One minute for a muslim !

Ramadhan Mubarak to all of my dear brothers and sisters. May Allah swt accept all our duas and ibadaat especially during this holy month. Ameen. I have been MIA due to several reasons, one of which is also wanting to focus more on my ibadaat. (Sadly, I am one of those, who decides to “JUST” check on my messages on the various blogs/fb/messengers etc sites ~ and before, I know it, I have already “wasted” hours !!!! Therefore, this ramadhan, I decided to limit my “checking” time on the internet ~ Hence this message is primarily for me and then for all my brothers and sisters.)

Already the special last days have started and I wished to share some very beneficial information with you’ll.

I am, by no means, a perfect example, but as much as possible, we should try and use this month to make dhikr, voluntary prayers in addition to the Fard Salaats and charity ofcourse.

My children often ask me what they should supplicate during the “long” hours when they are banned from playstation and computers during this month and I found this wonderful site which had excellent comprehensive supplications which I, printed and  distributed amongst my boys to recite and gain knowledge by reading the meaning and gain hasanah’s by reciting the arabic quotes.

I am sure if you tried something similar for yourself and your children, it will benefit you greatly. inshallah.

Here is the link from where I have borrowed it :-

http://islamicemirate.com/articles/worship/2834-what-can-you-do-in-one-minute.html

There follows a list of things that can be done in one minute, by the permission of Allaah:

1. 1. In one minute you can recite Soorat al-Faatihah 3 times, reciting rapidly and silently. Some scholars said that the reward for reading al-Faatihah is more than 600 hasanahs, so if you read it 3 times you will, by the permission of Allaah, gain more than 1800 hasanahs – all of that in one minute.

2. In one minute you can recite Soorat al-Ikhlaas (Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad) 20 times, reciting rapidly and silently. Reciting it once is equivalent to one-third of the Qur’aan. If you read it 20 times it is equivalent to reading the Qur’aan 7 times. If you read it 20 times in one minute each day, you will have read it 600 times in one month, and 7200 times in one year, which will be equal in reward to reading the Qur’aan 2400 times.

3. You can read one page of the Book of Allaah in one minute.

4. You can memorize a short aayah of the Book of Allaah in one minute.

5. In one minute you can say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, lahu’l-mulk wa lahu’l-hamd wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer (There is no god except Allaah alone with no partner; to Him be dominion and praise, and He is Able to do all things) – 20 times. The reward for saying this is like freeing 8 slaves for the sake of Allaah from among the sons of Ismaa’eel.

6. In one minute you can say Subhaan Allaahi wa bi hamdihi (Glory and praise be to Allaah) 100 times. Whoever says that in one day will be forgiven for his sins even if they are like the foam of the sea.

7. In one minute you can say Subhaan Allaahi wa bi hamdihi Subhaan Allaah il-‘Azeem (Glory and praise be to Allaah, glory be to Allaah the Almighty) 50 times. These are two phrases which are light on the lips, heavy in the balance and beloved to the Most Merciful, as was narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

8. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When I say ‘Subhaan Allaah, wa’l-hamdu Lillah, wa laa ilaah ill-Allaah, wa Allaahu akbar (Glory be to Allaah, praise be to Allaah, there is no god except Allaah, and Allaah is Most Great)’, this is more beloved to me than all that the sun rises upon.” (Narrated by Muslim). In one minute, you can say all of these words more than 18 times. These words are the most beloved words to Allaah, the best of words, and they weigh heavily in the balance of good deeds, as was narrated in the saheeh ahaadeeth.

9. In one minute you can say, Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa Billaah (there is no strength and no power except with Allaah) more than 40 times. This is one of the treasures of Paradise, as was narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim. They are a means of putting up with difficulties and of aiming to achieve great things.

10. In one minute you can say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah approximately 50 times. This is the greatest word, for it is the word of Tawheed, the good word, the word that stands firm. If these are the last words of a person, he will enter Paradise, and there are other reports which indicate how great these words are.

11. In one minute you can say Subhaan Allaah wa bi hamdih, ‘adada khalqihi, wa ridaa nafsihi, wazinata ‘arshihi, wa midaada kalimaatihi (Glory and praise be to Allaah, as much as the number of His creation, as much as pleases Him, as much as the weight of His Throne and as much as the ink of His words) more than 15 times. This words bring many more times the reward for other forms of tasbeeh and dhikr, as was reported in saheeh ahaadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

12. In one minute you can seek the forgiveness of Allaah more than 100 times by saying “Astaghfir-Allaah (I seek the forgiveness of Allaah). The virtues of seeking forgiveness are no secret, for it is the means of attaining forgiveness and entering Paradise, and it is the means of being granted a good life, increasing one’s strength, warding off disasters, making things easier, bringing rain and increasing one’s wealth and children.

13. You can say a few brief and concise words in one minute, and Allaah may bring about some good through them that you could never imagine.

14. In one minute you can send blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 50 times by saying Sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (May Allaah bless him and grant him peace). In return Allaah will send blessings upon you 500 hundred times because one blessing brings ten like it.

15. In one minute you can motivate your heart to give thanks to Allaah, to love Him, to fear Him, to put hope in Him, to long for Him, and thus travel through the stages of ‘uboodiyyah (total enslavement to Allaah). You could do this when you are lying on your bed or walking in the street.

16. In one minute you can read more than two pages of a useful book that is easy to understand.

17. In one minute you can uphold the ties of kinship by calling a relative on the phone.

18. You can raise your hands and recite any du’aa’ you wish from the books of du’aa’, in one minute.

19. You can say salaams to and shake hands with a number of people in one minute.

20. You can forbid an evil action in one minute.

21. You can enjoin something good in one minute.

22. You can offer sincere advice to a brother in one minute.

23. You can console someone who is depressed in one minute.

24. You can remove something harmful from the road in one minute.

25. Making the most of one minute motivates you to make the most of other periods that would otherwise be wasted.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

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Safa Park.

Last Wednesday was Manu’s annual sports day at Safa Park. He was so insistent that I attend, which I managed to easily skip for Bilal and sawaab. But not Manu. He insisted.

It was a very “happy” morning, with clouds looming and the rain had poured earlier that morning, so it smelled and looked so lush and green.

 So anyways while I was finding parking, as usual late, I realized how rarely we, as a family visit parks. Maybe its coz we have a large and beautiful park right infront of our house or maybe, living in a “DESERT” region, we are now more acclamatised to the MALL culture. Which ever, I loved the experience. Met with some other fantastic moms and completly enjoyed the morning.

It also took me to some 19 years back, when i had first arrived in Dubai and my brothers family wanted to take me out to Safa Park being the ” IN THING” those days. I remember, how my sister in law had gone on, about how far it was from town. Ironically I now reside 3 times further and Safa Park almost seems right in city now 🙂

How a city has grown !  One thing peculier I noticed was the park has all of the trees, grown in this region. oh and what I meant by that was that, generally a park would have alot of palm trees but here they had all the different types of arabian trees.

I promised my self to bring everyone in the family for a proper traditional picnic to safa park one of these days, inshallah.

Enjoy the pics.

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Lessons from 2010 ~ part 2.

Just a day before we had sam admitted for the operation. Twas Bilal's birthday.11 May 2010

Two days after Sam’s surgery, he was still in the ICU. I needed to stay close to him so I slept for a couple of hours in the common ladies waiting room in the night and kept waiting for the visiting hours the rest of the time. I had not visited the kids the first 5 days. There was a large, safe and clean cafeteria which was 24 hours so really almost all my immediate needs were taken care of.  Needlessto say, I hardly slept. I would be seen prowling constantly infront of the ICU, waiting for visiting hours to begin.

Most of the security guards and cleaners and nurses had come to know me very well by now. And one thing I was asked several times, is how I managed to keep so composed ! I remember, a distant friend of mine called once and tried to console me briefly; becoz she did not know all the details, she almost made me feel, “like its not the end of the world”.

It took a whole lot of patience and maturance to not snap back at her. Perhaps my state of mind and patience was already stretched beyond its capacity and here, I had someone telling me, that it could’nt be all the bad !! I must have been alittle sharp in my tone, although I said nothing offensive. This friend came all the way from Dubai to check up on Sam in the evening while I was in the cafeteria. By the time I returned, She had already seen  Sam.  She came over to me and just broke down in tears.   Human emotions are fragile. I learnt just how very fragile.  I found myself consoling her that evening !!

During those first 2 weeks, my telephone was flooded with calls. Calls from abroad, local calls, dozens of sms’s. At some stage, I almost felt like a telephone operator and at some other times, like telephone voice message. I nearly detested it having to answer the calls and repeat the same updates over and over !  Most of the calls that came from Sam’s friends had a similar feel to it.

It went something like this :

“How did this happen ?

” “Why did’nt he tell us ?”

 “I found out thru so and so ”

“How did you’ll diagnose it ?”

“Why dont you get it done in India?”

“Let me know if you need anything ”

Duh !!! As if !!!!!!! I realized that we should be careful in what we say to a person when he going thru an ordeal especially one which involves health. He sits there feeling “how would you know, you dont have this problem” while we ask all the silly questions and even offer our unwanted advice !!

Nobody really knows whats going thru the mind of a person sinking in his boat except he himself !! so why pretend to have answers. But I suppose its a polite etiquette or ritual to do so !!!

Trying so hard to ease his pain... young sawaab

In all of Sam’s friends, there was only one guy whom he has disclosed his condition to, and also explained in detail about the operation.  Instead of making the effort of being around with us, he calls two days later wanting to know how things were !!! His wife had the audacity to state that 8 months back, when she was in India where her mother was sick, We didnt call on her in India, we just visited her hubby here !!! Thats friendship for you.

I learnt that encouragement, support and compassion does not necessarily come from those whom we know for sure will show it. Many a times, there can be a big disappointment. And many a times, it can come from a totally unexpected corner !! Therefore, its best to pin hopes only from Allah swt. He is the creator, he will create a way. . .

The lesser your expectation, the better chance you’ve got a solid relationship !! In all honesty, I dont believe in what I just said.     How can one not have expectations from someone you speak to virtually everyday ??? Someone whom you share your domestic secrets and office hassels ???

I realized now, that someone going thru trauma, doesnt need our silly superficial talks, he just needs genuine concern and someone who can listen and perhaps understand. Not judge. Never Judge !

I’ve learnt that Health, Wealth and children are a man’s biggest assets and they are also his biggest weakness too. He is most vulnerable when there is a deficiency in either his health or his wealth and if his children are away or hurt.

On the left is samie's surgeon, Dr Ziani and on the right is Dr ousama at Sheikh Khailifa Medical city.

I also learnt that what ever our sickness is, the two extreme way approach is not really the best.

Either we focus on the sickness so much that all our positive energy is drained and we’re completly touchy and depressed all the time.

On the other hand, completly living in denial and trying to carry on with life as though nothing has happened is not going to take us anywhere too.

When a disease strikes, it is a way of the body responding and telling us that something wrong is happening. why ignore and live in denial that alls well. We have to make positive changes to cure our problem.

Earlier I never stopped sam from the quantity he ate, or the amount of his salt intake, or from munching those                in-between snacks or hogging on all those nihari’s and ghee smothered parathas !! How much could our body take ?? Naturally we made changes. How could we not ??

I’ve also learnt that staying in a hospital, no matter how plush and sophisticated it is, can be quiet a sad and lonely experience. There’s a reason why Muslims have a sunnah, which is to visit the sick and that too it states, how and for how long should the visit last and what should be spoken off when visiting.

While we were transfered to the private room from the ICU, a bunch of volunteers had organized an hour program for the long staying patients of the hospital. They got out their guitars and sang lovely songs, some played board games and some card games. It was so refreshing to see the smiles on the elderly patients, who had, by now, gotten so used to staying over long periods of isolation ! 

A visit to the hospital can really make a great difference in the life of the patient and it makes us realize how fortunate we are for being blessed with good health too. we may feel, what good would a single short visit from us do for a patient, what we probably dont realize is how he/she may not have had seen family, friends or relatives for so long and a short talk with them may make them feel “wanted” or “not forgotten”  Try it, you’ll know what I mean.

This post was not supposed to get long, but perhaps I “Have” learnt quite a bit. I really hope, what I have learnt from my experience helps you to make even one single change in your life.

Come back to read the 3rd Part of “lessons from 2010”

Should Kids witness childbirth ? A True Story .. ..

It was late at night and Heidi, who was expecting her second child, was home alone with her 3-year old daughter Katelyn. When Heidi started going into labor, she called “911”.

Due to a power outage at the time, only one paramedic responded to the call. The house was very, very dark, so the paramedic asked Katelyn to hold a flashlight high over her mommy so he could see while he helped deliver the baby.
Very diligently, Katelyn did as she was asked.

Heidi pushed and pushed, and after a little while Connor was born. The paramedic lifted him by his little feet and spanked him on his bottom. Connor began to cry. The paramedic then thanked Katelyn for her help and asked the wide-eyed 3-year old what she thought about what she had just witnessed.

Katelyn quickly responded, “He shouldn’t have crawled in there in the first place. Smack him again!”

My Son ~ Eman.

My kids never seize to amaze me , especially Eman. His self confidence seems to have got a real boost ever since he joined BILD. Thank fully. His teachers, classmates and all seem to just adore him. Sometimes,  I feel he would be best suited to an acting career. He has a natural flair to act,  he is so confident on stage and his expressions are simply marvelous when he is in a play.

It amused me beyond measure when last week, as I went to pick him up from school. He had a bandage on his knee and he was limping. With a broad smile he began explaining just what had happened. His teacher peered out and explained too and said, that while they were dressing his wound, instead of crying, his humor got the best of him, and he asked,” Is this the end of my career ?? ” His teacher couldnt help herself and was laughing away too.

 Last thursday he got a merit certificate for being the most well behaved and obident student in his class. He proudly exhibited it around to us. When I told the same to his father in the evening. Sam was beside himself. He not only had him stand on the table but asked us all to clap for him to encourage him. This little brat of mine, bowed down several times before us before showering us with flying kisses and said very theatreically : 

 ” Oh thank you, thank you, thank you  …………Your very kind…………….. I have no words to say “

  Needless to say, Sam and I, exchanged glances and broke into a big laugh !! What do I do about this little fellow !!

Paid in Full ~ The Value of Parents

precious_moment_clipart_fathers_day

A little boy came up to his mother in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper, and he handed her a piece of paper that he had been writing on. After his mom dried her hands on an apron, she read it, and this is what it said:

a. For cutting the grass: $5.00
b. For cleaning up my room this week: $1.00
c. For going to the store for you: .50
d. Babysitting my kid brother while you went shopping: .25
e. Taking out the garbage: $1.00
f. For getting a good report card: $5.00
g. For cleaning up and raking the yard: $2.00

Total owed: $14.75

Well, his mother looked at him standing there, the boy could see the memories flashing through her mind. She picked up the pen, turned over the paper he’d written on, and this is what she wrote:

a. For 9 months I carried you while you were growing inside me: No Charge.
b. For all the nights that I’ve sat up with you, doctored and prayed for you: No Charge.
c. For all the trying times, and all the tears that you’ve caused through the years: No Charge.
d. For all the nights that were filled with dread, and for the worries I knew
were ahead: No Charge.
e. For the toys, food, clothes, and even wiping your nose: No Charge.

Son, When you add it up, the cost of my love is: No Charge.

When the boy finished reading what his mother had written, there were big tears in his eyes, and he looked straight at his mother and said, “Mum, I sure do love you”.

And then he took the pen and in great big letters he wrote: “PAID IN FULL”

“Your Lord has decreed that you should worship nothing except Him, and show) kindness to your parents, whether one or both of them attain old age (while they are) still with you, never say to them ‘Shame! nor scold either of them. Speak to them in a generous fashion. Protect them carefully and say: ‘My Lord, show them mercy, just as they cared for me as a little child'” [surah 17:23-24]

Schools ~ making the right choice.

Today was the last day for school. Bilal had his Maths exam. Sawaab and Eman were supposed to go for the field trip ie: movie at MOE, but they did not, coz Eman is down with tonsilitis.

I stand on cross roads. Cross roads in some serious decision making.  ” SCHOOLS ”

We know the school they are attending “D”  is not the right school for us for many a reasons but to put it as politely, it is becoz not only is it not safe, and that we are worried about the bullying both verbal and physical but also the fact that they are weak in discipline. 

The boys have been following the American Syllabus from the very begining however for the first time we are  considering sending them to a British school.  Not only is the fees in this particular school that we are looking at seriously,  shooting off the ceiling but it is a rather small school. Class room size is 24 students, they have an assistant in most classes and most importantly, they have a Learning Enhancement center.  They are  popular but not as much probably becoz they are a small school run thru two huge villas.  There is firm discipline.  Somehow, I am not one to be impressed with “features” & “faciliities” that schools market these days. I would primarily look for the teaching staff. How compassionate and childfriendly and qualified they are. Thats important to me. The syllabus is important to me. How that is imparted is important. 

I could keep them in “D” school  if I wished, but I know clearly it would be a waste. They have been exposed to some very nasty language  there. Been beaten up several times, and virtually nothing done about it, all in the name of “investigation is being done ” It is such a waste. Teachers fly in and fly out ever two to three months. The ones who are staying rarely seem to say hello ~ there’s always a frown on their faces.  

 Mrs C, is the only exception ofcourse, she has been such a blessing.  When we presented her with the gift basket as a parting gift, she was completly taken aback, she was so emotional.  She was the only positive spark in the school.  She really stood up for buddy, unfortunetly she came only in the third term and alot of the damage had already been done.    

We need teachers like her who dont just enter a class to do a job, they want to make a difference in the life of a child. Thats what true education is.

We approached one primary/secondary school and it was really shocking to see, how all the English ladies at the reception were out and out, not ready to talk to me and the registrar who HAD TO, well she did everything to convince me that the waitlist was sooooo long that it was absolutely pointless to even think of registering. Whats strange is that my husband’s english collegue just applied a day before and he is granted seats, but when we checked the next day, they had 25 students on the waitlist !!!! Over night the waitlist grew from nothing to 25 all becoz an indian kid was interested in the school. I knew what was going on and why bother let my children into a school that is not going to welcome them anyways.

Another school’s registrar looked at me as though, I had Swine Flu all over me !  she was so uncomfortable around us. 

How can you change concrete minds who have been bought up to think they are superior, white and the rest of the world is an inferior class. It is sheer racism and that too in an arab country !   

Some schools emphasis so much on making leaders out of children, some emphasis about the all round growth of children and some emphasis about how many facilities they have (swimming club, sports, drama etc ).

The winchester school in The Gardens near Ibn Batuta, another classic case of  having this really large hall for young kindergarteners with alot of toys, (few were even educational) and none of the kids were actually “allowed ” to play with them. It was a marketing stunt.

One  head teacher clearly said, ” why should we teach children Arabic from grade 1, when they are hardly going to use it anywhere except the arab world ?” I asked her why children in Bombay ( India ) have to as a compulsion learn Marathi which is a language which is spoken only in the state of Maharashtra. Atleast there are over 20 countries where arabic is spoken, how many states, let alone country, Marathi is spoken ? NONE  ! !

Not one school, so far has kept their share of their promise.  The fees here in Dubai has sky rocketed in the past 5 years. Whats even more weird is that the quality remains the same.

I read in one of the ” British” forums, about how these bunch of snobbish ladies were discussing that although they were going to stay in Dubai for a short stint, they had managed to “squeeze” the maximum benefits from the employer !  One commented that she had only dhs 20,000 from the company as education allowance and the other said they got 50% off whichever school they choose, and a third said that her husband had put his foot down that he needed all of his educational allowance taken care of by the employer, hence schools like Dubai American Academyor Gems World or Raffles or Repton or Greenfield, flourish.    

Probably thats why the KHDA ( knowledge and Human Devolopment Authority ) was formed ! To set a standard of guide lines for all schools to implement and follow. 

And to think of it that most of these schools did not even make it in the ” Good schools list ” !! How shameful.  

Indian schools are a different story all together.

The average teacher in Indian based schools are the homemakers who have too much time on hand and dont know what to do except indulge in the TV soaps !   The selection criteria for teachers, is a joke.  The class room atmosphere is repulsive.  We had teachers who used to sell sari’s and VCR movies in the staff room back in the 1980’s. The librarian was known for her knitting skills. We used to hold competitions on who could copy Mr Bora’s notes the fastest. He spoke at 120 words per minute. What we understood in his class is another story ! Most of the indian school kids take private tuitions. It is a norm rather than an exception. I ask why ? why dont the teachers do the job right in the school, so that the average student does not turn to tuitions ?? Naturally coz, the teacher walks into the class, “turn to page  number ……………, ” reads a whole lot or asks the one of the kids to do so and thats just about it. They dont want to impart knowledge, there is no concern for a student with marginal difficulties.  He has to fend for himself. Very few really stand out to make a difference. I cant blame them entirely, coz they too were schooled in such a matter, so how can anyone expect more from them, unless they have it in them to go that extra mile.  

The lebanese perspective :

Well, the only difference between a lebanese teacher and an indian teacher is that the lebanese teacher takes a break ever half an hour to fill her face with another coat of makeup. And ofcourse she spends an extra 2 hours in the morning deciding what and how to wear to school. And inspite of it, she manages to be a sad role model for the student. Not only the high headedness but the absolute indiffernce towards indian kids is simply outrageous. I can say that easily coz my boys went to Al Mawakeb school Al Barsha  for 3 years and they virtually suffered at the hands of   incompetent teachers and codirectors. One of the stupedist things I have ever done is believing that perhaps the error lies in my boys and perhaps tomorrow will be better.  Until, I decided enough was enough. They did 3 years with them – and not one single teacher could tell me that any or all of my boys had dyslexia. They kept pushing the boys year after year.  There were alittle over a dozen episodes after which I decided that my boys and I had had enough.

All the time, sam had convinced me, that all schools are the same and we would get the same treatment no matter which school we went to. Well, I am ready to take my chances but I WILL not stand and watch kids throwing abuse over my boys.   

Being Muslim is not easy even in Dubai, a muslim country and that too Indians, people have so many prejudices about us. I am not perfect and this world is not perfect and nobody said, life would be perfect, but as much as I can, I would like to make the right decisions for the boys without ever disorienting them. Bilal has changed 5 schools and he is in grade 5 going to 6.   How has he coped with it ?? Pretty well, I would say. But I really hope the next school we find, would be where they would be welcomed, understood, encouraged  and supported.

Am I asking for too much ???’

teacher