Purifying the heart

Purifying the heart !

Assalam Alai kum brothers and sisters. I trust, you are in good health and are counting your blessings everyday.

The link above is an excellent short video based on our existence and how we can remove the corrupt, evil sins from our hearts. It is a beautiful metaphor and I’m sure, you will like it, hence sharing.

The doors of Rehma (mercy/forgiveness) will remain open for us till the moment, we take our last breath, hence don’t assume you will not be forgiven. Allah swt can and will pardon the worse of the sins, provided the niyaah (intention) is sincere and the remorse is true.

A family we knew, had a daughter, who suffered at the hands of a chronic illness for all her tender life. We realized, perhaps,  she was a test from the Almighty. Eventually she passed away leaving her parents with a broken heart.

A few years later, the only other child, an older son, matured and carried forward the responsibilities of his fathers’ business. The father was beside himself. A young, charming, well-behaved, well-disciplined and responsible son, is a dream come true. The parents had him married and the following year, the young bride and groom, performed Hajj.

Although, they are our family friends, we barely kept in touch, over the years. Never the less, I have a deep-rooted respect for this family and upon hearing the beautiful news, I was overwhelmed with joy.

Sadly, it was short-lived.

A couple of years later, the said young boy, committed suicide.

Death of a child, in itself, is the harshest emotional devastation, but loosing your child to suicide can add an unbelievably surreal dimension to this trauma.

And then begins a string of speculations of why he took such a drastic step .. .. perhaps monetary issues, perhaps business decline, perhaps he did not bear children and perhaps a dozen other factors, which we may never know and in so many ways, its none of our business ! But here is whats really important :-

My dear brothers and sisters, suicide is haram. There is no other way to put it mildly.

Please remember, we are placed in this world to face the trials, to endure hardships while keeping our imaan (faith) intact. We CANNOT and MUST NOT give up.

Talk to anyone of your family members, friend, relative, a trusted neighbor, a colleague, the imam in your masjid ~ if nothing else, turn to a psychiatrist.  But DONT give up.  Whatever problems, you face, there is ALWAYS a solution. Sometimes, we have to persistently search for it, and sometimes, patience brings it at our doorstep, never the less, there is ALWAYS a solution. However there is no solution to DEATH.

That is the trauma this elderly parent faces and will continue to endure every single day, for the rest of their lives.

The young bride who probably has a life ahead of her, with a stigma so intense, to carry in our hypocritical society.

What he did ~ is not the issue here becoz he is no more and no one can bring him back.

But what matters is what we learn from this unfortunate tragedy.

Asian parents are highly emotional and less logical parents. They pin too many hopes and aspirations over their offspring. In a way, they almost live their youth, thru their children, which is fine , so long as they don’t start imposing their expectations on them.  If your raising responsible children, remember, when they goof-up(and they will) don’t remind them time and again, about your disappointments (they already realize their mistake) Reminding them will not bring them closer to you. It will only widen the barrier between them and you.

Brothers and sisters, No matter what your fix is, rely on your parents. There will be a temporary period of disappointments and you may curl in the feeling of being a let-down. But trust me, its far better, that they sort your hassle out than sort your coffin out.  There can be no excuse for suicide. Absolutely NONE.

The void a parent feels after loosing a child is unbearably painful but knowing and blaming himself, all the remainder of his life, why his child could not turn to him as a confidante, is far more painful for a parent.

This video demonstrates how wrong decisions, wrong habits and wrong deeds can blacken our hearts and our minds and misguide us in the wrong direction, but ……………………… there is hope.

Astaghfirullah.

Ask Allah swt for forgiveness, refrain yourself from evil practices and reprimand your ways and there is no reason, why the Almighty Allah swt who is Ghafoor and Raheem, would not forgive his slave.

He is waiting for YOU to raise your hands in dua and with trust in your heart, turn to him. He alone will set you free.

so what are you waiting for ?

 

 

Hajj ~ A Discovery (part 2)

Assalam Alaikum dear brothers and sisters,

This post is in continuation of my previous post Hajj – A Discovery (part 1).

Like I mentioned in my previous post, we were blessed to be able to have had performed Al Hajj this year.

It was an enlightening experience, to say the least. In reality, it was a road to self-discovery as much as understanding where I could, possibly stand in this huge universe, in terms of my love for my Allah swt.

Living in Dubai comes with its own set of ‘tiny’ drawbacks. We tend to become rather self-centered or self-absorbed, as you would, in any fast-paced and diverse metropolitan city.  Time is a commodity and we are almost always, utilizing to its best.  Grabbing fragmented moments of joy, as you attempt, in futile, to race against the merciless movement of the clock hands. Sometimes, you need to gain momentum in life. You need to stand still and figure out your place, in your own life and that of those close to you. You need to figure out, just how deep is your relationship with the Creator.  Where are you heading ? And regardless of how high you fly, you will still need to get a grip with reality, for your final abode is deep within the breasts of mother earth.

The days spent in Al Hajj, particularly in Muna (Mina) were an eye-opener. It unveiled  me to an unchartered territory of my own behavior and tolerance.

I resided in Muna (The tent city) with 11 other women under a single concrete tent~ surrounded by hundreds more tents.  It took me a few hours to come out of the shock of being one of the 12 to sleep in a makeshift dormitory !! (Did I mention I had braced myself for a similar situation, if not worse ??)  🙂

Most, if not all, were Urdu speaking from Uttar Pradesh( a northern state of India) or Delhi. Mainly three age groups  60+, 40+ and 30+

Allah swt has blessed the Muslim Ummah with two strong traits namely Sabr (Patience) and Shukr (gratefulness) ~ The Hajj is an excellent time for both of these attributes to be tested !

You are in Ahraam, in that situation, as a guest of Allah swt. What an amazing honor !! And what is it that we do when we visit someone special ? We maintain our dignity and put our best foot forward in every possible way.

Years before, we learnt that every action has an equal reaction. You get hurt and you hurt back. But in Hajj, (as it should be in our routine life too), one must maintain his/her dignity and tolerance. One of the most crucial lessons, I learnt is to restrain myself.  It is not easy becoz you have just left the protection of your shell, you are out exposed and you want nothing more than to please Allah swt.

patience in hajj

There will always be people ready to push you in a crowd ~ question remains ~ will you push back ?

  • you are sleeping on an uncomfortable bed,
  • the people around you may not smell the best,
  • they speak loudly to eachother,
  • they may eat snacks (which they bought with them from their home country) which gives out an unusual smell and worse, loud crunchy noises,
  • the introductions seem to take forever, with each one, wanting to discuss, their pregnancy deliveries, their family structure, their photographs, their daily schedule, the stories of their departures from their home country, right up to their experience so far.
  • you realize, people are far more focused towards the meal times than the salaah times.
  • and then their almost NEVER content with the amazing food to be had, in the middle of the desert !!!
  • lack of comfortable and continuous sleep can make you a switched-on walking-talking time bomb !! and yet you keep reminding yourself, the REAL purpose of being here.
  • you realize 5 out of 12 ladies, snore and you have no escape from that relentless drumming of octaves 😦
  • you realize, there is always one person, who selfishly wishes the lights to remain switched on, so she may read her dua books ~ late into the night !!
  • and some may also be inconsiderate enough to sit right over your head, and read tahajjud salaat in loud-enough voice !!
  • you realize your personal belongings are gradually becoming a thing, for all to “lend” !!
  • and then there are those clashes in debate sessions about the benefits of a joint family, or that children should be educated in convents, or even the recipe discussions !!!
  • endless amount of door knocks, from the spouces for the ladies in the tent !  All this ~ when one can easily relay the message on the mobile phone.
  • for the ladies in perpetual hijab, it is a quiet a trial. Especially when some ignorant spouces tend to drop their necks in, like ostriches trying to communicate with their obliviously relaxing wives.  Ofcourse, they were better than some of those, who assumed that we were their appointed pigeons, to relay messages when their wives awoke !!!

Women !!!! Shaitaan really has it easy !!! Women make his job pretty convenient.  He just has to play the fiddle around a tune of  ideas of greed, lust, temptation, anger, selfishness and confusion on women and the lives of all the men, next door is played havoc with in just a matter of minutes.

Luckily for me, Allah swt found an exceptional way of keeping me protected from gheebat and unnecessary loose talks.

  • My throat was choked with phlegm and as such, my voice was a mere exhausted coarse whisper. Luckily I had passed the stage of frequent coughs and moved into the sorry stage of  carrying a small plastic bag, and a couple of toilet rolls, for the constant flow of mucus.  Initially, I was embarrassed with my medical condition, not a pleasant sight to see someone spiting into some tissue or blowing one’s nose into a tissue so frequently
  • In addition, inspite of the several over 60 year-olds in the group, I was the only one carrying my loyal folding chair with me !! Naturally it got lent pretty often too 😦

All through it, I had to constantly remind myself, to continue making dhikr.  Its difficult to focus on your salaat and your tasbeeh, when so many distractions  surround you. The longer and harder, you focus on your dhikr, the more the reward ~ naturally. But its not as simple as that.

patience in hajj2

Gradually, I began to realize, coming from my own tiny world, what a large world existed ~ with people of such varied tastes, needs and aspirations, that Allah swt had to deal with.

I realized from some of the stories, how fortunate we had it in life.

I realized I was grateful for a little over a million (if not easily more) blessings that Allah swt had showered me with.

I also realized that most Indian/Pak muslims are rather fickle minded.

  • They come up with a ridiculous theory about not eating certain foods coz it may cause a cold !!! Eg, Tomato ketchup, yoghurt etc !!! Yes, I am referring to some rather seemingly ‘educated’ people !!
  • When dealing with a medical ailment, we tend to ‘assume’ “kissi ne kuch karwa diya” as in, ‘some one has cast a spell’, sorcery, witchcraft etc, rather than believing that it was genuinely a case of appendicitis !!!!!
  • We have a tendency to turn to all sorts of QUACKS for so-called ‘treatments’ ~ rather than the conventional route of medical doctors inorder to treat our ailments.

I had already mentioned in my previous post about the hygiene habits or rather, the lack of them 🙂

Consoling myself, that it was for a mere couple of days and that, it was a test of the sorts from the Almighty himself, was helping. But I pondered over this thought for sometime, was the Almighty actually trying to bring this change in me, to be more tolerant and aware of other people’s habits, nature and characteristics ! Was I being prepared for something higher and deeper ? Was I gaining any momentum in my quest for pleasing Allah ?

While I befriended each one of the ladies and bid farewell, after reaching Medina. It occurred to me, that Allah swt enfolds a lesson in each of our tasks.

Some of us, tend to commit to these tasks without so much as batting an eyelid, while some of us learn the lesson “WE WANT TO LEARN” while there are still some, who might truly decipher the code as he meant for us to.

patience in Hajj3

  1. In any case, I feel, I now find myself more tolerant and aware and slightly more forgiving than I was.
  2. I realized that I was the impatient one ~ they were just driven by their own conveniences
  3. I realized that I was self-centered ~ happy to be couped up in a corner with another English speaking broad minded family. It was my initial comfort zone.
  4. I realized that we tend to place people into virtual pockets and judge them on those basis.
  • The filthy rich women with no class, lapping up all the gold jewelry just to gain some recognition
  • The cultured advocates wife, who kept a firm thumb inspite of a sophisticated language
  • The tag-alongs who were so limp, they really had no decisive opinion of their own
  • The tabligi-jamaat ladies who spoke fluently in English, much to the amazement of the others.
  • And then there was me, imploring Allah swt to bless me with guidance and tolerance to bear them all !

Gradually I realized that each one of them, was fighting their own battle silently. Many silent prayers were being made ~ many silent tears were being shed and many quiet hopes were raised. For that moment in time, we all were in it together ~ each with his own individual issue, his own complex, insecurity, ordeal, trial, suffering. We were all there together, looking after eachother’s needs, our belongings, our luggage, our food and our chappals (slippers )too !!

That feeling of being together, inspite of not having ANYTHING in common except your belief in Allah swt and being at a certain place, performing specific rituals, and making small and big sacrifices just to please the Almighty, is a very unusual but special feeling.  We met as strangers and parted as sisters.

If that’s not self-discovery ~ what else can be !!

May we all discover ‘THAT”  amongst the 1 billion muslims in the world today, that one feeling of “brotherhood/sisterhood” is enough to bind us all together, inshallah. Ameen.

 

 

 

 

 

Alcohol ~ Halal or Haram ~ 2

This post is actually a part of the  previous post of Wine being Halal or Haram in Islam.
There are scores of authentic Islamic sites which will explain the position of Alcohol in Islam.
The Learned  Dr Zakir Naik himself, has explained elaborately why Alcohol is haram for Muslims.
His explanations are par excellence.
However, for all those of you, who “assume” that you know how to handle your alcohol aka “Keep my liquor down”, please tell me, do any of the following images show you how much respect you gain in this state of intoxication ?
 
The excuses are endless like, “I drink to release stress, drink only socially, drink very responsibly, drink to ease my worries, drink to forget my worries”  ……. I can jot down a dozen excuses why people prefer drinking. But the basic reason, that I believe in, is that they are simply following what Shaitaan is whispering to them. They are slaves of their habits and they are puppets to peer pressure.
 
Any one with an ounce of sense is not going to consume something that is going to cause his body harm (in the long term or short term in large quantity or small quantity ), embarass him becoz he now feels “released” enough to do leave behind his social inhibitions and could possibly cause harm to others around him (socially, physically, mentally)
 
It is purely disgusting to see women, disgracing themselves ~ all in the name of “having some fun”  !!

It all starts with having a good time !

Until it ends in such a shameful state !

There is no dignity left in either of these pictures ~ ONLY DISGRACE.

How easy do you think, it is, for a man to take advantage of her, in the state she is in ??? And then who’s to blame ???

How do you think these women deal with themselves in the mirror the next morning ???
 
They have even coined a term for this term. WASTED !!!! Exactly that and still dont realize that they are “wasting” that precious life.

This poor dude is now vulnerable to anyone who wishes to throw a prank at him. Who is to blame for in this situation ?????

Havent we heard that “like a million times before ?????   One of the many denials !!

ruined the moment ~ ruined your reputation forever !

And they still think that drinking is civil !!! that one CAN drink “responsibly” (yes, ofcourse I have heard THAT a hundred times )

So drunk that he does not have any realization of where he is …

so drunk that he does not realize he is floored with the can !!!

There are scores of pictures, that I can post here, but some of them are just so explicit and disgusting that I cant get myself display them ~ even if it is just to get my point across and show you that there’s a HUGE reason why ALCOHOL IS HARAM in Islam. Do you really need any more reasons ?? I have a dozen pics more if you need more reasons !!

Do you realize how easily one slips from being very conscious to being sober to be tipsy to being totally drunk and do you realize how deadly this condition can be and IS, if your behind the wheel ???

Ask her, and she’ll tell you :-

 Such a beautiful and promising girl’s life is a struggle today. She is not the only one ~ there are hundreds like her whose lives are destroyed forever, but she is an inspiration, none the less.

Thousands of lives are lost thru out the world when some drunk fool decides to drive his car back home !  So many families suffer, so many homes destroyed forever … … . . .

This is a poem by Caroline :-

A poem to get you thinking about the consequences of drink drivingI went to a party,
And remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mum
So I had a sprite instead.

I felt proud of myself,
The way you said I would,
That I didn’t drink and drive,
Though some friends said I should.

I made a healthy choice,
And your advice to me was right,
The party finally ended,
And the kids drove out of sight.

I got into my car,
Sure to get home in one piece,
I never knew what was coming, Mum
Something I expected least.

Now I’m lying on the pavement,
And I hear the policeman say,
The kid that caused this wreck was drunk,
Mum, his voice seems far away.

My own blood’s all around me,
As I try hard not to cry.
I can hear the paramedic say,
This girl is going to die.

I’m sure the guy had no idea,
While he was flying high,
Because he chose to drink and drive,
Now I would have to die.

So why do people do it, Mum
Knowing that it ruins lives?
And now the pain is cutting me,
Like a hundred stabbing knives.

Someone should have taught him,
That it’s wrong to drink and drive.
Maybe if his parents had,
I’d still be alive.

My breath is getting shorter, Mum
I’m getting really scared.
These are my final moments,
And I’m so unprepared.

I wish that you could hold me Mum,
As I lie here and die.
I wish that I could say, ‘I love you, Mum!’
So I love you and good-bye.

DRINK DRIVING KILLS

Caroline

Need I say more ????

Humility

Taariq bin Shihab reports that when Umar (RA) was traveling to Shaam, Abu Ubaydah bin Jarraah (RA) was accompanying him. When they arrived at a point where they had to wade across, Umar (RA) alighted from his camel, removed his leather socks and threw them over his shoulders. He then took hold of the reins of the camel and waded through. “O Ameerul Mu’mineen!” Abu Ubaydah (RA) said, “Are you doing… that?! Do you also remove your leather socks, throw them over your shoulders, take hold of the reins of the camel and then wade through?! I would not like the people of that city (where we are headed) to see you like this.” “O, Abu Ubaydah! Had anyone other than you made such a statement, I would have made him a lesson for the Ummah of Muhammad (SAW). We were once amongst the lowest of people, but Allah gave us honour because of Islam. As soon as we start to seek honour in avenues other than that in which Allah has granted us honour, Allah will then humiliate us.” [Mustadarak al-Hakim (1/130) No. 207]

 

A brilliant lesson for all of us here. I notice around me, people with little knowledge who are riding very high in the skies of pride
I notice around me, people who have forsaken their lord for worldly comfort and praise, riding very high in the skies of ignorance
I notice around me, people who have little to nothing to loose, still not of humility and I wonder which sky are they waiting for ??
Why has man grown so tall that he only aims for the skies ??
Why does man not bow his head in humility and realize his gratitude towards his CREATOR ??
And then when he is confronted with the tsunamis and scale 8 earthquakes ~ does he not realize that he is but only smaller than the minutest ants crawling before the mercy of his CREATOR ??
No even then, he feels he escaped becoz he was intelligent, he was fast, he was lucky !
Little does he realize, he was spared to teach him a lesson !
Alas ~ but what good ??
Humility is fast leaving from the roots of this world……..
Have you forgotten that you, like your great grandfather Adam (alai salam) came from what ??

Abaya without Hijaab ? ? ? ?

Eid Mubarak to all my brothers and sisters who visit my site so often and delight me with their presence.

I hope everyone likes the new theme for the site ! Although, I love the birds but dont exactly like the idea of them mingling with a heart inbetween but that was a part of the theme so I had little to no choice in that.

Eid in Dubai is always a grand and lavish affair ~ with all the malls hosting lots of color and decorations for their guests. Dubai is exceptionally busy with the GCC crowd ushering in, in this season.

Watching little girls flaunting their beautiful new dresses with gold and silver ruffles and streamers. Young boys with their Ben10 gadgets and chic looking clothes feeling all-so-speacial are all part of the Eid charm. Cinema halls seem endlessly booked out  !!  People crowding in long queues for taxis and young boys in their starched clothes at all the coffee cafes ~ just some of the many scenes in the malls.

However one of the more unusual but saddening scene was also this :

It is not the first time that I witnessed this confused generation and thankfully, its not a common site, however this particular time, I really felt compelled to write about these sisters who seemed oblivious of the world around them. I would not like to highlight which region these sisters were from ~ “THAT” is rather irrelevant to me, atleast ~ but perhaps that is exactly the statement they seemed to be making.

What was hard to digest was :

  • what was the purpose behind wearing an abaya without a hijaab ?

  • Wearing so much gold cladded bling on the shoulders ?

  • Having their chest open ~ revealing exactly what needed to be veiled !!!

  • They have already failed the real reason behind wearing the hijaab and the abaya. So why bother continuing ??

One wonders what and where do such women fit in ? Modern women ? Muslim women ? Religious women ? Show-off Arab women ?

Honestly , “THAT” did not so concern  me as well, becoz I think, they are virtually fooling themselves into believing that they are following Islamic values. My best guess is that they are trying to be identified as “belonging to a certain region”.

And again, they are attempting to fool people around them, that they are Muslim Arab women. When in fact they are barely clinging onto to either identities !!  Hence I called them the confused lot.

I still simply fail to understand, the purpose behind wearing the Abaya in the first place !! There cant be a customized version of the abaya or hijaab if your not covering the body and head.

Frankly, I pity them and I pity the generation they will be misleading … … … Two generations down the line, I dread the outcome … …  Till then May Allah give them hidayah ~ Ameen.

ps. this amazing digital drawing is courtesy Ms.Ayesha of Mnawrah. You can find her gorgeous works of art on Flickr as well as DeviantArt under the name of Mnawrah.

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

The Quiz

Take the following quiz.

You don’t need a pen, pencil, or paper.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for Best Actor and Actress.
6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series Winners.

How did you do?

THE LESSON

NONE of us remembers the headliners of yesterday.

There are no second-rate achievers on the above quiz.
They are the best in their fields.

But the applause dies.
Awards tarnish.
Achievements are forgotten.
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Now here’s another quiz.

See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6. Name a half dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.

Wasn’t that a lot easier?

The lesson?

The people who make a difference in your life aren’t the ones with the most
credentials, the most money, or the most awards.

They’re the ones who care enough to spend personal time and effort for you.

They are special and let them know that today 🙂

Women in Islam.

“When she is a DAUGHTER, she opens a door of jannah for her father
When she is a WIFE, she completes half of the Deen of her husband
When she is a MOTHER, Jannah lies under her feet”

‘If everyone knew the true status of a Muslim women in Islam, even the men would want to be women” (Shaykh Akram Nadawi)

How blessed are we women in Islam that Allah swt has placed us at such a high pedestal where we bless our fathers, our husbands and our children with the rewards of Jannah just by being dutiful and chaste. Yet, how sadly misunderstood is the concept of women in Islam for the rest of the ignorant ~ media hungry world.  The western media has depicted us in such an awfully oppressed light. If only they would stop being so biased and understand that every pearl is valued so long as it is treasured in its shell/oyster.  Hence the sad state of those cultured pearls that go from hand to hand and still are unable to make its possessor feel special.

May Allah swt give us all the hidayat that we may do complete justice to the role we are in, be it that of a mother, sister, daughter or wife and even more importantly that we bring up our daughters in the beautiful light of Islam and how a muslimah conducts herself. Ameen.

 

A fun July weekend.

July is always a month of celebration in our household. Not only is it celebration coz school’s out, but coz we have 3 huge occasions. Sam and I took our vows on 5th. I was born on 16th, and sawaab, our middle man, arrived in this world on 29th !! Now how special does it get than that ! 

We dont celebrate birthdays etc so last weekend, we took the boys out for movies at Mall Of the Emirates. Yep, its the Transformers part3. I’m not exactly a great fan of 3D, but it was shocking to see that the place was swarming with people. All seats were being sold like hot cakes. So we just had the 3D ones available. Its been ages since we saw a movie and eversince the boys, we’ve only seen the Toy story or Terminator kinda ones !! May be one of these days, we’ll just sneak into one of the Indian movies leaving the boys with their bazookas and car stunts in their theater ! May be, who knows ! Not that, that they’d miss us anyways 🙂

Ok, so back to Transformers. The movie was good. There’s a term we use in slang hindi for a movie as such “paisa wasool” which means, the movie was worth every penny. Ofcourse I love GM cars and the corvettes and cadillacs were simply amazing. The stunts and graphics were mind blowing. Watching in 3D also kinda made it more “REAL”.  We had a blast with the movie and annoyingly I was the one, super excietedly saying awesome or wow or whatever when the stunts took place, while Bilal was simply glued to the movie with ONE expression ~   Talk about being childish 🙂

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Oh yeah, the boys had been craving for some Dubai ski fun, and its really been a long long time since their last visit so we decided to drop them over there too. Now for all those of you who may be interested. There’s a superpass available at Dubai Ski for dhs 200, which gives the child 4 of the major attractions in addition to the snow park. I think, it was totally worth it. The boys could not have enough fun.

They were too tired to go else where for a meal so we settled for chinese in the food court on the first floor. Wow, I was totally exhausted by the time we were home. But amazingly the boys just got so fresh once we were back home, Jumping into their study (I call it gizmo cav, these days) rushing to switch on their computers and PS2 and back to tapping keys and rocking joysticks and whatever till the wee hours of the night ! What I would’nt give to have that kinda energy !

I’m so glad that the summer is going smooth with their swimming and their guy friends visiting us frequently. Every year, I get stressed before the summer holidays worrying what i have to plan for the boys, to keep them occupied. This is the very first year, when they have taken charge of what they’d like to do and I think, they are enjoying it and I think, thats all that counts.

See ya folks ! Hope you all are enjoying you summers too.

Flea Markets in Dubai

Actually, its rather the lack of flea Markets in Dubai !!
 
I know, some of you may have totally different opinions about friends and making “real” friends in the blogosphere, but I have been fortunate enough to have bumped into some very thoughtful and creative friends thru the blog world. Its always a joy when you “meet” someone who is practical, creative, has the same hobby as yourself, and is a mom ! One such friend and I, have been enjoying exchanging a bunch of links.  What links ? you ask ? 
 
Well, one of the most fullfilling feeling I get, is when I see an old piece of furniture get a new lease of life with a fresh coat of paint or a new fabric to cover up old spoils. Things like how you can reuse, recycle or refurbish a room are abosolute joys to me. I used to virtually spend hours dug in, links into links into links ~ lost in a beautiful world where common people like myself are making a difference, one object at a time. One such fantastic site is :http://betterafter.blogspot.com/ Amazing transformations here.
      
(This transformation is an absolute joy from “three boys“. Kindly follow the link to view the other amazing projects too. )
                                            
And another one of those “viewing” passions, is the Flea Markets in America.  Its amazing to visit just a few of them on the web and feel so enchanted by the vast variety of different period furniture, clothes, suitcases, antiques and what not.  It is a such an eye candy just visiting those booths with a cocktail of items from jewellry to boots to a swing !
                                             
In Dubai however, things are different. Being a melting pot of cultures, nationalities, languages and traditions, people of different mentalities feel certain inhibitions towards using second hand stuff. There is a large population of labourers and maids from India, Pakistan, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Philipines, indonesia, Ethopia and a few other countries too.  Then there are the clerical workers, mostly Asians again but not very handsomely paid for their 6 days a week, 10 hour a day job ! If anything, such sales would benefit them the most.
 
One of the most generous groups of people in Dubai are the super affluent locals (Emarati’s), who would generally handover their clothes and accessories to their drivers and maids, while the furniture is traditionally changed every year and the old ones are simply “dumped”. Thats right, you read it right, dumped by the dumpster !  They would generally consider it below their dignity to sell it in the second hand market. 
 
There is a large second hand market in Dubai which caters to mainly furniture goods. Some of the shops in Karama are the favorite haunts for new lower income asians to pick their furniture from. One of the things I love about Dubai ~ theres a place for everyone to find what they’re looking for, be it food, accomodation, grocery or clothes.
 
Ofcourse the advent of “Foreigners” ~ aka Americans, Europeans, Australians, and New Zealanders did bring about the concept of garage sale or yard sales in Dubai. What with ads for garage sales in the Jumeirah and Mirdiff areas in the 1990s and ofcourse with the boom of the property era, areas like the Greens, Marina, Lakes, Arabian Ranches, falcon city ~ have all followed the traditional annual spring cleaning followed by garage sales. These sales are generally community based run by word of mouth or a flyer on the community market notice board or an advert in the local classified section of Gulf News.  They are so popular especially coz nearly everyone is benefiting from them.
 
Our Arabian Ranches Market Day is a huge hit, and you’d find everyone selling and buying toys, clothes, shoes, stuff, that kids have outgrown, or lost interest in, grown up, and sometimes, even unwanted “gifts” !!  People from all walks of life, are seen buzily buying and enjoying the family time together becoz the management sets the school ground as a family day park  for the residents, putting up food stalls and bouncing castles for the children.
                                                              
                                            
For a long period of time, The Feline Friends garage sale was hugely popular. You had people lining up from early hours of a friday morning in the sultry heat, hours before the gates opened at the factory outlet in Al Quoz where they would temporarily pile up heaps and heaps of clothes, toys, shoes, furniture, house decor and so much much more into a dozens of mini mountains. Word spread amongst the labour community and these became very popular. With designer trousers going for dhs 1 !!!!! why wouldnt it !
Now these sales are a rare event in some villa courtyard in Al Barsha, maybe once every couple of months but definetly nowhere close to the amount of stuff and crowd as it used to attract before.
 
                                        
I have been an ardent visitor to the FF Garage sales. It gives me tremendous satisfaction knowing that I have not blown away 3 workers salary on a single branded handbag or an entire years salary of one labour on a pair of branded sandals !! Its truly a joy, knowing your putting in your bit by trying to recylcle and reuse. For whatever reason, those sales are not held anymore, unfortunetly.
 
Generally folks living in villa’s, leaving the country for good, would initially give away most of the things to their maids and helpers and sometimes put up a “Leaving Country” sale. If your lucky, you could hit jackpot. Years back, I remember, I heard of one such sale from a friend of a friend of one Mary who was then running the scrapbookers network in Dubai and when she was leaving her house she put up a sale,  although I was late in attending it, I remember, feeling like I was in a crafters paradise !!!!  
For someone who was looking for clothes, purses and cooking utensils, her crafters scrapbooks or rubberstamps would’ve meant zilch, but to someone who saves for every copic marker, it was BIG !!
 
You’d be amazed at what is seen lying in the bylanes of Umm Sequeim or Jumeirah or Nad Al Sheeba !! To the westerner who cannot even come close to imagining, to what extent the Rich are Rich here, a close up of their garbage bins, is a good place to begin from 🙂
                                         
I remember, in the 2008 economic melt down, we remember, seeing a group of maids rumaging thru a heap of garbage bags in one of the communities of Ranches. On a closer look, I saw one of the maids toss a handbag behind which I recognized was a PRADA. No not the fake ones. Having been gifted the original thing, I knew how to differentiate them.  There were 11 such designer bags in that garbage bag !!!!!!!!   There were several such garbage bags scattered everywhere…  Naturally, they belonged to some filthy rich but unfortunate lady,  who had to leave the country in haste lest she get stuck in the jail for defaulting on her bank loan payments, decided Prada was not worth her freedom !
I was super happy some time back, when they started a flea market, in Safa Park, jumeirah. In the summers, they kept it in the adjacent school auditorium and it was attracting a crowd and people were leaving happy with their shoppings and vendors were not too unhappy too with their sales. It is a good platform. Unfortunetly, I feel they have not really marketted themselves well and I feel, alot of vendors are now bringing stuff from India etc trying to sell it there. Not alot of people are aware of them in the different areas of Dubai. Look them up here at : Dubai Flea Market. Dubai Flea Market
 
I know, there is one store in a small mall in Satwa, where ladies (the super rich class )  who if they wish to give away their “Original & Only Designer ” handbags, scarves, accessories etc can put them up there and they sell them for a relatively good price instead of dumping them in the bin. Imagine a Versace or a Channel, visiting something close to the dump !! Criminal, isnt it ????
 
In my experience, I have found, one good option in selling and buying second hand goods in Dubai is Dubizzle. Thats an online market, where, you just register without having to pay any fees. I have sold my ikea egg chair and a fax machine thru dubizzle and was amazed by the spontaneous response, I got. I never thought it was so popular but I suppose, online shopping has finally caught up in Dubai.
                                        10.1 Flea market,Athens
 
Ofcourse for those of you, who are interested in a good reading, dont forget to join the second hand books fair, that feline friends hold with the Arte Market at Times Square. Imagine a good book, and the proceeds goes in the upkeep and the feline neutering programe.
 
I still feel, there is a huge market here for selling used goods, not necessarily for workers but there are so many many, low income families who would benefit too. Having a proper flea market could and would answer alot of problems. Its a way, in which your trash is going to benefit someone. A hole in a sweater may mean a good bye from you, but for someone who decides that a 20 dhs sweater may be too steep a price,  would be overjoyed to have yours for free or even if it is for dhs 1 or 2 !! Please remember, what you give, (eventually after completing the whole circle) , returns to you.  
 
If you have enjoyed this article or benefitted from it, kindly leave a comment. I would appreciate it alot.
 
Naush
 
Photograpsh: courtesy Google Images.

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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Child Marriage !!

 

Observe the expression on the girl's face sitting on the right ! Priceless :)

A six-year-old boy told his father he wanted to marry the little girl across the street.  

The father, being modern and well-schooled in  handling children, hid his smile behind his hand.    
   ‘That’s a serious step,’ he said.      

‘Have you thought it out completely?’  

‘Yes,’ his young son answered.  

‘We can spend one week in my room and the next in hers.  It’s right across the street, so I can run home if I get scared of the dark.’                

‘How about transportation?’ the father asked.
 ‘I have my wagon, and we both have our tricycles,’   the little boy answered.

                
The boy had an answer to every question the father raised.                

       Finally, in exasperation, his dad asked, ‘What about babies?  When you’re married,  you’re liable to have babies, you know.’

‘We’ve thought about that, too,’  
the little boy replied.  
             
         ‘We’re not going to have babies.                
Every time she lays an egg,

I’m going to step on it!
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxoxoxoxo
 
        NOW THAT’S BIRTH CONTROL-!        

Playing Santa in January.

Today was Samie’s last vacation day and lo ! feeling so sad that he wont be enjoying the relaxation with us from tomorrow. This vacation although was the first where we were in Dubai but it was so much fun and calming. There were no obligations, no stress, no forced shopping, and definetly no early mornings !! It was truck loads of fun.

Sam arrived rather late after picking up Eman from school and before I knew it, there were heaps of presents he bought for all of us. Okay so let me start with me, he got me this marinade tray with board, a full set of knife set AND, AND AND ………. He also bought this really handy tool box. You see sam generally offers his salat in my studio and wonders how I manage to create anything in the middle of all the  clutter and chaos in my studio. This nice man wanted to make it easy and get my space alittle organized so voila, what a lovely and thought ful gift.

Oh yeah, and the kids got something too, they love washing Sam and my car, but by the end of it, there are gallons upon gallons spend on the shower so he got them the pressure kit for washing the cars to make the chore fun and more economical for us.

Oh and how could he forget “the other” kids. Pepper has claimed the new catnip and cat scratch tray as his own. He has strongly placed it as not limit zone for poor Keiki. 

There isnt a day that passes by when I dont thank my Allah for blessing me with the most compassionate and thoughtful man. I wanted to share the pictures with you’ll.

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On the other hand, have you wondered why husbands come up with the most practical and productive gifts for their wives and where does all the romance disappear with chocolates and flowers ???

If I were one of em thankless women, I would be thinking there are vibes I am getting from these gifts like

” Lady. We need to eat more bbq meals ! 

” Get your chaos Organized. Woman !!

” Wash the car more often boys” !!

Last but the most important : Get those paws  outta my couch and into your own turf !!

 USE that scratching pad !!!!! 

But thats just the humor in me .. have to have the last laugh now 🙂

A medical tip for mothers.

Last 10 days, the boys and I have been absolutely sick to our throats, no literally ! It started with Sawaab and ended with me. Today Dr L, gave me a second course of antibiotics.  I have been wheezing and it hurts like hell when I have this huge spasms of cough which feels like all my chest is pulling and hurting. So back to the nebulizer. Just finished with Augmentine 1gm and now I have started with Klassic. Its really a bad time. As if, the knee and my back ache were not enough !

Please make a small prayer that Allah heals me soon.

Talking of sickness, I wanted to know from the rest of you’ll, which do you think is the most important medical investment do, you think, you made for your kids ? … I mean, I’m not talking about medicines or medical insurance. Maybe something like a thermometer, or a blood pressure machine or a kidney tray or something else.

I think, almost 7 years back, I made the best medical investment I could have thought of at that time. Sawaab is not asthmatic, but he would get these bouts of cold accompanied by wheezing. At one stage, the doctor suggested that if we could, we should buy a nebulizer which would help him with wheezing. With those of you who are wondering “whats wheezing and whats a nebulizer ?

Well, generally phlem which clogs the throat over a period of time, might in some situations land up in the upper respirator tract, and cause breathing difficulty. There is a particular sound almost like a slow whistle which can be heard while the child or adult breaths. It can be accompanied by pain in the chest. Next question: Generally in the olden days, the doctors would have to give a patient oral medicines which when swolled, breaks up in the stomach and then reaches different parts of the body. A bronco syrup would help in dissolving the phelm in the throat. However a nebulizer is an excellent machine used for breathing with a mask. In most cases, Ventolin, is added to the machine and breathed in. The results are instant and phenomenal. However, one should be a little experienced in handling this machine. Why ?

1: becoz we are inhaling directly what ever is in the container of the machine, we have  to be careful with the hygeine issues.

2: the medicine in the machine is going straight to the lung and heart in which case, we have to be careful with the quantity of medicine given, coz it can cause palpitation, in very few cases.

The nebulizer is given “ONLY” when recommended by the doctor. However as a mother, you learn to watch and understand the symptoms of your child over a period of time, and sometimes, When I am confident that it should be given rather than waiting over the weekend, before going to my pediatrician, I would just go ahead and do it.

Hope this little article helps some of you moms out there.

Arabian Ranches Market Day and Being MOM.

I think one of the best things about being Mom is the love that I am constantly surrounded with. Theres a never ending supply of hugs and affection from every quarter in my home. I feel so blessed that I have sons who are always so happy to please me. If a woman wants to feel like a queen, she just has to have sons like I do. I know I havent been the best of Moms. I, like most mums, have a truck load of shortcomings, and probably becoz my boys have not seen any better, they feel, I am the Best !

I know I am hard on them.

I know I push them with their studies.

I know I dont put as much time with them as I would want to, in playing games or in any creative activity.

 I know the supper is not always on time, and sometimes, Manu, is only too happy to have his banana and chocolate milk to sleep off ..

I know I have little control on the scale of my vocal cords.

I know I am mean sometimes, I know I am weak sometimes, I know I havent tried enough sometimes, and I know I have tried too hard sometimes but being Mom, so many things get accepted by these young boys who know no better that I am merely a mother trying to fix too many problems, multitasking all the time and frustrated most of the time..

Last friday, we participated in the first fair since samie’s surgery, 6 months back. The amount of hardwork and teamwork I got from my below 10 year olds would put any management team to shame.  Piling up the materials, walking past the field with heavy boxes in arm, helping mom lay out the display stalls, hear her mouthfull of panicky screams and shouts, and then actually manage a table all by themselves…. where do you get such children mashallah !!

They are truly amazing. Allah swt must really love me for such a super fantastic gift.

I have posted this slide just to give you a glimpse of what effort went into making that fair such a roaring sucess for me. You’ll find Sawaab and Manu actually selling things and I was most surprised when one customer queried why the hand made card was alittle higher and Bilal, said quite naturally, ” coz my mother puts in alot of her time and creativity to make sure no two cards are the same.”  Shucks ~!~ I WAS BLOWN !!!  The boys were oozing of enthusiasm and confidence. They have coz they have been participating with me for the past 3-4 years and have been watching me since …

Please enjoy watching my family making the most of the Arabian Ranches Market day !

http://naush.slide.com/

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