Posts Tagged ‘muslim’

A parent’s guide to Hajj without children

 

Salaam!

First of all congratulations!!! May Allah SWT accept your Hajj and make you spiritually productive every moment you are there. Ameen.

In case you haven’t checked out my other posts on Hajj please check out the links here:



 

Hajj Without Children

If you’re nervous or even on the brink of panic attacks when you think of how you’re going to leave your child. Just relax, it’s perfectly normal. You’re going to be okay. Your child will be okay. Millions of parents perform Hajj without children and they don’t ever regret going. This is going to be an amazing experience Insha’Allah. Hopefully this post will help your time away from your child a little easier.

Our Story

Though going for Hajj was a dream come true, my husband and I tried to book the 1 week express Hajj package. Like most parents going for Hajj, we wanted to leave our only child (four years old then) for the least amount of time possible. To our disappointment, the  ‘One week Express’ package was sold out (fun fact: it costs the same as the 3-week package!). Our Hajj agent strongly recommended going for at least three weeks if one  hasn’t gone for Hajj/Umrah before. At the time we didn’t believe him. But he was so right. Three weeks didn’t feel like enough time.

Practice

Alhamdulillah we had tons of family to look after him, yet we were still super apprehensive about leaving him for 3 weeks. Since I’m a stay at home mom, he was used to always having a parent around and had never been away from me for longer than twelve hours . So first off, we practiced by having sleepovers at his cousins and grandparents homes. This could backfire if your child has a horrible sleepover experience. He will obviously assume that while you’re away ,it will be just as bad. Try to make these trial runs as fun and trauma free as possible. Our son spent the weekdays at my parents’ home (it was closest to his  school) and the weekends at home with my husband’s parents.

Books about Hajj for children

Books about Hajj for children (Image from http://www.rhymeandstories.co.uk)

We tried to mentally prepare him for our trip by showing him pictures of Hajj and reading books. We explained how excited we were for this trip. We let him know that once he was older he would get to go too. It was hard for him to digest that we would be apart for almost and entire month but he eventually came around. We made him feel like he was allowing us to complete this super important pillar of Islam and he would be rewarded immensely.  Eventually, it was as if he allowed us to go because he wanted us to go to Jannah! When he felt like he made the decision, the separation was less traumatic. He was involved in our Hajj experience this way.

Happy and Distracted

We believed that as long as our son was happy and distracted he wouldn’t have time or reason to miss us.

Since night-time is the hardest, we planned activities to keep him so busy and tired that he would fall asleep from exhaustion. It took a lot of help from our family and friends to make this possible. I pray that Allah  SWT grants them the absolute best in this life and even better in the Hereafter. Ameen. I prayed for each and every single one of them whole heartedly and still do. I pray that they know how much we appreciate every moment of their help. Since he was in Junior Kindergarten, we didn’t have to worry about homework after school. Every weeknight there was an activity planned. Example:On Day 4  Mamu will take him to Playdium from 5pm-7pm. On Day 5 Chachu will take him swimming from 5pm-7pm.

Make sure you set up a calendar of events to remind them even after you’re gone. I hung printed copies of the schedule on both grandparents’ fridges and gave everyone involved a physical copy.

Chai Tip: set up electronic Calendar alerts so that you don’t have to worry about reminding anyone while you’re on the journey of a life time.

A Present A Day

Hajj without children

A present a day while parents are away at Hajj

Every kid likes presents!

I bought and wrapped twenty-one gifts for him so he could open one per day. I mainly shopped at Dollarama- hey,I’m not made of money! I distributed the gifts to both sets of grandparents for them to give him one every day.

He loved it! However he didn’t understand that the gifts were from me. When we got back from Hajj, he showed me all the gifts that so and so got him. Umm no honey. Mama bought them for you! Whatever. As long as they served their purpose which was to make him happy.

Chai tip: let your child see the wrapped gifts, it will get him excited and give him something to look forward to.

Your Child 101

In order to make the experience as smooth as possible for your child and his caregivers, make sure you leave instructions and tips in WRITING. We created a 6 page document ‘Beta101’*. We included all sorts of information we thought would be useful for his caregivers to know, especially strange things that are important to him or can set him off. Example: he likes to eat cereal with a really big spoon. Please don’t try to make him use one that’s more size appropriate.

Obviously leave all the important health and general care information such as allergies, bed time/morning routines but also information that you might think they already know. Include information about favourite foods, favourite shows, things he/she finds frightening etc.

Caregivers

May Allah SWT immensely reward whoever is looking after your child while you’re away. It’s not easy looking after a child that misses his/her parents. It’s easy to overlook the sacrifices and hardships they’re going through when all you can think of is how you’re going to leave your baby for a few weeks. Make it as easy on them by providing them with as much information –not instructions– as possible.

Examples of information to include:

  •  his likes/dislikes
  • discipline methods he responds to
  • favourite topic of conversation
  • comfort food
  • leave a list of your child’s neighbours or friends and their numbers so the caregivers can arrange for playdates.

If your child goes to school, let his/her teachers know that you will be leaving him/her for a few weeks and that they may have to deal with unusual behaviours. The fact that I cried while speaking to his Junior kindergarten teacher, probably set the stage for what she could expect from him!

Staying in Touch

My son's journal while we were away at Hajj

My son’s journal while we were away at Hajj

As much as you want to know every detail of how your child is without you, resist the urge to call him often. Call your child’s caregivers for updates. I found directly speaking to my son always led to a sob fest on both ends. If I had to do it again, I would barely call him.

We left  behind a journal and asked his caregivers to write in it as often as they could (preferably everyday) so we wouldn’t completely miss out on three weeks of his life. It was asking a lot from them as they already had their hands full but it made a world of a difference for us! Subhan Allah it was so helpful and precious to read about how he spent his time without us. Sometimes he would ask them to leave us little messages or he would draw in it. It’s definitely a keepsake item!

Saying goodbye

Don’t bring the kids to the airport. Just don’t. Say your goodbyes at home or at the caregivers home but not minutes before you board your flight at an airport where hundreds of people are sobbing , hugging, begging for forgiveness and saying goodbyes as if it may be forever. Yes, a truly intense and emotional atmosphere. The kids are better off playing at a friend’s house or at the park while you make your dramatic Hajji exit.

Remember they will feed off of your emotions, so take deep breaths, smile, casually say Salam and calmly make an exit while they’re having fun. Feel free to sob the whole way to the airport, but don’t let them see you cry.

Chai tip: I highly recommend mentally rehearsing how you’re going to say bye. What will you say? What activity will you quickly distract them in case they get upset? What’s your game plan in case you get all teary?

 

Trust Al-Muhaymin

Parents make dua for children while at Hajj

Make dua for your child everytime you miss them.
(Image from http://www.qariziyaadpatel.com)

Leaving our son taught me that we are not his sole care takers. We are tools or vessels from which his True Guardian cares for him. As much as we may pride ourselves on our parenting skills, it is Allah who is watching over our children, providing for them, protecting them. Whether we are with them or not, it will always be Allah truly taking care of them.

Start making dua from now that Allah SWT keeps you and your child calm during your Hajj trip. I was so worried about how my son would handle our separation that I forgot to make dua for myself. I think I cried more than he did. Alhamdulillah, through Allah’s infinite mercy he fared a lot better than we could have hoped! People will tell you that you won’t even think about your child until Hajj is over. That’s not exactly true. You will miss your baby and probably shed a few tears.Every time that happens you will make so much dua for him that he will Insha’Allah be enveloped in blessings!  During the actual days of Hajj, what they say is true; you will be too distracted to miss your child.

Ready.Set.Go!

You are strong. Allah is the ultimate Guardian, Protector and Provider. You get to go on this incredible journey that millions are longing for. Make the most of it!  Every time you will miss your child, you will make beautiful duas for him in the holiest of places. Every hardship associated with your Hajj experience will be rewarded. You’re leaving your child behind to complete a pillar of Islam. How can you not know that everything is going to be all right?

You got this!

Chai later,

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*names have been changed because of a certain paranoid and over protective father.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hajj like experience: 3 steps to a brand new you

arafat:( image from nadiamasood.com)

arafat:( image from nadiamasood.com)

2 million Muslims get to go for Hajj each year. Leaving one billion five hundred sixty-eight million Muslims behind wishing they could be a tiny speck in those breathtaking pictures. Especially on a day like today, the day of Arafah, many Muslims hearts ache a bit wishing they were lucky enough to be of those Allah SWT is proud of:

“There is no day on which Allah frees servants of His from Fire more than [those freed on] the Day of `Arafat. And, verily, He draws near and then proudly speaks about them [i.e. the pilgrims] before the angels, saying, ‘What do these seek?'” (Muslim)
Some of you may feel left out as you’ve never been invited, others may be longing to go back.
Either way I’ve got a surprise for you.
What if I shared an activity or experience with you that had a Hajj like transformation? (more…)

image modified from interestingthings.info

If you’re sad and you know it: 5 ways to get out of a bad mood NOW!

Salaamz

WARNING: I  overdosed on Pinterest Quotes for this post.

My love for Pinterest is no secret. On several occasions I’ve referred to Pinterest as my bestie and here’s why: no matter what I need, Pinterest has all the answers.

Sometimes I don’t even know what it is that I’m feeling or thinking but Pinterest does. I’ve had so many “OMG! Yes!” moments while browsing through the Pinterest feed.

Lately my Pinterest board “So true!” has been over flowing with  self-help, anti- anxiety and optimism quotes. It’s reflective of my life: I’ve been having a few bad days. Though I know my bad days are due to the fact that I am super disorganized since the school year started, I have sprayed those negative feelings over my entire life.

Bad Days

We all have them. At one point or another we perceive the bad parts of our life as out weighing the good parts and then succumb to the bad days.

One of the worst types of bad days are the unreasonable ones. The ones where you just KNOW you’re blowing things out of proportion or making things worse but you  can’t help it. Those days are the worst because you can’t get away from your perpetrator since you are the perpetrator. (more…)

My Hajj in Pictures

Salaamz,

I want to apologize to my non-Hajji readers. I don’t mean to alienate you with all these posts on Hajj. Insha’Allah your turn will come soon enough and you’ll turn here to find more information.

As for the Hajji’s, thank you for letting me be a part of your Hajj experience. You probably won’t understand now, but next year at this time you will have the strangest feeling. It’s a mix of sadness and joy laced with covetousness . You’ll be so excited for the Hajji’s and your eyes will light up whenever you’re given a chance to discuss your trip but you’ll be sad that others get to visit that which you love, while you can’t. By writing these posts, I feel like I’m vicariously re-living the Hajj experience through you guys.

May Allah SWT accept your Hajj. May He SWT, keep you healthy, happy and safe. May you return a better person. May the ‘Hajj -Effect’ never wear off. This is my last post in the Billion or so Hajj Tips & Tricks series.

I’m a visual learner, so seeing pictures really helps me understand . As I mentioned earlier, when a family friend was kind enough to share her Hajj Book with me, I instantly felt so much more prepared for Hajj. Seeing her pictures helped make those strange words make sense: “Meeqaat”, “Jamarah” , “Rami”. (more…)

Hajj Tips: Step by Step Hajj Guide

Salaamz!

Yes, yes, believe your eyes it is two posts in two days. As I mentioned in my last post I was not planning on writing a post on the spiritual or ‘religious’ aspect of Hajj because I didn’t want to teach anything wrong (or get into fiqh issues). Sadly, many people messaged me about having no direction  when it comes to what to actually do at Hajj. So, Bismillah, I am compiling information from reputable Shaikhs that follow the Qu’ran and authentic Sunnah. Here’s my step by step Hajj guide with a billion or so tips of course!

I’ve referred to Muhammad Al-Shareef’s Hajj Coach site several times – I found it very practical and useful. What I noticed is that many of the links no longer work! Actually today the site seems to be down. Insha’Allah it will be fixed ASAP.

Here’s Video 9 of the Hajj Coach series.

Allhumdullillah he has created a fantastic Hajj and Umrah guide. Print it out and glue the sheets together. Insha’Allah it will be all you need. (more…)

Hajj Tips: Shaikhs, Shopping and Shifaa

Salaamz dear readers!

Hajj is a few weeks away!! How are you guys feeling? How’s your preparations coming along?

Though my following post is full of practical Hajj tips, I wanted to prepare you for something that I never read about during my research and wasn’t expecting. I’m going to assume we are kinda similar (there must be a reason you are reading my blog after all 🙂 ). Here goes:

Masjid al Nabawi

Masjid al Nabawi

Our Hajj trip was three weeks long, the first week was in Madinah, the second week was Hajj and the final week we spent in Mecca. From the moment I saw the aerial view of Madinah from the airplane (make sure you sit on the left side of the plane if you’re flying directly to Madinah; trust  me its breathtaking!), I started crying. I would seriously walk around the streets of Madinah crying .The current Masjid Al-Nabawi is the size of the city of Madinah during the Prophet PBUH’s time! I would wonder if the Prophet PBUH ever stood where I was standing, did he PBUH see the same mountains I was looking at? I was just in awe of everything, being in the city of the Prophet PBUH, the history and significance that existed everywhere. (more…)

My BIGGEST Eid Mistake that you’re probably making too!

Last December my son (6 years old then) asked me “Mama, can you ask Allah if it’s OK if we can celebrate Christmas this year- just once?”

That broke my heart.

I felt like I failed as a Muslim parent living in the West. Here I thought I was this hip and happening Mama- as if better than my own parents at ‘knowing what it’s like growing up here’. Despite implementing the Eid crafts and fun ideas I had Pinned-I was unsuccessful at making him appreciate our own festivals and holidays. I’m not worried that one day he will buy himself a tree and sing carols ;I’m worried that this might be the beginning of an inferiority complex.  Unfortunately it’s not as simple as teaching your child not to want what other kids have- it’s about resisting the Anglo Saxon conformity subtly imposed on every religious minority.

Islamic school

Islamic school

One of the many reasons we send him to Islamic school is for him to develop a strong Islamic identity and to escape the ‘transmuting pot’ of public schools.Unlike the Eurocentric education I received I want him to know that Muslims are awesome and full of rich history .I want him to know that the world is a better place because of Muslims.That they changed the world through their revolutionary inventions ,ideas and laws. I want him to be proud of the fact that Muslims invented Algebra, coffee, vaccines, the windmill, Universities and the first pin-hole camera to name just a few. Though he won’t live in the Islamic school bubble forever, I wanted to shelter him from  discrimination as well as the constant pressure to conform to the Anglo Saxon values. I’m all up for hockey and maplesyrup but not religion, how about you have yours and I have mine?

Yet, here we are discussing why my child wants to celebrate Christmas. (more…)

Last 10 Nights of Ramadan Game plan

Salaamz dear readers,

I am super excited about today’s post because it will change the rest of your life Insha’Allah! The last 10 nights of Ramadan are coming upon us in just a few days. Subhan’Allah this month just flew by didn’t it?

Hopefully you read my post on setting goals and have been stepping up your worship during the best month of the year.

Now the feature presentation is coming: Laylatul Qadr!

Laylatul Qadr: The Night of Power. The Night of Decree. The Night that is equal to 1000 months. The Night of Destiny.

Last 10 nights of Ramadan game plan

Last 10 nights of Ramadan game plan

During the last 10 nights of the month of Ramadan, on an odd night, is a night that is better than a thousand months. That means,that one night is equivalent to approximately 83.3 years! Whatever good deeds you do during that night, it will be written as if you did those deeds for 83 years! If you were blessed with witnessing and experiencing 10 Ramadans – that means you could easily rack up good deeds equal to 833 years!

Though many people swear that the 27th night is Laylatul Qadr- we don’t know for sure and therefore should worship on all last ten nights or at least the odd nights so as not to risk missing this night. (more…)

Ultimate guide to setting Ramadan Goals

The Ultimate Guide to Setting Ramadan Goals

Salaamz!

How was your first week of Ramadan? Are you on track with your goals?

Do you have any goals?

Hopefully your goals this  blessed month are spiritual and related to ibadah.

Why Goals?

Some of you may be thinking that functioning while fasting during the long summer days should be a goal enough!

What’s the big deal about Ramadan?

As we mature in our worship and understanding of deen, Ramadan becomes less about managing hunger and more about understanding it for the actual gift that it is.

  1. Forgive all of your sins

Every year Allah The Most Merciful, The Most Loving, The Most Wise gives us the chance to have ALL(except major ) of our sins forgiven from the previous year!

Abu Huraira narrated that Allah’s Messenger said : “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Bukhari]

  1. Intercede for you on the Day of Judgement.

On the Day of Judgement all of humanity from the beginning of time is gathered to receive the final verdict: who will suffer forever in Hell and who will bask forever in the luxuries of paradise. While our long list of deeds (we won’t remember most of them) are listed out- we will have intercessors!

`Abdullah ibn `Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said: “The fast and the Qur’an are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: ‘O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.’ The Qur’an will say: ‘I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.’ And their intercession will be accepted.” [Ahmad]

  1. 720 hours of having your duas answered!

Ramadan is approximately 720 hours long- every moment is an opportunity for your duas to be answered! Do you even have 720 items on your dua list?

`Abdullah Ibn `Amr Ibn al-`Aas also reported that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said: “Indeed there is for the fasting person, when he breaks his fast, a supplication which is not rejected”. [Ibn Majah, al-Hakim and others; Sahih]

Jabir, radhiya Allahu `anhu relates that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said :” In every day and every night, during the month of Ramadan, there are people to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted”. [al-Bazzaar, Ahmad and Ibn Majah; Sahih]

So yeah..sign me up! (more…)

Ramadan Zombie Guest post and bio

Salaamz dear readers!

How’s your Ramadan going?

I hope you’re healthy, spiritually productive and racking up tons of good deeds Insha’Allah.

Allhumdullillah I had the opportunity to write my second guest post! I wrote a piece on Ramadan for the South Asian Bloggers Network. Can I tell you how difficult it was to write for a non-Muslim audience?? I had to delete ‘Insha’Allah’ and ‘Masha’Allah so many times!

The article is called Ramadan Zombie vs Peppy Muslim. I really enjoyed writing it and am Allhumdullillah happy with how it turned out.

They asked me to write a short bio about myself- this was  more challenging than expected. I’m a girl of many words- I talk a mile a minute and often about various topics simultaneously. Asking me to write a ‘short’ bio- especially about myself- is like asking me to choose only one purse at a 90% off Michael Kors sale!

Anyhow, I did what I always do when learning something new- I Googled it. I hurriedly typed in ‘how to write a stellar bio for a guest post’-apparently I’m not the only one worried about this topic. The huge search results only confused me further;’ the bio should be unique, express your personality, highlight your achievements without sounding like you’re bragging, prompt readers to connect with you etc’. I ended up coming up with something which I thought was lighthearted, witty, expressive of my personality and informative.

Hours after submitting it, I went back to re-read it and found it really annoying! I felt like I came across as obnoxious and silly.

I contemplated e-mailing Raj from SABN to ignore the bio I sent and accept a new one, but I decided against it at the risk of appearing unprofessional and because I couldn’t come up with anything much better. Maybe the bio was accurate after all- I faintly recall the adjectives obnoxious and silly coming up sometime or the other in my lifetime..lol. Or maybe I was just plain ‘Hangry’.

Hangry

One of the signs that I’m ‘hangry’ is when I get on my own nerves!

Have you had ever experienced that? The moment when your own voice, and thoughts and behavior irritate you?

But you can’t get away from yourself?

Then you feel bad for being annoyed with yourself and then you worry if you have deep rooted psychological issues wherein you secretly hate yourself? Then you eat a cookie and the world makes sense again?

It can’t just be me!

Here’s an excerpt from the article;

 

“Though The Walking Dead and World War Z popularized Zombie’s, they existed long before Hollywood made it hip. Muslims are the hipsters of zombies. Every Ramadan many of the 1.4 billion Muslims become Zombies- cranky and lifeless as they trudge around moaning and groaning during daylight hours until it’s time to eat.

To be fair, there’s actually a dichotomy of Ramadan-ers: Ramadan Zombie and the Peppy Muslim. As the Ramadan Zombie is becoming more mainstream, its lesser known counterpart has faded into the background over the course of 1400 years. The Peppy Muslims is perky, alert and full of energy; a stark contrast to the lethargic, slow and cranky Zombie.

Be it the rise of processed foods or the growing ignorance over the true essence of Ramadan –more and more Muslims are becoming Ramadan Zombies. Though they both may be experiencing hunger, one is clearly faring better than the other.

What’s the Peppy Muslim’s secret?

What gives them that bounce in their step, the bright-eyed bushy-tailed attitude as they fast from food and drink for over 17 hours* this summer?”

 

READ MORE

I hope you enjoy it! Don’t forget to leave a comment on the SABN Facebook page or their blog itself. Oh and honest feedback on the bio please!

Chai later,

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