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!

 

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!

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/

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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/

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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!

Sunnahs of Cooking

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I really liked this shortlist of things to do when cooking – imagine the impact of that food on our families!

Sharing as seen on someone’s timeline:

SUNNAHS OF COOKING

1. Have wudhu whilst cooking-a person in wudhu is safe from shaitaan, wudhu not only cleanses one externally but it purifies us internally as well by washing our sins off.
2. Have the intention of cooking food solely for the pleasure of Allah and not for people’s praises and compliments- doing so, the cooking will be counted as ibaadat and one will be getting rewards
3. Keep your hair covered- not only to save oneself from the embarrassment of having someone pull out a hair from the food but to keep the angels of mercy present too.
4. Say BISMILLAH when beginning- Allah will fill the food with barkat & noor.
5. Always check the things and be conscious of halal & haram- the one who consumes a single morsel of haram food, his ibadat of 40 days is not accepted
6. Do lots of dhikr & recite durood throughout- the love of Allah &
Prophet Muhammed صلى الله عليه وسلم will enter in the hearts of those who eat the food.
7. Have the pious people partake the food- the pious are the friends of Allah n their duas on your behalf can be readily accepted.
8. Do not waste anything, not even a few grains as Allah hates israaf and this causes reduction in the ni’aamat .
9. When eating any food that was liked by Prophet Muhammed صلى الله عليه وسلم e.g dates, meat, thareed, pumpkin, vinegar etc, make niyyat of sunnat and gain the numerous rewards of following sunnat.
10. Think of yourself & blessing of Allah and that He is the one who has given you the ability to cook and it is he who puts taste in the food.
11. Have your servants partake of the food too.
12. Say Alhamdulillah upon completing as Allah made you the reason of satiating hunger and your ability to do so was from Allah….

Make the whole process of cooking into Ibadah & gain rewards
إن شاء الله

On the topic of Halloween...

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Saw this great discussion on a friend’s wall – was having a similar conversation with a friend so it was very relevant. When trying to share it however, am not getting all of it, just the youtube link, so here’s what she said and perhaps we can pick up a discussion here?:

“Last night at the Kids Parallel Program, we touched on this concept of Halloween and explained the brief history of its origin. We told students that this concept has nothing to do with Islam. This lecture such beautifully explains how mothers should train their children and make it explicitly known to them that there are “religious” holidays and we as Muslims do not “have to” partake in them just like other religions do not partake in our holidays. We respect each other and their beliefs but we should not be adopting such celebrations just because “we are living in this society”. The speaker this morning so beautifully explained this concept too.

It will require some work on the part of those parents who have already been taking their kids “dressed up”, trick or treating in the past and this reformation will not happen overnight. With that in mind, we have asked the little workshop kids to come dressed as a “Soldier of Al Mahdi” and instead of having them go door-to-door “begging” for sweets (I’m so glad the speaker used this word this morning – I was almost tempted to do the same last night when explaining the kids but refrained from it because I’m not a mother and the last thing I want to hear is “What do you know? You don’t have kids! You won’t understand our struggles”), we will hand out the candies to them as “Fateha” at the end of the Program after remembering the Martyrs of Karbala and our Marhumeen by reciting Surah al Fateha.”

I found this alternate comment interesting also:

“On another note- growing up here my whole life, i trick or treated until i was 15. I think it was to have fun and just enjoy the candy. I think i turned out okay and teach my kids the morals needed. I don’t think i looked at it as begging for anything. My kids trick or treat, and we donate most of the candy but this year and for many more years they know it wont be allowed since its Muharram and safar. Life is a balance and every situation should be approached with an open mind. For who knows. We may not trick or treat our whole life in this ‘society’ and other things will arise that will make trick or treat look harmless.”

Would love to hear your thoughts?

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