Sunday 29 June 2014

Taking a Breath and Starting Again

Yesterday morning I had a miserable time, made worse by an argument with a Dr's receptionist that pushed me right to the edge.  I am a very honest and open person, I blog about how my real life is  - both the good times and the hard ones.

I am by nature upbeat, positive and happy, it's just how I am.  That's why this blog is called "Happy Muslim Mama", but when I have struggled, felt insecure or found things too tough, I write about them honestly.  I also write about how my faith has sustained me through all of these times.  Writing helps me by clearing my head and helping me to work through my thoughts, and occasionally venting.

One of my sisters read my post yesterday and thought maybe I should have written the post, but not pressed publish.  I disagree, I believe in telling a story as honestly as you can and the challenging times are as much a part of the story as the good ones.

The strange thing is that I am a bit of a turncoat when it comes to my feelings.  If I am ever sad, angry or down, it lasts for about as long as I have the chance to let it out and then passes like a cloud over the sun.  So as soon as I had published the post, I felt 100 times better and got on with my day - which involved more trips to the Dr, school, classes, chemist and mums.  In fact, giving in to my feeling of being fed up and just being done with all that I had to do, was the best thing I could have done.  Because as soon as I was done and handed over my affairs to Allah (SWT), He made my day get soooo much better and He turned things around for me.

I went to the kids school to pick Little Lady up for her DR's appointment and her teacher asked after me in the nicest way, sometimes that's all it takes - being treated with a little respect and kindness.

Then when we got to the Dr's surgery, the Dr that saw us turned out to be the nicest brother.  He welcomes us with salaam and called Little Lady "beti" (daughter) before chatting to her to put her at ease.  He checked her out thoroughly and explained carefully to us both what the problem was.  He prescribed her medication for what has been a long-standing issue for her, but which finally looks like it is being properly diagnosed and treated.  He was also very supportive and encouraging regarding options for her if she wanted to fast in the coming days.

I dropped her back at school and started making lunch and my neighbour dropped by, so I made shawarma for both of us - soft nan bread, grilled chicken all broken up, layers of  chilli sauce, ketchup and garlic mayo and a liberal layer of shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber finely sliced.  Washed down with cola which I usually try to avoid - it was seriously good and we had a good old chat.  Of the uncountable blessings from Allah (SWT), food is certainly one of my favourites.

I went for a walk and I found this gorgeous scarf for less than half price - perfect with a black abayah and my new favourite GOSH antique rose velvet touch lip liner which is a soft, easy to wear colour.

I have been after these round drop earrings since last year, but thought they were too expensive.  I found them for half the price and bought two different coloured sets of three, enough colours to go with pretty much most of my outfits and small enough to wear at home when hubby is back.  (Yes they are in colour order and grouped with the blues - I am very anal and put everything in colour order, that makes me happy too).

Whilst I was out, my mum popped round and left some clothes for me with my mum-in-law.  I've been wearing the same two or three tops and trousers in succession and even my loose abayah's are running out of space.  Coupled with constantly being too hot and uncomfortable, I was at my wits end.  She is a lovely seamstress, but doesn't like to sew any more because of her eyesight and sore hands.  She made and left me a very lightweight, cool abayah, two pairs of soft, wide and light cotton trousers in black and cream so they go with everything and this lovely tunic.  It is Irish linen, I like the print, it's long and loose enough to last me to the end of the pregnancy and best of all, I can feel the air through it and stop feeling like a big, damp mess.

On the way to pick up the kids from school, I stopped by the Islamic shop across the road and found these - Palestinian dates for Ramadan (you can see why this is important to me here).  It's been heartening to see too that lots of the main groceries near me are selling dates from Palestine, Tunisia and Jordan alongside those that are being boycotted because they are grown on illegal settlements.  Usually it seems that most Muslims here don't care, but seems like people are starting to get the message and retailers are responding to consumer trends and demand.

When I went to pick the kids up, about four of the mums I say hello to realised I was pregnant (it only took almost seven months for people to start realising, I think people just thought I was getting fat before then).  I got the nicest hugs and comments and it lifted my spirits.

Later in the evening, Shutterbug Sister popped by with fruit, juice and treats.  She has always looked out for me and calls me most days on the way home from work to ask if I want her to pick anything up from the shops.  Of all my family, she is probably the least irresponsible or careless  - but the most likely to take note when I said the same about my family in yesterdays post.  I have been craving fruit and cold juice of any kind and I am on a mission to get the kids eating more fruit and veg, so her treats were more than appreciated.

The same evening, mum called and asked to come round for dinner.  She usually makes extra on Saturday night and encourages us to come around, but as she didn't know if it would be Ramadan on Saturday, she made extra and invited us around.  Mum's food is my idea of soul food - she made pilau rice, chicken koftay (meatballs), chickpea and potato curry and mince lamb kebabs.  Not only did I and the kids really enjoy dinner, she packed us enough for lunch the next day. 

I've also been fretting that I haven't been able to see my new niece.  I went to visit my sister, but as the baby was still in hospital we weren't allowed to see her.  I don't drive and hubby isn't here and as it's Ramadan, I didn't think anyone would be going that I could cadge a lift with.  But Allah finds ways where the heart yearns.  I got the kindest offer to take me to see the baby as she is out of hospital now and not only did I, my mum, mum-in-law, sister and my two girls get picked up, we got dropped home too.  As Fashionista is an hours drive away, the person (my brilliant brother-in-law) drove four hours so that we could see the baby.  May Allah (SWT) fulfil all his needs and reward him for making so much effort for us.

In other news, after five months of absolutely no movement and scaring the living daylights out of me, this baby now has ants in it's pants and is behaving like Gorgeous - i.e. extremely boisterous, full of energy and very strong.  I'm exhausted by the end of the day of getting beaten up from the inside out - but extremely grateful for the movement.  Today and yesterday I have also had moments when I didn't feel pregnant - it was very strange just feeling normal - no heartburn, no pain, no chronic exhaustion, no breathlessness.  I even managed some of my prayers with relative ease compared to what I have experienced over the last seven months.

Little Lady has found her entrepreneurial spirit and seems to have started a small cottage industry.   These loom bands are massive amongst the kids right now, both boys and girls and all the local shops keep selling out.  

The girls have been making bracelets and selling them for 10p, LL decided to make football colours for the boys and shapes like butterflies, flowers, panda's and strawberries for the girls and is selling them for 50p-£1.  She has both of the neighbours girls (one 12 and the other 18) helping her and both of her brothers taking orders. I heard her telling someone she is only taking three orders at a time.  She even met a girl from school whilst we were shopping and sold her a strawberry for £1 which I didn't realise till later.  I suspect like most of these things, the whole trend will be over very suddenly in time for the next big thing.  But in the meantime, I am quite pleased to see the entrepreneurial spirit in my children, although I am confiscating the money because the last sales got spent on junk food.

Finally I am grateful to all of the lovely sisters who left kind comments, e-mailed me and made dua for me.  It means more than you can imagine and I count you amongst the any blessings Allah (SWT) has bestowed on me.

In my last post a few people mentioned that hubby should come back from Germany, where he is currently doing dawah work.  I don't agree.  I am proud of him and I am grateful to Allah (SWT) for giving us this opportunity.  I know it was hard for him to leave me, his mum and the kids and especially Darling who he adores.  But we believe that this faith came to us on the back of many sacrifices by the Sahabah RA (Companions of the Prophet SAW) and those that followed them and that the message of this faith should not stop with us.  So for that I believe we have to make some sacrifices too.

When I was a teenager, I read the following verse in the Quran:

"Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining al-ma`roof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are successful." ~ Quran, 3:104).

I thought at the time, how lucky are those in this group, that they would be promised success in this way.  Years later, when I started to see opportunities for dawah, I started to understand who these people might be and I pray that Allah (SWT) includes me and my family in this group.  And what better time to do this work that during Ramadan, and if I can support hubby, I can hope for a reward equal to his for taking care of his affairs whilst he is away and allowing him to do this work insh'Allah.  So certainly I will not be asking him to come back before the time period he has committed to.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Convey from me even if it is (only) one aayah.”  ~ Bukhaari, 3461

“Whoever calls others to guidance will have a reward like the rewards of those who follow him, without that detracting from their reward in any way.” ~ Muslim, 2674

“God, His angels and all those in the Heavens and on Earth, even ants in their ant-hills and fish in the water, call down blessings on those who instruct others in beneficial knowledge.” ~ Tirmidhi

“By Allah, if a single person is guided by Allah through you, it will be better for you than the best of camels.” - Bukhari

“By Allah, in who’s Hands is my soul, you will enjoin the good and prohibit the evil (or else), Allah will soon send upon you a punishment from Him, then you will call upon Him and He will not answer you.” ~ Tirmidhi

If you are grateful, I will certainly give you increase, but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe.” Al-Quran 14:7

"Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me." Al-Quran 2:152

Allah’s generosity is connected to gratitude, and gratitude is linked to increase in His generosity. The generosity of Allah will not stop increasing unless the gratitude of the servant ceases” — Ali ibn Abu Talib


  1. Anonymous29 June, 2014

    MashaAllah, Alhumdulillah so glad your day got better. Ramadan Mubarak x

    1. Anonymous29 June, 2014

      Glad your feeling better, things worked out and support is there.
      Thank you for writing this update. Happy Ramadan blessings to you and your family.

  2. Ramadan Mubarak to u and your family! (-:

  3. I have been subscribed to your blog for a while now and I want to thank you for yesterday's and today's posts.

  4. May Allah reward you for your openness and honesty, for sharing your very real feelings with so many women who experience those very same real feelings but hide them from others or feel ashamed. And you certainly highlighted the promise that after every hardship comes ease! May Allah reward you for every difficulty and stress while your hubby is away in the path of Allah - surely that is better than a life of nothing but ease! JazakAllah sister for your lovely blog.

  5. Salaam Sis,
    Alhamdhulilah. So glad that Allah (S.W.T) has made things easier for you. Like other sisters, I really admire your honesty in your posts. May Allah (S.W.T) bless you for all these meaningful sharing, and you will be my inspiration always. Lots of love and hugs!

  6. You've mentioned pilau quite a few times on the blog and I'm really curious to know how it's made in your family. Can you please post a recipe?? I could try making it for Iftar :)

  7. Anonymous01 July, 2014

    dear sister, you are a wonderful woman, able to appreciate your blessings, and not fear sharing your feelings of despair. your husband is lucky to have you, your children are lucky to have you, your family...i can go on. ;) you also have a wonderful talent as a writer. why don't you consider a career in this field instead? honest and refreshing blog as always. i hope to meet you too one day inshallah. :)