Sunday, 31 December 2017

Last post of 2017

Several loved ones passed away this year . And we are still alive alhamdulillah. Once again, our Most Merciful Lord has given us the precious opportunity to reach our true potential alhamdulillah. Let’s not restrict our goals to health and dunya which is essentially a very temporary abode. Let’s plan to achieve our ultimate and most noble purpose on this earth inshAllah! To be His slave , to know Him, to love Him, to appreciate Him and to obey His every command to the best of our ability, inshAllah! To Him is our ultimate return. Let’s that reunion be a grand one inshAllah ta’ala!💞

Friday, 28 July 2017

Summer holiday 2017

Bismillahir Rahmaneer Rahim  In The Name of Allah the Most Merciful the Most Beneficial

Alhamdulillah the summer holiday has started in London. Although we can't really call it a summer as it is raining a lot which means I don't need to water the garden. As Muslims,we say we are content in every situation alhamdulillah. I have been looking forward to some break from daily school runs. Our holiday started on Friday 21st of July. So we have started with a lovey picnic at the park on last Friday. We had pizza, chips, egg noodles, fish fingers, cakes and biscuits with drinks, alhamdulillah. We are so blessed to have some beautiful parks around our area. One of the reasons I feel so blessed to be a Londoner, is the sheer amount of parks in this city alhamdulillah. 

I see an unhealthy trend of parents getting so stressed about what to do during the holiday season. It seems like we as parents are obliged to entertain our kids 24/7. This attitude creates a sense of entitlement in our kids. I see lot of parents spending a fortune on expensive holidays abroad, summer activities run by local organisations which costs a lot ( given we have three kids to pay for) and so on. Our new generation is unfortunately so engulfed with so much (useless/meaningless) activities, they miss out the joy of childhood. Childhood supposed to be a time of carefree, unstructured games and plays. They are suppose to roam around the nature and enjoy the environment around them. Soak up the sounds and smells around them. But how many children in this postmodern era really enjoy their childhood? Most of the young children around me are plugged into their gadgets. They are so hooked on to their electronic devices that they look like zombies. As adults, you literally have to take the gadget from them to make them do their daily tasks such as eating, getting ready and so on. When I am on tube, I see the same trend followed by adults, so lost in their phones and tablets. But its not all doom and gloom. We as parents can make a big difference by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala's grace. We are in control of their gadgets. We must confess that it is us who provided these weapons of great distraction to them and to us. So it is us who need to do something before it goes out of hand. There should be a balance. We should not let technology rule our daily lives and take over. 

The change starts within and that's why I believe I  must start digitally detoxing myself first. I have a weakness for Facebook and I was hooked on to my phone because of that addiction. Alhamdulillah I have uninstalled the Facebook, Instagram, Viber apps on my phone and hey presto! I am not staring at my phone that much anymore. 

I am cutting back on screen time. Our kids have to buy their TV time with homework. They have really surprised me yesterday by tiding up the whole house while I was having my afternoon nap. Moments like this makes me so content as a mum of these three precious bundles of joy alhamdulillah. Most of the time, they are playing with their toys ( to be precise, Legos and cars) , playing in the garden or at parks, socializing with family and friends. They are also reading books, writing their own books with illustrations. I am also reading books with them. I am trying to know them by having meaningful conversations with them. I am trying to have more one to one time with them ( not an easy task if you have three very different personalities). Trust me, kids really appreciate these quality time.

My daughter and me had a great time shopping at Asian lane. We initially started with the intention to do window shopping but as ussual ended up buying a beautiful outfit to wear for a family wedding in sha Allah. I really enjoy our girly outings. Boys hate shopping aimlessly, I understand. So we love our girl time while boys have a great home time playing wii games with their dad. 

Please let them be bored. Boredom is a great way to find passions in life. I cant remember having a boring, dull day as a child. Childhood was so full of exciting adventure for me. I can't recall my parents planning my day to day activities for me. As long as I did my daily homework, I was free to do whatever I wanted. Alhamdulillah for having a magical childhood which I will be cherishing for the rest of my life in sha Allah and I hope to relive the snippets of that life when I am in heaven In sha Allah.

Back to our summer holiday adventures...
Kids enjoying their blackberries they collected themselves
So far we have been to couple of picnic trips to the parks around us with friends and family. We also been to the couple of museums around South Kensington area which you can easily guess, I believe. Alhamdulillah I managed to drive the kids to the other side of river Thames for the first time. Given I have started driving quite recently. this has been a big achievement for me alhamdulillah. We went to see a very close friend of mine. Kids are also very close to her kids too. When she moved from our area in 2015, I was in tears. I don't like saying good bye to loved ones but the older I am getting, it seems like a very normal part of my life. So please enjoy the moments with your family and friends. We don't know how long we can enjoy each others company. But at the same time, be hopeful that if you love someone for Allah's sake, the friendship will last forever in sha Allah and we can eventually be together in the heaven in sha Allah. So there will be a happy ending by His grace. Having said that, during the holiday, please try your best to socialize with family and friends even if they live far away. Make an intention and Allah will make it happen in sha Allah . 

Alhamdulillah I took the kids to my weekly halaqa. My beloved teacher told the story of our father Adam (Alaihes Salam) and Iblees ( Satan). Although they knew the story, it was great to listen to the story again. We adults also learnt some great lessons from the story alhamdulillah. Some lessons kids have learnt from the story are:

  • Never be proud ( due to your race, colour, upbringing, wealth etc and humble yourself in front your Rabb Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. He sees our hearts and souls not our physical appearance.
  • We may make mistake just like our father Adam( Alaihes Salam) and mother Hawwa ( Alaihes Salam). But as long as we say sorry to Allah and do our best not to make the same mistake, we are forgiven my our Rabb. He will also help us to live a good life on this earth and in hereafter.
  • Never be like Satan. He blamed Allah subhanau wa ta'ala for his arrogance towards Adam (Alaihes Saalam). He also had the audacity to challenge Allah that he will lead human races to hell fire, which is his ultimate destination due to his sheer disobedience. 
  • Satan is very ancient. He knows how we behave. He know what button to push to make us do wrong things. But don't be afraid of him. As long as we believe and listen to Allah by holding to His rope, the Qur'an and Sunnah of our beloved Rasulullah Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam, we will be saved from his evil plans in sha Allah.

When we came home, we discussed about the lessons we have learnt. Kids are into Lego ninja go and Star wars. So I use the characters and stories from their favourite programmes to reflect on these stories from the Qur'an. One of them told me that our ancestors are from the heaven so we beong to heaven too. In sha Allah we will go back to our ultimate home, the heaven .

So here are some photos of our summer adventures so far...

The Natural History museum entrance is being refurbished so we had to use the back entrance.

The blue whale skeleton ( the biggest mammal in the world) Reminds me of our prophet Yunus ( Jonah) and his time inside the tummy of a giant fish 
I was really excited to see the skeleton of the whale as it is a real skeleton. Apparently the dinosaur one wasn't real. 

This giant sequoia slice was taken from 100 metre tall Mark Twin tree. It dates back to the beginning of Islamic era.
Robina the Robot from Japan ( as a sample of intelligent assistant)

Beautiful ( but I am guessing quite an uncomfortable) dress made out of straw
At Hyde park ( number of statues reminding us the imperial past of Britain)
Can you spot the Muslim guy with the camel?
One delicious dessert at Creams. Normally I avoid going to Creams because of loud and inappropriate music videos on the screen. Alhamdulillah the Creams (East London) we have been to had Sami Yusuf nasheed on and Zootropolis film on the screen , can't complain, life is sweet!
Alhamdulillah so far we have had a lovely break. As you can see, we can have lots of fun without breaking the bank. Alhamdulillah London has a lot to offer. Parks and museums are great places to create some beautiful memories with family and friends. And most of the time these places are free. Try to go early to the parks, then you can enjoy the playgrounds properly. I love going early as I can enjoy my swing time alhamdulillah. Also having people around as well as visiting family and friends are a great way to spend the holiday and keep the relations flourishing in sha Allah. Hope I have inspired you to have great fun in sha Allah. I am looking forward to hear what you have been up to ! Thanks a lot for reading my posts. Wish you a great summer In sha Allah! Happy holidays ! 

Thursday, 18 February 2016

My attempt to type in Bangla

Bismillah...In the Name of Allah , the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah, 

After a long time ( more than a decade!) I have managed to type in Bangla. I am feeling quite excited. I really need to practice inshAllah. I am a Bengali speaker alhamdulillah and I can read and write in Bangla. Buy my husband and children cannot read or write in Bangla. Kids don't even know how to talk in Bangla properly. I hope I can teach them the language inshAllah. Knowing another language is a great way to broaden our horizon. For me it is also a great way to relate to our loved ones. All of my grandparents have left this world but I still have my loved ones in Bangladesh and around the world to connect to inshAllah. Through the Google online input tools I have managed to type in Bangla alhamdulillah. This may seem very simple to you but for me it is a huge achievement alhamdulillah. It was always in my mind but never got the chance to do it until now. Thanks to the half term break alhamdulillah.

আমার নাম সুমাইয়া । আমার জন্ম পাকিস্তানে।আমার ছেলেবেলা কেটেছে ইরানে।ইরানের একটা ছোট শহর গারামাসার। আজকে অনেক দিন পরে বাংলায় টাইপ করে খুব ভালো লাগ্ছে  আলহামদুলিল্লাহ।  আমার এই ছোট পরিবারে শুধু আমি শুদ্ধ বাংলা বলতে আর লিখতে পারি আলহামদুলিল্লাহ। অনেক সময় মনে হয় আমার মৃত্যুর পর হয়ত কেউ আর বাংলা বলবে না. আমি চেষ্টা করছি  বাংলায় কথা বলতে আমার বাচচাদের  সাথে ।আমার বাচ্চারা একটু বাংলা বুঝে , বলতে লজ্জা পায়. ইনশাল্লাহ আমরা যদি ওদের বাংলাদেশে বেড়াতে নিয়ে যাই তাহলে ওদের একটু প্রাকটিস হবে.

আলহামদুলিল্লাহ ২০০৬ জানুয়ারী আল্লাহ সুবহানাহু wa তা'আলা আমাকে হজ করার তয়ফিক দেন আমার আব্বুর সাথে।আমার জীবনে ওই একমাস ছিল খুবী সুন্দর আলহামদুলিল্লাহ। কম বয়সে হজ্জ করার মজাই আলাদা।  আল্লাহ আমাদের সবাইকে বেশি বেশি হজ্জ করার সুযোগ দিন, আমিন।

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Winter break 2015

Bismillah In the Name of of Allah the Most Merciful

Alhamdulillah we have just started our much needed winter holiday. I am really excited as I have been planning for this holiday since September. We went to the MRDF family retreat at University of Leicester in August (28th to 31st) and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there alhamdulillah. I was so motivated by the fantastic event that I made a promise to myself to save for their next event in December. Alhamdulillah we have managed to save up for the MRDF family conference. InshAllah we will be leaving tomorrow to attend the conference at Nottingham. InshAllah I hope we all be able to benefit from the conference. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala accept our intentions and enable us to benefit from the beautiful gathering, ameen! InshAllah I hope to share the experience as much as possible with you all. keep us in your precious dua. Once again , Jazakallah khairan for reading. Happy holidays inshAllah. 

Just before I leave, let me share a tiny reflection on autumn, one amazing season subhanallah.

 Autumn is my favourite month. I love walking in the parks and enjoy the beautiful colours of the leaves. This magical season reminds me what an amazing creator Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is, subhanallah. Each and every leaf reminds us our journey as a human being. Just like a leaf, I am also a traveller on a path of contradictory seasons. I am journeying to my Lord. Life will be full of ups and downs but I know eventually I will return to Him. The question is am I worthy of meeting Him. I hope just like a leaf I will be an obedient , faithful and thankful slave to Him. I hope I will do my best to please Him. I hope I will live and die on His path, inshaAllah. The humble leaf through its beautiful journey of changes, teaches us how we should be on this earth. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala enable us to be like the humble leaves.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed's one day seminar

Seeking Solace: Hardships, Challenges and Difficulties in Everyday Life
Alhamdulillah we have spent our Sunday 22nd of November 2015 (10:30 to 6:30 pm) with Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed learning about how to deal with difficulties in life.
So often we experience hardships and challenges in life, and yet never see the connections between them. When we are given hardship, or feel pain, we often fail to consider that the experience may be the direct cause or result of another action or experience. Ustadha have dealt with quite a lot of issues and I have tried my best to take some notes alhamdulillah. I hope to divide the notes into three parts. InshAllah I hope the notes are beneficial.
I will highly recommend her book “Reclaim your heart: Personal insights on breaking free fromlife’s shackles” which got a new edition with new chapters on Tawakkul (trusting Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala). Also, the Arabic verses are printed with harakat in the new edition.
So without further due, let us start with the notes which are based on my understanding of her talk. Anything good from this post is from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and for anything wrong, please do forgive me. Jazakallah khairan. 

Before starting the course, Ustadha Yasmin reminded us to have sincere intentions and firm resolution to fulfill the intentions. Have a goal and remain focused.

Seeking Solace
We are looking for peace, happiness and success. Life is hard and full of challenges. But we cannot control the weather. It is something external. But every single time when it rains, do we get wet? Externally there will be circumstances which I cannot control but I can live in a way that protects me from the rainy weather.

As a Ummah , we are facing lot of challenges. We have become like the froth on oceans. We don’t have any say on which direction to move to. We move like the froth moves according to the waves. This analogy is based on a hadith (sayings) of our beloved Rasulullah sallallahu alaihe wa sallam. The companions of Rasulullah asked him why we would be so weak like the froth on the ocean despite our sheer numbers as Muslims on this earth. He told us due to wahn we will be weak. Wahn refers to the love of dunya and the fear of death.

We are too attached to this earth (dunya). Our weakness as the Muslim community is due to our strong attachments to our wealth, status, career, fame, peoples’ opinion of us and so on and so forth.
Whenever something bad happens, we tend to get the blame as Muslims. But as Muslims we know that we don’t believe in terrorism. We don’t support any act of terror. Still we see some of us start apologizing as soon as some crazy people in the name of our beautiful faith commit some horrible crime. Sometimes it seems like we are apologizing for being Muslims!
Ask yourself. Do we need any one’s approval? We should be content with our identity as Muslims. The problem is we don’t even know who we are. This problem is very deep. Imagine a tree. We are like a rotten tree. We are too obsessed with the leaves but forgetting the fact that the root of the tree is in greater need of our attention. Our hearts are too attached to dunya that’s why we have become slave to social, political, physical surroundings around us. There must be a change from within us. We keep blaming others for our problems. We refuse to see our own faults. But Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us that He won’t change our situation until we change inwardly.
We have forgotten our roots. We forgot our purpose in life. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has given us honour (izzah) as Muslims. But we have lost that sense of honour.
 We are honoured to be His slaves
The most precious thing we have is the belief that there is no god but Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We don’t obey anyone else but Allah. The concept of Laa illaha illallah is very important for Muslims.
We need to stop being defensive and start being proactive. Stop apologizing. Focus on what you are. You need to be better every day. You are a source of life. As a Ummah, we need to be source of life on this earth. Let us build things. Let us be proud as the slaves of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala on this earth.
So how do we navigate the weather?
Have a solid foundation. Seek knowledge. Know your religion. Imagine a well-rooted tree. A tree with small, weak roots will be knocked down quite easily by a not so strong wind. Seek knowledge and it will empower you inwardly as well as outwardly inshAllah.

Be very conscious of what you focus on. What I focus on grows. If I focus on a problem day and night, the problem will grow. Eventually the problem can consume me. It suffocates me. I feed the problem, when I focus on it. I become paralyzed and cannot do anything to solve it. So be careful of what you focus on.

Perspective is also very important. When I am standing on a top of a mountain, my views will be different than the people at the bottom of the mountain. My views of the mountain will be very clear if I am looking at it from an airplane. So we must step back to have a clearer view of any issues we are facing.

When we are focusing, we must be careful about what we are focusing on. If we always focus on everything which is wrong, we start becoming very negative. We become consumed by it. We become hopeless.
Whenever something bad happens, we become obsessed with it. And media is quite good in making us feel overwhelmed. One hadith says that Pharaoh had magicians. These magicians helped Pharaoh to control the people. The media does the same. It controls our mind. It brainwashes us. When we tune into media, we are in fact exposing ourselves to dangerous and brainwashing "information". You may think you are watching the news. But in reality, you are getting gradually sucked into their narratives.

We must be positive. The practice of gratitude is very important for us Muslims. Even secular psychology talks about the power of gratitude. We must understand the power of gratitude. Let us focus on what we do have and what are going right in our life. When we thank Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, He increases the blessings. So gratitude is the attitude we should nurture inshAllah.

Be like a traveler. When we are travelling, we appreciate the hotel room but we don’t get attached to the furniture and things in the hotel room. We certainly don’t invest in furniture in the hotel room because we know we are there for a while only. Just the same way, we are here on this earth for a limited time. We are on a journey and we focus on the destination which is to return back to our Creator, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. One of our beloved Rasulullah’s saying reminds us the reality of this life. “I am like a traveler who stops to have a bit of shade of a tree and keeps moving.” So this earth is just a shade of a tree for a while.

The statement “Inna lillahe wa inna ilaiher rajeuun” is very important concept for us. Verily, we are from Him and we will return to Him. We must live by this powerful concept.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in the Qur’an:
“We shall certainly test you with fear, hunger and loss of property, lives and crops. But (Prophet), give good news to those who are steadfast, those who say, when afflicted with a calamity, ‘We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.’ These will be given blessings and mercy from their Lord and it is they who are rightly guided." Surah Al-Baqara: 155-157

This ayah telling us that we will face harsh weathers. He is also telling us how to keep safe. There will be fear, hunger and loss. When it says fear, it means a glimpse of fear not the real fear people will be facing on the day of Judgement and afterwards in hell fire. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us from that sort of fear, ameen!
When the loss of crops/fruits is mentioned it can mean loss of efforts for us, the postmodern Muslim, as not that many of us are farmers anymore! Sometimes we put lot of efforts but may not get the result we were expecting at the start.
When we are patient during hardship and we truly understand that we belong to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and we will be eventually returning to Him, Allah becomes pleased with us. He will shower us with His endless Blessings and His Mercy. He also calls them as the rightly guided. What else do we need!
Let us talk about these special people. These people live their lives with the concept of Inna lillahe wa inna ilaiher rajeuun. This is not just a lip service for them. They have the understanding of the reality of this life. They know that nothing belongs to them. They are aware of the limitations of this life. And they are pleased with whatever life throws at them. They are patient during hardship as well as during happiness. 

May Allah subhanau wa ta’ala make us like these special people, ameen! We must remember that nothing belongs to us. It is returned to its real owner. If we are patient, it will be saved for us in Jannah inshAllah. For example, when someone loses their beloved child, if they are patient, that child waits for them at the door of Jannah and requests Allah to let his/her parents join him/her in Jannah. So the lost child can be a key to Jannah.

Build shelter for the time when the storm hits. We can build a strong, internal shelter by worshiping Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Every time we pray, make dua (supplicate), recite the Qur’an, remember Allah (swt), we are building that very-needed shelter. Allah (swt) is our only shelter.

In life, we will feel sad .Even our prophets felt sadness in their lives. Prophet Yakoob (Jacob) alaihes salam felt so sad , cried so much that he became blind. Sadness is natural outcome of any hardship and it is okay to feel sad. But we cannot give up. We are not allowed to despair. Our faith (Imaan) will protect us from despair. Whenever I lose something, I must remind myself that I have lost it but this phase will pass. Nothing is permanent on this earth.

Yunus (Jonah) AS was tested with so many difficulties. He was surrounded by layers of darkness. Imagine being stuck in a belly of a whale, in an ocean, during a dark night! Yunus AS supplicates to Allah by acknowledging first that there is no one but Allah, no ilah but Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We must understand this concept of ilah. Who is it that I worship? Who is it that I focus on in my life? What matters the most to me? Whatever I take as an ilah, I become slave of it. When I make peoples’ opinion as my ilah, I become a slave of them. My happiness depends on their opinion. We tend to hand the power to make us feel happy and content to wealth, career, people etc. But Yunus AS teaching us that the only One who is worthy of being our ilah is Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Only through acknowledging Him as our ilah we can be truly free from all the false ilah out there.
In the second part of his dua, he is acknowledging his mistake and asking Allah to help him. He is literally saying that he needs Him. This is a very powerful dua. Our beloved Rasulullah (SAW) teaches us to do this dua during hardship. There are three aspects to this dua.
1.      Acknowledging Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala as our only Lord
2.      Humbling myself
3.      I am in real hardship but I don’t despair as I know I can rely on Him (SWT)

Having a good opinion of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala
Whatever Allah (swt) does for us is for our best. Always having a good opinion of Him is very crucial for us. Allah is always looking after us. Even when it feels like He is taking something from us, it is actually to make us prepared for receiving something better inshAllah. When we are sick, we go to the doctors and trust them wholeheartedly when they prescribe the medications. Sometimes we also need to have operations. But we don’t really question the doctors as we know they are more capable than us to treat our illness. Now imagine, questioning Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala about the difficulties in our life (i.e why me? It is not fare!) Allah loves us more than our mothers. How can we think that He is harming us.  We cannot afford to have such an arrogant attitude.

To be continued InshaAllah…

Friday, 20 November 2015

The importance of having good character

At our Tuesday halaqa (circle), our beloved ustadha Umm Abdullah joined us through Skype to teach us about the importance of nurturing good characters among ourselves and our loved ones.

I took some notes. Below I have just shared some of the lessons I have learnt from the talk. So it is not her exact words. The post is based on my understanding of her talk. And I have added my own notes based on the books I am reading for last couple of weeks alhamdulillah.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is the most forgiving. Sinners can be completely forgiven on the day of judgement. But there are some sins which will not be forgiven without sincere repentance. The sin of Shirk i.e associating partners to God, harming other creations are very serious sins. Disbelief (Kufr) is the biggest sin which is the opposite of Shukr (Gratefulness, thankfulness, appreciating the blessing of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala).When we deny Allah’s existence, we deny the very fact that we are here only because of Him. We are nothing without His Grace and Mercy on us. We won’t even survive even a second without His continuous blessings on us. So being humble and grateful to Him is really crucial for us as human beings. 

When we read about the prophets in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of our beloved Rasulullah sallallahu alaihe wa sallam, we always find them as the most humble and polite people on this earth.  Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentions them as his grateful slaves. The most honourable title someone can get as a Muslim is to be called the slave of Allah (Abd-Ullah or Amat-Ullah). Our beloved Rasulullah‘s most honourable title is to be mentioned as the slave of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has so many attributes and we must try our best to instil those attributes in our life. Allah is witr (odd number) and He loves odd numbers. According to Sunnah, we try to worship (ibadah) in odd numbers. For example, we do zikr in odd numbers. We like to repeat the actions of wadu (purification) in odd numbers. Allah is compassionate and He loves the compassionate ones. Allah is the Gentle one and He loves the gentle slaves. He is forgiving and he loves the forgiving ones. Our Rasulullah sallallahu alaihe wa sallam accepted any excuse given by the people (companions and non-Muslims). He was so gentle and forgiving to people subhanallah. Allah will treat us the way we treat others around us. He will forgive the ones who forgive others. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala hide our faults. Do we hide peoples’ faults? As parents, do we hide our children’s fault? How many of us enjoy talking bad about our spouses when they are not around? As parents and spouses, do we accept the excuses given by our loves ones? Time for serious reflection I believe.

Whoever shames other people, Allah will shame him/her. When we deal with people with mercy, forgiveness, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will deal with us with the same qualities. When we ease someone’s hardship, Allah will give ease to us on the Day of Judgement. So in a nutshell, if we want Allah subhananu wa ta’ala to treat us with His Ridwaan i.e Pleasure, we must do our best to incorporate His attributes in our day to day life.

So we need to make pledge with ourselves. When we write down the pledge, it becomes a firm agreement. So let us make pledge to be grateful and thankful, to be merciful and forgiving to others, to hide the faults of others, to be gentle and caring, to be helpful and supportive of others, to serve others with ihsaan and ithaar InshaAllah! Ihsaan means to be worshipping Allah with a firm feeling that I can see Him or He is watching me. And Ithaar means to prefer others over us and our needs even if our needs seem greater than the others’. Our beloved Rasulullah is a great example of Ihsaan and ithaar. He always helped others even when he was in bigger need. He even borrowed to give charity! Subhanallah what an amazing human being! I believe he is the best of creations for a reason. The more we know about him, he more we love and cherish him, sallallahu alaihe wa sallam.

This pledge must start with a sincere dua to our Rabb to enable us to fulfil the pledge. Because without His help and mercy, we can never achieve anything in life. It always reminds me of one of the most powerful verses from the Qur’an: La hawla wa la quwwata illah billah which roughly means there is no power of might except with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. This powerful ayah (verse) reminds me that I am not able to do any good deed with Allah swt’s Help and I cannot stay away from an evil deed without His Help. It keeps you grounded alhamdulillah. There is no scope of being proud when I perform a good deed or feeling completely hopeless when I commit a sin.
Ustadha did mention a very beautiful quote from a scholar. I believe we can use it as a motto inshaAllah.

“If we cannot gladden someone, let us not sadden them. If we cannot benefit someone, let us not harm them. If cannot speak well of someone, let us not speak ill of them."

Allah is Al-Halim, the Forbearing one. He tolerates with goodness. Even when we are disobedient to Him, He blesses us with so many blessings. The life on earth (dunya) is not easy but our Rabb wants us try our best. Every evil is based on our ego. Our ego always tells us to react in a wrong way. It is a huge temptation. But we must control our ego. And to achieve that, first we must ask Allah to help us. O Allah! I seek Your refuge from the evil of my nafs (ego), ameen!

Why has Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala taught us His beautiful names and attributes? So that we can instil the beautiful qualities. We have the potentials to follow his attributes. By following the last prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihe wa sallam inwardly and outwardly we can improve our characters. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala enable us to follow His attributes and be the righteous ones, ameen! Nothing is impossible with His Help.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

MRDF Family retreat : The Companions:Their lives and legacy

The event was from 28th to 31st of August 2015 and it was held at University of Leicester. We have been to the university before attending the JIMAS conference couple of years ago. We left after Jumuah as the MRDF people did mention that they are not providing any jumuah facility there on the day. So we left just after jumuah. There was a bit of traffic on the way as lot of people leave London around bank holiday weekends. When we finally reached Leicester, we smelt quite a lot of cow dung! Kids were quite shocked by the smell. For me, it was quite a delight as the smell took me back to my childhood holidays to my granddad's place in rural Bangladesh. My granddad was a very devoted farmer. He died last year. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala bless him with jannatul ferdous.
Leicester is known as the heart of rural England. It was great to see so many cattle scattered around the area. Sometimes as city dwellers we lose our crucial connection to nature. That's why travelling to rural areas is very important. I don't think our kids will ever appreciate the countryside the way we did. I miss my childhood, roaming around rural Iran and during holidays , rural Bangladesh.
We reached there at the campus around 6 pm Alhamdulillah. During our stay at the university, we attended quite a lot of lectures, panel discussions and seminars. I did take quite a lot of notes Alhamdulillah. I hope to share some here with you inshaAllah.
Our companions are the best of our Ummah. Nobody can be better than them. They are like the starts. W need to follow them if we have the same goal like them. Their main goal was pleasing Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and a strong desire to be successful in hereafter (Akhira). They sacrificed whatever they can to establish Islam as a faith on this earth. If we question their integrity, we are actually questioning our faith! The faith was established on this earth by them with the help of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and Rasulullah sallallahu alaihe wa sallam. Allah subhanahu wa talala Himself mentioned in His Book, the Qur'an that He is pleased  with them. How can we criticize them or question their integrity as believers? The person who criticizes them, has a sickness in his heart.
Companions are not like angels, free of desires. But they did their best as believers. They constantly asked for forgiveness as they know that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala loves the people who constantly repent. We as Muslim have an obligation to follow them. In Surah At-Tawba , Allah swt tells us that He is pleased with those who follow the sahaba. Imam Malik (Ra) tells us that their actions are loved by Allah swt so we should follow them. They are the most blessed. Allah swt blessed them with criterion , to know the difference from good and bad, right and wrong. Imam Malik (RA) tells us, what was not part of Islam before, cant be part of Islam today. So there is no place for "reformation" of our faith.
When the companions agreed about something ( had ijma on issues) , it became pure for us. We follow their verdict without questioning. Because they had the most authentic knowledge. And their action was based on that pure knowledge.

MRDF Family retreat 2015

Last year, we went to the Eden family retreat organised by Islamic network. We had a blast Alhamdulillah! This year we have been eagerly waiting for another Eden family retreat. But unfortunately they couldn't organize the event this year. I was looking for an alternative. Alhamdulillah heard about MRDF family retreat. I heard from other sisters how good the retreat is so we decided to give it a try. Alhamdulillah we had a great time as a family.
Kids running around the prayer hall
The four days spent at University of Leicester was really beautiful. Every single member of the family enjoyed their time and benefited from the retreat. It was truly a retreat for me from my daily mama life Alhamdulillah. No cooking, cleaning, looking after kids! We had breakfast in the morning and then drop our three kids to their activity zone and head to the lecture halls to learn about the greatest generation of the Muslims: the companions i.e sahaba of our beloved Rasulullah Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam. It was very inspiring to learn about the mothers of believers . Shaikh Haitham Al-Haddad ran the seminar about the great women of our ummah. We also learnt about great companions such as Abu Bakr (RA), 'Umar (RA), Salman Al-Farisi (RA), Khalid Bin Walid (RA) Alhamdulillah. As a teenager, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the great companions. It always boosts our imaan. They are the greatest role models for us. But how many of us really know about them? I hope to learn more about the companions inshAllah and read their stories to our children inshAllah.
Through the activities, kids learnt a lot about the companions Alhamdulillah. When we came back, we did the quiz the teachers from MRDF has provided us with. I am really glad that kids did very well. I learnt a lot from them Alhamdulillah. I am so inspired by the retreat that I hope to attend the MRDF Family conference in December at Nottingham inshAllah. I know it is quite pricey but it is definitely worth spending money on inshAllah. For me, holidays should be not only about enjoying beautiful views but also about getting inspired spiritually and intellectually so that we can return to our real world with a strong passion to live life for Him inshaAllah. You can learn more about the conference at Building a fabric of society : Ridding ourselves of social ills

Seeking knowledge

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful
Reception: Beetle
Alhamdulillah our youngest one just started full time school. Last 8 years I have been busy raising our three children Alhamdulillah. There was a phase when I was changing three nappies! I realized toilet training is not my cup of tea. I really enjoyed breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, playing (most of the time outdoor) and story telling. Can't believe how quickly they have grown up mashAllah! Now when I drop them at the school, the youngest one says not to accompany him to his class. He wants to behave like his older siblings. Moments like this makes me wonder whether I will be needed by them in future. I am sure as parents we will always be cherished inshAllah but the extent of dependency on us will definitely get less and less. We may need them more as we grow old. I tell them we will be the babies and they may need to look after us as parents. Circle of life :-)
Now that all the kids are at school, I can concentrate on my study inshAllah. I thought this day will never come! Subhanallah time flies! While at university, I started taking my faith seriously. I started practising with conviction alhamdulillah. We had a good library at the prayer room. As I am an avid reader, that was a great opportunity to delve into the religious books Alhamdulillah. I used to rush from the lectures and seminars to be there at the prayer room with my beloved sisters who helped me so much to understand our faith properly Alhamdulillah. One of the sisters taught me how to read the Qur'an with proper tajweed. There was a point in my life where I thought I wish I can just devote my whole time to seek knowledge for His Sake. But  as a social being, I got carried away and spent most of my time at work. Then got married and a new phase started...motherhood. It is definitely a very challenging job. 24/7 with no breaks! I still tried my best to attend the circles of knowledge i.e halaqa but I used to get frustrated if kids made noise. I love going to the masajid. But I found it very difficult to go to the mosque with kids. I want our children to have a positive attachment to the house of Allah but I found majority of the masajid not very family friendly.
Now that, our kids are at school, I hope to seek knowledge properly and spread the knowledge through writing and socialising inshAllah. I am really blessed to be able to attend the circles of knowledge on a weekly basis Alhamdulillah. These places are regarded as the gardens (of Jannah) on earth. Our beloved Rasulullah sallallahu alaihe wa sallam said, “If you pass by the Gardens of Paradise, then dwell therein.” When asked what the gardens of paradise are, he replied, “The circles of remembrance.”
As Muslim community, we have a long way to go inshAllah. Most of us don't really understand our faith properly because the knowledge wasn't that available to us before. Alhamdulillah people are getting more aware of their faith thanks to the dedicated teachers and shuyukh in the community. Internet is also a huge blessing for us Alhamdulillah. I have learnt a lot through the social media and YouTube and Bayyinah TV. I hope I will be able to devote more time in seeking knowledge inshAllah. And seeking knowledge should be only for His Pleasure. The more we know about Him, the more we will love Him and worship Him. Please do keep us in your precious dua.
O Allah, I ask You for knowledge that is of benefit, a good provision and deeds that will be accepted.
O Allah, make the Qur'an the spring of my heart and the light of my chest, the banisher of my sadness and the reliever of my distress.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Eden family retreat 2014

Eden family retreat at Birmingham
Alhamdulillah we have had an amazing family retreat at Eden, in Birmingham. It was from 22nd to 25th of August 2014. The event was packed with lots of lectures and activities. For lot of people traffic was bad on Friday. We left after jumuah at 2:30 and we reached there at Aston university at 5:30. We used the satnav on my phone which has the option to use routes with lesser traffic alhamdulillah. It took us 3 hours to get to our destination from London alhamdulillah. When we reached there, checking in was quite quick alhamdulillah

We booked one big room but they gave us two rooms for health and safety reason. The restaurant had various halal food alhamdulillah. We had to book the activities. I booked archery and swimming sessions. Unfortunately lot of brothers couldn't book for the swimming session. Kids had activities through out the day. We had to drop them off after breakfast and collect them at 12 for lunch and drop them off again after lunch and collect them for dinner at 6. Alhamdulillah this arrangement made it possible for us to attend the lectures and workshops without the hassle of looking after kids. It was like proper "me time" alhamdulillah. I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures. Sister Fatima Barkatullah talked about Islam and feminism (whether we Muslims need feminism), sheikh Abu Bilal talked about the importance , sheikh Abdul Bary Yahya talked about the importance of dua and qiyam at night. I attended parenting workshop and surah Fatiha workshop. Tried to attend marriage workshop but it was too crowded and couldn't really concentrate. Sheikh Aa'la did great lectures mashAllah. There were panel discussion on unity among Muslims and oppression. There were funny chai chat after Maghrib Salah. I enjoyed a night out in the prayer marquee with friends till 2 am alhamdulillah. We sisters rarely get a chance to chill out with our girl friends. So it was my opportunity to spend some time with friends. There were couple of stalls near the reception such as Little Explorer magazine, Al-Kauthar, National Zakat Foundation, Charity Right, IEat, imam hijab etc. I wish they had more stalls and tuck shops for snacks and drinks. 
Alhamdulillah it was a great family treat for us. We have really enjoyed every single day of the treat. Time passed so quickly! We were quite sad at the last day of the retreat. Kids were missing their daylong sessions. Alhamdulillah we have learnt a lot too. It was a great Iman boosting event. We are looking forward to future Eden events insha Allah. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala accept their efforts and make the event full of Baraka for Muslims in the UK. Ameen!