Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Thursday, 23 September 2010
this post is to ask for advice and suggestions.
We are hoping to visit friends in Scotland this weekend. They have just moved to Glasgow, so we hope to spend a day there and then take them with us to Edinburgh so that we can spend another day there.
Any suggestions on where we should visit? I'm hoping to keep it both halal and child-friendly, so if you know either of the cities or visited and found something you loved, I would love to hear your suggestions.
Am off to pack everyone’s stuff, make sure everything is ready to keep everyone occupied in the car and get the food ready for tomorrow as we are hoping to leave as soon as I get home from work tomorrow. Oh, and I have to check the weather up there over the weekend and Google for things to do...funny how a trip for everyone else means getting in the car and having fun and something completely different for mum!
Of the ones below, I like the first and last the most.
I asked ICT to sort out my access from home and my brother-in-law kindly furnished me with a new laptop as my home computer regularly crashes and loses all of my work and documents. I took the laptop in for the ICT people to check the connection so that I didn’t find myself stuck at home with no access the next day meaning I would have to go into work. I also made sure I had something specific to do which I could do in one day to show for the time I worked from home.
It was nice, on the day, to wake an hour later in time to get the kids ready for school and drop them off to school (although seeing me at home, they were convinced it must be the weekend). Once I got back, it took me a while to get settled in. At work I have the bulk of my work done by 10am as I am a morning person. At home, I had just started by 10am so I had missed out on my most productive time period.
It also took me time to get comfortable with moving between my bedroom, computer table and the living room floor. The other thing that distracted me was the other people in the house and things that I needed to do at home. I felt inclined to hoover and cook lunch for my in-laws. This being the case I found I had to be very disciplined and manage my time so that anything I wanted to do had to wait until the hour i allocated for lunch.
I was lucky that my husband and in-laws were supportive and felt that I was at work and shouldn’t be bothered with lunch or disturbed. In other words, my day was treated as work time even though I was at home. Many women may find that because they are at home the people around them feel that they should get on with home-related tasks. Most likely we ourselves, myself included, feel that we should be doing domestic tasks when we are at home. Either way we have to weigh up how much work we are likely to get done.
Something else that was lovely, was being able to pick up my youngest from nursery at midday. It was good to talk to his teacher and ask how things are (I got a frown and “he’s very chatty”) and it was nice to feed him (your never quite happy when someone else does it and my kids always embarrass their gran by behaving as if she has been starving them). It was handy that he napped through the afternoon and I got the rest of my work done before I picked the older two children up from school.
In all, it was a good experience, but one that requires discipline and preparation. I also found that I had to concentrate a lot harder to be as productive as I can be at the office and I will need to get better at getting more done from home. I’m glad to have tried working from home though and will ask to be able to do it regularly as it means more flexibility for my husband, who works around me, and more time with my children insh’Allah.
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Sunday, 19 September 2010
After staying away from the internet for most of Ramadan and then having the computer crash after Eid, I have not been able to blog or reply to e-mails. Today my brother-in-law brought home a rather nice laptop which is now mine and which I hopefully will manage to keep away from the kids long enough to stop it crashing. I also hope to use it to connect to my work server which would mean I could work from home insh'Allah.
Staying away from the internet has had it's benefits, it can be a time-stealer if you are easily distracted like me and whilst I was waiting for the computer to be fixed, I managed to re-arrange and organise the house and pay a lot more attention to the children and what they are getting up to (mostly fighting and complaining, plus jumping on my bed at every opportunity).
I wanted to write up some of my notes from my time away during Ramadan insh'Allah if I get the chance and post, but in the meantime, three stories stand out from that time:
Three White Horses
My husband met a brother in the masjid who had reverted from Hinduism as had his two older sisters and his father. He told my husband what happened to him a short while after he reveretd. When he reverted he was scared to tell his mother but screwed up the courage to do so. On hearing him say he had become Muslim, she didn't get angry as he expected but told him about a dream she said she had one night before her children had been born. In the dream she said she heard the Muslim adhan (call to prayer) and then saw a white horse. She heard the adhaan again and then saw another white horse, she heard the adhaan a third time and then saw a third white horse. She said that when her two daughters became Muslim, she knew her son would too.
Tests and Sisterhood
Another, very sweet Chinese sister I met had become Muslim six months earlier. She had kept it secret from her strict Christian family until her father caught her praying tahajjud at 3am and put her straight out onto the street. Another sister in her town took her in on the request of a mutual friend and the sister had lived with the kind sister and her children for six months. The sister insisted that the new sister could stay as long as she needed to subhan'Allah. The new Sister was super keen to learn as much as possible about Islam and was learning the Quran in Arabic.
The Alternative Masjid
One very cool sister (think niqabi on a quadbike) told us about her revert husband's adventures as a new Muslim. When the brother first reverted he travelled around the country with some other new Muslim friends and visited different masjid's. One in particular caught their attention and they found it very beautiful. They were impressed at how the Quran was kept on a stand with great respect and all of the people had long beards. They began to pray salah in front of the stand and found there was soon a crowd of people around them. That was when they realised that they were in a Sikh Gurdwara and not a masjid! They made a very quick exit at this point.
Alhamdulillah, it was good to meet so many different people. There was another cool niqabi who drove her husband's truck, there was the alimah (scholar) who has newly wed to to a hafiz (someone who has memorised the Quran) and was head-over-heels in love. There was a Sister who had tried to conceive for 10 years only to go on Umrah (pilgrimage) and fall pregnant on her return subhan'Allah. I met a Polish Muslimah who spoke Arabic to her toddler daughter and a Pakistani Sister who married and came to the UK at 15 and encouraged her whole family to come closer to Islam.
Some of the things I learnt during this time were:
- Dawah is not always about preaching, but often about our own good behaviour, good manners, serving others, taking care of their needs and being sincere in our actions. After all, if we act like model Muslim's who live by the sunnah, who would not want to be like us?
- The foundation of everything is intention and we should check our intention at the beginning, end and middle of every action or good deed to ensure that we are doing it for Allah (SWT) only.
- Allah (SWT) does not let the sacrifices we make for him, no matter how small, go to waste. We will feel the effect of what we give up for Allah (SWT), or suffer in our love for Him, in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
I hunted down some nice boxes on the way home from work and set to work culling and organising my crafty bits. I managed to get the stack of paper and bits and pieces on the floor packed away and my little bureau organised:
I managed to hide away most of the things that had been sitting in view and getting covered in dust.
The big rainbow box has blank cards and envelopes, the burgundy box has finished cards. The small rainbow box holds all of my lettering and the pastel floral box is for 3D sticker and embellishment packs. The pink chest of draws is for all of my scrap paper (organised by colour) and the flat box on top of it holds all sorts of ribbon.
This little suitcase was my other favourite find and now houses my beads, so that I can take them anywhere around the house with me.
Thursday, 9 September 2010
Taqaballahu minna wa minkum.
Kullu am wa antum bi-khair.
May this Eid be full of blessings, barakah and joy for all of you insh'Allah.
The Night Preceding 'Eid-ul-Fitr'
It had been the practice of the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, that he would not sleep in the night preceding the day of Eid-ul-fitr. This night has been named in a Hadith as the Night of Reward (Lailatul Jaiza). Almighty bestows his rewards on those who have spent the month of Ramadan abiding by the dictates of Shari'ah, and all their prayers in this night are accepted. Therefore, it is desirable to perform nafl prayers in this night. The Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is reported to have said:
Whoever stands up (in worship) in the nights preceding the two Eids expecting rewards from his Lord, his heart will not die when the other hearts will die. (Ibn Majah)
To benefit from this opportunity, one should perform as much worship in this night as he can, and should pray for all his needs and desires.
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
This was me at 12.30 last night trying to get everything parcelled up to send out this morning. Gorgeous refused to fall asleep until 11pm because I was using his Spot the Dog book and he wanted it in bed with him.
We are fasting tomorrow, so Friday will definitely be Eid. Despite our sad news, I am looking forward to spending time with my lovely family (hope I didn't speak too soon!) and breaking bread with them.
Whilst I was away, my sisters called to say my grandfather had passed away. He was the last of my four grandparents and it was difficult being away from home, but the Sisters with me were so supportive and made dua for him as did the brothers at the masjid alhamdulillah. Mum came back from Pakistan a week before he died because her health meant that staying on would lead to her missing fasts. Her little sister came back the night before he passed away. Please do remember him and us in your dua’s.
I managed to get most of my Eid prep done before I went away with my sisters doing the rest for me (jazakh’Allah!). We will most likely be having a quiet Eid, spending time together and keeping each other positive insh’Allah.