Monday 30 January 2017

Spotlight: Where’s Funky Monkey, A Fun Adventure Children’s Book

Where’s Funky Monkey is a new book designed to encourage children to explore some of the most amazing places around the world. Destinations in the book include the Taj Mahal, the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Giza and Machu Picchu in Peru.

Readers have to look for Funky Monkey, his friends and a series of items in each colourful page spread. Each spread also has facts and references to local culture and wildlife. 

The person behind the idea, Osmaan Mahmood, is currently looking for crowd funding to make the books a reality. He describes the reason why he wanted to create the book:

"I believe stories and tales are one of the strongest influences during our formative years. Everyone has a book that made the world seem exciting and full of possibilities. My aim is for Where’s Funky Monkey to be that book for the next generation."

Osmaan is currently looking to raise funds viaKickstarter. The goal is to raise £5,000 to pay for editing, printing and to pay illustrators. You can go here to contribute and see what you get for your pledge. The Kickstarter page also has a timeline, risks and FAQ's. It's an all or nothing campaign, so the project will only be funded if it reaches its goal of £5,000 by 23rd February 2017.

I often come across projects, campaigns and businesses that really capture my imagination with the amazing work they are doing to support and empower communities alhamdulillah. Every now and again something comes along that make you want to contribute in some way and share so that others can too. Sometimes people will get in touch with me and although they don't have the resource to buy an advert or sponsored post on this blog, what they are doing resonates so much with me that I want to help if I can insh'Allah.

The "Spotlight" blog posts will highlight these projects, campaigns or businesses. Please do share and visit the sites and if they inspire you, see what you can do to help insh'Allah.

Spotlight: Overcome TV

Sunday 29 January 2017

January 2017 Thrifty Haul: Book Buys

I am missing the boot sales we get to go to in summer, so made a trip to the charity shop to pick up some books for myself and the boys. Someone had given away shelves of sci-fi classics and I picked a few. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes has been on my reading list for ages and it's the first one I started with. I am really enjoying it.

The yellow book is Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood who is one of my favourite writers, occasionally her books get too surreal for me, but this is a collection of short stories so should be digestible enough even for my short attention span.

The Gifts of Imperfection is by Brene Brown who was made famous by her TED Talk on the power of vulnerability. That got me interested enough to want to try the book.

The rest are also self-help books which I have a weakness for. The Barefoot Doctor's Handbook for the Urban Warrior is probably not I would have picked up, except that I opened it to take a look and came across the following:

As a warrior, you're already dead"

Something about that resonated so deeply with me and I have always had a longing to be a braver more fearless soul, so I decided to take this book home too.

The paints are part of a little paint set stored in a lovely yellow tin. I really wanted to keep it, but in the end I gave it to Little Lady who will make good use of it.

Monday 23 January 2017

Muslimah Mastermind Group – Is This for You?

I first came across the idea of the Mastermind Group as a teenager in Tony Buzan’s book Buzan's Book of Genius - And How to Unleash Your Own, amongst twenty traits he lists as characteristics of genius are mastermind groups internal and external. The idea actually dates back to Napoleon Hills books on success and wealth creation from the 1920’s.

Wikipedia describes a Mastermind Group as: “a peer-to-peer mentoring concept used to help members solve their problems with input and advice from the other group members”. In Buzan’s book the internal (or virtual) Mastermind group consists of the role models, heroes and teachers you look up to, for us this could be the Prophets (peace be upon them), Sahabah (RA) or people who were experts in the area we are interested in.

The real Mastermind group is made up of the advisers, guides and friends we can call on to help us realise our goals, these are our allies and advocates in real life.

The anthropologist Margaret Mead once said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has”

I believe that a group of women can be exceptional change makers and networkers, able to support each other and make things happen. I believe that a group of committed Muslimah’s, with focus, purpose and the power of dua and good intentions can be exceptional channel for great things to happen insh’Allah.

Doesn’t sound realistic? When I worked in the Civil Service, I brought together a group of women around me and asked if they wanted to network to see how we can help each other, to act as allies and advocates for each other. Our first meeting consisted of over an hour of whinging and listing reasons why we could not succeed. I was disheartened, but decided not to give in so easily. I soon realised that that first hour had been a chance for the women to vent about their experience and perceived obstacles. Once that was out of the way we were ready to do something positive.

I e-mailed the group to ask them to outline briefly what they wanted to achieve and what their goals were. These varied from completing a qualification, getting a promotion, entering into a new field or finding a job in a particular company. I then outlined some principles for the group to help each other, we would read each other profiles and then signpost each other to opportunities that matched each other’s interest.

It doesn’t sound very significant, but every one of us benefitted through applying for jobs and job entry programmes or finding new opportunities in the organisation we worked in. We were inspired and motivated and would regularly share ideas and opportunities that might appeal to each other.

I have thought about this for a long time and have wanted to be part of a sincere, dynamic, Muslimah Mastermind group for some time. Where better than this blog to put the call out for sisters to see who is interested?

I intend to set up a private Facebook group so that sisters can share resources and ask for help and also an invitation only website linking to all of the resources across a wide range of themes (from time management to parenting to financial and business skills), e-books, planners and journals that I create or come across on a daily basis. This will take a few weeks, but I didn’t want to wait for that to get started.

So if you are interested in being a part of my Muslimah Mastermind Group, please e-mail me at umm_salihah @ with a short answer to explain:

What you hope to achieve from the group (i.e. the change or improvement you want to bring about)
What you can bring to the group (i.e. your skills, professional expertise, life experience, knowledge, networking skill etc.) If you don’t feel you can bring anything right now, your sincere intentions and dua is a good place to start.

This is something I am passionate and super excited about and I look forward to hearing from sisters and seeing where this takes us insh’Allah.

Sunday 22 January 2017

Bead Therapy: My New Pieces for January 2017

Earlier this month, I managed to make time to open my bead boxes and create something for myself.  I wanted some nice pieces to wear which co-ordinated with my abayah's and scarves.  The shops seem full of expensive, tacky jewellery which just didn't appeal at all and some of my older bracelets were lost or damaged.

I have a real thing for all of the ombre effect pieces I have been seeing everywhere the last year or two.  I love the harmony of colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel and the gradations between them.  The variation of shades also means that these pieces can go nicely with a number of outfits even if they don't match.  It was also a good way to use up beads that only have a few beads left in each colour.

This blue, grey and white bracelet had a mixture of turquoise and glass beads with a dangling blue bead as a focal point. 

This sun-shiney yellow, pink and purple bracelet is made from glass beads.  I put a focal point on both the top and bottom with the chunky bead and the dangling one.  It goes with so many of my scarves.

I have had these black square beads for ages and couldn't think how to use them to showcase them.  The grey beads were the last few I had and the long crystal shape at the bottom is from a pendant.  This bracelet is a good to wear with all those black abaya's and when I can't find anything else to match.  The chunky beads are also very tactile and smooth to wear.

I love blues and greens together and really like the beads in this, but I haven't finished it because I am not sure about the dark green bead at the bottom.  I am thinking about replacing it with the heart shaped bead or some other larger green bead.


These simple little bracelets were to showcase the clear square swarovski beads and because I have a few scarves in these colour but no jewellery to go with them.  They are quite small beads, so the knot is harder to hide, unlike with bigger beads where you can push the knot inside the hole of the nearest bead.  On the plus side, they are light so I don't have to worry about the weight of the beads stretching or snapping the threading elastic.

I am looking forward to having some new bracelets to wear with my outfits.  I am looking for some stronger elastic as the one I have snaps under pressure even after I have stretched it first.  If you have tried some and found it reliable, I would love to hear from you insh'Allah with your suggestion or recommendation.

Spotlight: Overcome TV

I often come across projects, campaigns and businesses that really capture my imagination with the amazing work they are doing to support and empower communities alhamdulillah. Every now and again something comes along that make you want to contribute in some way and share so that others can too. Sometimes people will get in touch with me and although they don't have the resource to buy an advert or sponsored post on this blog, what they are doing resonates so much with me that I want to help if I can insh'Allah.

The "Spotlight" blog posts will highlight these projects, campaigns or businesses. Please do share and visit the sites and if they inspire you, see what you can do to help insh'Allah.

Overcome.TV shares the stories of people who have converted (or reverted as some would say) to Islam.  Their aim is to help people who are thinking about becoming Muslim but are worried about the consequences of embracing Islam:

" helps borderline converts push forward in their journey to God. Until now, these people have gone by unnoticed and ignored, though they actually deserve much of our attention."

The website mentions the kinds of things that might create anxiety for people:

"The most common obstacle is thinking that Islam will be impossible to practise. From that comes the fear of failure, the fear of hypocrisy, the fear that they'll misrepresent Islam to others and much more.

Another common obstacle is the concern that Islam will turn them into something they won't like, that they'll need to change their names or adopt a foreign culture.

Sometimes they even feel like they're betraying their loved ones. Or, more generally, they fear how their friends and family will react.  The list of obstacles is extensive and can be surprising."

 reaches out to people who have made the choice to become Muslim and records short videos of them describing their journey: why they came to Islam, what concerns they had and advice for their brothers and sisters who are on that journey.  They currently have 56 awesome video's mash'Allah with more being added regularly:

You can watch the videos here.  You can sign up for the weekly newsletter.  You can subscribe to the YouTube channel here and follow on Facebook here.

I would encourage readers to take a look, watch the videos and support in any way that they can.  The creators of Overcome.TV have asked for support in a number of ways:  by sharing their video's, by sharing your own story, through writing on their blog, through helping organise videos, by making donations and through your dua's insh'Allah. 

"Invite to the Way of your Rabb with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious, for your Rabb knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance." ~ Quran (An-Nahl: 125)

"You are the best of peoples, taken out for mankind. You enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and believe in Allah. ~ Quran (Al-Imran:110)

Personally I believe that every Muslim is a da'ee and has a responsibility to share this beautiful faith.

“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)

"Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islâm), enjoining Al-Ma‘rûf (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islâm has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful." ~ Quran (Imran:104).

Thursday 19 January 2017

Colour of the Year 2017 and My Trends

Every year Pantone release their colour of the year. Harlequin promptly messages the Whatsapp group for us sisters and my sister-in-law to tell us and we all pass verdict:

“Hmm…not sure”

“Oooh I used to have a top that colour”

“Love the colour, but wouldn’t wear it”

”I was thinking of buying something in that colour”

This year the colour was:

I love green, it has been my favourite colour since childhood: olive green, emerald, chartreuse, jade, fern and sea green. But this particularly shade called “greenery”, or “pea green” as I would describe it, might be a bit loud for me.  I did in the past have an abaya pretty much exactly this colour which I happily wore, but my taste seems to have become a bit more sedate over the years and I doubt I would want to wear it now.

Instead, I think I’ll pick my own colours and textures for the year.  These are the colours, textures and materials that have been catching my heart and making me say "ooohh".  I find them inspiring and seeing them brings me pleasure, they are my little pleasures of the moment.

After years of loving blues and greens and winter berry colours like burgundy and aubergine, I am moving back to dark colours and most of my wardrobe has turned to black.  Partly because it is so chic and something about it feels sophisticated to me - the elegance of a black abaya or the chic of a pair of good black trousers.  Partly because everything goes with everything else, you can't see the marks left by sticky little hands as much and you can't see wet patches when you make wudhu at work.

Despite this, and my ongoing look out for the perfect black abaya, there are some colours which really appeal to me right now, foremost are sea green, tiffany blue and olive green:

In the past I would have avoided the lighter colours for fear they make me look dark, but over the years I have come to embrace my colouring and enjoy wearing lighter colours, especially as I am a role model for my daughters.  I have an abayah which is the loveliest colour and these olive Manolo Blahnik shoes would be a perfect match, except I would last five minutes in such high heels.

I have always liked emerald cut stones, so the abundance of stones with elongated cuts at the moment, really appeals:

The stone that appeals to me at the moment is opal with its fiery flash of colour.  I'll be more than happy if I end up with a nice opal or something with an opal-effect finish:

We recently refurbished our bathroom and the marble tiles we saw in the shops were really so beautiful, they were out of our budget by a long way so we had to do with marble print ceramic tiles.  I am seeing marble print in phone cases and stationary and bags at the moment, so might make do with the print in something small, rather than the real thing.

I've noticed in recent years that trends that appear in crafts such as card making, paper crafts, scrapbooking and sewing will appear a season or year later in the shops in mainstream products.  Examples I can think of are foxes, owls and bicycles one year, houses, cameras, mineral stones and chevrons another.  All were all over clothing, stationary and homeware a year or two later.

This year the crafts themes that seem to be coming through are mechanical, tribal, feathers, hot air balloons, cactus plants, flamingoes, fairground and lots of retro and vintage.  It seems a bit of a mish mash at the moment, but feathers and hot air balloons certainly appeal.

I am not a fan of following fashion for  anumber of reasons.  Partly because most new fashions and trends don't apply to me: too expensive, not modest, not halal, not practical.  Partly because I know very mcuh what I like and what appeals to me, so passing trends don't really attract me.  I think it's fun to see the patterns and trends in colours, materials, crafts, jewellery and design.  But for me it's more fun to keep an open mind and take pleasure in what comes along and captures your attention.

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Picture of the Day 18.01.17 - Beautiful Winter Sunrise

I recently posted a picture of a sunset in winter, the clear cold weather has meant that the sunsets and sunrises have been quite lovely and full of colour, a month later this is still the case.  Today I managed to catch a sunrise fairly late in the morning (just before 8am I think) by the London Docks.

Friday 6 January 2017

Generation X Muslims and Rudeness

I think our young people are often unfairly stereotyped and maligned. The papers often seem intent on creating an image of young people as lazy, spoiled and shallow, I have seen them described as “snowflakes” for being too sensitive amongst other things.

I don’t agree with this and I think that youngsters today are more compassionate and have a greater social conscious than the generations that preceded them. They are more environmentally aware, they care about the plight of the poor and homeless and they are concerned and upset by the wars in the world. They also live in a world that is more complex, connected and sometimes a lot more frightening than the ones their parents and grandparents grew up in.

I believe that we should show understanding and compassion towards them and have patience with them as they figure out the world and their place in it.

But sometimes I cannot believe how rude young Muslims raised in this country are! I can’t understand if it is on purpose or if it is the result of shyness or awkwardness. I wrote recently asking whether we could raise Good Muslim children in the West, I mentioned the example of a mum I met on the school run who was talking about moving back to Pakistan with her children:

“Another mum asked her why she wanted to go back and she replied that she couldn’t see a future here, that no matter how much you worked it wasn’t enough to live comfortably and the kids turned our strange here”.

I argued that children could be brought up well or badly in either place depending and that either place could have a different definition of well brought up and different values around what they thought good upbringing is. Some of the readers who commented on this post brought some insightful and interesting viewpoints to this conversation and really made me think.

What got me thinking on this theme again was an invitation to a recent aqeeqah dinner for a friend’s first grandson. I love people and I love socialising so was happy to go with my girls, although poor Little Lady had to be dragged there complaining the whole way.

I only knew the host and one other guest, but said hello to the other guests and found excuses to talk to them. A number of the guests were young women who were friends and cousins of the new mother. They avoided us and sat in their own group not saying hello and or engaging at all. When dinner was served they disappeared into another room completely.  Little lady was very uncomfortable and hated being there. I felt a bit like an outsider and almost an unwelcome guest. The grandmother was lovely and made us feel very welcome, but she was the only one.

Little Lady and my lovely neighbour who is at university often tell me how rude young hijabi’s can be, in particular giving dirty looks to people. I used to argue with them that they were paranoid or reading into things too negatively and they would roll their eyes and say I just don’t see it because I am older and don’t get the same treatment.

But there are lot of young hijab-wearing Muslimah’s at my office, particularly in the latest in-take of youth trainees. Groomed, make-up contoured to Instagram perfection, stylish clothes and eye brows on fleek (although this new trend of colouring outside your eyebrows just makes me laugh), but boy can they be haughty. They won’t look at you, they will not return your smile, forget saying salam to a sister. 

My husband says that kids would never get away with this kind of behaviour in Pakistan. Children are expected to say salam to their parents when they come home from school. They will greet uncles and aunts they meet and family friends or their parents friends. Networking and building relationships is an integral part of life in Pakistan and you won’t get if you don’t build relationships, treat others with respect and learn how to meet and greet people (unless you’re rich of course, in which course none of the usual rules apply).

My children are expected to greet anyone that comes into the house and I try to get them to sit with guests and certainly to engage with their children. They can forget leaving a child sitting alone or feeling awkward and disappearing into their bedrooms. I saw too much of this behaviour as a child from children in my family and wider community who would disappear at the sight of guests and not even say hello. These are the same kids who as adults often have no idea how to host people they have never met before or how to behave in specific social interactions such as paying condolences following a death.

I know not all young people behave like this. Teenage is a difficult time and sometimes teenagers are still trying to figure things out, but I don’t think there is any excuse for blanking people and many of these people are well out of their teens.

I think part of the problem can just be personality, people can be shy and find social situations excruciating, especially if you are naturally introverted and find people draining. But that’s still no excuse not to say salam and ignore people, or move away en masse like a herd of haughty teenage peacocks.

Perhaps parents don’t think it is important or a big deal, but the way you greet people, the first impression you make and the way you make people feel is such a big deal. Most important of all, Muslims have a beautiful example in the sunnah of the beloved Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam):

Abu Hurairah (RA) who quotes the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as saying: 'A Muslim has a right against his fellow Muslim in six ways.' Asked what these were, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

1. When you meet him, greet him;
2. If he invites you, accept his invitation;
3. If he seeks your advice, give him an honest and sincere advice;
4. If he sneezes and praises God, bless him;
5. If he falls ill, visit him; and
6. If he dies, attend his funeral.' (Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim)

I am starting to see some of the young ladies in my office use the prayer room and will always say salam, hold open doors and ask if they need a prayer mat. I can see some of them open up and smile shyly, sometimes they seem surprised that someone said salam to them. Maybe they haven’t been treated with respect or don’t know the value and important of saying salam to each other.

"When a greeting is offered you, answer it with an even better greeting, or (at least) with its like. God keeps count of all things." (Surah an-Nur; 4: 86)

Umar (RA) reports that he was riding with Abu Bakr (RA) on one mount. When they passed by people, Abu Bakr (RA) greeted them saying: 'Assalamu alaikum' and they replied: 'Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatu Allah.' Or he may greet them saying: 'Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatu Allah,' for which their reply was: 'Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatu Allah wa barakatuh.' Abu Bakr (RA) commented: "Today, people have gained much more than us." (Sahih al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)

It has been narrated from Ibn Umar (RA), that the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, "He who speaks without firstly giving salaam, then do not answer him (to what he has to say)." 

Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, "A rider should greet a pedestrian, a pedestrian should greet one who is sitting, and a small party should greet a large party, a younger should greet an elder one."

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Word of the Year 2017: Salah

I really enjoy the annual practice of picking a Word for the Year and thinking about how I can use the word as a starting point to improve my life and the way I do things or to bring focus to something that matters to me at that time.

(image courtesy of Harlequin Sister's creative photography skills)

In recent years I have been picking a word for the year (WOTY) to motivate and guide me with some turning out more appropriate than others:

In 2011 my word was courage as I was keen to try new things and new directions in my life.

In 2012 I didn't pick a word as I was expecting Darling that year and struggling to stay sane through a busy time at work and severe nausea, so in hindsight I think patience would have been a good one.

In 2013 the word was discipline - in my eating habits, spending and family routines – I felt that I was very bad in being disciplined at these and by the end of the year I didn’t feel that I had seen much improvement.

In 2014 the word was focus – I had so many plans and felt so clear about how I would achieve them. However I soon found myself pregnant with Baby and every one of those plans went out the window, first because my body felt like it was breaking down under the pressure of a fifth pregnancy and then because my mind could barely keep up with the demands of five children and extended family. I have no idea what the word should have been during that - maybe acceptance would have been a good one.

My word for 2015 was shukr – gratefulness. I wanted to practise gratitude – for all that Allah (SWT) has blessed us with – the things we remember and those we don’t. My intention was to become more grateful for every big and small blessing in my life, but more than anything else it made me realise how much we have and how little gratefulness we show for it. So gratefulness will be an ongoing theme for me and one that I hope to work on and pray for indefinitely.

My word for 2016 was health. I felt that if I got this right it would impact so many areas of my life – my energy levels, my confidence if I lose weight, my long-term health, my budget, my conscience – I wanted to get my family eating as healthily as possible and to enjoy cooking good, healthy food. What changed during this year was that I tried to blog a monthly update on how I was doing with this WOTY – what I was trying to differently and what I was learning. I only managed to do this for part of the year, but it really helped me to reflect and to keep focus.

My word for 2017 is Salah, or prayer. There are a number of reasons for this. For all of the effort we put into trying to achieve our goals and improve our lives, I have always felt that the one thing that can really help me is salah and as part of that dua. Again and again I have come across advice and examples from the Quran and sunnah of the way salah has been used to fulfil needs. Whether this has been asking for your needs through supplication in your five daily prayers or through the optional prayers such as tahajjud, the night prayer:

It is narrated by Abu Hurairah (ra) that Allah’s Apostle (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, comes every night down on the nearest Heaven to us, when the last third of the night remains, saying, “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?”” (Bukhari)

Abu Hurairah (ra) reports that the Messenger of Allah (
sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “The best prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer.” (Muslim)

''The Dua made at tahajjud is like an arrow that does not miss its target.'' — Imaam Ash Shafi (ra)

I have also been quite self-conscious of my prayers in the past. I am mindful that the quality and concentration of my salah could be much better. Part of this is the busy-ness of life and the distractions of being a mother, but a bigger part is about not allowing those distractions to take away from the quality of my salah. I think developing or improving the ability doing this will also help me to become a calmer, more conscious person that can attend to what is important without being pulled away by what seems urgent all the time.

At the same time, the idea that salah could be the coolness of my eyes is something that seems so beautiful, but so far out of reach:

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said “Coolness of my eyes lies in Salah” (Ahmad, An-Nasa'i)

To be able to pray five times a day, to truly enjoy it and find such an intensity of happiness in it that you call it the coolness of your eyes, seems like such a blessing and something to truly aspire to.

There are a number of things that I want to do to improve my salah and through it my life insh’Allah:

Learn about salah – I want to review my recitation in salah and whether the movements and positions are accurate. This may seem very basic, but I have run through salah a number of times in halaqah’s (study circles), and every single time there has room for improvement, whether in the detail of the position or the pronunciation of a single word.

I would also like to study a little more about the benefits and virtues of salah, examples from the sunnah and also the punishments for salah. I believe that these are the things that will help to inspire and motivate me insh’Allah

Reflect on salah – I want to spend a little time reflecting on the words and the meanings in salah.

Dedicate more time to salah – I often miss the nawafil part of my prayers and sometimes when I am harried the sunnah part. I keep reminding myself that our purpose here and the most important thing for us to prioritise and allocate enough time to is worship:

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. ~ Quran 51:56

With this in mind, I want to try and pray my sunnah and nawafil. I want to take a deep breath and let go of the daily to-do lists and household tasks and let the children wait for what they need when it is time for prayer.

My older two children pray, but Gorgeous has been a bit more averse to salah, saying he is too young and that I can’t make him until he is 10, which he is this year. So I hope to bring him on this journey with me and get him to see prayer as an opportunity and a way to connect with Allah (SWT).

What would your word or phrase for 2017 be?

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Prayer is the best thing to be occupied with,, so perform as much of it as you can.” (Ahmad)

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “The first thing for which the slave will be held accountable for on the day of Resurrection is his prayer; if it is good (by performing it properly and on time), then all his affairs will be good, and if it is ruined (by neglecting it), then all his affairs will be ruined.” (At-Tabaraani)

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “When any one of you stands to pray, he is conversing with his Lord, so let him pay attention to how he speaks to Him.” (al-Haakim, al-Mustadrak, 1/236; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1538).

The Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is quoted to have said to Abu Dharr: "Two light units of Prayer offered with contemplation are better than a whole night spent in worship." (Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 74, Page 82 and Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, iv, 686)