Thursday, 24 March 2011

Children's book: Ten Friendly Fish

Debbie Tarbett
Hardcover: 24 pages
Publisher: Little Tiger Press (1 Mar 2008)
Language English

My children (3 and 2 years) love this book and it is often presented to me to read in the evenings. Because the fish are 3D, they can touch them and play with them while I read the story. It helps them learning to count as well as learning about different sea creatures. Insha-Allah, we are going to get a couple more of the Debbie Tarbett books for them. They had this book for about a year and still love it and keep coming back for more. All in all a very enjoyable and educational read for 2-3 year olds. The 10 fish are solid and raised and one disappears with each page turn. The only problem is the pop page at the end is not as sturdy as rest of the book and you have to be careful with it if you don’t want it to be torn after few uses. Our one is already damaged a bit. But overall it’s a good book to have.

Children's book: Toddle Waddle

Julia Donaldson (Author), Nick Sharratt (Illustrator)
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books (1 Jan 2010)
Language English

There's a hullabaloo at the seaside when a toddler takes his friends on a stroll to the end of the pier.
With jaunty rhymes and bright, bold pictures even the youngest child will love this simple, playful story.
About the Author and illustrator:
Julia Donaldson is today's most popular picture book author and a multi award-winner. Her books include the modern classic THE GRUFFALO, THE PRINCESS AND THE

Nick Sharratt is the prize-winning illustrator of many books for children of all ages.

My children absolutely adore this book. I don’t know how many times I have read this book to them. Almost every night this is one of the books they bring to me to read for their bedtime. My son is 3 years old and my daughter is 2 years old. Both of them have already started guessing some words from the book even before I read it loud. They really love the bright and bold pictures. They enjoy spotting all the detail in the brightly coloured illustrations. In my opinion, this book is really good for children and great for helping their early phonic awareness of rhyme.

Working from home

As a mother of two young children and expecting my third one quite soon insha-Allah, working from home is a good way of using my time more productively as well as spending quality time with my children, alhamdulillah. I guess it also helps me avoiding feeling guilty of not giving enough time to my children and my partner. Before marriage I was working full time as a primary and secondary teacher. Work was quite hectic. My morning used to start at 6:30 and I used to go to bed around 11:30 at night. Even weekends I was busy doing lesson plans and anything needed to be done for the week ahead. Though life as a teacher was quite a challenging one, I really enjoyed my job especially being with the children made me feel very satisfied and happy with my life. The joy I felt seeing how much children were learning and enjoying my lesson made me feel inspired to carry on alhamdulillah. However, after marriage my priorities changed. I was eagerly waiting to get pregnant. I was still working as a teacher but the stress was too much to bear.
The more I read about pregnancy and fertility, I came to realize I needed to chill out and have tawakkul ( reliance) on Allah (SWT). That’s when I decided to quit my work as a teacher. Alhamdulillah got pregnant straight away. For me it was a big sign to make myself feel that I was definitely doing the right thing alhamdulillah. Life just kept surprising me. Now after four years I am a happy mother of two children and expecting our third one next month Insha-Allah.
I always wanted to do a lot with my life. While at university I tried my best to get active as much as possible and I loved every moment of it, alhamdulillah. I never wanted to just be a stay-at-home mum who is totally occupied with household chores and looking after her husband and children and not really even having time for herself. I can understand how difficult and sometimes exhausting motherhood can become but I think for me I really want to live my life with lots of activities insha-Allah. I am hoping to create a life where I can say in eight to ten years time that alhamdulillah I have tried my best to achieve success and satisfaction from my life, insha-Allah. One day my children will leave one by one and will be busy with their life insha-Allah. At that moment I really don’t want to feel like ‘Okay now what!!! What do I do now with my time???’ I know that my life is to some extent centered around my husband and children but there are other things which are very important to me. My personal relationship with my Creator Allah (SWT), socialising with families and friends, writing and my job as a editor are very important for me. These different aspects of my life define who I am and what I want to become in future insha-Allah.

Given my goals and family situation, working from home has helped me a lot to get active and fulfill my dreams. Alhamdulillah thanks to Internet and social networks, lots of things can be done just from home. And many people find that working from home is a good balance and allows them to cope with things like all the appointments and being in to receive all that Internet shopping!

However, a common misconception among lots of people is that mums who work from home are sitting in a sunny garden teleworking on a laptop while their children play contentedly on a rug under the apple tree! Unfortunately that’s not really what we mothers who work from home experience all the time, I must confess. Sometimes it is very difficult to get them occupied. They do demand my total attention and want me to join in and play with them. When you work from home, you are more likely to work through out the day. With a 9 to 5 job, you can at least think about a proper break after work. But for me, I am most of the time in front of my laptop and find myself headhunting, contacting or replying all the emails.

I think if you work from home, you really need to be quite disciplined. You really need to be focused and get on with your work first. Ideally you need a proper space to work. It is quite easy to get distracted while working. That’s why it's a good idea to timetable your work - schedule breaks so you feel justified taking them. Breaking your day into chunks of work can also help. For example, tell yourself you'll work only for 20 minutes at a time, which is very manageable. Then you can take a break and start again after 20/30 minutes. I try to write down in my work diary all the things need to be done and keep ticking whatever is done. That way you can feel quite good at the end of day thinking you have manged to get your work done and alhamdulillah had a good, productive day. May Allah swt help us in getting more active and use our time more effectively, ameen. May He swt grant us baraka in our life, ameen.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

We just lost another beautiful sister

Inna lillahe wa inna ilaiher rajeuun. Certainly we belong to Allah swt and we are going to return to Him. I am so sad to share this news. Today in the morning one of our beloved sister in deen Aasia passed away. She was suffering from cancer. She has left her husband and three young children. Couple of months ago, the sisters in Redbridge area had formed a group to cook food for her family on a weekly basis so that she can have some rest. I came to know about her through the weekly circle I used to attend. She was such a lovely sister. I still have her text saved and now feeling so sad reading it. The feelings are so sad as you know that the person who sent you this text has left this world forever to meet her Creator. Whenever I asked her how she is feeling, she always praised Allah swt and never complained mashallah. May Allah swt reward her with jannatul ferdous and grant lots of patience and strength to her family and friends to go through this difficult time. Insha-Allah tomorrow is her janaza ( funeral) then she will be buried in Garden of peace. My friend Ferzanah who also died couple of years ago due to leukemia is also buried there. May Allah swt reward them with the best, amen. We really need to wake up and stop taking our life for granted. We don't know when is our turn. May Allah swt forgive us and make us better muslims, ameen. Please do make lots of duas for her and family.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

A Sociology Lesson From Surah Yusuf

An extract from the AlKauthar Institute weekend seminar entitled "An Epic Journey" - Tafsir Surah Yusuf. In this video Sheikh Sajid Umar talks about the role of parents in light of the famous dream of Prophet Yusuf  (AS) It's a short talk on parenting from a sociological perspective.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The promise of Allah swt: After hardship comes ease

Alhamdulillahi rabbil Aalameen all praise belongs to Allah swt my mum-in-law is recovering from the operation. The tumour has been successfully removed and alhamdulillah cancer hasn’t spread anywhere else. However, she needs to go through radiotherapy for three weeks insha-Allah and also have medication for five years. We were so scared for her and asked almost all the people we know to pray for her. We are so grateful to all our friends and families who prayed for us and came to visit her, alhamdulillah. The power of dua is so great mashallah! Nothing is impossible when we ask Allah swt sincerely to help us and remove any difficulties we are going through.
We also had hope that Allah swt will change our situation as He promised us in His Book that there is always ease after hardship. Some scholars even said that actually after every hardship there are two moments of ease, subhanallah! 

 Allah swt loves the action of visiting the sick and make sincere dua for them. Through His beloved prophet Muhammad saw He even taught us what duas we can recite and what sort of reward we will get if we care for our sick relatives and friends or anyone who is going through any sort of difficulties. It has been mentioned in the book of hadith (tradition of our beloved prophet saw) the one who visits the sick is in fact like one who is in the fruit garden of Paradise (until he returns). [Muslim]

I would like to share with you a beautiful dua (supplication) for cure: “Allahumma Rabba ‘n-nas(i), adhhibi ‘l-ba’sa wa ‘shfi Anta ‘sh-Shafi, laa shifaa’a illaa shifa’uk(a), shifaa’al laa yughaadiru saqaman.” Which means “O Allah, Lord of mankind, remove all harm and cure, as You are the One who cures. There is no cure but Your cure; a cure that leaves no illness. [Bukhari]

When we are visiting a person who is ill, we say: “Laa ba’sa tahurun insha-Allah(u).” which means “No need to worry. It [this illness] is purging [of sins], Allah willing.” [Bukhari]

Our faith has answer for every situation of our life. When we feel overwhelmed by difficult situation, it tells us how to cope and deal with the problem. Alhamdulillah we are so lucky and blessed to have Allah swt in our life. Sometimes I wonder how miserable my life would have been if Allah swt didn’t guide me to His beautiful faith. Seeing people who are not really aware of Allah’s blessings in their life and as a result not being able to deal with a difficult situation with tawakkul (reliance on Allah swt) and hope makes me sad and at the same time truly blessed to have faith in Allah swt. May Allah swt guide everyone to His straight path, ameen. May Allah swt help us in remembering Him and appreciating every single blessing He has bestowed on us, ameen.

Whenever we go through any hardship, we realise how much we are dependant on Allah swt. It just shows how powerless we are in front of Him! We need Him and He doesn’t need us but He created us with love and mercy. He loves us more than our parents and even ourselves, Subhanallah. How can we deny our Lord who does so much for us! He doesn’t need our worship at all but WE NEED HIM FOR OUR OWN SAKE, Subhanallah! May Allah swt make us realise our total dependency on Him (SWT) and help us in loving and pleasing Him, ameen.

I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart to all my relatives, friends and well-wishers who prayed for us and been very supportive alhamdulillah. Jazakallah khairan :-)