Friday 26 November 2010

Eid Party

We usually throw one Eid party a year for ladies and children but in the last year or two I had found these getting rowdy and moving away from my aim of providing a halal environment for my Muslimah friends to meet, enjoy and in some small way remember Allah (SWT):

Abu Hurairah and Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "When a group of people assemble for the remembrance of Allah, the angels surround them (with their wings), (Allah's) mercy envelops them, Sakinah, or tranquillity descends upon them and Allah makes a mention of them before those who are near Him.'' ~ narrated by Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Bayhaqi

I think between myself and my sisters we wanted to keep this Eid simple. Also, I found that when we have a rowdy Sisters party the kids get forgotten a bit as does any remembrance of Allah (SWT). So this time I decide we would have a smaller kids party.

I managed to keep the cost of the party to about £50 by using things I had in the house and trying to be creative. These bangles were mostly fromLittle Lady. She gets lots from both grandmothers and often outgrows them before she has even wore them (I am not kidding - the bangles I bought her for Eid-ul-Fitr wouldn't fit her by Eid-ul-Adha! This child will be towering over me soon insh'Allah - good job I like the idea of a tall daughter). Other belonged to me and my sisters. I wrapped them in cellophane to keep them together and for guests to take home at the end of the party.

Long-suffering Sister was kind enough to wrap the prizes for the party games including the endless layers required for the pass-the-parcel. We put together a table with the bangles, prizes and another basket with my henna design folder and some henna cones.

I had left over party loot boxes from last year which I dug out and filled with toys, stationary and sweets for the kids and toiletries, hair accessories, sweets, little soaps and candles and all sorts of random bits and peices I have accumulated over the year (I have a box on top of a cupboard and every time I find something I could use I throw it up into the box, when party time comes around, I take the box down and it is jam packed). I like the party boxes as a way to say thank you to guests for coming along, but they are only do-able if I keep the costs down.

I had to have a sweet bar or something similar just to play with the colours, but I wanted to avoid the table full of nothing but sugary sweets and e-numbers which send the kids crazy.

I opted for the kids of fruits and veg that my kids really like - strawberries, rasberries, pomodorino tomatoes, grape and carrot sticks. The first three were not cheap, particularly out of season, but the kids did eat some and I only needed one little box of each. (The pretty white crystallised sweets are sugar crystal lollies which look ever so pretty but just taste like mishri, an old fashioned south asian sweet we used to get as kids).

There were some sweets of course. Little Lady had lots of fun seperating the colours. Those are halal cola bottles in the little bucket of brown sweets, both mine and Little Ladies faves.

I managed to do my henna the night before the party, but Kooky Little Sis was kind enough to the little girls at the party.

The kids were hilarious - we managed to get through two pass the parcels and one game of musical chairs - with lots of sulks and tears - mainly on my kids part I have to admit. After the third game, I gave up and just handed the prizes out.
The food was fab, Umm Imran made a massive dish of tuna pasta, my neighbour bought along a tray of samosa's even though I only gave her about two hours notice for the party (I forgot all about her) and another friend brought a big pot of her delicious chicken biryani. There were also spring rolls, potato salad and slaw, fried chicken, wedges and fries. I would have taken pics but I was too busy serving (okay eating). Kooky has much better pics, if I manage to get them off her I will add to this post.
Girl Who Walks in the Rain gave me the coolest gift. Handmade too - okay maybe not by her, but you can definitely picture me in my black abaya and hijab sauntering down to the canteen with this little number in my hand.

N.B. thanks for the pasta Umm Imran - not only did we enjoy it at the party and parcel some out to friends to take home who wanted to try some, it came in handy the next day for unexpected guests and for one of the kids packed lunch for a trip the day after that - jazakh'Allah-khairun for the barakah filled food!

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Eid ul Adha 1431: Bangles and Sprinkles.

Alhamdulillah, this Eid really was about the kids. We had two lots around whose parents were on hajj.

The girls wore maxi dresses and rainbow bangles which we took them out to pick the night before. The boys wore white thobes over jeans (it was freezing yesterday - literally, I woke up to find the bins in my front garden covered in ice). No one stayed still long enough for me take reasonable pics. Little Lady ganged up with my little cousin and the two dissappeared into my room for most of the day.

That puzzle finally came in handy to keep the kids occuppied with my sisters also joining in.

I accumulated a serious sweet stash, including three boxes of Indian Sweets (I got another after I took this pic). Kooky Little Sister brought the Krispey Kreme donuts much to everyone's excitement - okay maybe especially mine. I managed three cream-filled numbers vefore I decided to have some shame and offer them round. Of course a fight broke out over the single one that had rainbow sprinkles.

Finally found a use for the lovely cake stand someone gifted me:

I had pretty bangles to wear, but they spent most of the day on the kitchen roll holder whilst I cooked or had my hands in the sink. I also did my make-up (as I was home) which I rarely get to do, then had to wash it off to make wudhu (always happens when I get it right for a change).

It was a busy but lovely day. The kids were happy, I confiscated any Eid-money over £5 so managed to take some loot, everyone was well fed (in about four or five shifts throughout the day as people came and went. Best of all was having my parents and sisters around for dinner. My sisters kindly washed the dishes for me in the evening (I should have taken a picture of the humungous pile) and helped clear the kitchen. I can tell you, I was happy but thoroughly exhausted and fell asleep whilst the kids were still up.

The kids have to go school today, but I will get dressed up and go to my mum's straight after. I will be heading over this morning to help her out and to swap Eid gifts with my sisters insh'Allah (their masjid is celebrating today), eat my mum's comfort food and put my feet up.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Eid-al-Adha 1431

Eid Mubarak everyone.

Busy making cupcakes and 6-hour rice pudding for breakfast.
Have the pots on the stove for dinner.
The kids were up very early and went crazy at the balloons we put up last night.
The whole family is coming to ours for lunch...and dinner!
Little Lady and my little cousin are ready with their mendhi cones, boy am I going to get harrassed today.

It's going to be a busy day, and a very happy one insh'Allah.
Will be taking pictures to post later.
Remember me in your dua's and may this be a day filled with happiness, blessings and sweetness for all of my brothers and sisters.
(Sis Washi, you never forget!)

Monday 15 November 2010

The Last Sermon of our Beloved Prophet (PBUH)

This sermon was delivered on the Ninth Day of Dhul Hijjah 10 A.H. in the 'Uranah valley of Mount Arafat' (in Mecca).

After praising, and thanking God he said:

"O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.

O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. God has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. God has judged that there shall be no interest and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn 'Abd'al Muttalib (Prophet's uncle) shall henceforth be waived...

Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under God's trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.

O People, listen to me in earnest, worship God, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.

Remember, one day you will appear before God and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O God, that I have conveyed your message to your people".


Eid and Simplicity

I usually get my Eid preparation started about a month before Eid day, but this year I have let things go a bit.

I have been discussing this with my husband and we both came to the conclusion that we need to reduce how much money we spend and manage our finances better. I have also realised that I spend a lot of money and give a lot of gifts to people to either please them or to assuage guilt over something. I realised that I am an adult and don’t need to indulge in these kinds of behaviours. So I have asked my sisters to keep it simple and not spend too much on me and my kids – buying gifts for so many people in one go becomes a burden and takes the joy out of Eid. On my part lots of people are getting handmade gifts and the kids are getting one gift each and one outfit for Eid day. I have not bought myself anything new – I am telling myself that Eid means wearing your best and not necessarily wearing everything new.

I still believe that my children should have something to show them how special a day Eid is (especially considering the Christmas ban – if you take something away you have to replace it with something better). But that doesn’t have to be large piles of gifts that are opened one after the other and then discarded. I will still decorate the house for them. I will make sure the excitement builds up in our house in the days before Eid. I will cook special food, I will invite family over and take the kids visiting. But I will also remind them that this day was given to us to celebrate because of Prophet Ibraheem’s (AS) willingness to sacrifice the one that was beloved to him for someone even more beloved to him. That we should think about how much Prophet Ibraheem (AS) loved Allah (SWT), how much Allah (SWT) loves us and how much love we should have for Allah (SWT). A day of celebration is wonderful when we have family, good food, our best clothes and gifts, but it is even more of a pleasure when we remember Allah (SWT) and our celebration has a sense of something not just fun but deeply good insh’Allah.

InCulture Parent Articles


InCulture Parent magazine have published two of my articles "Raising Good Muslims" and "Eid-ul-Adha Family Traditions"

Would be lovely if blog visitors could take a look and leave a comment.

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Bringing Back Focus

It’s been a while since I have posted properly and today after I was looking at some old blog posts I realised how lazy I have become recently. My first reaction was to think okay I need to start blogging properly. My second thought was to reflect on where this change has come from. I usually have periods of mad activity where I get through lots of different tasks and then I have lulls where I am disinclined to do anything.

This time is different though. I have seen a change in the way I think and approach the world and my work in it. Ramadan this year brought a wonderful opportunity for me to take a break from life and focus on my worship and on why I am here. I took most of the month of work and was lucky enough to have some really good people around me (and my husband) at that time. I came to the end of that blessed month with a new perspective on life. I realised that I could not look to the future as the time when I would reform myself, spend more time in prayer or prepare for the next life. I realised that no-one is promised the future to repent for the wrong things they have done or to make amends. The time to do those things has to be now insh’Allah.

I have cut back on my internet use to one hour per day. I am putting my etsy shop on hold until a time when I have free time to add items (which takes longer than actually making them sometimes!). I have stopped applying for jobs as I am fairly happy in my current role. The authority’s need to save huge amounts of money means that the service improvement/re-design team I work with has come in for massive demand from services. To be honest, the fact that I still have work in this climate is enough for me to be grateful about – things are looking very bad for a lot of colleagues. I aim to cut down to working four days in the new financial year (I have used most of my leave for this year, so would have to pay some back) and have mentioned this to my manager. Every day I am at work, I ask myself, when I look back at my life what will I have to show for it? Who will look at my life and sat “she did an excellent job in the office”?

Every time I start to do something – crafting, writing, blogging, surfing the net, I ask myself, what is the best way I could be using this time. The answer comes back – worship, remembrance, serving and enjoying my family, taking care of my home and trying to increase my knowledge of my faith. So much as I want to blog, I have stopped feeling guilty about the fact that I post less and do less. I don’t feel the urge to try and achieve and do so much all of the time. At the end of the day the question sticks out in my mind – “what is the worth of what you are doing?” What benefit will this task or action bring on the day when the actions and deeds you have accumulated really matter?

Home Sweet Home Sakinah

I was listening to this lecture on the Rights and Responsibilities of Marriage by Shaikh Hamza Yusuf and he mentions in the beginning of the lecture that in Arabic the word for home is “maskan”, which is the place of “sakina”. He goes onto explain that you have “harakat” (movement) and “sakanat” (stillness), therefore sakinah is about stillness and tranquillity. What we look for in the world is the sakinah or stillness , what we find on entering paradise is sakinah, hence the utterance of the dwellers of paradise of “salam” (peace) again and again. As men and women we are separated and incomplete, on coming together we find wholeness.

Parts of this lecture did make me blush I have to say, but it made home seem like such a wonderful place. I have always maintained that my home is my sanctuary, the place that I find freedom from the stresses of the world and the place where I can do and be whatever I want. As a Muslim it is the place where I am the lady of the house and where having the status of mother, I am given a rank by Allah (SWT) far higher than I often feel I deserve.

We have the power to make our homes whatever we want; a place of pain and sadness or a place of tranquillity and comfort. We can make our homes hell or heaven for our husbands and a place of happiness and learning children or somewhere they are desperate to get away from.

Alhamdulillah as Muslims we are so lucky that the day to day tasks we undertake are the same as everyone else, yet in our homes they become acts of worship. The mother waking in the night to tend to her child, the pregnant women patiently bearing her discomfort – both are mujahidah (warriors) in the sight of Islam. The lady of the house who prepares a meal for her family with love and care is in a state of ibadah (worship). The person who cleans their home and remembers Allah (SWT) at the same time is engaged in worship. Even the smallest act done for the sake of pleasing Allah (SWT) is ibadah.

If this is the blessing Allah (SWT) has showered on us, that even our smallest acts are worship and are imbued with purpose and good intention, is it any wonder that the home of Muslims who remember Allah (SWT) become places of sakeenah? What positive actions can you undertake today to make your home a place of peace and comfort for others?

Saturday 6 November 2010


I have been making these tasbih's in the evenings whilst I help the kid's do their homework (have been getting them to help me with the counting too!).

A few of these are already sold, I hope to get a few more ready to get onto my etsy shop insh'Allah. Apologies that this might be a bit late to get theese out to people by Eid, but they might be a good gift for the reurning Haji's in a few weeks time.