This is the blog of Matthew Smith, also known as Yusuf, a convert to Islam who lives in New Malden, in south London or Surrey depending on your point of view. I’m 30 (as of January 2007) and converted to Islam in the summer of 1998. At the moment, I live at home with my parents. I mostly drive trucks and vans, although I really want to get out of that.

My interests, besides religion, are computing, particularly programming with the Qt programming toolkit, which is particularly “at home” on Unix but also works on Windows and Mac and on embedded devices. I’m the author of QTM, a desktop content management client which can post entries to websites which use Movable Type, WordPress and other systems which support the same interfaces. You can read more about that on my QTM web page. I also enjoy cycling and I spend a lot of time in London, particularly Foyle’s bookshop.

I’m strictly Sunni, that is to say, pro-madhhab (Maliki in my case) and anti “salafi”, although I can get on with “salafis” over a curry in Tooting. But I prefer Moroccan food. My favourite restaurant is the Moroccan Tagine, in Golborne Road (London W10). I also like Al-Mirage (Indian) in Tooting and Abu Zaad (Syrian) on Uxbridge Road (Shepherds Bush).


This blog uses WordPress, which I have migrated back to after several years of using Movable Type (which I still use to run one other blog). The theme is Amazing Grace by Vladimir Prelovac, with the stock images replaced with some taken by me. If you really want to use my variant of the theme, you can check it out of this Git repository (Git is a source code management system; you can find it here). The image you see above may be one of:

  • A bridge over the River Arun at Stopham, West Sussex, or at Pulborough, West Sussex
  • Painted shops in North Laine, Brighton, Sussex
  • Misty countryside north of Lewes, East Sussex
  • A swan in the River Ouse at Lewes, East Sussex, converted into black and white with the Bibble raw conversion software
  • Snowy trees in February 2009 in New Malden, Surrey (my home town)
  • Sunset over the ruined West Pier in Brighton, Sussex
  • A coffee kiosk during the snow of February 2009, in Kingston on Thames, Surrey
  • A boat on the River Thames between Kingston and Richmond on Thames, Surrey
  • A view of Brighton from the Devil’s Dyke
  • Scenery around Ironbridge, Shropshire (on the south bank of the Severn), or the bridge itself and the village to its north
  • Somebody (!) drinking an expensive caffe latte in an organic café in Brighton

In response to complaints ([1], [2]) that WordPress users use plugins without giving due credit or saying thank you, here is a list of plugins I use on this blog, some of which have made my transition from Movable Type much easier and some of which have contributed to its general enrichment. Much appreciation to the authors:

  • Broken Link Checker by Janis Elsts
  • DoFollow by Denis de Bernardy: gets rid of the “nofollow” tag on links, so that legitimate sites are not denied search engine ratings
  • Possibly Related Recent Posts by Matt Martz
  • Sanitize permalink with undescores by Daniele Simonin - This allowed me to keep continuity with my old site by keeping most of my permalinks
  • Search Everything by Dan Cameron - Allows you to search comments, not just post content
  • Text Control by Jeff Minard - Much of my content, including this page, are formatted with Markdown, as was the case when I used MT; Markdown is a simplified formatting code which lets you use stars or underscores to give emphasis, and reduces the risk of leaving links incomplete. Text Control lets you use Markdown or any other simplified formatting code
  • Twitter Tools by Alex King - This is what’s behind the “IJ Tweets” panel on the left of the main page.
  • Brian’s Latest Comment - Displays recent comments grouped by the post they appear on