Musings of a Muslimah | Dua for my Daughter

Officially a teenager.

Dearest daughter

As you blossom year by year,
may your heart be filled with hope and feel no fear. If there is a time your eyes shed tears, always always remember – Allah swt’s help is near.

May He swt bless you with the best of everything in this life,
and may you never need to experience any pain or any strife.

But if you do then always stay strong,
inshaAllah it wont be there for too long.

Our duas are with you always,
as you live life in your own fearless way. May you always remember your Creator in everything you do and say.

May He swt bless you with confidence and wisdom,
may you always choose whats right. May you always have love and freedom,
imaan in your heart and light in your life.

May you be blessed with all that is good in this life and the next, may you flourish and continue to blossom, may you and your heart always be content.

Aameen.

Love always Mummy & Abbu 💖

Musings of a Mother | My beloved “her”.

Today I sat in her room and took a moment to remember her as a baby…as a toddler…as a small child. SubhanAllah! How the time has flown by!

I was having a super busy day trying to get up to date with the chores and had popped into her room to do something.

It was a rare opportunity I found to be able to just sit on her bed, stop and ponder. Alhamdulillah.

I looked around at her shelves, the notices she had clumsily stuck on her wardrobe (must buy her a cork board!) and her bits and pieces lying around.

Where once she had shelves filled with fairytales and stories about animals were now replaced with authors such as Snicket, Morpurgo and Horowitz. Books of mysteries and adventure.

Her toys had been exchanged for jewellery and stationary and complex pieces made with lego (yes, shes an absolute fan!). And there was not a “my little pony” in sight!

Where once had been her dolls house now lay a prayer mat and cushions she used as a little reading nook.

I felt sad. SubhanAllah.

In a blink of an eye her entire childhood had passed me by and now she was steadily (often moodily) transitioning into her teen years. MashaAllah.

I felt a mixture of sadness, anxiety and excitement. I guess that is parenting in a nutshell, sometimes remembering how they used to be, worrying constantly about anything and everything to do with them at present and on rare occasions feeling excited at the person they are becoming.

Our lives are so busy we sometimes forget that everything is changing including our own families.

As Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī once said, “this moment is all there is“.

A reminder to myself and then to others, dont forget to take these moments in and make them moments you and your loved ones will remember. Nothing lasts forever, this is the way of this life. Everything moves forward, one day our children will grow up and have their own lives inshaAllah, just as we grew into ours. Alhamdulillah.

To my beloved her, I miss those moments that have gone and I worry all the time about you and the challenges you face but I am so excited about the person you are growing into! Alhamdulillah.

May Allah swt always protect, guide and bless our children with success. May they always be happy, healthy and blessed with true imaan. 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!

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


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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!

Dolls and Daughters.


So I finally gave in to my 9 year old daughter yesterday when I bought her one of these “hijabibarbie” type dolls. 

For about the last three years or so I had refused to buy her one and had hoped she would “grow” out of wanting one. In my mind I didn’t want her growing up with this particular image of how she should look (she has far too many “idealistic images” already bombarding her via media and advertising!).

Don’t get me wrong she has her fair share of ragdolls, homemade style crocheted cuddly dolls and various others. Just not the tall, blonde, slim, fair, red lipped, out of proportion, plastic “barbie” types.

The other day however, we were out having a “mother and daughter” day and she saw some.

As expected she instantly spinned around , looked at me with her innocent little face and pleaded me with those lovely eyes of hers, mashaAllah laquwata illa billah.

If you’re a parent/ aunt/ uncle/ grandparent/ older sibling or anyone who spends time with young children then I’m pretty sure you know EXACTLY what I am talking about! 

My instant reaction was the same it has been on many occasions before- an immediate “dont even think about it!”

The poor girl was so confused as we walked away but this time a few steps later she demanded an explainaition.

“But WHY? Why do you hate these dolls?”

I looked at her and thought its time, she deserves an explainaition.

“Well, I just dont want you to think this is how you should look as you get older.”

“What do you mean?”, she looked genuinely confused.

“Well, i just dont want you to grow up thinking that this is how you should look- you know…with light skin, blue eyes or a skinny and very tall body and legs, because thats just not how Allah swt has made you and you shouldnt feel you need to be a certain way. You might end up feeling ungrateful towards Him amd you might not be happy with yourself”, I explained with a sense of responsibility maintaining eye contact the whole way through, a real serious look on my face. 

Well the look on her face was… well imagine the look a person might give when they think you have completely “lost the plot”.

“Mummy….”

“Yes darling?.”

“Its just a doll… Im just going to play with it, its just a toy!”, her “lovely” eyes rolling.

“Ok well if you put that way…”.

And so she got her doll, surprisingly they had different “shades” of dolls and ofcourse it helped that the doll was appropriately covered. 

However, this whole experience made me question my parenting. 

Had I been too harsh in my decisions of the past? 

Should I have had this conversation sooner to check her understanding? 

Had my failure in this aspect of parenting deprived her of many hours of fun?

Had my overthinking and protectiveness deprived my dear daughter part of a “normal” childhood experience?

One thing was for sure, I had underestimated that my daughter is now at an age where her sense of logic and intelligence has developed way more then I realised and it has since made me realise that I need to “discuss” issues more openly with her if I am to know what she actually thinks rather then just “lay down the law” and assume she wont understand. 

Another parenting lesson learnt.