Trick or Treating for food bank items

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What an awesome idea! I have to admit, I’m torn on the whole Trick or Treating… I don’t think it’s as sinister as made out to be sometimes, and like someone recently told me, if it’s not haraam, then why do we make it so? This is one thing that will make it more palatable for sure!

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/halloween-heroes-selfless-trick-treating-9175304

The benefit of beards!

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Subhanallah!

Check out what this study found about the benefits of beards (despite going in with thinking the opposite!).

“Well, the researchers were surprised to find that it was the clean-shaven staff, and not the beardies, who were more likely to be carrying something unpleasant on their faces.

The beardless group were more than three times as likely to be harbouring a species known as methicillin-resistant staph aureus on their freshly shaven cheeks. MRSA is a particularly common and troublesome source of hospital-acquired infections because it is resistant to so many of our current antibiotics.”

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-35350886)

And what does Islam say?!

It is reported in Bihar al-Anwar in the chapter concerning the beard (Kitab al-Mahasin) in which Imam Musa b. Ja’far, al-Kazim (as) was asked: “Is it recommended to wear the beard?” he said: “Yes”, then he was asked: “Is it permissible for one to shave one’s beard?”, Imam (as) replied: “It is permissible to shave the sides of the face where the beard grows, however, to shave the front (chin) is not permissible.”

Am sure there are many other reasons and links, but perhaps this is one of them!

 

Shajaratun Tayyibah - Islamic Tree

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So if you have been following Buzz, you will know that I have been advocating for an Islamic tree for a while! (See: www.buzzideazz.com/eid-tree-2/)

Recently, we released a new product of wooden ornaments to help liven up these trees and mark the important wiladat dates of the 14 Masumeen at the same time… (See: http://www.buzzideazz.com/shop/wooden-ornaments-14-masumeen)

Here is what one mum did with the ornaments/tree – receiving this picture made my heart sing (nasheeds of course ;)) as it is exactly what the vision was!

I loved the name they chose for the tree – Shajaratun Tayyibah – it is a much better fit than an ‘Eid tree’ (and reflects the many uses of the tree throughout the year also) and so I am officially adopting the name from now on!

Here is what the mum said:

“We decorated it with glittered natural pinecones. Then we got the 14 cut out wooden shapes.

We had been talking about the 5 panjetans and the 12 imams and the 14 masumeens – so to learn more about them we wrote their names birthdates ( khushali) and birthplace on one side And the death dates (wafat) and their titles on the flip side. We also added the number of the imam on it too for the imams.

Then using coloured pens and metallic pens we decorated them

My older one (8) then had to read the information out to the little one (4) They’ve had a lovely time making this and bonded and learnt so much.

Later on – one of us will hide one wooden shape and all the others in the house will try to figure out which one is missing- the youngest can participate too because he knows his numbers well so he’ll see which one is missing and will remember the imam that goes with that number. And the others (older one and adults) will have to remember most of the info on the shape to win it back, and put it back on the tree branch.”

9 Ways to Foster Kids' Spirituality

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Love the ideas in here!

Especially this one fits in so well with what we have covered before:

‘8. Teach your child gratitude.

Gratitude is a time-honored spiritual path that works regardless of your beliefs about the nature of the divine. The deeper our gratitude, the greater our ability to receive, and the more we get out of life.

Of course, children rarely understand their many blessings, and guilt is not an effective teacher. Modeling is the best strategy, simply noting aloud, frequently, how lucky we are to have this beautiful day, this bountiful meal, this reliable car, such a terrific teacher or neighbor, and, of course, each other.

Information is also useful, given judiciously and matter-of-factly in an age appropriate manner: “Some kids don’t have a back yard to play in like we do, that’s why we cherish it and take good care of it.” “Grandma is getting older and won’t be with us forever, so we take advantage of every chance we can to visit her, even though it’s sometimes not so interesting for you. “

And of course, small habits like grace before meal, or counting our blessings, or a thank you at bedtime for the wonderful day, serve as place-markers for the deeper gratitude your children will develop as they mature.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
-Melody Beattie’
NOTE: I LOVE that Islam fosters this naturally in us, through Salaah. When we finish our Salaah, it is recommended to do a Sajdah of SHUKR, and be grateful for things and blessing that He has given us!

http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/character/spirituality

Inter-faith Dessert Bake Off

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The kids just took part in an inter-faith bake-off organised by three communities from different faiths… What a fabulous event! It wasn’t just for children – in fact the under twelves was just one category out of five!

Am sharing here because it was so good to see members of different faiths coming together to have fun, sit down and drink tea and eat together (Cake! Lots of it!). Wouldn’t it be great if such an event could be held in lots of other parts of the world too? It is so great for families to take part in together, and very much needed, especially in the current climate…

A big thanks to SICM (Mahfil Ali) for organising!

A Day in the Life of Sayyid Ali Khamenei

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Remember the letter to the youth by Ayatullah Khamenei? http://buzzideazz.com/ayatollah-khameneis-letter-to-the-youth-of-the-west/
Mashallah – he really walks the talk!

Check this inspiring narration of his day:
A Day in the Life of Sayyid Ali Khamenei
on: January 26, 2015
In: Analysis, Scholars News

Qolam Shahpasandi, one of the guards of Ayatollah Khamenei, shares the following information on how the Ayatollah spends his day:
If I want to explain a typical day of his, all three points that he mentions for the youth are present in his life (exercising and sports, learning knowledge, and taming and purifying the soul). He usually gets up 1 to 1.5 hours before Fajr prayer and preforms his different acts of worship (night prayer, etc). His days are different from each other and are not similar. One day he prays (salat) more, one day he reads Quran more, one day he reads supplications (dua) more, one day he recites more dikr (remembrance of Allah).
He prays morning prayer (fajr) in congregation (jama’at). The smallest size of jama’at is just him and his bodyguard, and the largest population is anybody present in the building. He prays the prayer in his office and everybody that is at work at that time in the morning joins him – whether it’s guards, secretaries, etc.
After morning prayer, three days a week he goes hiking. For at least 45-60 minutes, he spends time going up a trail on the mountain and spends about the same amount of time coming down.
Some of the mountains are further away, and for the hike to not interfere with his work, the time that Ayatollah Khamenei usually gets up for night prayer and doing personal duas will be spent going to the hike as he does his worship on the way. Once he gets to the foot of the mountain, he prays there. At that time, it is still dark and no one else seems to be awake. The hour we set out to the mountain, the sun is not out yet.

On the mountains, Ayatollah Khamenei is typically wearing a turban. It’s not the same turban that you typically see him in and is rather thinner and smaller.
Right after he comes down the mountain 3 days a week, his work in the office starts. The other 4 days of the week, he does exercising at home. He is not the type to leave any piece of work incomplete in the middle. Any work he performs is complete. He knows the principles on how to be very accurate and precise in his job.
After exercising, he comes to the office. He arrives sometimes at 7 am and sometimes around 7:30 am depending on the mountain and the route that was taken. Thus, at 7:00 am or 7:30 am, he is in his office. If he doesn’t have a private meeting, he goes home and eats breakfast with his family. Then, he comes back to the office and resumes his work.
If he has a meeting, it starts with breakfast. If the meeting is scheduled for 7 am, the group visiting eats breakfast with him. Ayatollah Khamenei is at the office until noon prayer. When they recite the adhan, no matter what he is doing- even giving a speech- he abandons it and says let’s go read the prayers on time.
After prayer, he resumes work. If the meeting goes on, lunch is eaten with him and the members of the meeting. If there are no meetings or visitations, between prayer time until 1-2 hours after, Ayatollah Khamenei eats lunch at home and rests (since the distance between his house and the office is 10-20 footsteps). Then, the next program starts around 3-4pm. He comes inside the office and if there is no meeting, he spends time in his library studying.
Any time you see him, he is either saying dikr or reading Quran. It is impossible for him to be in the state of heedlessness for a second. I haven’t seen it. I will give an example. When you are watching him on TV and the reciter is reading Maddahi (eulogies), you will see his hands are by his lips. He does this so that when his lips are moving, it isn’t apparent or obvious to people.

About reading the Quran, he has told us: My children, read the Quran a lot. The Quran is light. Read is immensely. In my youth, I would finish reading the entire Quran every 3 days. Meaning everyday I would read 10 juz. Now there is not enough endurance like before and I am old. From the aspect of my age, status, job, problems at work, and all these issues, I can’t read the Quran like before. I’ve become really distanced from the Quran. It takes me 9-10 days now to read the Quran cover to cover.
Now that he claims he is far from the Quran, he reads 3 juz a day. If Allah gives us special attention in Ramadhan, we finish the Quran in one month and we think we’ve done a lot. We reprimand God that we read the entire Quran and nothing happened to us. We need the reading of the Quran and God doesn’t need it. We are in need of it.
Ayatollah Khamenei has a big family. Him, his wife, and his 6 kids all lived together until the marriages of his kids and now they have all left. All 8 members of this family have memorized the entire Quran. Being acquainted with the Quran means this. You might have heard the voice of Ayatollah Khanemei reciting the Quran but did not recognize it since the radio plays it sometimes. When it is played, since the people don’t even know it’s him, they mistakenly say it is Mustafa Esmail’s recitation.
If you want to act upon Ayatollah Khamenei words and become closer to our Wali, the prescription is what I mentioned. Studying, purifying, and exercising, and after that Quran. Purifying and studying are two wings that take a person anywhere. If only one of them exists, it is dangerous.

If we want to know the Supreme Leader, we should contemplate on getting to know him and everything will be given to us.

Source: yaseen publications
How Rahbar spends his day A must read

A Day in the Life of Sayyid Ali Khamenei

Children's Majalis - Idea 5: Majlis in a Bag!

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This year, my daughter held a majlis for some girls around her age (6-10 years). We decided to do something different and have a very interactive majlis – thus, Majlis in a Bag!

First though, as the children came in, they did a craft activity. They drew around their hand add cut it out. They thought of one good deed they had done, and wrote it down. Their task was to fill the rest of the fingers with good deeds that week!

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We started off with some girls reciting some Suras and a marsiya, and then I gave some examples of actions, and asked them to guess what the topic was… These examples included: picking up litter from the street, holding the door open for the person coming next, helping mum unpack the shopping, and smiling at someone on the street. They guessed it – Good Deeds! Buzz Ideazz had previously done a series on ideas to encourage our children to do good deeds, and I incorporated many of them into the majlis.

I then showed them my bag and told them that today’s majlis was all in a bag!

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I invited different girls up to choose something from the bag. Here are what they picked and what the ensuing explanation was:

First, someone picked an Ipad. I played this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQacqJsWyrs

The key point here was that good deeds keep going round and come back to us eventually! There were also plenty of examples of good deeds people can do 🙂

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Then item someone picked was a jar. I then pulled out the other smaller jar. I then got some marbles and using those, explained how when we do good, Allah gives us SO many blessings, but when we do something bad, He only gives us the like of it. Check out the full activity here: http://buzzideazz.com/3-doing-good-gives-us-loads-of-happy-points-making-this-visual/

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Next someone picked up this eraser (GOOD DEEDS written on it). I had some bad deeds written out on paper, and we showed how good deeds help the bad ones go away! See the full activity here:  http://buzzideazz.com/4-good-deeds-take-away-bad-deeds/

2014-11-28 13.15.10

Someone then picked up this water bottle. I poured some into a plate and we saw how quickly it spread. We compared this to something solid, which wouldn’t spread at all. We then compared the water to good deeds, and how quickly it spreads – people who have had good done to them pay it forward, and sometimes even seeing someone do something good can be motivating for us to do the same! Time permitting, you can even show these clips here: http://buzzideazz.com/8-pay-it-forward-and-make-good-deeds-viral/

2014-11-28 13.18.09

Another great reason to do good is that it makes us FEEL good. And that is what was represented by this smiley ball that someone picked 🙂

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Lastly, someone picked these magnets. Here, i brought up a plateful of rice with some coins hidden in it and we did this exercise from Islam from the Start: http://www.islamfromthestart.com/2013/10/good-deeds-bring-you-close-to-allah.html – this helped show the children that good deeds will pull us to Allah, even if they are small or hidden! They loved this one 🙂

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When someone picked out these lovely slippers, I gave them an example of Mahatma Ghandi’s selfless good deed, and how this is just one attribute of such an amazing man. The story goes: ‘While boarding a moving train one day, one of Gandhi’s shoes slipped off and fell upon the track. As he was unable to retrieve it, Gandhi – to the astonishment of his fellow travelers – calmly removed his other shoe and threw it down the track to where the first had landed. “The poor man who finds the shoe lying on the track,” Gandhi explained, “will now have a pair he can use.”’

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That covered the reasons why we should do good deeds. Then we spent some time on talking about HOW to do good deeds.

I showed them this Good Deed Jar, and we discussed that although we have all contributed to it (whenever anyone does a good, they write it down and put it in WITHOUT a name), no one can tell who did what good deed. This emphasises that our good deeds are best done anonymously – check out this link for more details on that: http://buzzideazz.com/6-anonymous-acts-of-kindness/

For more information on the Good Deed jar, look here: http://buzzideazz.com/idea-5-a-good-deed-jar/

gooddeedjar

Finally, we looked at how sometimes our good deeds get spoiled when we remind people about what we have done for them, or tell other people about how they needed our help. We likened this to an apple, and how a good deed was like a fresh apple, but when we spoilt it it was as if we threw it down hard on the floor, and bruised and blackened it. See full post here: http://buzzideazz.com/5-dont-spoil-the-good-deeds-you-do/

apple

We then split the girls up into four groups and they each came up with a short role play on good deeds – they came up with wonderful ideas in the short time that they had and acted it out beautifully!

We finished off by remembering Imam Zain-ul-Abideen (as), who would always do good. He would go at night to feed the poor, and despite it being dark, he would still cover his face so that it stayed anonymous. We also remembered Bibi Fatima (as) who always comes to a majlis, and we said Salaam to her. Finally, the children did maatam, a ziyarah, and had some fatiha.

As a reminder to do good and to make people smile, they got this smiley face cup when going home. They also got a small sticky note pad to write notes to make people smile – either anonymous notes on people’s cars or neighbour’s doors, or notes to people they loved.

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Alhamdulillah, that very evening i got a message to say someone had been receiving love notes from the children, and the next day i heard that people had already made their own good deed jars!

 

 

Dinner Conversation Starters for the Muslim Family

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Some time ago, I came across dinner conversation starters on Pinterest. I thought it was a great idea and so printed them out, cut them up and placed them on the table in a small pot. The kids have loved picking out a slip of paper during dinner and discussing whatever question was on there!

As they have now nearly run out, I got thinking about the next batch of questions I would use and thought it might be great to have a bunch of conversation questions around Islamic themes and even values, such as gratitude. I wrote up 30 conversation starters along these lines. Some are very directly Islamic, for example: What is your favourite Sura from the Quran? And some subtly refer to these concepts and allow for parents to perhaps guide childrens’ thoughts more along those lines when discussing them…

For example, one question is: What would it be like if humans didn’t have hair? Here the conversation can be drawn in to thinking of all of Allah’s subtle wisdoms in creating us the way He has, and how every small detail has been thought of!

Check out all the questions here: Family Conversation Ideas for the Muslim Family

Would love to hear from you if you tried it and how your children responded!

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