Eid Tablecloth

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What a lovely idea to do on Eid!

“We started this tablecloth in 2000. It has the names of everyone we’ve shared Thanksgiving with each year. Each year is a different color. I am so grateful to have the signatures of those who have left us. . . mom, David’s dad, our daughter Mary. It has scribbles of grands and special messages. Everyone signs it at our Thanksgiving and then I embroider it each year and it is quite a treasure to me. Along the edge is a key of what color goes with what year. Thanksgiving is this weekend at our house so we are ready for a new set of signatures.” ❤️

#LoveWhatMatters

A Love What Matters Original Story

Credit: Deb Mills

6 ways to build bridges this Ramadhan

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Alhamd, had a chance to write for The Muslim Vibe 🙂 I really really believe in this – hope you will too!

“Islamophobia is rife. Sorry to start off with such a cliché, fear-mongering line but it is the unfortunate truth that in this day and age Muslims are very often getting a raw deal, and attacks on mosques and women wearing the hijab are happening all too often.

There is very little the common person can do to change the over-arching factors that fuel this. As much as I (and all of you) would like to tell ISIS and other terrorists to just STOP (to put it nicely), and the media to quit propagating their biased nonsense, chances are this is not going to happen. There are a few amazing individuals amongst us who have climbed up to places of influence, and whose articles and news clips reach far and wide, and for that we are grateful. But for the vast majority of us, that is unreachable. We tend to sign petitions, share articles on Facebook, and go to marches, but the undeniable truth is that at the end of the day, just as charity begins at home, so does sharing the true Islam. We need to work on a grass-roots level, and reach out to the people that see us and come in contact with us daily. We need to build bridges.

This gives me hope! We can do something instead of shaking our heads and wondering what next… in fact, we can do a lot. We can affect the hearts of minds of people like the Prophet did – by being the best example:

“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad SAW) you have a good example to follow…”

Sura Al-Ahzab, Verse 21.

The great thing is, we can get the whole family involved! What better way to teach our children how to interact with the outside world, than role modelling it for them and encouraging them to join in.

Below are a few ideas that I’ve put together to encourage us to reach out at touch the people and community around us. These ideas are all centred around Ramadhan and Eid – Alhamdulillah, Ramadhan is featuring more and more in the media today, so why not capitalise on that and let people know the deeper meanings behind what we do and why. Indeed, what better month to reach out and connect with others than this one, when we are encouraged to do good and truly practise the high moral values of our beautiful faith? In fact, in Sura Baqarah, in verse 185 that was revealed about Ramadhan and the Quran, it says “guidance to mankind”; Nouman Ali Khan explains this perfectly – the fact that it says Naas, i.e. mankind in general, means we should share the blessings of this month with the non-Muslims around us, whether directly or indirectly!

It is my sincere hope and prayer that by doing this, even if we have softened the heart of just one person, it has been worthwhile. So come on ostriches, let’s get our heads out of the sand, reach out and start building those bridges! …”

1. Give out dates in school

This idea combines several objectives in one! To reach out to the teachers and admin of school and let them know about the month of Ramadan, as well as a little bit about why we break our fasts with dates. It also lets them know that the children may be fasting, and what to expect during this time – that they won’t be taking part in PE, for example. I find giving a plate or jar of dates so much prettier and fun than just a boring old note, don’t ya think?!

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Last year, we also gave out date plates to other Muslim parents in the school – again, a great way to build bridges between us and other sects at a time when divide and rule seems to be prevalent and negativity is growing within the ummah itself.

By the way, if you’re like me and not very creative design-wise, there are SO many giveaways and freebies out on the internet for Ramadan Mubarak tags and labels – ideal for just downloading and printing off. Like this one. Here are some more examples of date jars and plates for inspiration also.

2. Share Ramadan

This is a great initiative that encourages people to literally ‘share’ Ramadan with others by inviting them to try fasting for a day and having them over for iftaar. I loved the concept when I heard of it, but wasn’t sure if I could try it out myself. Being a work-from-home mum, the only non-Muslims I come into contact with regularly and know quite well these days are school mums. With the long summer day fasts, I felt reluctant to ask them to fast knowing well that many of them work and have to deal with their kids, etc, and so decided not to try it. This all changed through a conversation with one of these mums at school! We were talking about Ramadan and fasting, and she said she had read about the health benefits of fasting and how it sounded great. That gave me the courage to reach out and put out feelers for this – and the response was overwhelmingly positive!

In the end I had four mums over for iftaar after a day of fasting and it ended up being one of the highlights of my month. We ate, we drank (juice, of course), we laughed, and we talk about Ramadan and fasting and much much more. Alhamdulillah, they, and others who couldn’t make it last time, are all willing to do it again this year. I had better start planning the menu!

If you’re interested, you can read more about my experience here.

iftar with non-muslims

 

3. Give charity – Smile 🙂

Okay so this one may sound cheesy, but it is SO important that we reach out to others through all forms of communication, including non-verbal. Charity is highly recommended in this month, and the Prophet said even a smile is charity, so there you go! Especially when we’re fasting in these long hot summer months, it is easy to be grumpy and not very forthcoming, but I always just keep this verse in mind about how the Prophet drew people to him, and to our faith:

“Thus it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently, and had you been rough, hard hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you; pardon them therefore and ask pardon for them…”

Sura Ale-Imran, Verse 159.

Smiling is such a universal form of communication, you can do it everywhere and with anyone. When I moved here from the US some odd 14 years ago, I promised myself that I would bring some of the American friendliness to the streets of London. I have to admit, it’s been hard – especially when people don’t always smile back – but hey, at least I’ve done my part. I mean, if they are going to have judgments of me being a ‘towel-head’ or a ‘terrorist’ anyway, I might as well be a smiley one!

4. Give out Eid cards to the neighbours

For many years now, we have given our neighbours cards and a little something on Eid. At first, I used to include a little paragraph on what we did in the month, and why we celebrate Eid, but I figured that by now they know all that and so we just give them cards made especially for neighbours by Buzz Ideazz that have either a verse or hadith about neighbours in Islam now. Just something small to show what the true Islam says!

We go give these cards and gifts as a family, and it has enabled us to build such great relationships with them, Alhamdulillah. They look after our house when we’re on holiday, and reciprocate with presents for the children at Christmas time. The very first time we gave such a card to a neighbour, they came by the next day and gave us a card back, and thanked us for sharing our religion with them! My sister started doing this too, and has since been invited over for tea by her Jewish neighbours. Alhamdulillah – as I said at the beginning, one person/family at a time.

neighbour cards

Sometimes I hear people say, “I’m not going to do that, my neighbours are awful”… to that I would say that there is even MORE reason to reach out and give them cards. To receive love and goodness, we must give love and goodness. Isn’t our history full of that? Take the example of the lady who threw rubbish at the Prophet. He responded by visiting her when she was ill and asking after her, and she, overwhelmed with his goodness, became a Muslim. Enough said.

5. Why stop at the neighbours? Give out Eid cards to community institutions as well!

Another tradition we started a few years ago was honouring the institutions in the community that serve us. We go to drop off an Eid card and box of chocolates to the police station, fire station, doctor’s office, library, and even the postman! In the card and personally, we make sure to thank them for everything they do for us. Last year, we saw our card up in the library wall for ages after – another bridge built, Inshallah!

eid with police

 

6. Let your children give out Eid cards to their teachers and classmates.

And finally, let your children start reaching out from now too! My son always used to complain that his school had a little postbox at Christmas time, and all his friends were giving out cards to celebrate their festival, and why couldn’t he? So Buzz Ideazz created little Kidzz cards which they can now give out to their classmates and teacher for Eid! There is also a range of inter-faith Christmas cards for classes too, but that’s for another article ;).

Don’t forget, anything that goes to the children goes to their parents too, so in this way we are reaching out to many more people too. I have had parents approach me to say thank you for the card and wish me, but what I will never forget is how a (non-Muslim) friend of my son’s was so touched by the card that he went home and made a card for him in return. Even more poignant were the words he had written on the front – ‘Joyful! Wonderful! Spiritual! Family time! Present time!’ Eid summarised in a perfect few words indeed!

eid with friends 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, that’s all for now, folks. It would be great to hear from you – if you have any more ideas to add to this list, I would love to hear it! Please comment below or drop me a line with all your ideas on info@buzzideazz.com.

Until the next time, Inshallah – and in the meantime, have fun building those bridges!”

Here is the link to the main article: http://themuslimvibe.com/life/parents/6-ways-to-build-bridges-as-a-family-this-ramadhan/

Humanity has no religion

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This LITERALLY gave me goosebumps – Subhanallah, this is true humanity 🙂

“On February 2002 a tea vendor in Lucknow, Aiku Lal Sandil finds a boy abandoned at a park near his tea stall. The boy only remembers his name as Akbar. Aiku reports to police but the police were unable to trace the boy’s parents as there was no missing complain registered on missing of a three year old boy in any of the police station all over the state.

After losing hope police advice Aiku to shift the boy to an orphanage, Aiku refuses and brings up the boy on his own, Aiku has meager income but ensures the boy gets proper education and also retains Akbar’s religion by taking him to a Muslim cleric and making the child learn Quran and read Namaz daily. Soon a lovely relationship blossoms between a Hindu man and a Muslim boy and they both form a family of their own.They live very happily together.The boy considers the man as his mother and father both.

After 5 years in 2007, one journalist, who comes across this unique relationship, highlights this in a TV show where he interviews Aiku and Akbar both.They also show the childhood photo of Akbar when he was found in the park.

They did not know that this would turn their world upside down.

When the show was aired on TV the biological parents of the boy see it and recognize that it is their kid with the help of photo shown in the TV show.

The boy’s biological parents turn up and seek the custody of boy, but the boy refuses saying Aiku is his father-mother and wants to stay with Aiku, but boy’s biological parents go to court to claim Akbar’s custody. But court gives judgement in favour of Aiku and acknowledges Aiku’s upbringing of the boy by retaining his religion and providing education.

During court proceedings we get insights about the life of Aiku.

Aiku lal says during court proceedings:
“I am a Hindu, brought up by a Muslim man. When I found Akbar, it was like God telling me that it is time to return the love and care I got from His people. I was never forced to change my religion and, having got that education from my guardian, it was my duty to take care of the child and bring him up as per his own religion,”

A midst all religious differences raised by ourselves and self centred politicians, ‘Humanity’ is still prevalent in one form or the other.

– Shared on Quora by Gaurav Langwan.”

And here’s another article showing a similar situation, but in reverse! http://thelogicalindian.com/story-feed/get-inspired/delhi-hc-issues-order-naming-muslim-pilot-the-guardian-of-2-hindu-orphans/

Sharing Dates - YOUR versions - 2014 :)

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Remember this post from last year about sharing dates with your neighbour?

http://buzzideazz.com/ramadan-idea-6-share-dates-with-your-neighbours/

Well I came across a much prettier (and free printable!) version and posted in on Facebook for all the wonderful members of our page there – http://www.modernmuslimhome.com/blog/ramadan-date-jars – and then so many people started sending in their versions of it!

They are all awesome, and so am sharing it here with you all 🙂

Here’s the first – handing out dates to new neighbours and introducing themselves at the same time – what a great way to get to know the neighbours!:

neighbours

 

Love this idea of including the dua for breaking the fast on to these pretty date jars!:

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Another great way to share dates – by encouraging Palestinian support!:

 

Another version of the Date Jars by Islam From the Start She found these great boxes in case you don’t have any jars Download them here: http://www.smartark.com/downloads/misc/datebox1_2.pdf :

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Loving this version of date jars for family and friends, made by the child’s hand. As she grows, the parents will have a collection of her growing hand through every Ramadhan :):

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From a mum: “Made some date gifts for the teachers at school. Thank you for the labels. Xx”:

date packs

 

Last but not least, here is our version of the date jar (ummm…no jar in sight lol)! I wanted to subtly let the school folks know that the month had kicked off and so sent this in. We were also thinking who else to give dates to – we usually give something to neighbours/people in the community for Eid and so didn’t want to overdo it – and besides – we wanted to give dates to Muslims in particular to get the reward for feeding fasting people! Nowadays giving out dates within our community is quite common, so we have decided to reach out to those we don’t tend to ‘give’ much to – the other Muslims in our school! There are not THAT many so it should hopefully be feasible… Inshallah we are hoping it will be thawaab, as well as a good way to deepen our bonds 🙂

 

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Sil-e-Rahm Jar

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Sil-e-Rahm is a key part of Islam, as maintaining relationships with family is essential to unity. However, with our busy lifestyles, it may not be so easy to keep in touch with our extended families, aunts and uncles, etc. One good way is to keep a note of important birthdays, and at least make the effort to call them on that day.

Another idea, which is especially useful to teach the importance of this concept to children, is a Sil-e-Rahm Jar. Cut out strips of paper and write the names of people your children want to/should keep in touch with – cousins, friends, etc. Then choose a day, a day that you know you will have some time to make calls and that time-difference won’t be an issue, and on that day every week, pick a name out of the jar and skype/facetime/call away!

Alhamdulillah, my kids loved the concept so much they didn’t want to wait a week and decided to pick several names out of the jar at once, and for several days thereafter! I’m actually thinking of making my own personal jar to help me stay on top of my own personal responsibilities of Sil-e-Rahm 🙂

This Sil-e-Rahm jar may be ideal for those returning from ziyarats as well. One of the beautiful aspects of ziyarat is getting to know and forming ties with the people in the group, as well as coming across long-lost friends and acquaintances of other groups. Although initially upon return, efforts are made to keep in touch regularly, unfortunately this inevitably dwindles… Why not make your own Sil-e-Rahm jars and see how that works?

On a final note, just wanted to share the importance of Sil-e-Rahm: Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) says, regarding the rewards for Sil-e-Rahm – “The reward for Sadaqah in the way of Allah (SWT) is ten times, whereas the reward for giving a loan is twelve times (because in giving a loan the dignity of the loaned is maintained). The reward for the good behavior to the believing brothers is twelve times and the reward for Sil-e-Rahm is twenty four times.”

Die before we die

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In the wake of the sudden and tragic death of a young, beautiful, bright girl, beautiful tributes have flowed for her, describing what they love about her and the memories that they cherish. Inshallah these will be much appreciated by her family and friends for years to come.

It got me thinking though… The unfortunate reality is that we have so much that we love, appreciate and admire about people, but don’t necessary tell them so. Well, at least I don’t, not to the extent that I should anyway. When sharing these thoughts with my family, we decided to try something new. We decided to ‘die before we die’, where we choose a member of our family and each write the things we most appreciate and love about them, and the memories that we share. In other words, a tribute to them while they are alive.

Alhamdulillah, it’s proving to be a lovely experience for us all, and so I thought I would share it with you to maybe try… Inshallah, I pray it gets all of our families buzzing with love 🙂

Buzz Ideazz

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