Friday, 25 February 2011

Trials in life

Life sometimes gets quite hard. We cannot really afford to have a life with no worries. Recently my mum-in-law got diagnosed with cancer. Inna lillahe wa inna ilaiher rajeuun. It made me feel very sad and worried for her. For the first time, I feared loosing her Subhanallah. I met her for the first time in February of 2006 when she came to our place to meet us. I never thought I would feel so emotional for my mum-in-law. I guess life is full of surprises. I grew up in a culture where in-laws are always the ‘outsiders’ and hardly seen as well-wishers, unfortunately. It’s not just the society and people around us but also the media and popular culture who reinforces this sort of negative attitude towards in-laws. Life can get quite bitter if you are always paranoid and sceptical about how others behave with you. If you get a bit of negative attitude towards you, you end up blaming them for ‘judging’ you and not regarding you as their own. I have learnt from my experience that I need to trust people and stop judging according to my prejudices. Also thanks to my own too emotional state, I used to always tend to think in-laws just don’t like me.

But alhamdulillah there are so many things to learn from life. Insha-Allah it is going to be our fifth anniversary in September and life has changed a lot for us, alhamdulillah. I think I did suffer from mother-in-law phobia at the start of my marriage thanks to my own messed-up thinking process. This mother-in-law phobia is also known as ‘Pentheraphobia’ quite a scary word I must admit!

I guess for both of us the changes were overwhelming. She became a mother-in-law for the first time and for me being married I came across quite a lot of new faces who I was supposed to adjust with. First couple of years for a married couple can be quite daunting. So many things to think about Subhanallah ! Alhamdulillah my husband has been very supportive from the very beginning. The more I got to know my mum-in-law I felt I can relate to her. There was a time when I just chose to see only the negative sides of her totally ignoring all the nice things she has done for me. May Allah swt forgive me for all the shortcomings I have. Through spending more time with her I came to realize how wrong I was to judge her.

Alhamdulillah I am very lucky to have her in my life. She has done a lot for me. During both of my pregnancies, she has been very supportive alhamdulillah. I never thought a mother-in-law would do that much for the daughter-in-law. She is a lovely woman who has gone through a lot in life but hardly complains. There are so many things to learn from her.

This week she went through the operation and alhamdulillah the tumour has been removed but we need to wait till next Thursday to find our whether the cancer has spread anywhere else. Please do keep her in your duas. Allah swt is the Curer. May Allah swt cure her in a way that no traces of cancer is left, ameen.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Do we Muslims really need Valentine's Day to show our love?

Subhanallah so many Muslims (?) are now celebrating the Valentine's Day. Seeing friends on FB sharing their ‘Valentine’ wishes makes me quite confused. What’s going on? Are we really allowed to celebrate this day? Why do we need this one day to show our love and affection to our loved one? Our beloved Messenger Muhammad (SAW) showed love and affection to his wives every single day of his life through his beautiful action. He (SAW) never treated them with harshness and always been very kind and gentle to the mothers of believers. Even the companions (RAW) were so good to their wives mashallah. Our faith teaches us to love and show respect to people who are very close to us every single day of our life, not just this one day! Life is just a moment for us so we are told to make it a moment of loving Allah swt and His beautiful creation insha-Allah.

If we know the origin of Valentine day, I don’t think as Muslims we would like to celebrate this day anymore. It’s due to utter ignorance that most of us are getting swept by the culture of the majority of people who love to celebrate this occasion. The origin of this day, known as ‘Valentine day’ or ‘Festival of love’ is based on festivals celebrated by pagan Romans, when paganism was the prevalent religion of the Romans more than seventeen centuries ago. For them it was an expression of spiritual love. The Romans used to celebrate this event in mid-February each year with a big festival. So what was the connection between Saint Valentine and this festival? Saint Valentine is a name which is given to two of the ancient "martyrs" of the Christian Church.

When the Romans embraced Christianity, they continued to celebrate the Feast of Love mentioned above, but they changed it from the pagan concept of "spiritual love" to another concept known as the "martyrs of love", represented by Saint Valentine who had advocated love and peace, for which cause he was martyred, according to their claims. It was also called the Feast of Lovers and Saint Valentine was considered to be the patron saint of lovers.

One of their false beliefs connected with this festival was that the names of girls who had reached marriageable age would be written on small rolls of paper and placed in a dish on a table. Then the young men who wanted to get married would be called and each of them would pick a piece of paper. He would put himself at the service of the girl whose name he had drawn for one year, so that they could find out about one another. Then they would get married, or they would repeat the same process again on the day of the festival in the following year.

The Christian clergy reacted against this tradition, which they considered to have a corrupting influence on the morals of young men and women. It was abolished in Italy, where it had been well-known, then it was revived in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when in some western countries there appeared shops which sold small books called “Valentine’s books”, which contained love poems etc.

As regards the Islamic stance on this festival, Dr. Su`ad Ibrahim Salih, professor of Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) at Al-Azhar University, states the following:

“There are forms of expressing love that are religiously acceptable, while there are others that are not religiously acceptable. Among the forms of love that are religiously acceptable are those that include the love for Prophets and Messengers. It stands to reason that the love for Allah swt, and His Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) should have the top priority over all other forms of love.

Islam does recognize happy occasions that bring people closer to one another and add spice to their lives. However, Islam goes against blindly imitating the West regarding a special occasion such as Valentine’s Day. Hence, commemorating that special day known as the Valentine’s Day is an innovation or bid`ah that has no religious backing. Every innovation of that kind is rejected, as far as Islam is concerned. Islam requires all Muslims to love one another all over the whole year, and reducing the whole year to a single day is totally rejected.
Hence, we Muslims ought not to follow in the footsteps of such innovations and superstitions that are common in what is known as the Valentine’s Day. No doubt that there are many irreligious practices that occur on that day, and those practices are capable of dissuading people from the true meanings of love and altruism to the extent that the celebration is reduced to a moral decline.”

There is a short talk done by Shaykh Abdullah Hakim Quick on the history of Valentine's day.

There is also quite an emotinal talk done by a shaykh in Middle East. May Allah swt reward these people who are trying to educate and enlighten Muslims , alhamdulillah.



Sunday, 13 February 2011

Pregnancy updates: Insha-Allah 80 more days to go!

Alhamdulillah not that many days left now. Had my Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) and once again the result was positive. Alhamdulillah in every situation insha-Allah. I did try to eat more fruits and vegetables and fish during this pregnancy but I guess it’s in my gene so couldn’t really avoid gestational diabetes. So got it for the third time now and the part I hate most is how now I’m no longer a low risk pregnant woman anymore for the health professionals! I have been summoned to go to see my special Diabetes Midwife as soon as possible and also from now on I have to have a regular appointment with the consultant. I am also expected to give birth at a special hospital where they apparently are more able to deal with high risk woman like moi! You get bombarded with all the stuff which 'can go wrong' from now on given you got GD such as the baby can be quite big so you may not be able to have a normal vaginal birth, baby may also develop diabetes, I may have diabetes too within five to ten years time and so many other things to consider! And also sometimes people think you get GD because you must be over weight or obese. I remember with my last pregnancy when I was diagnosed with GD I did ask my Diabetic midwife why it keeps happening to me when my BMI is quite good and I am no way an obese person alhamdulillah. She told me as my dad got type 2 diabetes, I am more likely to have diabetes too. With both pregnancies I was able to control my blood sugar just with diet alhamdulillah. This time I am hoping I will be okay insha-Allah. The more I am reading about pregnancy and natural birth, I am confident Insha-Allah it will be okay.

Sometimes, Gestational diabetes can lead to toxemia. Toxemia is pregnancy induced hypertension. Severe toxemia, however, can cause many health problems. Serious Toxemia may develop into something called pre-eclampsia, which can then lead to eclampsia, followed by a serious complication called the HELLP Syndrome. Toxemia starts to develop as the placenta begins to develop. Toxemia is most likely to occur during first-time pregnancy. I did develop Toxemia with my first pregnancy. I think just couple of weeks after I was diagnosed with GD I started to have very high blood pressure. The causes of Toxemia are not known. The symptoms of toxemia are elevated blood pressure, protein in the urine, and hyper-reflexia (extremely fast reflex responses.) Other symptoms may include bloating of the hands, feet and face due to fluid retention.
I believe with my first pregnancy, I was really very worried for the baby and there was obviously fear of birth too. I was told to take lots of rest but I felt too stressed to rest. I think having GD I felt like I was doomed. It almost felt like I got untreatable cancer or something really terrible ! For a long time I didn’t know how to explain what I was feeling like. But alhamdulillah recently reading quite a lot of books on natural birth and pregnancy, finally I am able to describe properly how I felt and what really went wrong in my case with my first pregnancy. Some medical experts believe that diagnosing GDM (Gestational Diabetes Mellitus) can lead to a strong nocebo effect. If a diagnosis of GDM causes high levels of stress and worry for the mother, her stress hormone levels can rise and be transmitted to her baby, increasing the risk of poor growth and premature birth. I strongly believe, I was feeling much stressed and as a consequence developed pre-eclamsia. Now I know it must have been the nocebo effect. At least I got a phrase to explain what I went through alhamdulillah! There was a research done by the U. S Preventive Services Task Force which reported, “In the first few weeks after screening, women who screened positive for gestational diabetes may report higher anxiety, more psychological distress and proper perceptions of their general health than women who screened negative.” This is exactly what I went through and ended up in the hospital and had to stay a whole week to get my blood pressure down but nothing really changed so they induced me at week 34 and my son was born six weeks early! For me, the hospital birth was horrible. I just didn't know what was going on as I was just getting bombarded with too much info and risks associated with all the procedures! I thought I am going to die! But Alhamdulillah he was all right and I was also doing fine so we came back home the next day. I must say we were extremely lucky ALHAMDULILLAH! I kept asking Allah swt for His Rahma (Mercy) and Help (Nasr) . Subhanallah you feel amazed how quickly your duas get accepted ! Allah swt is always very kind to me!
But with my second pregnancy when I was once again diagnosed with GD I decided not to worry and think too much about it. I was enjoying my time with my toddler son as much as possible and doing my diet and exercise. Alhamdulillah I didn’t develop pre-eclamsia and my daughter was born at 39 weeks. Alhamdulillah the labour was also spontaneous (not induced like my first one) and quick alhamdulillah. In fact it was so quick that cudn't get to the hospital on time and gave birth at my bedroom surronded my peramedics. Felt so relieved and great alhamdulillah! I felt like I was in total control , not treated like an object ( like at my first birth experiance at hospital !).

So this time I am not worried anymore alhamdulillah. Everything is in Allah swt’s control. He know what is best for us so no point getting stressed! Alhamdulillah doing my almost sugar-free diet, eating more fruits and veg and protein and trying to do some exercise too with my kids! There is this channel (SKY 275 Body in balance) I recently came to know through one of friend which shows quite a lot of yoga and belly dance stuff so trying to follow the exercise with my children! They love seeing their ‘eccentric’ mum doing all the crazy and funny moves so alhamdulillah having a quality time with my son and daughter. They find it quite amazing that their mum got a big tummy. They do try to communicate with the baby through the belly button as if that’s the window from which they can see the baby and baby can see them. I never felt that much strong movement with my other pregnancies. Mashallah the baby moves a lot especially when I go to bed at night. I feel so wonderful touching my tummy. I am so eagerly waiting for meeting my baby Insha-Allah! Please do keep us all in your duas my dearest blog readers :-)

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Egyptian revolution

Alhamdulillah after more than two weeks of continuous protest the Egyptian people have managed to force Mubarak to leave. Subhanallah this is what people can achieve if they get united. This is the same country where centuries ago, the people of Moses (AS) with Allah SWT’s help stood up against the dictatorship of Pharaoh. I am so glad to witness this great historic event during my lifetime alhamdulillah as these sorts of events are very rare. The year I was born was also a very significant year as it was 1979 when the Iranian revolution took place. That was a huge blow to the Western powers especially America and some EU countries as they never thought general public will be able to topple the Shah who was strongly supported by the West and its allies. But Iran being a predominantly Shia country, the revolution didn’t really influence the Sunni world. Unfortunately Sunni world didn’t really get that much motivation to revolt against their dictators who are also heavily supported by the West. Most of the Muslims assumed that (Sunni) Islam doesn’t really encourage political activities as oppose to Shia Islam. The Sunni scholars rarely talked about politics and the importance of having Islamic state. There were groups like al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun (Muslim Brotherhood) who tried to enlighten people but they were treated very harshly by the authorities. People in Middle East were scared do to anything to displease the people in power. But alhamdulillah Muslims around the world are gradually going back to their faith and learning more about Islam as a way of life which includes the running of the state according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah (tradition) of our last prophet Muhammad (saw).

However, this is not the main reason that the people started to protest. There was this poor guy in Tunisia named Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old who triggered this revolution in his country as well as in Egypt. Like so many young Arabs, he was born poor and only dreamed of providing for his siblings and his mother. He had been to college, where he studied law, but had found no employment. So he chose to humble himself and find a halal means to generate some income. But he kept running into problems with the police and government inspectors until the fateful day in December when they confiscated his cart and his produce, saying he didn’t have a proper permit, and leaving him with an unpaid loan with which he’d bought the goods. At the station, upon attempting to reclaim his cart, he was slapped and humiliated publicly which is again quite a frequent treatment received by powerless public in Middle east and other third world countries. His already deferred dreams had clearly dried up. Bouazizi left an apologetic note for his mother and set himself on fire in front of the local government building. That just shows how miserable he felt and end his life in such a sad and horrific way! May Allah SWT show mercy on him and forgive his sins, ameen! 

Four weeks later, the protests sparked by his death brought down the government of President Zine el Abdidine Ben Ali, who had ruled Tunisia with an iron hand for 23 years. Like Tunisia the people of Egypt were also suffering greatly financially , physically and emotionally as well as spiritually thanks to the dictator, the modern day Pharaoh – Mubarak. Just like in Tunisia, the sacrifice of poor guy Bouazizi encouraged the people of Egypt to initiate their long waiting revolution.

When it first started I was very worried thinking how brutally the government of Egypt might deal with it’s people. I remember reading Lady Zainab Al-Ghazali’s book Return of the Pharaoh (Memoir in Nasir’s prison) . So many times it brought tears in my eyes reading the utter inhuman torture and humiliation she and the pious people of Egypt had to go through as their only crime was they were working for bringing back true justice of our faith.
But alhamdulillah the situation must be lot better now given the awesome power of global media and Internet. Alhamdulillah to get the real news we are no longer restricted to western ( almost biased) news agents such as CNN, BBC, FOX or SKY news anymore. We have AlJazeera, Press TV and other sources such as You tube available to us free through the Internet. Even the social networks like Facebook, Twitter have made it very easy to unite and mobilize like minded people to work for a common cause. The governments cannot really hide their atrocities anymore. There is a limit and they all have crossed that limit ages ago. Now it’s time they face the consequence of what they have done. Remember what goes around comes around !

I am very glad for the people of Tunisia and Egypt but also worried for their future. The dictators have left but who is going to take charge to run the countries? It’s not like these dictators did commit all the atrocities on their own ; they had their Western allies and local supporters i.e the army, the police force to do their dirty job. Where are they now? Are they going to fill this power vacuum? If so, then I am afraid that’s not really a sign of a successful revolution. May Allah swt help us and save us from anything bad. I hope and pray that the outcome of this revolution will be a good and blessed one insha-Allah and also this will encourage the people in other countries to start their revolution against their corrupt leaders INSHA-ALLAH!

Let us all pray for good in Egypt, the land from which Hajar (AS) the wife of Ibrahim (AS) and mother of Isma'eel (AS) came from, where our Prophets Musa (AS) and Yusuf (AS) lived, where our beloved last messenger’s (SAW) companion 'Amr bin al Aas (RAW) built the first masjid in Africa, the land which was home to great scholars like Imam ash-Shafi'ee (RA) and Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani (RA). There are some beautiful dua (supplication) I read recently which I would like to share with you:
Allaahumma ‘innaa naj’aluka fee nuhoorihim wa na’oothu bika min shuroorihim.
O Allah, we ask You to restrain them by their necks and we seek refuge in You from their evil. (Abu Dawud)

Allahumma ‘Anta ‘adhudee, wa ‘Anta naseeree, bika ‘ajoolu, wa bika ‘asoolu , wa bika ‘uqaatilu.
O Allah, You are my strength and You are my sopprter. For Your sake I go forth and for Your sake I advance and for Your sake I fight. (Abu Dawud)

Hasbunallaahu wa ni’mal wakeel.
Allah is sufficient for us and the best of those on whom to depend. (Al-Bukhari)

May Allah swt help us to achieve successful revolution everywhere and bring back justice and peace insha-Allah :-)



Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Mum and Muslim January/February issue is out now alhamdulillah !

Alhamdulillah I am so glad to let you know that the latest edition of Mum and Muslim magazine is now out. As always we have received some great articles alhamdulillah thanks to our wonderful sisters and brothers.

The latest bi-monthly edition of Mum and Muslim magazine features a variety of articles from absent fathers to dealing with infertility, and birth story to doulas. We also have an article from our youngest writer at the age of 12 . As our feature was youth and issues related to them we have received some good articles from our lovely sisters from Baligh project. Do have a look at their articles on friendship and our next generation. We also did an article on current hijab trends at our features section . Alhamdulillah as usual our column section got some very good and practical ideas and tips from our working mum Umm Salihah on how to cope with threat of redundancy, stay at home mum Aisha'tu Mohammad. on salah and practice. Our Muslimah Dilemma columnist Tasneem Nazeer did a great article on how to deal with losing a loved one and our expat mum Rayhaanah has shared some ideas for expat mothers to make the move a little easier, more pleasant & plenty of fun for their little ones insha-Allah.
Our GP sister Dr. Subohi has done a very helpful article on immunisation alhamdulillah. There is also a very handy recipe to deal with constipation in children.
We also have received some yummy recipes. Do try making these tasty recipes and let us know your feedback insha-Allah. There are lots of articles to talk about alhamdulillah so do have a look insha-Allah. You can also share the articles on various social networks such as Facebook, Twitter etc. 

We are very glad to have Nafisa as the youngest writer on borad alhamdulilah. Insha-Allah we would love more young writers to write for us as we really need to understand their views about life. I personally believe there is no point just writing about youth issues when they are not given the chance to express their views in their own language and according to their understanding of life. We really need to know how they see life and what their dreams and aspirations are. As our magazine deals with parenting issues, we are keen to get everyone, mothers, fathers and children as well as the members of our community to get involve intellectually insha-Allah and create a successful platform for sincere and healthy, fruitful dialogue and discussion insha-Allah. If we want to raise a better ummah we all need to work together insha-Allah.

As always, we appreciate your comments and support alhamdulillah. Do feel free to contact us. Also, if you would like to write for us please get in touch inshallah. Furthermore, the next issue will inshallah mark our first anniversary which is testament to the help given to us by firstly Allah SWT, but also to you too. We hope to have a special issue, but let us know if there is anything in particular that you want us to feature, inshallah.

Alhamdulillah we have had fantastic feedback from readers both positive and constructive. I still cannot believe that our next issue which is due in April is going to be our anniversary issue Insha-Allah. We started planning this magazine at the end of year 2009 and alhamdulillah with the help of couple of very passionate sisters and brothers we published our first issue in April 2010. Alhamdulillah we have managed to publish seven issues up until now. Initially we started as a monthly magazine but as we all are quite busy mothers, it was getting quite hectic and we decided to make it a bimonthly. Alhamdulillah we are learning a lot every single day. I hope more people will come forward and help us in making this magazine a great success insha-Allah.

We would like the voices represented in the magazine to be as varied as possible. We want to embrace the full beauty and diversity of our beautiful Ummah and learn from as many people as possible and hopefully pass that wisdom on to others insha-Allah. We believe this can be a great sadaqa jaariyah for all of us Insha-Allah.
If you are interested in writing for us (fi’sabillah for the time being), please e-mail us at editor@mumandmuslim.com. We also welcome bloggers  to send us material they have used before if they think it is particularly relevant and we will link back to your blogs insh’Allah.

Please do have a look around our website and get a feel of what we are aiming to do and take a look at the sections to see if there is knowledge, experience or wisdom that you have to offer. If you aren’t able to contribute at this time, please do have a browse and leave a comment. Your feedback is invaluable to us so that we can learn what is useful and interesting to readers and what is not. Also do spread the message. We at M & M are working hard to make this magazine a great success insha-Allah. May Allah swt accept our work and give us baraka in our efforts, ameen.

Jazakh’Allah-khairun for your support, ideas, constructive comments, and sincere duas alhamdulillah! Please do keep them coming insha-Allah!