distractions is an absolute must. 
  • Pace accordingly – To some it may be a three-year journey, for others it may take a decade. I know someone who completed memorisation in three months. Everybody has their own limitations – The speed of the journey may vary but the destination is the same. 
  • Be patient at all times. 


A lot of Hifdh parents would agree that it is difficult and cumbersome to motivate your own children, so a good teacher is essential. It isn’t always a great idea to have 20-30 kids in a class. This can’t be compared to mainstream school as the students are with their teacher for barely 2 hours each evening. Some parents will go for extra support whilst others will make financial sacrifices to go 1-1 to ensure their child receives 100% of the teacher’s focus and attention. It helps in these instances if the teacher can become a mentor to the student at the same time for a far more superior teaching and learning experience.  


A good teacher is: 


  • A mentor and guide. 
  • Will be prepared to demonstrate by reading out loud. 
  • Will exercise patience at all times. 


As described by Umm Muhammad, memorising the Quran is like working out with weights. At first you lift light and heavier weights seem impossible. You stand and admire in awe how others are effortless in lifting far heavy weights. But if you persevere then you too will find yourself conquering those weights with great ease. 


I have found this guidance a pleasure to read. It has informed and educated me whilst also rekindling a desire to brush the cobwebs and refresh old practises. I am most certain that the reader will benefit tremendously from this book and urge parents, students and teachers to take time out, read and reflect upon its contents. 


I complained to Wakee about my poor memory 

Give up your sins was his advice to me 

For knowledge is a light from divinity 

And the light of God is veiled by iniquity 


Imam Shafi’ee 

Enquiries -

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

1000 not out for Bookbike London

With community support needed more and more during the pandemic the Bookbike London project has reached the 1000 book milestone. 

I founded the project, which operates in Barking & Dagenham, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Redbridge and Hackney to share books by cycle with people who are unable to access libraries or reading matter. 

This was launched one year ago at the Barking Learning Centre alongside Zoinul Abidin, Head of Universal Services.

The project has seen huge success and during the course of the pandemic #bookbikelondon has adapted to include delivery of food parcels to vulnerable neighbours and families, transported medicine and clothes too. 

This was meant to be a small hobby, a local cycle project to link my passion for community work with my physical wellbeing activities. Things have picked up nicely with 1000 books shared. During the pandemic we have adapted operations to include Foodbank runs too amongst other things.

During the current school half term holiday the Barking Learning Centre supported Bookbike London with a pioneering project to provide local children with books and during the course of the half term holiday I have shared 198 books with families. 

It was the idea of Zoinul Abidin, Head of Universal Services, Barking & Dagenham and the catalyst for this recent sharing streak. It’s enabled me to reach the 1000 book milestone and as I’ve been on annual leave I’ve been able to share almost 200 books. 

Thanks to Zoinul and the BLC for such fabulous support - It is an inspirational project which echoes Marcus Rashford and the school meals campaign. I’m fortunate and grateful to have such support and I’m sure local, national and global libraries will be inspired to follow the lead of the Barking Learning Centre and engage in this manner with communities suffering deprivation.

Zoinul Abidin heads up the Barking Learning Centre and with regards to the recent books for school kids campaign he said, “We are very glad to help such a simple but effective movement. Bookbike London shares our vision of promoting a passion for reading. It makes us specially happy that so many local children have benefitted from this partnership.”

Bookbike London is an innovative community project which delivers books free of charge to elderly residential homes, hostels, hospital wards and local organisations in East London.

(Muhammad Talha: East London News)

Twitter @emdad07

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Diego Maradona 1960-2020

Emdad Rahman

Diego Armando Maradona, widely regarded as the greatest player of all time has died at the age of 60. 

The Argentinian football genius, who had brain surgery earlier this month passed away from a heart attack.

Following announcement of the tragic news his homeland declared three days of national mourning. 

The crowning moment of Maradona’s career was when he led Argentina to World Cup glory at Mexico 86. It was the pinnacle moment of a glorious career and unanimously led him to be named the Golden Ball winner of the tournament after mesmerising opponents, fans and team mates on the way to beating West Germany 3-2 in the final. 

It was against the late Sir Bobby Robson’s England in the Quarter finals where Maradona infamously used his hand to lift the ball over Peter Shilton before going on to score the greatest World Cup goal ever.

As a ten year old watching it all in black and white no other person could provoke such loathing and loving in the space of five single minutes. 

Four minutes after the “Hand of God” goal Hector Enrique laid the ball off to Maradona in his own half. It lit the fuse for a 10 second, 60 yard slalom through the heart of the England team, easing past Peter Beardsley, Peter Reid, Terry Butcher two times, and Terry Fenwick. 

All that remained was feinting deftly to leave Peter Shilton on his backside before slotting home. 

It was pure football sorcery delivered masterfully by the great Druid of the game. The Arena Azteca simply erupted.

On a domestic level Maradona shook up Italy to become the figurehead of a Napoli team which broke the monopoly of Italian giants Milan, Juventus, and Internazionale to lifted the Scudetto in 1987, 1990, an Italian Cup in 1987 and the UEFA Cup in 1989. 

The latter half of his career was mired in controversy involving cocaine addiction and exploitation. 

It is no surprise that Napoli will be retiring the famed number 10 shirt forever.

For me El Diego was the greatest player of all time. 

What he did with Argentina and Napoli and the manner in which he did it may never be achieved again.

Goodbye Dieguito. You were a magician without comparison.

Eternal Gracias!

Diego Maradona 1960-2020

He's going to pass it to Diego, there's Maradona with it, two men on him, Maradona steps on the ball, there goes down the right flank the genius of world football, he leaves the wing and he's going to pass it to Burruchaga... Still Maradona! Genius! Genius! Genius! There, there, there, there, there, there! Goaaaaaaaal! Goaaaaaaal! I want to cry, oh holy God, long live football! What a goal! Diegoal! Maradona! It is to cry for, excuse me! Maradona, in a memorable run, in the best play of all times! Cosmic kite, which planet did you come from, to leave so many Englishmen behind, for the country to be a clenched fist crying for Argentina? Argentina 2, England 0! Diegoal, Diegoal, Diego Armando Maradona! Thank you, God, for football, for Maradona, for these tears, for this Argentina 2, England 0.

Víctor Hugo Morales

Diego Maradona 1960-2020

It was a dream come true

I’d emptied my savings tin

My broad smile stretched

From Bognor to Berlin

I would be the proud owner

Of a Diego Maradona boot

Now the barrel chested ones

Latest fanclub recruit

Sprinting down Whitechapel Road

I dragged along me Mam

Dropping a shopping bag en route

Shattering a jar of jam

"You wear them, you'll play like him"

The shop assistant said

I believed every single word

My beaming smile spread

A walking Ambassador I became

I put those boots to use

On grass, tarmac, concrete

Each time I got set loose

Wear them on the old sandpitch

In the thick of the Berner Estate

Not ideal for that surface

But that was open to debate

Even wore them to school

On an odd day or three

"Get them off right now!”

Hawkeyed Margaret would scream 

Wore them into the ground

Even when they were a goner

Yes, the one and only

Puma Maradona

Goodbye to you Armando

A Druid, a one off edition

Eternal Gracias Dieguito

Footballs flawed magician

25 11 20


© emdad rahman

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Corona Chronicles; Ekota Girls debut at Coggeshall Town

These girls started learning cricket six weeks ago after picking up a bat for the very first time to play the game. 

Today they made their debut against some very talented girls their age. 

They started the day nervous and shy. They were warmly welcomed by the girls from all teams with open arms. They finished the day on three games, three wins, huge wide smiles and massive confidence boosts. 

A simply phenomenal achievement!

Coggeshall Town Cricket Club have delivered a brilliant post Covid Summer Smash for the Under 11 girls. 

Amidst a global pandemic it is one of the first cricket engagement camps to be arranged since the UK wide lockdown has been eased.

Although large parts of the UK had suffered with high winds the day before the festival took place, albeit with a few reduced numbers. In total 31 girls took part and due to the great success of the event it is planned that the Girls Summer Smash will become an annual fixture. 

Six weeks on and the girls win three games on the spin. The advice thus follows is:

- Time to up the training routines
- Eat well, sleep on time
- Begin personal independent training programmes
- Separate sessions during weekly training 
- Parents to be involved at every step

Hanging out with excellent cricketers at a club with superb facilities will be inspirational and set the benchmark high for these girls.

It will be aspirational and a memorable experience for them on the journey of life!

And... well done... Enjoy for now for I have a rigorous schedule coming up!

Well done girls - You’ve been outstanding and it’s been a pleasure being your coach!

Enjoy and savour this moment and memory - We are very proud of you all.

Thank you Coggeshall CC, Colts manager Iain Kinsman, Lauren Onojaife, Essex and the community for hosting us with such warmth. 

Thanks Essex Cricket for the chance to participate. 

#ekotaacademy #theanfieldtourist #thewanderinglondoner

Thursday, August 20, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Eat Out, Be Helped Out!

We didn’t join the rat race for #eatouttohelpout and I’m no snob. I just didn’t fancy the long and miserable queues. The desperate look on the faces of those in line just depressed me.

I did however enjoy a little magic trick and discovered a new strategy last week which led to a whopping 100% discount at #theottomandoner 

Here’s how it goes... Eat Out To Be Helped Out! Stuff your face till your busting and the Guvnor foots the bill. It’s one of my most favourite performances. Pity we can’t call him the “little magician!” 😂

It seems the multi talented Abdal is not only a highly astute businessman but a respectable magician too and soon as the cash register slammed shut and before you could say abracadabra I had rediscovered my wallet!

Wow! Voila! Magic all round!

#coronachronicles #theanfieldtourist #thewanderinglondoner

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Strangers helping strangers!

Nice to see Em and Jon! They’re not living together as Jon has had to move to Dagenham but still an item.

Today I had planned a quiet day with #bookbikelondon and a few book deliveries doing my local cycle route. I’ve been kicked out of my local cycling whatssap group because I have joined in but that’s cool as I have far bigger fish to fry.

Firstly, I received some money from Capital Kids Cricket CEO Ratan Bhai and Bhabi of which I used a little amount to sort out some #homeless friends.

I received a call from a local family who’d been signposted to me by Pastor Obi Onyeabor. We talked, they cooked, and delivered delicious piping hot food. 

It turned out to be a large delivery for me and Dulu to our local homeless refuge and the rough sleepers in the town centre.

This is the power of community and networking. I have seen some close friends quite upset today and wrote about their experiences as charity volunteers and I hope sharing this experience cheers them up and gives them a little boost and pick me up. 

You don’t need money, or an organisation or endorsements to make a difference. If the intention is there the path will light up. 

#homelesspeople #homelessoutreach #feedinglondon #theanfieldtourist #thewanderinglondoner

Sunday, August 09, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Lonely Orphans Dover Trek!

A group of us volunteers joined the Bethnal Green based Lonely Orphans Charity team to complete the Dover Trek today. 

We travelled separately and walked in small clusters keeping in mind the need to distance socially. 

This 10 mile linear walk offered us panoramic views of the English Channel. Three of England's mightiest coastal forts stand on the route, from the medieval "Key to England" at Dover to Henry VIII's defences of Walmer and Deal.

Braving soaring high heat twenty four individuals took part in the 20k Dover to Deal trek to raise money for the charities Indonesian Orphans programme.

Md Imran from Lonely Orphans commented, “the weather was very hot and challenging, the scenery beautiful throughout. I want to thank our team today for their efforts in making a lot of young children smile.”

The heat was less than Friday but still intense. The locals were friendly enough and I even got cash donations from fellow trekkers - Andrea and Mary who were visiting from the United States. 

A great day out!

#dovertrek #coronachronicles #theanfieldtourist #thewanderinglondoner

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Be persistent!

Big day for our fledgling project tomorrow. 

Here’s my grand total figures since I started this social enterprise... Zero, yes you heard that right! Zilch! Nada! Diddly squat! Bigger all!  Nowt! Bupkis! Sweet Fanny Adams! Nil! Bagatelle! Goose egg!  

If you’re passionate, patient, sincere and work hard then good things will happen - It’s inevitable! 

#bookbikelondon #theanfieldtourist #thewanderinglondoner #coronachronicles 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - My own Santander Cycle!

I’m over the moon to have a Santander Cycle named after me today by TFL and receive an honorary bike, which bears my name on unique gold livery.

It’s their 10th year anniversary and I was invited to pick up my cycle and attend a photoshoot. Thank you to David Eddington, TfL’s Head of Cycle Hire for the presentation.

More than 94 million cycle hires have been made since TfL launched its flagship scheme on 30 July 2010.

Today I have also completed my Lonely Orphans #100MileChallenge for Orphans today!

Two bonuses in one day. Naturally, I used this limited edition Santander Cycle for my volunteering and kickstarted its new life with one food parcel drop and one book, To Kill A Mockingbird, donated by The London Enterprise Academy.

Transport for London (TfL) is celebrating a successful decade of cycle hire in the capital, ten years on from the launch of its flagship cycling scheme. On 30 July 2010, TFL introduced cycle hire to Londoners with 350 docking stations across eight London boroughs.

  • More than 94 million cycle hires have been made since TFL launched its flagship scheme on 30 July 2010.
  • TfL’s cycle hire scheme has led a revolution in cycling in the capital, offering Londoners flexible and affordable access to bikes across the city.
  • More than half of cycle hire users in London today say they started cycling because of the scheme.

Today, these numbers have more than doubled: Londoners now have access to 781 docking stations and more than 12,000 bikes, with an additional 1,700 new bikes currently being added to the fleet.

Cycling in London has more than doubled since 2000. TfL’s cycle hire scheme has been at the forefront of this cycling boom over the last decade, contributing to the largest increase in cycling in London since records began.

I’m glad to be a part of this revolution and grateful to everyone for your fantastic support.

#coronachronicles #santandercycles #theanfieldtourist #thewanderinglondoner

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - #bookbikelondon and London’s Homeless!

They’re homeless, not crazy! #thewanderinglondoner

#bookbikelondon was in and around #spitalfields today with the focus on #roughsleepers and #homeless friends

One fella was in a tent near the #nomadicgardens and Greg in a sleeping bag near the #icantbreathe mural in Allen Gardens.

He was in the shade when I arrived in the park to meet and greet people with books and woke up when the heat of the sun started to warm up his little spot in the shade.

He went to the bushes to change and probably a quick slash and saw me taking photos of my bike and books next to the #graffiti wall. He asked if he could sit in the shot and I said to knock himself out.

Greg’s got unlucky and lost his job and it’s cost him a relationship. His depression has led to drink, to drugs and he uses the Whitechapel Mission for his daily food and drink intake.

Others were enjoying the sun on park benches. I cycled up to the nearby homeless shelter where more books were received by some more happy customers.

The Literacy Trust have been really generous to #bookbikelondon and today we’ve shared 16 books on my trusty #santandercycle including To Kill a Mockingbird from The London Enterprise Academy. 

I’m fussy and don’t hand them out to anybody who’s not a reader or who can’t make good use of a precious book.

A young lady aged 6/7 came running UK and asked me for a book. I spotted her parent jogging up to tell her off and apologise to me. Luckily I had four additional kiddie books to pass on.

That’s 20 books today... Happy days all round!

#coronachronicles #theanfieldtourist #thewanderinglondoner

Sunday, July 26, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Lonely Orphans Family Walk & Picnic!

The Whitechapel based Lonely Orphans charity team arranged a family charity walk and picnic for families to enjoy being outdoors and also to help raise awareness of the work being carried out to support orphans.

The 2 kilometre walk in Victoria Park commenced and finished at St Marks Gate and involved families and various social bubbles completing a lap of that side of the park.

Because of the big, green spaces, families and participants were able to comfortably take part and complete the circuit.

The event was professionally organised and volunteer Marshalls were on hand to provide support, guidance and first aid attention if necessary.

The team at Lonely Orphans have used the event to raise the profile of the great work the charity does with orphans and the funds raised will contribute towards supporting those in need.

A kind gesture by the charity saw families and participants provided with picnic hampers to celebrate completing the walk. 

Speaking after the event Md Imran, Fundraising Manager said, “It’s been a lovely, sunny day for a walk. The global pandemic and lockdown has made us realise how lucky we are to enjoy things we very much take for granted.

“We have been socially distanced whilst walking and having our picnics and we’ve had an excellent day out.

“Thank you all for raising awareness of the vital work we do.”

Coach Arshad Khan from Serving Humanity added, “It’s been inspiring walking alongside young and old today and it’s been a learning experience for all.

“Thanks to the efforts of everyone here today we have raised awareness of not only the status of orphans but what we need to do as a global community to support them.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has shown us how vulnerable we really are, but also inspired us to make the most of our lives in the most positive way possible. Well done everybody for taking off today.”

#lonelyorphans #theanfieldtourist  #thewanderinglondoner‬, 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Corona Chronicles - Football against Hunger!

I completed two cycles in two boroughs today with over 20k clocked for my Lonely Orphans #100Mile challenge. I met up with Chris at Dagenham & Redbridge FC to collect my weekly shop and deliver ro three mental health patients.

In the grand scheme of things I’m like a goal hanger. There’s a lot of people in the background working ten times harder to make this magic happen.

Each recipient I visit tells me they do have food but they’re always short and often hungry. The support of our local Foodbanks have firstly been a great source of support for many individuals and families who have been shielding, isolating, homebound and Covid positive. 

Secondly, the significant roles played by volunteer led Foodbanks during this pandemic have really shown the great the depth of poverty is within our communities. 

From my frontline experience I can comfortably say that although we have the visible recipients at soup kitchens and Foodbanks, there are huge numbers of others who are simply too shy to reach out and ask for help. Instead they suffer in silence until someone kind hearted notices, offers help or refers them on. 

The three people I deliver to on a Tuesday would not be known to the Hedgecock Community Centre Foodbank or the Barking & Dagenham Food Network had their mental health nurses not contacted me directly. 

Then there’s the issue of provisions and without the co-ordination of Nighat Bhola and Humdum Foodbank we would have no network to collect food from. 

This is community service at its very best.

John the Hammer was sitting on his doorstep when I did my last drop. He spotted my LFC trackie and scoffed, “Is there a fancy dress party nobody told me about?”

I love my community!