Some thoughts on Laylatul Qadr for us mums...

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Sometimes, it can be quite hard to get the balance right in terms of ensuring our children realise the value of the nights and benefit from it, and our own personal responsibilities. So how can we ensure this balance is maintained?

  • One way is to prepare the necessary materials for them, but then to leave them to it! Here is what one mum said:

“The last two Laylatul Qadr nights have come and gone, and one thing I realised quite early on is that if our children are staying up (or trying to), they can take up quite a lot of our time… while I was trying to help them with all the little bits and bobs (as well as answer questions, get them comfortable, etc), I was also very conscious of the precious minutes ticking away.

So tonight I am going to dedicate a little time to them to get them started, but then I am going to leave them to it, whatever they choose to do. Because tonight is about me and my God. Inshallah they will have many years ahead of them to benefit from this awesome night, but right now they are not even baaligh yet and it is MY responsibility to pray for them tonight.

The balance between helping them and helping ourselves is hard, and may Allah give us the tawfeeq to get it right! May we utilise this night to the max, and may we feel the ‘Salaam’ coming down on us Inshallah.”

  • Here is an excellent resource for mums to prepare:

Fundraising Idea 11: Being Grateful Challenge of giving up comforts

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Sharing below this unique way of raising funds as well as gratitude in our little ones!

By Islam From The Start:

“To truly appreciate our blessings, we sometimes have to have them taken away. With that in mind, to help the little one understand what real gratitude feels like, we tried to think of ways that he could actually experience giving up some comforts. These are the challenges we came up with for the week ahead. (I’ll do them with him as added motivation.)

To instil a gratitude for:
Food – Try to do a half day fast. It took some persuasion, let’s see how it goes.
Toys – No screen time for a day! That’s no TV/ipad/iphone. (I’m going to find this one hard!)
Speech – Fast of silence for an hour.
Car – Walk a mile to the high street instead of using the car which is what we usually do.

I’m hoping it will provide a memorable experience which he can recall when he next thanks Allah for that particular blessing. At the same time, it will iA give him a small insight into what so many people around the world live without on a daily basis.

We’ve decided to incorporate the experience into a sponsored fundraiser for Gaza. The little one has recorded a short video clip to send out to family, using the challenge to appreciate his blessings, as a way to raise and contribute to those in need.

If you’d like to support him, you can make a donation online at:

https://www.justgiving.com/Begrateful/

Laylatul Qadr 11: Time Management of the Nights

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Here is one way to ensure that the precious time during the nights of Qadr do not get wasted!

Created by Zakira Ummi Merali (QFatima), I have adopted its use to make it a bit more child-friendly – use according to your child’s age! Older children will be staying up longer and so will be able to do more, and so on… but remember, it’s QUALITY not quantity! Don’t force too much on them. Even if they want to stay up but not do the activities and just read, that’s OK – it’s a balance…

This is just a preview of the Time management sheet – to download and print, see the dropbox link below.
TIME MANAGEMENT FOR LAYLATUL QADR – 19th Night of RAMADHAN – 17th July, 2014

TIME/ACTIVITY

9.21pm – Maghrib and Isha Salaat – IFTAR (eat light!)
Give SADQA

10.30pm – Duas and Amaal

11.30pm

12.30am

1.30am – Recite Sura Qadr/Dua ‘Ahad (Nur), have sehri, do ghusl and pray the Night Prayer
Give SADQA

2.49am – Fajr Salaat and Recite Quran
This is witnessed as per 17:78 – “Indeed the dawn recital is attended [by angels].”

5.06am – Sunrise – do one last sajdah and then go to sleep!
Give SADQA

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES (to fill in the empty boxes of time):
• Write down a list of things you are grateful for
• Write down a list of things you are sorry about
• Write down a list of people to pray for
• Write down a list of your duas for the year ahead
• Think about your goals for yourself for the year ahead – break it down into physical goals, spiritual goals, mental goals and emotional goals
• Think about all the things that may be stopping you from these goals
• Do a craft activity on Laylatul Qadr
• Write a letter to the 12th Imam
• Read a book about the Imams
• Do an Islamic workbook
• Go into Sajdah and just talk to Allah

*See www.buzzideazz.com/tag/laylatul-qadr/ for a more comprehensive look at Laylatul Qadr activities, ways to pray for children and craft ideas.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/12898635/TIME%20MANAGEMENT%20FOR%20LAYLATUL%20QADR%20-%20KIDS.docx

Share Ramadan - My experience...

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Alhamdulillah, I am SO grateful to be writing this post 🙂

So yesterday I had a chance to #shareramadan!

I loved the concept when i came across it but was hesitant to invite my busy mummy/working school mum friends to try the fast given the long, hot summer days (the majority of people on the fb page seem to be young men with no children to look after!). But then a random conversation with one of the mums steered on to fasting and how she’d actually be interested to try it… and that was that!

I made my niyyat and decided to take the plunge. I invited a few school mums that I was close to to have iftaar at my home, and Alhamd, they were all enthusiastic to do it! Some that couldn’t make it still said how they would have loved to have been able to try it, and one even mentioned that she herself had heard about the health benefits of fasting and was already thinking about it!

In the end four mums could do it – I sent them some tips, such as eating a night meal and what kind of slow-energy releasing foods to have, to drink lots the night before and taking naps if possible during the day. I also clarified that they should do however much they could – and that even if they didn’t fast but just joined me for dinner, that was fine too! I suggested different options, such as having a fluid only fast, or having breakfast and then starting…

Yesterday began, and as I checked in with them I learned that one mum (a mum of 4 children under the age of 6 might I add) had actually woken up at 2.30am to eat something – and not only that, her 6 year old daughter had woken with her and was fasting at school until lunch time! She had decided to throw her heart into it and do it properly and wasn’t even having any water. Another had had breakfast and then was starting, and the other two were having limited fluids.

A check in at pick-up found the ladies doing well…starting to feel it a bit but still alive and kicking! Actually one of the mums who was having liquids was positively glowing . A last check in close to iftaar time they were feeling it more, with one feeling a bit hot and clammy after a long nap, and the other feeling a quite cold! Our bodies react in different ways, don’t they?!

They arrived home at 9.15 and we chatted until the Azaan clock went off, They broke their fasts with a date, and I told them to make a prayer that was close to their hearts because that was the best time to do so… And then we ate! It was such a lovely evening, with lots of different conversation topics including the benefits of fasting, the whole sorry situation in the Middle East just now, what further studies they were undertaking and general getting to know each other a bit more, and of course – lots of school talk!

Alhamdulillah, it was a great experience for all of us. I was grateful to be able to share something so important to me and appreciated that they had ventured out of their comfort zone to try this not-at-all-easy task, and they were grateful that I had reached out and invited them into this part of my life, and that they had experienced and learnt something new and also for the meal, of course :).

It’s definitely a tradition I plan on keeping, Inshallah – and they are already up for it for next year!

P.S. I have asked them to pen their thoughts and experiences from the day and they will try and do so in a bit more detail, but here are some snippets of emails:

“Thanks for yesterday. It was really inspiring. So great of u to share all this.”
“Was an amazing experience.”

Ramadan Idea 16 : Imam Hassan (as) - Family Treaty

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Imam Hassan’s birthday falls on the 15th of this month. Here is an idea of how to mark it:

  • Make a family treaty!

Here is what one mum said: “FZ made this Family Treaty today after we discussed how Imam Hassan as had to make a peace treaty with Mu’awiya, and how Mu’awiya did not honour any of the promises made on the treaty.

She wanted to make a Mithwani Family Treaty with our own pledges and promises. She drew a picture of herself and Imam Hassan as holding hands, and she designed his colourful prayer cap and robe!”

Ramadan: Becoming a World Cup winner - the Muslim way!

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The World Cup Final is today! As we prepare ourselves to watch this culmination of the last few weeks of matches, here are some thoughts to ponder upon by Nazmina Dhanji (penned by Shaheen Merali).

It is World Cup season at the moment; a special time which only comes once every four years. Everything has a season, if we look at it. Agriculture has its seasons, for example there is a certain time to weed, to prepare the soil to plant the seeds, to irrigate it and finally to reap the fruits and harvest it. Studies have seasons too – there is a time for learning, then a time for revising, a time for exam taking and then a time for rest. Likewise, our relationship with Allah has seasons. There is a time for centering ourselves and returning to Allah (Hajj), a time for irrigating our hearts with tears and learning from the sacrifices of our Aimma (Muharram), a time for putting our learning into action, and there is Ramadhan. What do you think this is a season for?

Allah tells us the purpose of the season of Ramadhan in the Quran: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become God-Conscious.” (2:183) The key word to look at here is ‘may’, or otherwise translated as ‘perhaps’. As with those who enter the football competition, there is no guarantee as to who will be successful!

Just like the goal of the World Cup is the trophy and title of winner at the end, so our goal in this month should be taqwa, God-Consciousness, and this should be lasting in us even after the month is over, just like the title holders are known as the World Cup winners forever.

Some may attain this goal, and some may not; but Allah’s doors and the opportunity to try is open to all. Will we make it past the qualifying round? It all depends on what we put in. The teams for this competition have dedicated full-time training to the cause, starting way before the actual competition. Did we start thinking and spiritually preparing before the month (and not just filling our freezers)?

Winning teams go in with the attitude that they WILL make it to the end – no winning team started off expecting to go out in the first round – they were in it for the win. They are fully committed to the game and love it with a passion – rough and filled with knocks and injuries as it may be. Likewise, the winners in the eyes of Allah are those that embrace this month of fasting with all it’s hardships – knowing that it will be well worth it in the end.

During the period of the competition they ensure they keep up with their intense training and exercises, not allowing anything to distract them; similarly, those who succeed in this month ensure they keep distractions to a minimum (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, social events, TV, etc) and keep up their Ibadah to a high level.

Unlike the World Cup winners though, who will only go home with a certain amount of money, a trophy and status for a while, the winners with Allah will be given from an unlimited and undefined bank – He is Al-Jawad and Al-Wahaab, He just keeps on increasing and giving. Not only that, but in Hadith-e-Qudsi Allah says “Al-Sawmu lee wa ana ujuzi’u bihi” which can be translated in two ways. It can mean “Fasting is for Me and its reward is with Me” or even better, “Fasting is for Me and I am its reward.” In essence, Allah is saying leave the reward to His discretion – we cannot even begin to put a price tag on it and it is proportionate to our efforts. What an amazing thing to work towards!

In the few weeks that remain of this fantastic season, let us remind ourselves of the goal and work towards that. Fasting is not the goal in itself, just like playing football for the sake of playing isn’t the ultimate goal. The goal is to win, and gain an awareness of God’s presence that ultimately affects our thoughts and actions for the better during this month and beyond.

May Allah give us the tawfeeq to win in this month, Inshallah!

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