Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gems Swapping

I participated in a swap on Sketched Soul's blog that she offered. I was paired with a woman who likes to knit, so I sent her wool and patterns for baby items as she is pregnant and also sent her an Islamic tape. We were only allowed to spend up to $10 and we could make a gift or send something that could be made into something. I didn't take a picture of what I sent though but I hope my partner did or will. She sent me material to make a shalwar kameez. I can't really sew though so I will have to get someone else to do it for me. Alternatively I could use the material to make a baju kurung if there is enough. Dh can take care of that insha Allah when he goes home.

New Etsy Islamic Finds

Every now and again I like to check Etsy to see if they have any new islamic items. I get email from Etsy everyday but they never seem to send anything islamic except one time they sent daughter's item; the hajj journey board game. So I have to go digging myself. Check these out! Arabic Alphabet Button Fridge Magnets.
Sari style hijab. 
Purple flower head band. (its sold though!) One Piece prayer outfit.

Have you ever bought anything from Etsy? So far I've only bought from my daughter. But I do have a wish list :)

Spring Book of the Month Club picks - a reminder

So for this month it was Jihad of the Soul. For April it will be From Behind the Veil and for May, Islam and the Discovery of Freedom.

Summer Book of the Month picks

For June we already have Of Hockey and Hijab.

For July I am choosing  Just Five Minutes Nine Years in the Prisons of Syria. This book was given to me from a  mosque librarian.

And finally for August which will be Ramadan, I'm going to go with a reader's choice, Marvels of the Heart.

Jihad of the Soul - Review

I finished this book yesterday. Its based on a research paper Zarinah El-Amin Naeem did while doing her Masters. This is a book about Muslim youth (under the age of 40) who are searching for their spouses and the struggles they face in doing so. Although I was aware of many things she wrote about, the thing that stood out for me was how much trouble people were having across the board in finding a spouse. I thought that it would be mostly converts and their families like my situation since we have no networks like the immigrant muslims do (ie Pakistani). For converts there is no way we would ever marry our cousin who of course wouldn't even be muslim to begin with or have our kids do something like that and there is no one in our family to turn to since they are all non-muslim so no chance to find a "hook-up Aunty". But she shows in this book how everyone is finding it hard for many reasons including the separation of men and women in the mosque. I wonder why though she never mentions that kids growing up in the mosque weren't always separated from each other and not at school either so they could have gotten to know each other then but maybe they would have been too immature. I don't know. I didn't grow up muslim. The thing about it that stands out to me is that she says muslims are not talking to Muhammad at the mosque because of the separation but John at school. Same thing for the men. She also mentions solutions ie there needs to be more interaction between the genders for the purpose of finding a spouse like more matrimonial events put on by ISNA etc and social events at the mosque.  There is a lot more to be learned in this book and a lot of discussion points. Here are some of my questions.  What are the ways your mosque or community facilitates introductions? Was it a struggle for you to meet your spouse? How do you feel the community, mosque, organizations, family etc can change to help make things easier?

I would suggest that anyone with teens or older read this book to get an idea of what they are facing in our society and in our own communities.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Very Own Commercial

Finally someone made a commercial just for me (jk). Enjoy!!!! .Old woman in a shoe.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Perfect Jumaah

On March break Jumaah I decided to take the kids to the mosque in the next city. After the prayers I picked up some pizza and then brought them to the park they love near the lake that we went to last year. First we had our picnic and then we played. Dd5 loved playing with her new ball. The weather wasn't as good as last year and I missed dd2 being there as she is off at university but it was still a great day and no one wanted to leave.

Final Cake - Flowers and Cake Design

Thursday night was my final cake decorating class for my final course. I now have all 3 certificates! Alhumdullilah. What can I say about this course. Well I didn't like the icing since it was a different recipe from the one I learned in the first course which was actually not the real Wilton recipe but I liked it better because it had butter in it and not just vegetable shortening so it was easier to work with and it tastes better too. I didn't have good luck with making the royal icing kept coming out too stiff. I followed the recipe exactly and the only mistake I made was using regular spoons instead of measuring spoons. Like the last course you need a lot of time to practice your flowers which I don't have much of. I found most of the flowers hard to make as well. The wilton rose was not too bad because I did it in the first beginners course but now they have changed the curriculum and only do a ribbon rose for that course. The part that I really loved was learning how to do the basketweave design. I decided to be different and make my cake into a hat shape. So basically its supposed to be a straw hat with flowers. Perfect for spring right? The pink band and leaves are made from fondant.

Curry Puff Daddy Strikes again!

This year for Multicultural Awareness night at my son's school dh made curry puffs again. My daughter who usually has the booth is now in University so she missed out this year. My son is in grade 9 so it now falls to him to keep the tradition going. I wasn't able to make it this year either as I had my last day of cake decorating class. Jemput-jemput (banana puffs) and fried rice were also available this year. I didn't have time to make pandan cake sadly. The other Malaysian booth that was there last year didn't show up this time. Ds3 had to babysit so he wasn't too happy about missing the night either. Insha Allah next year things will go at little differently.

Top Ten Tips of a Productive Muslim

Do you want to be a more productive muslim? Here are the top ten tips from the Productive Muslim website. What are you going to do today?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Nasihah -The Flight of Time-Good Deeds- Roadblocks

Living The Quran
The Flight of Time
Al-Asr (The Flight of Time) - Chapter 103: Verses 1-3
"By the flight of time, man is in total loss. Except for those who have faith and do good works; who exhort each other to uphold the truth and to perseverance."
This brief surah summarizes the essence and outcome of all human activity for all time.
Time goes on, and people live and die, generation after generation, and era after era. People of the same generation may live under similar circumstances and traditions, but their destinies may go in totally different directions, depending on their moral and religious beliefs. The moral quality of human life is far more important, and the truth is no less honourable or illustrious if it is recognized by a minority.
Those who deny the sovereignty and power of God shall end up as fuel of hell in the hereafter, whereas the believers who, despite the odds, persevere in upholding the truth shall be the real and final winners in the ordeal of life.
True believers are few and in some generations of human history may even seem odd, but they are promised great rewards.
This surah became a motto, a pledge of loyalty and brotherhood, among the Companions of the Prophet. It was traditional, according to reports, for Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) Companions to recite this surah together before they shook hands and departed.
To persevere for the sake of the truth could expose one to persecution and hardship, and therefore to uphold the true faith and triumph with it requires persistence, tenacity, and a strong will.
Compiled From:
"A Thematic Commentary on the Quran" - Muhammad Al-Ghazali, pp. 751, 752
go to the top ^
Understanding the Prophet's Life
Good Deeds
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Make the orphan come close to you, and be nice to him, and wipe his head, and feed him from your food. That will cause your heart to be soft, and your needs to be fulfilled." [al-Tabarani]
Once Anas ibn Malik was asked by someone to make dua (prayer) for him. He replied, "Verily, dua is raised up to Allah by good deeds", indicating that the questioner should strive to do good deeds if he wants his dua to be answered. And Wahb ibn Munabbih said: "The example of the one who makes dua without doing any deeds is like the one who tries to shoot arrows without a bow."
So the person who wishes to have his dua responded to by Allah should increase the quantity and quality of the good deeds that he does.
Compiled From:
"Dua: The Weapon of the Believer"- Yasir Qadhi, pp. 151, 152
go to the top ^
Roadblocks to Celebrating Differences
Although there are many, three of the largest roadblocks to celebrating differences are ignorance, cliques, and prejudice.
Ignorance. Ignorance means you're clueless. You don't know what other people believe, how they feel, or what they've been through.
Cliques. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be with those you're comfortable with; it becomes a problem only when your group of friends becomes so exclusive that they begin to reject everyone who isn't just like them. It's kind of hard to value differences in a close-knit clique. Those on the outside feel like second-class citizens, and those on the inside often suffer from superiority complexes.
Prejudice. Have you ever felt stereotyped, labelled, or pre-judged by someone because your skin's the wrong colour, your accent's too heavy, or you live on the wrong side of the tracks? Haven't we all, and isn't it a sick feeling? Although we are all created equally, unfortunately, we are not all treated equally. It's a sad fact that minorities of all types often have additional hurdles to leap in life because of prejudices held by so many. Racism is one of the world's oldest problems. We aren't born with prejudice. They're learned.
Compiled From:
"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" - Sean Covey, pp. 190-192

Morality Books

Lately I've been thinking about morality books, you know where at the end they say "and the moral of the story is,,,".  When I was a kid these books were always being read to me by either my mother or the teachers at school. Of course at Sunday school we learned about the Prophets but this was above and beyond. I think parents and teachers should go back to these stories to teach kids important lessons. Here are some of my favourites.

Favourite Childhood Books

Just thought I'd share two of my favourite books as a child. The first one which I thought was unique turns out to be almost everyone's favourite which makes it feel less special. That book is Where The Wild Things Are. I wasn't too impressed with the movie; too dark, too adult.  My second favourite though if much more unknown and its The Five Chinese Brothers. It was at that time that I fell in love with all things asian; chinese food, kung-fu movies and I even studied cantonese for 3 years at heritage language classes (no I wasn't the only white person there, lol).

April Book Club Choice ( a reminder)

April is almost upon us and the book for  that month is  From Behind the Veil: A Hijabi's Journey to Happiness.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lazy Boy!

My daughter bought the cd of this but when she opened it there was a completely different cd inside. So this is for my daughter and for any other muslim who may benefit.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Muslim Womenpreneurs

On April 2nd from 12-5 in Mississauga there will be a bazaar called Muslim Womenpreneurs. My daughter Handmade Beginnings will be having a booth there. Go and check it out. Kara Mia will be selling food too...drool.

Dare I ask?

Years ago I came across a site which I can't remember the name of which let people ask people of different ethnicities, races etc questions about things they had always wondered about. It was great because you got to hear from people without actually confronting real live people and offending/annoying them. So after being muslim for 19 yrs I am still wondering why muslims do the things they do. If you can answer go ahead.

1. Why do Pakistanis feel it is wrong to have more than 3 children?
2. Why is 5-6 kids the maximum that arabs will have? (in the west).
3. Why do so many muslims leave their shoes on when visiting?
4.  Why do muslims who do take off thier shoes leave their kids shoes on which are equally dirty?
5.  Why do so many muslims have no curtain in their washroom? (why wear hijab then?)
6.  Why do so many muslims have no towels to wipe their hands off in the bathroom?

That's about it if I think of more then I will add to it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Missionary Woman

Missionary woman, dawah dame, whatever you call it that's what I was today. We did a powerpoint and I did the 5 pillars of Islam again as well as the 6 pillars of Iman. I also presented the Dietary Laws in Islam which was one I didn't prepare. Another sister covered Women in Islam and Jihad. Then we had snacks and question time. The Christian women really enjoyed our presentation and started to ask questions about Hajj so my friend played her hajj movie again just like last week. Then we brought them upstairs to see the prayer area. They thanked us a lot and said they would tell other churches to come and visit us. Once again I told two of the women about my conversion. Then we prayed Zuhr. Overall it was a success and I look forward to sharing Islam with some new people in the future.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Nasihah - Wisdom and Admonition

Living The Quran
Wisdom and Admonition
Al-Nahl (The Bee) - Chapter 16: Verse 125
"Call to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation; and reason with them in ways that are best and most gracious. Indeed, your Lord knows very well those who have strayed away from the way as He knows well the rightly guided."
The message of the verse is to call to Allah's path with words that penetrate the heart (hikmah), in the spirit of an admonition (mawizah) said with extreme sincerity in an objective style (al hasanah). And, if the discussion leads to debate, then, it be conducted in a civilized manner, without hurting the opponent's feelings (billati hiya ahsan).
Wisdom implies that one should be mindful of the sensitivities of the people being addressed, have an understanding of their backgrounds, beliefs and ideas, and employ the most appropriate and effective methods and channels of communication. It is evident that all noble Prophets of Allah employed a variety of methods for sharing Allah's message, but with wisdom.
Admonition should be administered in such a manner as to show sincere sympathy, compassion and concern for the addressee. Nothing should be said or done to create the impression that the admonisher is looking down upon him and taking pleasure in his own feeling of superiority.
In the present day context, the new information and communications technologies and the mass media can be employed as tools for advancing the Islamic message in society. Novel styles, manners and techniques must be developed so that views based on Islam can be presented effectively and have an impact. There is, therefore, ample room for innovation and creativity in this area.
It may be that the preacher sometimes says to himself, "What is the use of teaching these people? They have made up their minds, or they are obstinate; or they are only trying to catch me out." Let him not yield to such a thought. Who knows how the seed of the Word of Allah may germinate in people's minds? It is not for man to look for results. Man's inner thoughts are better known to Allah.
Compiled From:
"Tafsir Ishraq al-Maani" - Syed Iqbal Zaheer, Vol 6, pp. 287-290
"Building A New Society" - Zahid Parvez, pp. 135-137
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, vol. 4, pp. 375-377
"The Holy Quran" - Abdullah Yusuf Ali

Forbidden Love

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shukr has some great new designs!

I always participate in Shukr's feedback section in their blog for new designs so it is great to see them moving in a new fashion direction. You can click on their ad on my blog on the top right hand side to see what I mean. Meanwhile I'll share my favourites with you. Harlem it!  Awesome sport hijabsDouble Layer Tunic in a great pink colour! Cute short-sleeved hoodie.

Which ones do you love? Remember please click on my ad and order them here.  Readers you must come to my blog to see the ad. Thanks. Happy shopping! Readers can click here too.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What Muslim Women in America can do (Canada too!)

This is an oldie but a goodie, nice article from Soundvision about what women can do for Islam. I like the idea about reading to your girls about the female companions.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Just Like Mom!

Dd1 just finished the beginners cake decorating course after I convinced her to take it. Take a look at her final cake here. Eids will really be special now!

Dinner Dawah

On Saturday my friend held a dinner for her colleagues to tell them about her hajj trip. She got me to talk about the five pillars of Islam. I made a powerpoint and also added extra information after each slide. Then she played a video about hajj (funny because there was a malay couple going for hajj as well as a convert). She answered some questions and also pointed out her little display of gifts she had brought back from hajj (prayer mat, miswak etc). Then we had dinner and some of the guests came to sit with us muslims at our table and one asked me why I converted to Islam and I told her my long story. She made no comments so I don't know how well that went over, lol. After all this I started to make my way home but there was a snowstorm so I decided to spend the night in town. Insha Allah my friend's guests left with a little more knowledge about Islam.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Productive Muslim -Sheikh Yasir Quadi

Listen to this great speech about productivity by Sheikh Yasir Quadi here. Maybe google should be paying him, find out why, lol.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wilton Flowers and Cake Design

Last night I started my final cake decorating course; Flowers and Cake Design. Historically this has always been the second in the series but they have now given people the option to choose this one or the fondant one after completing the beginners one. Maybe I should have taken this one first as they do teach fondant in the first class of this 4 week course and then move onto royal icing. We made a fondant pansy and a fondant button flower. I really enjoyed making the button fondant flower because you make it in a rectangular press instead of by hand. Less chance for mistakes. The pansy was with a cutter but the middle was handmade. I made the middle a little big though as I was rushing. After the flower making we were taught how to make royal icing and how to fold a parchment bag. I think I'll stick to disposable though, they are too much trouble. My teacher was really nice for this course and everyone there were repeat customers except me! I had taken the fondant course in another city as this city had been booked solid. Business has been slacking lately though she informed us. I liked how she had name cards and told us to introduce ourselves. The last two classes I took felt so cold.  Any other cake decorators out there? Did you take this course? Did you like it?

Friday Nasihah- Divine Measurement

Divine Measurement
Islam divides daily life into two spheres: what we have control over and what we do not. We have no control over the circumstances developing around us. The car breaks down; we get laid off at our job; an earthquake topples the city; we bump into a long-lost friend; and so on. These things just happen. We couldn't prevent them because we didn't know they were coming. Islam says all of these things are a test for us. They were predetermined challenges or merely things that, because of a complex confluence or events, just happened. They were a part of our Divine Measurement (Qadr).
Even though we often have no control over what happens to us, we do have control over how we feel and respond. When a tragedy strikes, do we blame God? When we see a diamond, does covetousness well up within us? When someone does evil to us, do we reciprocate or forgive? When we are alone, do we feel lonely or jubilant? Islam says we have control over our feelings, emotions and personal actions. Our test lies in how we respond to what happens around us. Do we exercise patience with life's challenges or do we panic and create disorder in our lives and in others? Now if we really think of the complex web of actions and reactions that go on every day in all of our lives, we can begin to appreciate how little our capacity is compared to God's.
Compiled From:
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam, 2nd Edition" - Yahiya Emerick, p. 103

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Boy From Makkah and Isabella

My 10 yr old son read A Boy From Makkah and enjoyed it. Its story about a boy who learns to read quran from a woman who later becomes ill. He also enjoyed the Meat Eating Vegetarian. My 11 yr old daughter read half of Isabella and said it was really boring. I looked at it and it seems like an adult book more than a kid's book. My 12 yr old son read Ahmed Deen and the Jinn at Shaolin and LOVED it! I have two more islamic books for them to read; Layla Deen  and the Popularity Contest and The Visitors. I'll let you know if they liked them insha Allah. All these books were suggested to me by Ummah Reads.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Book Club Pick- Jihad of the Soul

Its March people! Time to start reading Jihad of the Soul. Like Love in a Headscarf, this is another book about finding a muslim spouse. Apparently its not easy for single muslims out there. What do you think?