Musings of a Mother | Children & Ramadhan

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

Alhamdulillah I was asked to do a talk at a conference recently about how to motivate children about Ramadhan. So I did some research and put together a power point in preparation and thought it would be great to share it in a article format on here for others to access and  benefit from inshaAllah. I hope it makes it a little easier for mothers like myself to have relevant and useful information and ideas all in one place rather then having to scroll through pages and pages of the google search engine, especially if they are doing this for the very first time inshaAllah.

FOCUS

Question: How can we encourage children to make the most of Ramadhan? (In a easy, not too time consuming and inexpensive way!)

1) BEHAVIOUR

2) LEARNING

3) FUN!

But first…

INTENTIONS

It is narrated on the authority of Umar bin al-Khattab (RA), who said:

“I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW), say”:

“Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.“

Related by Bukhari & Muslim

INTENTION+MOTHERHOOD=IBADAH

A good action with the wrong intention will not get us any reward in the Hereafter.

But every little action we do such as changing nappies, feeding our children, even playing with them, if it is done with the intention of attaining Allah (swts) pleasure then we will be rewarded.

Therefore looking after our families is an act of ibadah.

1) BEHAVIOUR

…Think about your child/rens behaviour…

Q. What do you think needs to change/improve?

1) Behaviour – some examples…

  • co-operate with siblings
  • more charitable
  • be polite with siblings
  • be more helpful
  • share with others
  • follow instructions
  • practice the sunnah more
  • less screen time
  • compliment others more
  • be more organised

1)BEHAVIOUR – HOW? DAILY DEED POT (all ages)

Have a pot/box/envelope (whatever works for you) and have different “deeds” written on strips of paper inside. Pull out a strip each day and do the deed (this is also great for adults too). For ready to cut out deeds, visit:

http://intheplayroom.co.uk/2015/06/09/30-days-of-good-deeds-for-a-ramadan-jar/

1)BEHAVIOUR – HOW? ACCOUNTABILITY (all ages)

At the end of the day, get you child to “account” for each day, to self-reflect on how their day was.

1.What was good about it?

2.What could they have done better?

Note: this is something we should also be doing, so why not try to instil this from a young age?

1) BEHAVIOUR – HOW? ACCOUNTABILITY (all ages)

  • Diary
  • Post its pinned onto a board
  • Discussion
  • Evaluation worksheets
  • Routine/behaviour charts
  • Sticker charts and stickers

2) LEARNING

…Think about your child/rens learning…

Q. What do you want them to learn in Ramadan?

2)LEARNING – Some examples…

  • Fasting
  • Seerah
  • Recitation of Quran
  • Learning Arabic
  • Learning about zakah
  • Memorisation of duas/surahs
  • Learning about Laylatul Qadr
  • Modest dress/hijab
  • Correcting their tajweed
  • Learning about salah
  • Practising their salah
  • Learning about the revelation of the Quran

2)LEARNING

Choose 1 area and focus on that all the way through Ramadan or choose 3 areas and focus on each every 10 days:

Eg: for my 6 year old son:

First 10 days: Fasting

Next 10 days: Salah

Last 10 days: Laylatul Qadr

Or if you are feeling really ambitious, do focus on something different each day?!!

2)LEARNING – HOW? BOOKS/STORYTELLING

https://www.azharacademy.com/Scripts/default.asp

http://www.muslimchildrensbooks.co.uk/

https://www.simplyislam.com/products/kids-corner/Children-Books

http://www.kubepublishing.com/children/

2)LEARNING – HOW? WEBSITES

http://www.kiddyhouse.com/Ramadan/

http://www.primarygames.com/holidays/ramadan/games.htm

http://www.islamicplayground.com/scripts/prodview.asp?idproduct=60

These and other websites include stories, games, tasks, wordsearch, nasheeds, talks for children and much more!

2)LEARNING – HOW? SOME OTHER IDEAS…

1.SET A DAILY HALAQA TIME

2.AUTOMATIC REMINDERS ON GADGETS

3.SPENDING TIME TOGETHER

4.DUA/SURAH TICK LIST

5.AT THE MASJID

6.TALKS ONLINE (YOUTUBE)

7.COURSES THEY/YOU CAN ATTEND

3) FUN!!!

…Think about what your child/ren most enjoy…

Q. What fun ways can you use to inspire them in Ramadan?

3) FUN – Some examples…

SUPER EASY LITTLE EFFORT MORE EFFORT
COLOURING IN PLAY DOUGH RECYCLING
STORY WRITING PUZZLES HAND PRINTING
READING PUPPET PLAY MAKING PUPPETS
WRITING COLLAGE FOAM PRINTING
ONLINE GAMES ROLE PLAY FINGER PAINTING
MAKE BELIEVE RAMADAN/EID CARDS/DECORATIONS NO BAKE CLAY
WORKSHEETS BOARD GAMES CREATE A GAME

3) FUN – HOW?

ACTIVITY AND CRAFT IDEA BOOKS

http://www.azharacademy.com/scripts/prodList.asp?idCategory=137

http://amuslimchildisborn.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/ramadan-activity-book-for-kids.html

WEBSITES WITH PLANNED ACTIVITIES AND IDEAS

http://modestmunchies.com/49-ways-to-get-kids-involved-in-ramadan/

https://jeddahmom.com/2015/06/printable-activities-and-crafts-for-ramadan/

WEBSITES WITH PRINTABLE WORKSHEETS

http://www.muslimkidsdigest.com/free-muslim-coloring-book-for-kids/

https://gb.education.com/worksheets/ramadan/

WEBSITES THAT SELL GAMES, TOYS AND PUZZLES ETC

http://www.azharacademy.com/scripts/prodList.asp?idCategory=137

https://www.anafiya.com/collections/kids-islamic-toys

https://www.ibraheemtoyhouse.com/product-category/ramadan-2018/

http://darussalam.com/children-section/games-and-toys.html

DISCUSS IDEAS WITH FRIENDS/RELATIVES

IMPORTANT REMINDER…

A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said: Your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man asked again, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your father. (Bukhari, Muslim).

Alhamdulillah sisters, we have been granted this great status and it is a blessing and honour, so use your blessed position to seek help from the One who has honoured you.

DUA! DUA! DUA! Ask help from Allah swt for EVERY little thing including being successful in motivating and encouraging our children, not just for Ramadhan but for the rest of their lives.

May Allah swt enable us to be the best we can be as parents to our children and empower our children to become the best of their generation. Aameen!

Please note I have not checked above websites in depth, I strongly advise you to do so before buying/trying etc.

Musings of a Muslimah | Divorce

Recently I attended a short course where I bumped into an ex-student of mine from many years ago.

Her three younger sisters had also been students of mine.

I saw her arrive and as I always do with all my ex-students, looked forward to catching up with her once the course ended.

I approached her and joked if she still remembered me. After asking about how she was I moved onto asking about her sisters. I had remembered that one had married abroad a few years ago and enquired about her.

She looked a little embarrassed to answer, her cheeks blushing, her tone of voice changing and quietly said, “shes ok…she got divorced and came back”. I almost had to lip read it was that quiet…

Honestly, I didn’t flinch, in all my years of teaching and volunteering I don’t really think theres anything that fazes me anymore, but to be honest, why should it? It is not my business and it should not be anyone else’s.

I just responded with further questions about children and was so happy to hear her sister had two, mashaAllah.

I said my salaams and left to speak with others. Later on, I was musing about our conversation and remembering how embarrassed she was.

In reflection, I wish I had said something more to her about it, I wish I had spoken up and said, “don’t feel embarrassed, sometimes there just is no other way and its for the best”.

But “would’ve, should’ve or could’ve said” is pointless if its not said in the right moment.

My point is when we hear of others in such situations, we need to do less to make them feel like outcasts and more to make them feel empowered.

No one chooses divorce easily and though its not an ideal for most families, Islamically its usually a last resort and necessary for all parties involved.

So why is it that families are embarrassed if a member gets divorced? Or that communities make it ok to treat a divorcee as an outcast especially when it comes to remarrying?

If we believe we are all descendants of Prophet Adam A.S and Hawa A.S, this makes us brothers and sisters in humanity and that makes US responsible for each OTHER, so why do we make some individuals lives miserable simply due to their marital status, sometimes not even stopping at the individual but also labelling their families.

This leads me to share another incident that occurred a few days later, and that was of a friend sharing with me how she had received a promising marriage proposal only to have turned it down after her beloved mother was “interrogated” by the grooms mother as to why she was divorced!

SubhanAllah! I mean really!? What has her mothers marital status got to do with her own prospective marriage? I really thought that times have changed and that the stigma attached to divorce was disappearing.

Unfortunately no.

I was devastated to see the effect it had on my friend and her beloved mother, and though her mother said she expected it from people, I don’t see how those questions were acceptable.

Islam allows for divorce when marriages are no longer working as marriages and there are clear guidelines provided which are meant to give justice with kindness between the parties involved in a fair and civil manner.

However, communities just love rubbing it in, don’t they? Its like a stain that in their eyes can never be washed away but that is the peoples way of looking at it and not from our beautiful teachings in our religion of Islam at all.

Alhamdulillah for Islam, and alhamdulillah for the Holy Quran and the clear prophetic guidance that has been granted to us.

May Allah swt make us of those He swt is pleased with, enable us to treat others in the way that pleases Him swt the most, that is with love, open minds, understanding and kindness. Aameen.

Musings of a mother

Whilst sorting through some files, I came across some old photographs of our young children as babies and my husband and I started going through them and reminiscing as you do…

After “oooing” and “aaahing”, he turns to me and says “you did good mashaAllah”.

I should’ve felt pleased or somewhat proud but instead I just felt anxious.

I had a flashback of a conversation with a friend who is a parent of teenagers telling me, “believe me, this is the easy part!”, responding to my complaints about lack of sleep and exhaustion. “The older they get, the harder it becomes…”

Parenting is a challenging journey that seems never-ending, a journey with many highs and lows. But if they grow into believers who are caring human beings, kind to others and humble, then inshaAllah it will be all worth it.

May Allah swt make parenting easy for us, guide us to be the best of parents and bless our youth to be the best of children. Aameen.

Musings of a daughter.

بِسْمِاللَّهِالرَّحْمَنِالرَّحِيم “… Rabbi irhamhuma kama rabbayanee sagheeran”

“My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.” [Quran; Surah Al-Isra, Verse 24]

The Baobab Tree, also known as the “Tree of Life”. Photo taken by myself in Fuengirola zoo , Malaga, Spain 2017

Just over two years ago my dear father suffered a major heart attack, it was one of the scariest days of our lives. Alhamdulillah, praise is to Allah swt that blessed my father with a full recovery.

My beloved mother suffered a fall last year in which she fractured her hip and had to have a hip replacement operation, alhamdulillah, praise be to Allah swt, her recovery has been steady and slow but she has managed to remain independent.

Yesterday, we had another scare and my dear father was taken to hospital. Alhamdulillah it wasn’t as serious as we thought it might be and he was sent home today.

My blessed parents are in their 70’s and every day I am grateful that they are with us. May Allah swt bless them with true imaan, good health, wealth and much happiness. May Allah swt protect them from all evil and hardship. Aameen.

For many, parents are the glue that hold a family together. Like the roots of a strong tree that bares beautiful fruits and flowers. The “blessing” that parents are, make any special occasion or family event incomplete without them.

But sometimes in our own day to day life we become so busy that we forget to tend to that “blessing” and we unknowingly start to neglect the roots of the tree from which our own life has grown from. Even when we don’t mean to.

Its important to remind ourselves that time will not stop for anyone.

Our life is limited on this Earth and sometimes it feels like the days are dizzily disappearing into weeks that are fizzling fast out into months. Its no excuse but with a stressful job that requires a lot more energy and time that it really doesn’t pay enough for, and a young family that has never-ending needs. Time is something I feel I just don’t have, MOST of the time.

But, observing my dear mother this morning, slowly and purposefully making chicken soup with her arthritic riddled, rickety hands for my dear father to have on his return from the hospital. I realised I have to make the time.

We all do. To collect as many blessings as we can, we have to “unbusy” ourselves to save our souls from future regret. We have to tend to the roots of the tree, water it and look after it.

As children we have the best of intentions, and we do try our best and we can only do our best. So lets make sure we are doing just that inshaAllah. If that means other things have to take a back seat then so be it.

Time is limited, just pick and prioritise. Call your parents more often, visit them regularly, buy them gifts especially flowers and always pray for them. Look after that tree!

“Rabbana ighfir lee waliwalidayya walilmumineena yawma yaqoomu alhisabu”
“Our L
forgive me and my parents, and (all) the believers on the Day when the reckoning will be established.” [Quran: Surah Ibrahim, Verse 41]

May Alla
ect our parents from all harm and evil, bless them with the best of everything in this world and the Hereafter and reward them for all they did for us. Aameen ❤️

Musings on “me” time.

I am a mother of three young children, I have a stressful job as a teacher, I have various other family responsibilities on a weekly basis and I have hardly any time to myself.

If I do find some time during the week after the children have gone to bed and the chores are done for the day (well most of them)… I find that I am usually torn between some type of screen time or sleep.

The latter ALWAYS takes over and wins because like a lot of busy working mothers I am absolutely shattered. The word “exhausted” sometimes seems like understatement of the year!

However, today I was treated to a lie in (subhanAllah I cannot remember the last time I actually had one). I woke up to a quiet home, I was able to shower without anyone interrupting me or asking “how long I was going to be?”, I was able to perform my afternoon prayers in peace without a little one climbing over me or trying to get my attention. I ate breakfast without anyone wanting me to share with them and I am now sitting with my feet up writing this blog post.

What I have just described, many take for granted. Once upon a time, before marriage, I also took these simple things for granted. After marriage, in my early motherhood years when I did get some “me” time I would be consumed with guilt. It felt as if every single minute of my life was reserved for my family or work.

But after 13 years I have learned that if I don’t look after myself I wont be able to look after those I am responsible for effectively either.

Whilst some people might think “me” time has to be a luxurious bubble bath, a day at some spa or some pre-planned extravagant treat, for me it is the above and I relish every moment of it.

“Me” time is different for everyone and in order to achieve it sometimes the help of family or friends is needed. I am grateful alhamdulillah, that I have a husband who “fathers up” and does his thing so that I can do mine, mashaAllah.

This is the true beauty of Islam, it teaches us that EVERYONE has an important role to play and if both husband and wife understand this and work towards it then it will help the whole family to thrive in the long-run inshaAllah.

May Allah swt reward all husbands who understand and follow the way of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Aameen.

In Islam we are taught that our bodies are a trust from Allah swt and they also have a right over us which means we have to look after our physical, mental and emotional state in order to live a quality of life that is enjoyable and effective as servants of our Creator Allah swt.

We all work hard and we deserve rest and in fact if we think about it, it is actually an Islamic right that we are fulfilling so lets not feel guilty about it inshaAllah.

Alhamdulillah for all our blessings, in every changing phase of our lives we shouldn’t take anything for granted including “me” time, so enjoy it- whatever it is inshaAllah!

A Handful of Earth: Musings of a Muslimah

Alhamdulillah I am here, sitting on a beautiful beach in a foreign country, a cool breeze cutting through what otherwise would’ve been 30 degree heat. The noise of my family and others having fun in the background, the sea waves crashing gently onto the shore. It feels like the perfect place for me to be in, alhamdulillah.

As I relax on the sun-lounger I scoop up a handful of earth, stare at the infinite grains of sand, each one a different shape and shade. And I think about how we came into existence.

SubhanAllah. A truly amazing thing to wonder about and so important to remind ourselves.

‎إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى خَلَقَ آدَمَ مِنْ قَبْضَةٍ قَبَضَهَا مِنْ جَمِيعِ الْأَرْضِ فَجَاءَ بَنُو آدَمَ عَلَى قَدْرِ الْأَرْضِ فَجَاءَ مِنْهُمْ الْأَحْمَرُ وَالْأَبْيَضُ وَالْأَسْوَدُ وَبَيْنَ ذَلِكَ وَالسَّهْلُ وَالْحَزْنُ وَالْخَبِيثُ وَالطَّيِّبُ

“Verily, Allah the Exalted created Adam from a handful which He took from the earth, so the children of Adam come in accordance with the earth. Some come with red skin, white skin, or black skin and whatever is in between: thin, thick, dirty, and clean.”

Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2955

Alhamdulillah for Islam, a religion of peace and unity.

A religion that recognises and celebrates race and diversity but does not see a difference of colour. 

All praise is due to Allah swt, alhamdulillah!

‎وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْعَالِمِينَ

“Among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Verily, in that are signs for people of knowledge.”

The Quran 30:22

Some people however, claim not to be racist and yet when it comes to their own business dealings or perhaps a marriage proposal or any other personal matter, they are suddenly “weary”.

Why are muslims “weary” when it comes to personal matters. Where is the trust and tawaqul (hope in Allah swt)? 

I have witnessed this “undercover” (and sometimes blatant) racism within the muslim community far too many times and yet we are clearly told in the Quran by our Creator Allah swt as well as taught extremely clearly by our beloved Prophet Muhammad S.A.W that any kind of discrimination related to race is prohibited (haram).

Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

‎انْظُرْ فَإِنَّكَ لَيْسَ بِخَيْرٍ مِنْ أَحْمَرَ وَلَا أَسْوَدَ إِلَّا أَنْ تَفْضُلَهُ بِتَقْوَى

“Behold! Verily, there is no good in red skin or black skin, but rather only by virtue of righteousness.”

Musnad Ahmad 20885

The above hadith is clear in teaching us that we should not judge someone by the colour of their skin but look closely at their character. 

So why is that over 1400 years later some muslims still think their race is more superior than others, whether it be Arab, Pakistani, Indian or any other. They think themselves above others purely because of cultural background. 

I have personally experienced racism from within my own community and I am fed up of it. 

Enough is enough! 

Attitudes need to change and judgements need to made purely on a persons character and behaviour NOT the shade of their skin colour, what language they speak or where they originate from.

Allah says to us:

‎يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

“O people, We have created you male and female and made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most noble of you to Allah is the most righteous of you. Verily, Allah is knowing and aware.”
The Quran 49:13

Alhamdulillah for Islam.

A religion where every race is welcome but where no one is judged by the colour of their skin. 

Alhamdulillah!

May Allah swt guide us, open up our hearts, save us from discriminating against others on the basis of race and skin colour and enable us to become His perfect slaves. Aameen. 

http://www.modernmuslimahmusings.com

We are here! Spain


Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alameen

My family and I made it! Finally! This journey has had many many tests so far (I will not bore you with the details), but honestly it has been extremely challenging and all I can do is to remind myself…

“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear.”

The Quran 2:286

May Allah swt make the rest of our visit easy, safe, enjoyable and return us with a renewed and strengthened imaan. Aameen.

“Verily, with every hardship there is ease.”

The Quran 94:6


http://www.modernmuslimahmusings.com



Family holiday to Spain : Day 1

So we all woke up bright and early, left on time, checked in and went to board the flight and were told we had missed our flight! 

I couldn’t believe the words I was hearing…I actually thought I had not woken up and was having some sort of nightmare, I had to check that I was awake and that this was happening. 

To top it all, just looking at my children’s deeply disappointed faces was the tipping point for me and I shed a few tears. 

SubhanAllah, you hear about these things happening to other people but when it happens to you it just seems so surreal.

Believe me when I tell you that planning, preparing and packing for a family with three young children is no easy task. My instant thought was this cant be happening. My second thought was how did this happen? And my third was how much money are we going to lose? (Yes, you guessed it, quite a bit). ‎

اِنّا لِله وَاِنّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْن

Then we waited over 3 hours at the customer services desk while my husband and I took turns to look after the children, mainly the youngest who was very quickly starting to lose his patience. 

It. Was. Not. Easy.

We were tired, the queue was neverending, we were surrounded by really annoyed people, the children were really upset , our youngest kept having a meltdown every 10 minutes that lasted for about 20 minutes…

It was a real test of patience.

Alhamdulillah, all glory is to Allah swt, we made it to the front of the counter and managed to rebook for tickets to fly out inshaAllah in two days time, and as we were going to go for two weeks, inshaAllah it would still be ok. 

We made our way home after about 5 hours at the airport accompanied by a toddler tantrum that lasted three quarters of the way. 

Thumping headache – understatement of the year…

However, as I write this, it makes me think about all the positives…subhanAllah you probably think there aren’t any after that! But alhamdulillah I would like to share them inshaAllah and I hope these words might resonate the next time you are going through a hardship. More importantly I hope they become engrained in my own memory as a reminder.

1. When we were initially told we had missed our flight, neither of us blamed each other. You might think well “why would you?”, but usually in challenging situations the “blame game” always gets played. Alhamdulillah this time it didnt and I think this set the foundation of utmost patience during this testing time.

2. When we had to queue up at the customer services, we took turns and worked as a team to see to the needs of the children. In this way not only did we manage to sort out our tickets but also managed to get all our luggage back quite quickly (others who had been with us had still not found their luggage hours later). Again you might think “isn’t that what anyone else would do?”. Well yes, probably but in some cases some couples might argue and out of vengeance make each others lives a little more difficult. 

3. I think out of all of this the financial hit on us has been the worse part but as I explained to the husband (I surprised myself by saying this quite soon after we were told), that this is all from Allah swt. At the end of the day, as muslims if we believe in Qadr/destiny then we have to accept that this is all part of Allah swt’s plans for us, and even though we don’t understand it, we have to believe that there is goodness in this situation, short term and long term. This reminder helped him but deep down I think I was saying it to myself, and I feel that it was this that kept me calm and patient throughout this ordeal.

4. Coincidentally, we made an agreement yesterday, and it was basically that  no matter what happens we will not get into an argument of any sort this holiday. Now again, you might think “why does that even need to be said in a marriage, its natural right?”. When we made the agreement, we were applying it to actually being on holiday, getting there was assumed. However, perhaps having said those words and made that agreement actually helped to remind and reinstate something that is always taken for granted especially in marriage. But lets face it, we can all do with reminders, and thats not just reminding our spouses but actually ourselves! 

5. As muslims, we believe that sometimes hardships and trials are averted through the giving of charity, or someones dua/prayer for you and ultimately Allah swt’s mercy. I really do believe that something much worse and perhaps unthinkable was averted and instead we were put through this test, a test more bearable. As I mentioned this to my husband, I also said that, the day you find out what danger was averted, you’ll wish that you hadn’t complained at all and you will feel grateful for it.

6. Lastly, if anything, I would like to hope that this experience has strengthened our marriage more inshaAllah. And more importantly I would like to hope that this trial and challenging experience has strengthened our imaan and relationship with Almighty Allah swt. 

And if that is the case inshaAllah, then it was worth every single tear shed, tantrum thrown, extra expenses and moments of difficulty.

Alhamdulillah!

اللَّهُمَّ لَا سَهْلَ إِلَّا مَا جَعَلْتَهُ سَهْلًا ، وَأَنْتَ تَجْعَلُ الْحَزْنَ إِذَا شِئْتَ سَهْلًا

Transliteration : allaahumma laa sahla illaa maa ja‛altahu sahlan, wa anta taj‛al-ul-ḥazna idhaa shi’ta sahlan

Translation : O Allah, there is no ease except in that which You have made easy, and You make the difficulty, if You wish, easy.

Aameen

Sources: Ibn Hibban in his Sahih #327 and Ibn As-Sunni #351.

I look forward to sharing our holiday  experiences with you soon inshaAllah. 

Birthdays

To celebrate or not? 

I have found fragments of evidence that suggest my parents did celebrate our birthdays with small family gatherings and home made cakes.

However, as we grew older and my parents became more interested in Islam, the notion that birthdays were not a celebration from Islam were embedded into us and we were deprived of further celebratory gatherings and more importantly cake!

Not that we minded much, but at times it did pinch a little especially in my teen years when friends would talk about gifts received or birthday treat outings.

However, as I got older and became more interested in Islam I began to appreciate that birthdays were far from celebratory events. If anything, for me personally, they became and still are dates of regret, where I ponder and question myself, another year past, another 365 days gone, what have I achieved? How often did I please my Creator in those 8760 hours? 

And the day passing usually becomes a reminder of my death date approaching nearer and my life getting shorter.

I know… so depressing, right? But so morbidly truthful.

People who do celebrate and go all out may argue that its quite the opposite, a day of reflection on how much has been achieved. 

Nope. Not convinced at all.

However, since my children have become a little older and understand the concept of birthdays, I didnt want to deprive them completely.

We still do not celebrate but we always make a point of making a really BIG deal on the two Eid celebrations of Eid-Ul-Adha and Eid-Ul-Fitr. 

Another idea I had about a year ago was the idea of marking their birthday dates with a fundraising project. 

Seeing as none of us could get away with being reminded its our birthday via family, friends and society, I thought why deny it? Why pretend it doesn’t exist? 

“Ok so yes your birthday is coming up…so lets do something special for someone else…”. 

After all, as muslim, we should appreciate and be grateful for all Allah swt had blessed us with and given us, why not give something back? As we know, for muslims, charity is a huge part of our faith.

“Believe in Allaah and His Messenger (Muhammad), and spend of that whereof He has made you trustees. And such of you as believe and spend (in Allaah’s way), theirs will be a great reward”
[al-Hadeed 57:7] 

I also think I was being a little selfish when I thought up this idea, I hope that inshaAllah my children will use these times of the year to do something (big or small) for charity as a habit which inshaAllah will become a sadaqah jariyah, a continued charity for us, their parents even after we have left this life. 

Don’t get me wrong, I mean I wouldn’t stop my children from partaking in other peoples birthday gatherings (that would be just cruel) and I have nothing personal against anyone who does celebrate but I really believe that by explaining our beliefs to our children and then finding a more meaningful alternative will really enrich their lives inshaAllah. And that they will attain Allah swt’s pleasure and reward for themselves and inshaAllah for us their parents!

If you are interested in doing a charity project with your children (either as an alternative to birthdays or just because…) then here are some ideas to get you started inshaAllah:

1. Bake some goodies together and gift them to your neighbours (muslim and non-muslim). Not only is this a charity in terms of kindness but it will increase love and understanding within the community. Or have a mini bake sale and donate money to charity.

2. Get the children to ask family and friends to donate money for a local charity or food shelter, then take the children shopping and get them to donate that food. When children experience hands on the collection, buying and donating of food and groceries, they will appreciate the cost of things and also come to understand that poverty is not restricted to “other poorer countries”. SubhanAllah so many people are living below the poverty line in our own cities, we should do what we can to help them too.

3. Create a online charity fundraising page via one of the many online charity pages such as btmydonate, justgiving or crowdfunding. And get the children to collect funds or encourage people to donate directly online.

4. Go litter picking with the children and encourage family and friends to help too(wearing appropriate and protective clothing ofcourse). Not only is this a charitable act but its also great for the environment and also a great form of dawah too!

5. Discuss and agree an activity with your child/children that they would like to do, it could be educational such as memorise a dua, surah or prayer, or a challenge such as a 24 hour silence or even something fun such as dress up as something and do a mile walk. Then encourage family and friends to sponsor them and then donate.

6. Get your children to ask friends and family to donate money and buy toys and gifts, make home made get well cards or cards with comforting messages and get them to gift them to a local hospital, hospice or care home.

7. Make a “sadaqah/charity” box and encourage your children to save money the whole year round, and donate to a particular charity or buy needed items for someone in need and gift it to them.

 It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah said: ‘Spend, O son(people) of Adam, and I shall spend on you.’” 

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5073; Muslim, 993. 

I hope these ideas help and if you look online you are bound to find many more! Just remember no effort is too small, you will be teaching your children the invaluable lesson of being generous and selfless, your bond with your children will strengthen by doing something as a family project and they will learn life lessons that will continue to benefit them, you and future generations inshaAllah.  

May Allah swt enable us to love, nurture and teach our children in a way that is best for them and us and in a way that benefits us all in this life and the Hereafter. 
Aameen.

Slow down! 

I don’t understand why some parents are so impatient for their little ones to grow up? “Cant wait until he’s weaned… Can’t wait until she’s walking…Can’t wait until he starts school…Can’t wait until she graduates…”
Feels like yesterday we were dreaming and hoping for each one of ours…
Feels like yesterday I had each one close to my heart, two hearts beating in one body…
Feels like yesterday we brought each one home from the hospital…
Everything feels like yesterday…
They are growing too fast….way too fast…
Wish ours would stay as they are…
☹️

May Allah swt enable us all to enjoy and appreciate every single moment (easy and challenging) with our children and love and nurture them in the way Allah swt wants us to and is most pleased with. Aameen!