'O Allah increase me in knowledge,

Monday, 29 September 2008

One more Ramadan update and Eid preparation!

Assalamu alaykum,

the week have gone so quickly. I cannot believe it, sadly Ramadan is slipping away...again!!

This week we had our last Ramadan cooking lesson. The boys and I have decided to make a nice fruit salad, we always have a bowl of fruits after our meals! Kids got really busy with washing fruits, peeling, cutting, and preparing a nice fresh bowl of fruit! We used bananas, apples, pears and oranges. We then added some freshly squeezed lemon juice to keep the bananas white and refrigerate until iftar time. Sadly I didn't take any pics as I was too busy looking out for my boys safety!

On another note, we have carried on with our art&crafts craziness of the last 4 weeks or so.
It was now time for some pretty flowers. The boys have not enjoyed this one much...I wonder why?!?
Also some colourful 'eid cards that we made for dh. Pics below!

We carried on with the 15 minutes Qur'an a day and talked about 'eid. We used the book below and learn the dua to say on the day of 'eid and how to perform the prayer.
Last but not least, decorations are on display. For me lots to wash and iron in preparation for the party! All is ready but one thing is bugging me, where would we be going to pray this year? They are in the process of re-building our two local Mosques and so I guess we will have to travel to pray 'eid. I pray to Allah to have a nice day for me and family. Amin.
wa alaykum assalam

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Art&Craft and some cooking lessons!

Assalamu alaykum,

kids have finished their projects: A made a house out of real cement and bricks and S has finished painting the flags of the Muslim world.
Also since the beginning of Ramadan I allocated a day in each week where the kids could come in the kitchen and learn how to cook. The first week I told them about hygiene: washing vegetables and fruits, cleaning the work area, washing dishes and pans and of course hands before cooking.

On week two, I taught them about safety; how to use knives safely for chopping, fire safety, gas and hot water.

On week three we started proper cooking. The kids made two pizzas with toppings on their choice for iftaar.

On the other hand, kids have been too tired and most probably hungry to learn new surahs and any new dua'as. We just stuck to the usual routine of reading Qur'an 15 minutes a day and repeating dua'as that we know. Also watched a new Islamic cartoon called the 'king and the boy' and so Surah Al Buruj came to mind. We also talked about Prophet Salih and the Thamud as A was reading the Prophets stories and found interesting this particulat story related in Surah Al Fajr.

Still no sign of going back to the normal routine and of course Calvert. Insh'Allah after Ramadan. I will have to email A teacher @ Calvert to let her know we are a tid bit late :(

Still working on the house! Painting it.
A is happy with his house. It's so heavy we had it
to put it on a tick medal tray.

S is painting flags. Don't ask me which flag is that! ;)

S pizza. He said it is the shape of a boat.

Kids have a very interesting imagination.

more toppings please!


A. tuna pizza

Why this pic is here? Just some Yorkshire pudding
my dh made with the following filling:
mash potatoes, green olives, tuna, a bit of green chillies,
anchovies and grated cheese! Yum!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Ramadan Dua'as

When beginning the fast
SuhurWa bisawmi ghadinn nawaiytu min shahri ramadan
I intend to keep the fast for tomorrow in the month of Ramadan[abu Dawud]
When breaking the fast
IftarAllahumma inni laka sumtu wa bika aamantu [wa 'alayka tawakkaltu] wa ‘ala rizq-ika aftarthu
O Allah! I fasted for You and I believe in You [and I put my trust in You] and I breakmy fast with Your sustenance["wa 'alayka tawakkaltu" is quoted in some books of knowledge - but not all, hence it is in brackets][abu Dawud]
dhahabadh-dhama’u wab-tallatil ‘urūūqi, wa thabatal arju inshaAllah
The thrist is gone, the veins are moistened and the reward is confirmed, if Allah [Ta'ala] Wills[abu Dawud 2:306]Upon breaking the fast in someone’s home
Aftara ‘indakumus saa’imuna, wa akala ta’aamakumul-abraaru, wasallat ‘alaikumul mala’ikat
May those who are fasting break their fast in your home, and may the dutiful and pious eat your food and may the angels send prayers upon you.[abu Dawud 3:367, ibn Majah 1:556, an Nasa'i]

Thursday, 18 September 2008

One more Ramadan update

Assalamu alaykum,

finally my internet connection is up and running again. It took 6 days for my ISP to understand the cause of the problem. I am glad I am back online.
Kids and I have been really busy these last week.
I feel we have achieved so much and I am happy we could enjoy this blessed Month at home doing things that we enjoy. Hamdulillah kids will be back at their evening madrassa next month and to all their other sport activities too.
So without further do, here are some pics of our last week.

giving new life to old, broken crayons
peeling the crayons, kept the kids busy

ready to be put in the oven

melted crayons, just out of the oven

finishing product. New crayons!

some more craft to keep the boys busy.

building with cornstarch

A is building with real bricks and cement!

S made a castle with a dragon and a river. Mash'AllahLearning about the Muslim world
Flags of the Muslim world
In our bookshelf
warm salad with eggs, roasted peppers and grilled aubergines

Greek moussaka. Just a good change from shorba and borek!

more pics to come soon. My connection still too slow to upload all the pictures!
wa alaykum assalam

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Quick weekly [Ramadan] update

Assalamua alaykum,
not much time to be spent in front of the pc.
So here's just a quick update about our week.
Learning about the Companions
Arabic Memory Game
S is learning to read and write in theme with Ramadan
Iftar food from a 5 years old perspective!
You can see the borek in the small bowl, lol
Islamic Calendar - learning the Islamic Months
Tarawih mats decorated by A

Hilal by A for the lapbook (bookmark)
some more work for the lapbook
Man in sujud
Suhoor time by S

Team Read Challenge - Achieved!

Kids got their bags and gold medals.
Ramadan Lapbook folder by S
Ramadan Lapbook folder by A
lapbook work
Well, just Ramadan!

wa alaykum assalam

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Before the Sand Slips Away!

Before the Sand Slips Away By Muhammad Al-Shareef
"Hasn't there come upon man a period of time when they were nothing remembered?"- Insaan 76/1Imagine that you are on the beach. You are four years old. The camp leader has told you that you have five minutes to build a great castle. "Quickly," your three year old Ameer tells you, "the sand here is too soft. Run closer to the water and get better sand!"Off you run and grab, with your tiny hands, as much sand as you can hold. But, as you run back, plop, plop, plop, you feel the sand slipping through your fingers. You can do nothing about it. In your haste, all the sand has slipped away. Bang. The competition is over. This is the analogy of our lives. This is the analogy of our time in Ramadan.For many living in Western countries, Ramadan is passed daily with 9 to 5 jobs or school - nights where we may or may not go for Taraweeh. A peak at the TV (may Allah protect us) and the night is over. Back to work where all around us people are eating and drinking from crystal water fountains. Blink. Ramadan is over.The question of the hour is: how do we take full advantage of this gift of Allah? This is our topic, before the sands of Ramadan slip away.How many years have we been fasting Ramadan? 10 or 15 or 40 years? Are we 10 or 15 or 40 times better? Or, does it seem like we have arrived back at the drawing board every time Ramadan comes around? All acts of worship are for our own benefit! Don't do it and harm befalls you, which is the way life was programmed.Ramadan is no small matter. It is one of the pillars of this Deen of Islam - without it one's Islam would not be complete. In this month, Rasul Allah - sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam - would intensify his worship of Allah ta'ala. In doing so, he laid the foundation for his Ummah after him to emulate.Ibn AlQayyim - rahimahullaah - wrote: "From his blessed guidance - sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam - in Ramadan is that he used to intensify and diversify his actions of worship. So, for example, Jibreel used to rehearse the Qur'an with him during the nights of Ramadan. When Jibreel would visit him, he would intensify the amount of Sadaqah that he would give. He was the most generous out of all people - sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam - and Ramadan was the time when he was most generous. In Ramadan, he would fill his time with Sadaqah, treating people kindly, reciting Qur'an, performing Salah, remembering Allah, and performing I'tikaaf." - Zaad AlMa'aadObservers described the way Allah's Messenger- sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam - gave like Ar-Reeh AlMursalah, like the blessed wind. Why? The blessed wind, as they knew it, was a wind that brought coolness to everyone - no one was denied its blessing. The blessed wind, additionally, was not lazy in bringing its goodness to the people. It would come swiftly to all. This is how Rasul Allah - sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam - was described, and this is how our service to humanity should be: swift and encompassing. Bi idhnillah.Below are ten ideas to and help make the most of Ramadan - before it slips through our hands.
Idea one: Compound Your Siyaam!If you told your financial broker that you just want to keep money in the bank and save it, he would say, "You are wrong." "Invest it in the stock market. That way your money will be compounded - you will earn multiple times what you put in." So now I ask the question: Wouldn't you love to get two times the reward of fasting Ramadan? How?Zayd ibn Khaalid AlJuhanee narrates that the Prophet - sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam - said, "Whoever gives a fasting person (food) to break his or her fast, he (the one feeding) will get the reward equivalent to the (fasting persons) reward - without diminishing anything from the reward of the (fasting person)."How do we do this? Ask any Muslim relief agency if they have a feed a fasting person program. Subhan Allah, you may find that it only costs $1 to feed a person! So, for $30 you could come out of Ramadan having doubled your reward.And, we should not forget the needy in our city. We think that in a 'modern' western country or city there are no needy people. That is not true. There are many needy families that are waiting to be discovered. Ask around and you will find a gold mine of people to help, in your own backyard.I speak about Washington, DC. If one was to have a food drive, all the food could go to needy Muslim families in DC and still not be enough! I've seen this with my own eyes. How blessed it would be to get the youth that just hang out in the back of the Masjid during Taraweeh to take on this task. Organize the collection of the food and distribute it. It can happen! It just takes a leader with vision to set this up for the youth and all the good people who want to make a difference.
Idea two:Operation Guide the YouthOften in Ramadan, there are khaatirahs, words of wisdom, halaqahs and reminders, all geared to the adults praying Taraweeh. The youth, it seems, are being disrespectful by talking in the back of the masjid."Shhhhhsh!" someone shouts at them. "Listen or go outside (and we prefer if you just go outside)!" So, quietly they sneak out of the Masjid and chat and chill all Ramadan. How Eman boosting is that? Remember, Allah commands that you protect your wife and children also.Try this: Just like there are things for the adults, we could have Ramadan activities and reminders geared specifically for the youth. And, it need not be 'in' the Masjid. Let's say the youth like to chat and chill outside in the parking lot. Why not organize the activity there? Yes, on the basketball court or in the parking lot. Have a 5-minute Khatirah, play games with them, and give them some noble projects to complete in Ramadan.Again, making a difference like this needs a leader with vision, one who recognizes that the youth are his or her responsibility. I pray that person is you!
Idea three: Turnoff TV MonthEvery parent knows that when they want their child to do well in their studies they tell them, "no TV." If this is for Dunya, then how about someone who wants to excel in Ramadan?"Fasting and the Qur'an will come and testify on behalf of the 'Abd on the Day of Resurrection. The Fasting will say: O my lord, I denied him food and desires, so allow me to be a means for him to enter paradise. And the Qu'ran will say: O my Lord, I denied him sleep at night so allow me to be a means for him to enter Paradise. And (he will be entered into paradise) because of those two." - Musnad AhmadTry this: Announce in your household that Ramadan is the official turnoff TV month. Be an example for others and do fun and rewarding things instead. Visit people, take on a Ramadan feeding project, increase yourself in knowledge, etc. Turn off the TV and turn on life.
Idea Four: Dua' Time Ramadan is the month of making dua' to Allah, an essential compliment to fasting. Rasul Allah - sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam - said, "There are three persons dua' that will be accepted (by Allah). The fasting person, the oppressed one, and the traveler."Try this: Make a list of all your goals in life. Make a section for your a) personal goals; b) spiritual goals; c) economic goals; and d) contribution goals. Every day during Ramadan, take out your list and make dua' to Allah to grant you the tawfeeq to accomplish your goals. Insha Allah, you will attain your goals with hard work, both during and after Ramadan.
Idea Five: Parent Appreciation Month We all know that the one who wakes us up for Suhoor is our mom. I know it was for me. If not for her alarm clock, her early morning cooking, her motherly love to go and wake everyone up . well, let's just say our iftars would have become our suhoors. If you are living away from your parents, you know what I'm talking about.Remember the hadith of the person who doesn't reach Ramadan with forgiveness? The end part of the Hadith says they found their parents in old age and they were not a means for him to enter Jannah!So, why not announce it loud and clear this month, "Thank you Mom! Thank you Dad!" Let's take care of them this month with extra calls, extra hugs, and extra love.
Idea Six: Masjid Power Hour During Ramadan, why not spend a few more moments in the Masjid before taking off. This could be done after Fajr or after Asr. Sit back, grab a Qur'an and remember Allah. As your time in the Masjid increases, bi idhnillaah, your love and heart attachment will increase. Make this your personal Masjid power hour.
Idea Seven: Bad Habit BusterMany people already do this. They may have a smoking problem or a TV addiction. When Ramadan comes around they say, "I'm going to train myself to stop smoking or to stop watching excessive TV by abandoning it throughout Ramadan."So, you don't have a smoking problem huh? Everyone has a bad habit and everyone has a recurring sin they pray they could desist from. Make Ramadan the training month by telling yourself to go without this sin for the entire month. Then, if Allah grants one Tawfeeq to complete the month, one should continue to pray to Allah to keep them away from the sin after Ramadan.
Idea Eight: The Gift GrooveHave you ever noticed how beloved a bottle of perfume is when it is handed out by a little four year old Muslim? Everyone loves a gift.Why not take this a step forward? Go to your local Islamic bookstore and request a bulk purchase of some beneficial Islamic materials, something in the $1 range. Then, hand it out to everyone that comes to your masjid. Bi idhnillaah, you will find for the little effort one may put, people all throughout Ramadan will be learning from the gift.
Idea Nine: Ramadan Muslims, Convert!It is true that on the first day of Ramadan, the number of Muslims in the local Masjid multiplies considerably. And, it is a sad moment on the first day after Ramadan that the Masjid attendance drops significantly. This idea is Operation No More Ramadan Muslims. We want people all year long!Ibn Abbas I'tikaaf: A man came to Ibn Abbas while he was doing I'tikaaf in the masjid and asked him for his assistance. So, Ibn Abbas stood to leave and people around him warned him, 'but you are in I'tikaaf'. He replied, "To assist my brother in fulfilling his need is more beloved to me than to perform I'tikaaf for 2 months in the Masjid of Rasul Allah - sal Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam."Try this: Make a 'compassion crew' that reaches out specifically to Ramadan Muslims. Extra special attention is showered on them and roles of responsibility are delegated to them so that they can participate more in the Masjid. Invite them to special Iftars where they are the center of attention.With this extra attention and responsibility, bi idhnillaah, every month will be Ramadan for them and the masjids will be full all year.
Idea Ten: Home HalaqahMuslim families often keep their worship for the Masjid, but why not make Muslim family time at home. It could work like this: After Taraweeh or Asr, the family gathers together for 15 minutes. There are many things you could do in your Halaqah, the main thing is that you set time aside for it.For example, each family member may recite a few verses of Qur'an. Or, one of the kids can read a story of the Sahaabah so that all family members can be reminded. Or, each family member can speak about the blessings of Allah upon them and what they have in their lives for which they are thankful.
Just 15 minutes for the home Halaqah. For the entire family, bi idhnillah, it will be a spring of Eman.

Ten ideas to enhance your Ramadan:
Idea one: Compound Your Siyaam!
Idea two: Operation Guide the Youth
Idea Three: Turn off TV Month
Idea Four: Dua' Time
Idea Five: Parent Appreciation Month
Idea Six: Masjid Power Hour
Idea Seven: Bad Habit Buster
Idea Eight: The Gift Groove
Idea Nine: Ramadan Muslims, Convert!
Idea Ten: Home Halaqah
The past saw Muslims that spent their nights of Ramadan awake praying to Allah. It saw days where people, for the sake of Allah, went thirsty.They knew that this season may never return on them and they heard Allah's words "Ayyaman Ma'doodaat"- a limited number of days. Don't let the sand of Ramadan slip away.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

What have we been up to?

Assalamu alaykum, just a quick update about our last few days and the beginning of Ramadan.
Kids have been busy with art&craft, really busy. They have produced some lovely boxes to give as gifts for their little friends. Mash'Allah! They will fill them up with sweets, dates, raisins etc.
We have been using the book called 'Rainy days activities' by Vivienne Bolton. If you can buy this book do so as is an excellent resource and too easy to follow. Most of the activities use stuff that you can easily have at home.

We have carried on with the Ramadan lapbook, soon to follow pics insh'Allah. This is not our first lapbook, we have produced others in the past including 'All about Trains' , 'All about Spring' , 'All about Autumn', 'All about Dinosaurs' and so many more. But this time, don;t know why, it is taking us loooong than expected. Most probably is the fact that we have to follow Calvert programme and at the same time and find time and energy to complete the lapbook.
We have been using 'My Ramadan fun book' A really nice booklet filled with worksheets. A very useful resource if you don;t have Internet.

What more?
Cooking! Well expected I spent last 2 mornings in the kitchen cooking. Below one of the dishes I made for today's iftaar. The recipe is courtesy of Mimi . Jazakillah sister. 'Chicken, Tomatoes and Beans'

The good thing is that this time around iftaar is so late I end up having so much time in the afternoon to do some good reading.

I have been reading a new book from 'Aid Al-Qarni. 'Muhammad (sallahu alayhe wa sallam) as if you can see him' A dear sister bought this book for me from Makkah as she was there lately for her Umra. I don't know if it is in sale in UK yet.

Wa alaykum assalam