Tuesday 13 August 2019

Eid-ul-Adha 2019/1440: A Belated Eid Mubarak!

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

I hope this Eid is a peaceful and joyful one for all of you, full of good food, good company and good deeds insh’Allah. May Allah shower the Ummah with his mercy, love and grant them happiness, peace and contentment.

This year was a quiet Eid for us with our older children away in Pakistan, but it was also a subdued one because of all of the difficult situations Muslim’s are facing round the world.  Our dua’s are with our bothers and sisters in Palestine, Kashmir, China, Burma and India and other places where they are being tested.

Certainly, recent events in Kashmir, have left our community anxious and upset.  I pray that Allah SWT changes the ummah’s trials into happiness and ease and that they too are able to celebrate a joyous and peaceful Eid insh’Allah.

Anas ibn Malik (radhiallahu ‘anh) reported that in the pre-Islamic period people (in Madinah) people used to celebrate two annual days of festivity. When the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to Madinah he said, “you used to have two days of celebration, Allah (SWT) has replaced them with two better days: the day of Fitr and the day of Adha.” (Nisai’, Sunan al-Kubra’, 1, 542; Sunan al-Sughra 3:199).

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "The days of (Eid) are days of eating and drinking and of remembering God, the Exalted." (Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2, Number 153)

Unexpected Guests

With my older children away, I was expecting a quiet easy-going Eid with the Babies and a chance to just enjoy the moment.  With the house cleaned and organised, the menu planned, the food shopping done and a decision to wear what we already have rather than buy new clothes, Eid was looking good alhamdulillah.

Then we got a call from friends saying they were on their way to come and stay with us for Eid – all seven of them.  And they had left and were a few hours away – of an eight-hour drive.

This may seem strange to people and you may question why we just didn’t tell them not to come, but as Muslims we have always prided ourselves on our hospitality and have always tried to help others.  The rewards for taking care of guests are supposed to be significant:

Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)
 said, "Whoever believes in God and the Last Day, let him honor his neighbor; whoever believes in God and the Last Day, let him honor his guest as he is entitled." It was said, "What is his entitlement, O Messenger of God?" He said, "[The best treatment] for one day and one night; and hospitality is for three days, and anything after that is charity bestowed upon him.  And whoever believes in God and the Last Day, let him, speak good words or else remain silent. (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet ‎ ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam said, "If Allāh wants good for a people, He sends them a gift." They asked "What kind of gift, oh Prophet of Allāh?" He said, "The guest comes with his own provision, and leaves with the sins of the people of the house."

The Prophet ‎ ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam said, "Whoever believes in Allāh and the Last Day must be generous with his guest." (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5560)

Both mum and dad in law were fuming.  Dad because he didn’t want to have to give up his bed and mum-in-law because, as she out it, “I went out of my way to shame them the last time they came, so that they wouldn’t come back, and now you let them back!”

My husband is a kind, helpful man and he didn’t feel like he could say no.  Our guests turned up at 1am expecting dinner, which hubby mainly got from the shops – we are lucky there is always something open near us.  We had to pull out mattresses and put some of them in the kid’s room which are empty at the moment as they are in Pakistan.  The Babies outright refused to leave their room and had to be bribed with being allowed into my bed (we put them on a mattress once they fell asleep).

We spent the next day trying to feed and take care of our guests with trying to complete Eid preparations. I hadn’t taken any time off work, so the day before Eid (a Saturday) was the only day I had to prepare for Eid.  Not expecting guests, I had invited my family over for dinner, so had lots of grocery shopping and food prep to do. 

By the end of the day, I realised I had clocked about 24,000 steps on my Fitbit watch trying to get everything done – I was exhausted.  I had also been feeling off kilter physically, and the lack of sleep the night before left me disorientated.  In hindsight I think my blood pressure was low and making me slow and tired.

By the time they left, the day after Eid, I was tired, grumpy and feeling a little ashamed at not feeling so hospitable (although I did behave and be kind to my guests). I was a bit annoyed with myself that I had gone through all of the effort, but not corrected my intentions - the reward for any good deed is based on your intention to please Allah (SWT). I put it to my husband – Is the duty to care for your guests such that you let yourself become ill?  He agreed that it was clearly not, but what could he do?

Alhamdulillah, sometimes the reminders of the virtues of our faith help (like the story below), but it's also important that we find a balance between a good deed with the right intention and doing what we can actually manage.

A Story About Guests:
A woman came to The Prophet ‎ ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam and complained to him about her husband that he invites too many guests and she has become weary from preparing food for them and hosting them. The Prophet ‎ ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam did not answer and the woman left.
Sometime later The Prophet ‎ ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam called the woman’s husband and said, "I am your guest today."
The man was so happy he went home and told his wife "The Prophet of Allāh ‎ ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam is our guest today."
 His wife was ecstatic and spent time and effort and used every bit of food to prepare for the arrival of the Most Honored Guest, The Prophet ‎ ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam.
After the amazing joy of hosting The Prophet ‎ ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam generously, The Prophet ‎ ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam told the man, "Tell your wife to watch the door from which I leave your home."
So the wife watched the door from which The Prophet ‎ ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam left her home and saw all kinds of creatures, scorpions and other harmful creatures leaving the house behind The Prophet ‎ ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam, upon which she fainted due to the immense manifestation and greatness of what she had witnessed.
When she came to The Prophet ‎ ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam, he said to her, "This is what happens when the guest leaves your home, with him all kinds of harm, trials and tribulations and harmful creatures depart from your home, and that is the wisdom behind being generous to one’s guest and becoming weary doing so." (source: IslamFaith blog)

Off On Their Own Travels

If you follow me on Instagram stories, you will know that my oldest three kids have travelled to Pakistan without us to spend their summer holidays.  We thought it was too long since our last visit to Pakistan (or abroad for that matter, ten years ago) and that they were missing out on their language, culture and getting to know their dad’s family.

We booked the tickets, which hubby booked for a few days later and told them to pack what they needed and make a list of the rest.  Then I took them shopping (in between weddings and work) and for a last lunch before they leave.

I thought I would be worried and anxious with them away, but I trust my daily protective prayers for my family and I trust my husbands family to look after them probably even better than I would. They were super excited at the prospect of travelling by plane and having lots to do (and eat – teenagers!) in Pakistan.

Once we saw them off, there were some things that I noticed: despite the Babies and my in-laws still being at home, the house was very peaceful.  The babies are enjoying ruling the roost and not getting kicked off the computer by their siblings.  Most of all I have had a few weeks without arguing, shouting, disciplining, breaking up fights, sending friends home, going to friends’ home and dragging boys home or calling Little Lady to ask her where she is.

The extra time and the peace have really given me time to clear my head.  You don’t realise that you are doing some things in a way that you wouldn’t if you had time to reflect or think things through.  One of the things I realised was how late I was still sending the kids friends home or the kids upstairs, or even rounding them up from their friends or neighbours’ houses.  It meant it got quite late by the time everyone was settled and I was finished and I never got any quiet time or time to myself.  It’s made me determined to have an 6pm curfew for both friends coming here and my kids going anywhere. Also a peace rule, of people need to get to their rooms and quieten down by 9pm – one can hope.

The time away has given me time to go beyond continuously picking up after them, to deep cleaning their rooms and clearing out a lot of their stuff to donate to charity or give away.

I’ve been in touch with them most days thanks to WhatsApp, and they seem to be having a great time.  Their cousins welcomed them with flowers, and they have been out every day to museums, shopping and theme parks.  They get to see Eid in Lahore including participating in the Qurbani  (sacrifice) and they are gearing up for Independence Day celebrations.  Gorgeous has polished up his Urdu much to his dad’s joy.

I thought I would miss them, which I have, but not as much as I thought I would – I think my brain just needed the relief from the noise, complaining and fighting. Every now and again, I get a pang of sadness at missing Gorgeous’ exuberance or Little Man’s dad jokes and kindness.  Funnily enough, the one I missed the most is the one that gives the most stress and anxiety – Little Lady, for all her cynicism, sarcasm and resolute intent to spend all my money, is the one that I find myself looking for and wanting to hear her voice.

They are away until school starts in about three weeks’ time, so I am going to make the most of it and get some proper rest, catch up on lots of things, enjoy the babies and hopefully take everyone away for a short break here insh’Allah

My Cousin's Wedding: The Walima

My cousin’s Walima was a nice, easy-going affair. It was much closer to home than the wedding and the stress of the wedding was over by this point. 

It was a case of coming home from work, getting dressed and turning up to the venue to hang out and eat.  I ignored the people who had been rude to me at the wedding and it made for a much more enjoyable evening, spent taking bad selfies with my other half and joking around with the kids.

The bride looked so pretty, you could see her dress sparkling away under the lights.

This is my older children’s response every time I try to take a picture

Loved Harlequin Sisters flowy pale mint dress, by one of my fave Pakistani designers Threads andMotifs from the fab Zardosi Shop.

My dress was from Shaadi Abaya’s in Green Street, I really enjoyed wearing it:

My mum bought all of the little girls their matching dresses, they looked so sweet, like rowdy pale blue little parakeets:

I really liked the ombre effect of Shutterbug Sisters dress:

Food was good of course:

I enjoyed making friends with the grooms family and look forward to seeing them again in future and I wish the bride and groom a lifetime of contentment and happiness insh’Allah.

My Cousin's Wedding: The Actual Wedding :)

I haven’t blogged in a while between a very slow, dodgy laptop and life being so busy. I find that when I have lots to share and it will take ages, it puts me off from starting.  So, to catch up, rather than long blog posts, I thought would share a few pictures of what has been going on with a few words. Hopefully that will help clear my head to write something more interesting insh’Allah 😊
You can also keep up with everything on my Instagram page, and via my Insta stories – I have a lot of fun capturing things for this, and it feels much easier to engage with sisters in this way.

My cousin’s wedding was just before Eid and we had a lot of fun dressing up, eating good food and catching up with family.  The bride was beautiful – her make up was perfect and I loved that she had a bog smile on her face the whole day and didn’t let anything bother her mash’Allah. 

Interestingly, there was a party in another hall at the same venue for a Pakistani film launch, so some of the actor’s randomly came up for a photoshoot…

My outfit from Malika Boutique, really nice quality and really reasonable.

Got the boys kurtay in the colour scheme of jewel tones.  Of course they insisted on wearing them with their trainers.

Henna on the brides little sister:

All of the guys:

The ladies: my mum, sisters, sister-in-law and daughter. We joked we looked like the Power Puff girls with the red, blue and green.

Lots of nice details and the cakes were a feast for the eyes, I never actually got to taste any!

I thought the wedding favours were a nice touch – pure, local honey and Zamzam water:

Lots of good food:

This fruit tree got demolished – the little ones were making mini fruit kebabs for themselves.

The bride looked like a doll, may Allah SWT keep her always happy, smiling and contented insh’Allah.

Pakistani actors promoting their film Paray Hut Love (Maya Ali and Sheheryar Munawar):

It was mostly a nice wedding, with a lot of good cheer and wishes for the bride and groom.  It says something about their lovely natures that not one person in the room could have wanted anything but the best for them.

I did struggle at this wedding with the bad behaviour of a very small number of people.  I had to keep my mouth firmly shut and my tongue polite, because I don’t believe in causing drama at other people’s weddings.  As my siblings know I can be very fierce and for all of my love and kindness, there is a side of me that will rain down lightning and thunderstorms on your head if you cross a line with me.  So I had to reign that side in and be on my best behaviour despite the rudeness and unkindness of a few others.

Well the wedding is over now, and I don’t have to be nice if I don’t want to 😊