Work and Praise! We all have been super busy mamas! Moving, pregnant, another job, illness…all of us have been under some type of trial, but we are back with more zeal than ever. Al-Hamudlillah!New friends, new ideas, and new sense of purpose. That’s is the most beautiful part of being a muslim ‘moms’. Every passing breath is another moment to reflect…the beauty of Allah’s infinite knowledge, and how we are here to educate and teach His purpose.We are so glad to be back together again, and to explore and collaborate with other creative and dedicated sisters and brothers. Please keep us in your duah that we can give more creative Islamic Educational resources to our Ummah:)
I suffer from mild to very severe migraines…and during Ramadan no doubt it gets tricky when I can’t pop any pills to make the pain go away.
Here are my top 4 solutions that I have found useful:
1. Using Badger’s Headache Soother (Balm)
Found in WholeFoods in the medicine aisle or online at Amazon (click on the link to learn more).
I gently rub the organic balm (which is almost odorless) directly onto my wrists, temples and back of the neck, ears and pressure points. The lavender, peppermint and essential oils help sooth and relax the brain, getting rid of that nauseous feeling you get with migraines as well as the headache.
2. Watch This Video By Coach Salam
3. Use a wet washcloth over the forehead for some relief….Read this article, for more ideas on how to relieve yourself from a migraine or headache discomfort.
4. Finally, when the headache does hit and decides it’s here to stay, listen to the Roqiya (Healing Ayahs from the Quran).
Sh Waleed’s Advise to Sisters. I have included a short summery of his video below…
1. Make sure you set the goal for this Ramadan. That you are thinking about it and you ask yourself “How can I make this the best Ramadan ever?”
2. Make sure you take advantage of the time in Ramadan. Ramadan will not wait for you, it will go by very quickly. You should tell yourself, “I am going to take advantage of this time.”
3. Occupy Ramadan with Dhikr Allah. Whether you are pregnant, sick, fasting or not. Occupy your time with Dhikr.
4. Make a lot of Astaghfar. Whether you have menses or not, spend the same amount of time you would for Qiyam (prayer) and make Astaghfar.
5. Recite, Subhanallahi wa bihumdihi. It is mentioned, that those who seek forgiveness during the time of Suhoor, a tree will be planted for them in Jannah.
6. Recite, Allahumma a`inni ala zikrika, wa shukrika, wa husni `ibadatika. (O Allah, help me remember You, to be grateful to You, and to worship You in an excellent manner). Make this dua constantly and increase it towards the end of Ramadan so that Allah will help you make your Ramadan successful.
7. Make sure you reduce the time that you waste in things that are not important. Whether it be shopping, or chores in the house, if you can postpone something that is not necessary now, do it!
8. Have the intention to change your daily chores into acts of worship. For example, by making intention to share your food when you are cooking, you make that chore an act of worship.
9. If you haven’t done Itikaf yet, make an intention to do it this Ramadan. Make sure that you first get permission from your wali, then make sure that the place is safe to make itikaf, even if it is for one night or two.
10. Make a commitment to read Quran daily.
11. Make it a point to include extra prayers in your worship- Sunnah prayers, don’t miss them! Doing all the extra ibadah will make your Ramadan extra special.
12. Involve your family in an act of worship- memorize Quran, or do dhikr together as a family.
13. Finally, if you can, go to Mecca and perform Umrah or go to Medina.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Indeed, Allah has unburdened the traveler from half of the prayer and fasting, and unburdened the pregnant and nursing woman from fasting.” [Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi]
May Allah make this Ramadan a successful and easy month for all the fasting sisters out there! Ameen!
Ramadan was almost ending, and I hoped Allah(SWT) would allow me the blessing to spend the last ten nights in His company. I promised to help my friend run a children’s program at the masjid when I was “on vacation” from fasting. The 8th passed, the 13th passed, and I began to tear…I was going to miss Lailatul Qadr! But Allah’s infinite Mercy and the power of dua was answered in an unexpected way… As I became more exhausted, passing out three quarters of the day and barely getting iftar on the table…. The nausea, burning chest pains and those crazy cravings during my fasts… my fear and anticipation was only confirmed at the clinic as the nurse smiled at me and said “Congratulations!” I just found out that I was positively pregnant on the 15th of Ramadan!!!
I confided in my close friend, Um-Zaina, an American Revert,
” Guess what…I am pregnant!”
“Oh yeah? So am I!”
“How many weeks?”
“Are you fasting?”
She was fasting. I thought Mash-Allah! Maybe I can too! One of her very good “whether I should fast” theories was that she would normally eat suhoor with her husband and continue fasting until she could no longer bare it. And hence, she became my support system. We added a good dose of salad in our diet for Iftar along with the nightly meat and rice dishes that the masjid so generously provided.
We encouraged each other as much as we could until we got to about 3-4 days, and we realized that we could not do anything except lie down all day while our kids were making Jackson Pollack Art all over our houses! Her and her other revert friend Um-Zaid confided in me “My mother and sister in-law all fasted during the time they were pregnant, so my husband gives me dirty looks”. Wow. Tough expectations. I must hand it to these immigrant moms from Muslim countries, most of them keep up fasting whether they are sick with Lupus, or 7 months pregnant. I was talking to one expecting Morrocan sister who was fasting, “How do you do it?” She shrugged. “I rest all day” Well, that’s easy when you don’t have any other kids! “Give yourself a break.” I advise Um-Zaina,”It is permissible in Islam, as the Quran states our exemption”…We both looked at each other and paused as our pregnant taste buds began to work…”Philly Cheese Steak? California Roll?”
We spent our lovely Ramadan together being pregnant and although not being able to fast for part of Ramadan, we had the blessing of being part of Tarawih prayer and Tahajjud prayer in our little “Toddler Prayer Room”, with a big home-made sign”Don’t Change Diapers Here!” We followed the beautiful qirat of Sh.Waleed from Egypt, as our toddlers dangled over our shoulders and peeked between our legs. Every time that terrible pregnant feeling came up, I looked at my friend who gave me a pat on the back- It made a difference to have that support that someone knew how I felt.
The best part was this little tiny being was being immersed with the recitation of the Holy Quran…and it was a good reminder for me to retain and keep that Ramadan spirit all through out the pregnancy. Why stop listening to the Quran after this month? Why stop making extra prayer? It was as if I wanted to do more worship because the baby came during this month, and shared such intimate spiritual moments with me, that I felt it would not be fair to the child if I didn’t continue the same way…
What was the lesson? I am still exploring the issue that maybe educating our Muslim youth does not start when they start Islamic School or Sunday School, but it starts right in our womb, when they are the closest to us, and we as the mother…are their first teachers.
Ramadan Kareem Everyone!
How do you keep yourself organized during Ramadan and keep from feeling scatter brained? Do you have a checklist for all the Dhikr and Dua you wanted to accomplish this month? My really talented friend Amal designed this Ramadan Ibaada logbook. I found it extremely helpful and wanted to share it with you all. Please download it right now…it’s the single most helpful download I made this Ramadan. Alhumdulillah! Jazakallah Khair for sharing Amal!
Here are the instructions to the craft we did at the Sunday School Kids’ Iftaar Party.
I made a quick stop at the Dollar Store and picked up 50 ceramic plates that were heat proof, and in addition bought a huge pack of colored Sharpies. So easy to pull off a two “ingredient” craft for a large crowd! By the way, it’s important you use permanent markers or else this won’t work! Let’s get started…..
As the kids arrived at the party, after the initial “oohing” and “aahing” over the aqua blue Eid Creations decor, they naturally gravitated towards the Craft Table. I had laid out a theme colored table cover, and placed the Sharpies in cups all over the table for easy access. I handed over a plate to each child…..and asked them to decorate their plate with the permanent markers. It helped having a sample close by and some patterns….like henna designs, Islamic geometric patterns or designs to get them started. Others needed a bigger inspiration nudge “What do you feel Ramadan is all about? Decorate your plate showing what’s special about this Holy Month. When you think of Ramadan, what images come to mind….moon, stars, food, Islamic patterns, Prayer mat, Quran, Masjid….”
Some kids were done in 20 mins and others took their time decorating their plate. When it was complete, I wrapped the plate in tissue paper and placed a sticker on it that read:
Instructions to complete your designer plate:
When you get home, place in a preheated oven at 350 F for 30 mins.
This will make your plate designs dishwasher proof and safe to run under water.
Hang on your wall or place on a stand to decorate your room. Ramadan Kareem!
Sr Alif Blogs
I am no party planner. I usually leave the creative stuff to Artsy Ummi, but with a team of awesome ladies (yes, I’m talking about you- Rayesa, Rania and Suroor!) we were in planning heaven! So if you ever want to host an awesome Kid Friendly Iftaar Evening to promote your Sunday School or Islamic school, and don’t know how…..well, here’s how to get started!
Prepare your Guest List:
Gather your school roster and plan for additional friends (after all, you want to encourage your school families to bring other prospective families in to join the Iftaar fun!)
Send out Invitations:
We love the convenience of an Evite. When the replies and number counts start pouring in, you know exactly how many adults and kids to plan for! Evite also provides you with an option to share the invitation with others. So if you want your invited families to bring along their friends & children, you can have an exact head count there too, because when they “share” the evite with these friends via email and then these friends reply to it with an exact headcount of adults and kids…oh, you’ve just made Um Professional proud!
Plan the Menu:
Well, this is a no brainer, deciding on kid friendly food usually is so much easier than planning an adult menu! We kept it simple. Children broke their fasts with dates, lots of fresh fruit and some juice! The Iftaar plates were already served and placed on the table. And here’s what we ordered for dinner (this was served buffet style):
- KFC Chicken strips (we contacted our local Zabiha KFC vendor)
- Potato Wedges
- Snackers (little sandwiches with a whole strip of chicken in it and some mayo/sauce)
- Pasta or Mac n Cheese
- (Start time) Invite families about 45 mins before Iftaar time. Give them 10-15 mins to settle down and then promptly begin the program.
- (30 mins) Plan a half hour of some form of entertainment (be it Surah recitations by children, Ramadan Songs like this one, storytime, or host a round of questions and answers to keep the discussion interactive and meaningful for the kids; why do we break our fasts with dates? What if we don’t have any dates to break our fast with? What is the reward for fasting Muslims? What is the best time in the day to make Du’a? How can we multiply our good deeds in the month of Ramadan? Why is Ramadan so important? What is so special about this month? And so on).
- (5 mins before Iftar time) End a few minutes early and encourage everyone to make their personal dua’s at this time. Then recite the Du’a for Breaking Your Fast and its translation aloud.
- (10 mins) Iftaar Time. Serve a date and fruit on plates ahead of time so this part is easy and efficient. Serve water and juice in cups too.
- (10 mins) Maghrib time. Keep sheets of clean linen available to place on the floor for Maghrib in congregation. Don’t forget to keep some extra Hijabs for adults and young ones. Make sure the volunteers clean up a little during Salah time!
- (30 mins) Serve Dinner. Buffet style.
- (30 mins) Ramadan Craft.
- (30 mins) Wrapping up time! Clean things up, put away the trash and wipe away the tables. Let’s leave the room like how we found it!
Plan a Ramadan Craft:
Assign a table or two to do crafts on. Either have a few craft choices available for the different age groups, or if you want a great memory for the kids to take home….then decorate a ceramic plate with permanent markers to make a perfect family keepsake! You can encourage children to color a Ramadan memory on it. Or provide templates to copy some simple Islamic patterns from. Complete it by writing the child’s name and the date. I placed a plate hanger behind the one my child made and hung it in her bedroom I will let Artsy Ummi boast about the details on how to make it in the next post!
Now that will be a Ramadan Iftaar to remember, Inshallah!
Sometimes when we are so wrapped up in focussing on our daily religious practices such as praying 5 times a day or catching up with Quran reading, observing all the fard, sunnah and nafl fasts…..I have noticed that the most practicing of Muslims sometimes tend to lax in areas that deal with relationships….why does one think that it is extremely important to follow the daily fard but ok to be rude to people in their lives, or go one step further by cutting off ties with their blood relatives? I understand relationships come with their challenges and complexities, sometimes more than we can handle…..but as a good Muslim, we need to balance every challenge Allah throws our way….. It is extremely important for us to be mindful and sensitive towards people in our lives. After all what is the example we want to leave our children with?
This topic couldn’t have come at a better time……why not begin analyzing oneself this Ramadan and making amends during this blessed month? When Prophet Yousuf (peace be upon him) could forgive his brothers for the heinous crime they committed, then who are we to hold grudges against our relatives?
Here is an article that was sitting in my email, and I thought this was perfect to share with you. No source was found, so if you know what website this is from, pls leave a comment!
The merits and benefits of keeping good family relations:
1. The Way to Paradise
The Messenger said: ”Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then let him be generous to his guest, and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain the bond of kinship, and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him say that which is good or observe silence.” [Al-Bukhaari] Abu Ayyoob A1-Ansaari narrated: ”A man said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, inform me of a certain deed that if I do it, I shall enter Paradise.’ He said: `worship Allah and do not associate any thing with him, establish Prayer, give Zakah and maintain bonds of kinship’”.
2. Abundance and Longevity
It is narrated by Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudhri that the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever desires for Allah to multiply his provision and increase his age, he should maintain good relations with his kin”.
3.The curse of Allah upon those who sever blood relations :
Allah, has severely warned those who cut off their blood relations and family ties. The Prophet also condemned such people. Allah the Almighty Says (what means): ”Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land and sever your ties of kinship? Such are they whom Allah has cursed, so that He has made them deaf and blinded their sight.” [Quran 47:22-23]
All Muslims should read these two verses over and over again, and let them sink in, because the verse right after that says (what means): ”Do they not then think deeply in the Quran? Or are their hearts locked up?” [Quran 47:24] We seek refuge in Allah, the Lord of the worlds, from the sealing of our hearts and the subjugation of our weak selves.
Even the company of those who mistreat their families and are cut off from them is accursed. ‘Abdullaah Ibn Abu ‘Awf narrated that, “One time we were sitting with the Messenger who said, `No one who cuts off his ties should sit with us.’ So a young man stood up from the crowd and went to visit his aunt, with whom he had some frictions, she then asked forgiveness for him, and he did the same for her, soon afterwards, he came back to our gathering circle, upon which the Messenger said: ”The Mercy will not descend on people among whom there is a person who severs kin ties.”
Severing one’s blood ties is far from a trivial choice: it is an evil that may hinder you from entering Paradise: the Messenger of Allah (PbUH)said : ”No one who severs his family ties will enter Paradise.” [At-Tirmithi]
Part of the danger resulting from cutting off one’s relations can be sensed from the following hadeeth: Abu Hurayrah related that a man came to the Prophet and said: “O Messenger of Allah, my relatives are such that I cooperate with them, but they cut me off; I am kind to them but they ill-treat me; I forbear but they are rude to me.” The Prophet replied, ”If you are as you say, you are then feeding them with hot ashes; and so long as you remain the way you are, Allah will always help you and he will protect you against their mischief.” [Muslim]
Imaam An-Nawawi said: “The hot ashes are a metaphor for the amount of pain and agony experienced by the one who eats them.” The hadeeth pertains also to the people who behave differently. They will maintain good ties as long as their kindred do the same, but otherwise they sever them. Real cherishing of the blood relation is not observed in anticipation of reciprocation on the part of one’s kin; but the ties should be maintained for Allah’s sake only, even if this is done from one side only neglecting the behavior of the other side in return. ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Amr narrated that the Prophet said, ”A person who reciprocates in doing good is not the one who joins his blood relations generously; but he is one who joins with his blood relations when they sever the kindship ties.” [Al-Bukhaari] This wonderful hadeeth puts all things in perspective for those who are so skilled at pointing fingers, trying to justify the haughtiness of their own selves by always blaming other people, thus justifying their cutting of ties.
The Messenger of Allah set for all humanity the greatest example of forgiveness and mercy after he conquered Makkah. The Makkans had tortured, killed, and humiliated Muslims for so long, and killed some of the dearest relatives of the blessed Prophet himself. But the Messenger answered them by saying”I would say to you what Yoosuf said to his brothers: No reproach on you this day; May Allah forgive you; He is the most Merciful of those who show mercy. Go free; you are all pardoned!” This incident never fails to bring tears to a Muslim’s eye. In fact, any human being would be moved by such nobility and mercy to tears. No wonder ‘Aaishah when asked about the character of the Messenger said that his character was the Quran. Better yet Allah bears witness that his Messenger stands on the highest plane of character. Allah Says (what means): ”And verily, you have an exalted standard of character.” [Quran 68:4]
I am always looking to add Islamic cookie shape cutters to my collection. They come in handy when the kids and I are busy making Ramadan or Eid cookies for neighbors and friends. Here’s a new set I chanced upon and wanted to share:
You can purchase them here.