Sunday 11 September 2016

Eid-al-Adha 2016/1437: Eid Mubarak

Eid Mubarak everyone.  Taqabbal Allahu Minna Wa Minkum (May Allah accept it from you and us).

I hope everyone had a happy, peaceful and blessed Eid insh'Allah.  

Hajj Mubarak to those lucky enough to be invited by Allah (SWT) to His sacred house this year.  I hope your dua's are accepted and that you attain a complete and accepted hajj insh'Allah.

Hajj 2016/1437: The Day of Arafat and the Last Sermon

I have posted this before, but the last sermon of our beloved Prophet (Sallahu Alaihi Wassalam), delivered on the 9th day of Hajj at the plain of Arafat, never fails to move me to tears. Every time I read it, I find something new in it and every time I read it, I marvel at the beauty, justice and sheer goodness in it.  I make dua that these words enter the hearts of all Muslims and that we all are blessed with the desire to implement with them.

“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 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 a trust from God 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, perform your five daily prayers, fast during the month of Ramadan, and offer Zakat. Perform Hajj if you have the means.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; white has no superiority over black, nor does a black have any superiority over white; [none have superiority over another] 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 for 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 it may be that 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.”

The beloved Prophet completed his Final Sermon, and upon it, near the summit of Arafat, the revelation came down:

“…This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My Grace upon you, and have chosen Islam for you as your religion…” (Quran 5:3)

My thoughts today are with my brothers and sisters in Arafat who will have spent the day with their arms raised in dua (supplication) and with hopes of their sins being forgiven. May Allah (SWT) accept their deeds and their dua's insh'Allah. Ameen.

The Prophet (Sallahu Alaihi Wassalam) said: "There is no day on which Allah frees more of His slaves from Fire than the Day of Arafat, and He verily draws near, then boasts of them before the angels, saying: ‘What do they seek?’” [ Hadith Muslim].

Friday 9 September 2016

Enforced Minimalism

I have long been attracted by minimalism. It is one of my life goals to give away what I have and have next to nothing by the time I die. A nice thought, but in reality I find myself collecting all sorts of things: gifts, stationary, jewellery, craft supplies. Five children bring their own wealth of toys, clothing and school supplies. My mum-in-law visits every year, so keeps some of her stuff here and I still have bags and drawers of things other in-laws have left here. As time has gone by I have found myself feeling as if I am being buried under stuff and as if managing and tidying it takes up all of my time. Continuous attempts to declutter and dozens of bags dropped off to the charity shop or cargo’ed to family in Pakistan seem to have limited effect. My mum-in-law also dislikes waste and is adept at reusing and upcycling items, so I sometimes have to sneak things out to the charity shop before she spots them.

This week we started building work in our home to create bedrooms in our loft. Initially this was mostly external and we were supposed to carry on staying in the bedrooms. My husband decided he wanted to lower the ceilings of our bedroom and gave us a day to pack up all of the bedrooms so that the builders could bring down the ceilings the next day. This was the day before the kids were due to go back to school.

We spent the whole day and a good part of the night packing everything up. I gave the kids two boxes each, one for two weeks worth of clothes and the other for all of their school stuff.  I kept a box for my work clothing and one for the rest of my clothing. The babies got a box each too and one for Baby’s nappies. As we packed one wardrobe or drawer at a time, I took out items to send Pakistan and some for the charity shop, reducing what was left to what we genuinely used and wanted.

The eight of us are currently in the two rooms downstairs. We are sleeping on mattresses and in sleeping bags and I am being very strict about putting things back in our boxes as soon as we are done with them so that the kids don’t lose their school things. It might sound horrible, but in truth I have found it very cathartic and liberating to move most of our stuff into storage and it has been very freeing to have so much less to manage. I and hubby are both clear that we will not move it all back in after the work is finished. 

Our stuff:

My house with the roof off, you can see the stars and the dust flying around:

It sounds ungrateful to complain about having so much when so many have so little. That is not my intention. I feel incredibly blessed and sometimes in awe of the sheer amount that seems to come our way. Gifts from friends and family, freebies that my husband brings home because of his job, some of the amazing bargains we have found for next to nothing at boot fairs in the past, and the more we give away, share and gift, the more seems to come back. What comes to mind is being careful about what we buy, consume and hold on to.

I hope I can hold on to the principle of owning and buying less, giving away the best of what you have and not the junk you don’t want and not equating worth and value with material possessions.

I would love to hear from readers, are you a minimalist? How do you remain clutter free with children? Do you find that the modern world means you are surrounded by unnecessary things?

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Will you not listen? Will you not listen? Will you not listen? Verily simplicity is a part of Iman. Verily simplicity is a part of Iman. Verily simplicity is a part of Iman” (Abu Dawood).

You Said it Would Be Awesome

Little Man started secondary school this week. I have been fretting for days about getting his stuff together. His school is so strict that having a missing item of equipment means detention. We also missed his induction evening before the holidays where all of the information we needed was handed out to parents. It was during the last days of Ramadan and I was fatigued and preoccupied. So I have been worrying all through the holidays about what we missed. I could have asked for the pack during the holidays, but the invite was very stern about not missing the event and the head teacher is incredibly intimidating almost to the point of rudeness, so I avoided the issue like a wimp.

On his first morning, I dropped him off, gave him a little side hug (nothing too blatant) and told him he would be awesome. He looked suitably embarrassed. My sisters asked if I had caused a scene, or yelled at him across the car park that I loved him, or whether he had gone toilet. As if I would do such a thing…I left him as his friends from primary school gathered around to see who would be in the same classroom. 

I needn’t have worried. He came home and exclaimed “Mum you said it would be awesome and it was really awesome” I suspect this has more to do with the amount of junk food that is available in the canteen than anything else. Alhamdulillah I’m looking forward to being back in the school routines and rhythms and I am relieved he is settling in.

Picture of the Day 29.08.16 (part 2) – Rochester

The end of the kids holidays found us visiting the beautiful historic town of Rochester. We wanted to see the castle, but as the Cathedral is right opposite it, we decided to take a look inside it too.

Picture of the Day 29.08.16 – Late Summer Harvest

A recent trip to Hewitts Pick Your Own Farm yielded sweetcorn and beans. The plums are from my mums garden which has been ruined following building work at my parents house. My mum’s response is to clear up, dig everything up and lay the ground afresh for next year.

I have washed, chopped and frozen the beans in three portions. The first I cooked with chunky potatoes, the second will be with minced lamb and the third will be with a lamb curry insh’Allah.