Monday, May 30, 2011

More Royal Botanical Garden pics.

All these pictures were taken by dd3 who is only 11.

Two Interesting Midwife books

The other day at Walmart I saw two new interesting books. One is The Midwife's Confession and the other is The Midwife of Venice. These might be right up my pregnant readers' alley and mothers too. Anyone read these? You might also like The Birthhouse which is set in Canada which I've read and loved especially for its historical references and explanation of how doctors took over the practice of attending births from midwives. Nowadays it seems to be going the other way.  While you're at it,why not follow a muslim midwife's blog here.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Big Fat Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I want to give a big fat thank you or jazakullah khair to my daughter handmade beginnings for revamping my blog! I'm clueless about html but I did have some ideas about what design I wanted. Insha Allah even more can be added. I love the new look; its fresh, inviting and more readable. What do you think? Did you check out the new book club button? She has totally organized all my book picks along with reviews. I love ya awesome daughter!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Royal Botanical Gardens

Last week on the long weekend we finally went to the Royal Botanical Gardens, a place that has been on my list of must sees for a long time. DD1 and my granddaughter joined us there too. Although it was lovely I think it will be more in bloom later in the season. We intend to go again insha Allah. One funny thing I noticed was that most of people who were there were orientals and white senior citizens. I wonder why? Everyone should go to places like this to see Allah's grandeur and to think about Jannah, the best garden of all.  The most memorable thing for me was touching a cork tree. It looks just like the cork you see in bottles,lol. I looked at their program book and saw that they have activities for homeschoolers but we live too far away. It made me think of RiverCityHomeschooler. Enjoy the pics!

Friday, May 27, 2011

December Book Club Pick - Married to a Bedouin

December's book club pick is one I came across by accident but it sounds really interesting and I think you would all enjoy it. Has anyone read it? So that completed the reading list for 2011. Happy reading!

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Recently we went to Uncle Tom's Cabin as they were having an open house. This was our second time going. The first time I only had 5 kids and this time 10 but the oldest two were missing this time. I first read this book when I was a teen in high school and went on to name my first daughter after one of the characters in the book. My dd3 has been studying about the Underground Railroad so this was a good field trip for her. We are also watching Roots now which I borrowed from the library. The older kids have already seen it but its all new for the young'uns.

Friday Nasihah -Strong Bond, Company of the Righteous, Sadness

Living The Quran
Strong Bond
Al Hashr (The Gathering) - Chapter 59: Verse 10
"Those who come after them pray: 'Our Lord! Forgive us and forgive our brethren who preceded us in faith. Leave no malice in our hearts towards those who believe. Lord, You are compassionate, ever merciful."
The true nature and wonder of the Muslim community is clearly depicted in these verses. We recognize the strong bond that unites all generations of believers generating feelings of love and compassion between them, as well as feeling of closeness that transcends time, place, race and family. It is a bond that takes precedence over all else, stirring pleasant feelings across generations. A believer remembers another who lived many centuries earlier, just like he remembers one who lives next door, and warms to him with love and honour. The present generation of believers takes into account the needs of future generations, and the ones still to come will follow the footsteps of their predecessors. They all constitute one rank, in the same brigade, across generations, despite belonging to countries and times that may be very wide apart. They all march steadily, under God's banner, trying to achieve the high standards expected of them, looking up to their Lord, the Compassionate, the Ever Merciful.
It is a wonderful, amazing picture, yet it represents a reality as well as the best ideal cherished by noble hearts. The beauty and nobility of this picture of humanity can be best appreciated when compared to the grudges we see against social classes, past generations of humanity, and against religion and believers of all faiths and communities.
The two situations are wide apart: they share no feature, colour or shade. One of them elevates humanity to the highest standards it can achieve, and the other takes it down to its lowest possible level. The first represents generations of humanity transcending barriers of time, place, race, country, tribe and family and promoting a bond of love and compassion, with pure hearts that are free of all grudges or selfishness, seeking only God's pleasure. The other shows humanity in conflict, with people always in strife, harbouring wicked feelings towards each other and resorting to deception, cheating and evil.
Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol 16, pp. 435,436
Understanding the Prophet's Life
Company of the Righteous
The Prophet told us that the baraka or blessing of Allah is with those who gather and work as a unified jama'a for the cause of Islam: 'Allah's hand is upon the jama'a.' (Tirmidhi.) Indeed engaging in remembrance of Allah collectively is encouraged in many ahadith. The Prophet is reported to have said:
If a group of people sit together remembering Allah, the angels will circle them, mercy will shroud them, peace will descend onto them and Allah will remember them among those with Him. (Muslim.)
Dhikr in a group may help teach those who do not know the desired adhkar and bring hearts together and strengthen their noble ties. To ensure that our company is always filled with remembrance of Allah, it is of paramount importance that we continuously seek the company of the righteous if we wish to be elevated in the eyes of Allah.
You must be careful with the selection of friends, for your companionship can and must be a form of dhikr. The Messenger of God said: `The best friend is the one who makes you remember Allah when you see him.' Also: 'Whosoever Allah wishes good for, He will grant him a righteous friend who will remind him if he forgets and aid him if he remembers'. As soon as you see the seed of iman planted in your heart and you recognise it in someone else's and you find that he agrees with you, you will feel ten times stronger. Social scientists have also discovered that group life is one of the most powerful forces to stimulate and improve the human being.
Compiled From:
"In the Early Hours" - Khurram Murad, pp. 51, 52

When you experienced sadness yesterday, your situation didn't get any better by you being sad. Your son failed in school, and you became depressed, yet did your depression change the fact that he failed? Your father passed away, and you became downhearted, yet did that bring him back to life? You lost your business, and you became saddened. Did this change your situation by transforming losses into profits?
Do not be sad: You became despondent due to a calamity, and by doing so, created additional calamities. You became depressed because of poverty and this only increased the bitterness of your situation. You became gloomy because of what your enemies said to you; by entering into that mental state, you unwittingly helped them in their attack against you. You became sullen because you expected a particular misfortune, and yet it never came to pass.
Do not be sad: Truly a large mansion will not protect you from the effects of depression; and neither will a beautiful wife, abundant wealth, a high position, or brilliant children.
Do not be sad: Sadness causes you to imagine poison when you are really looking at pure water, to see a cactus when you are looking at a rose, to see a barren desert when you are looking at a lush garden, and to feel that you are in an unbearable prison when you are living on a vast and spacious earth.
Do not be sad: You have the true Religion to live by, a house to live in, bread to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear, a wife to find comfort with; why then the melancholy?
Compiled From:
"Don't Be Sad" - Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May Book Club Choice and June Reminder

Has anyone read the book choice for May; Islam and the Discovery of Freedom? I have not yet myself but intend to soon insha Allah. Also just reminding everyone that the choice for June is Of Hockey and Hijab. If you would like to request anything please let me know. August's book choice and November's were chosen due to reader input.

November Book Club Pick - Heaven Under Your Feet

I've had a request for pregnancy and birth books, so for November I've chosen the book Heaven Under Your Feet: Pregnancy for Muslim Women.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Struggling to Find Community

This is a great article that sheds light on the plight of new muslims. Read the comments too and click on the great links that were left. Very interesting,  like the helpful group in London for reverts sisters, called Solace.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Veilkini Review

Its getting hot out there! Have you opened your pool yet? Are you planning a trip to your local pool or theme park? Canada's Wonderland is opening up their water park in June. Don't get caught without your new Veilkini bathing suit from Alsharifa. Use the code shoe10 to save 10%. Read the review here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Muslim Womenpreneurs - June 2011

Friday Nasihah - Intellectual Faculties

Living The Quran
Intellectual Faculties
Yunus (Jonah) - Chapter 10: Verse 100
"And it is not for a soul to believe except by permission of God , and He will place defilement upon those who will not use reason."
All of God's bounties are solely at His disposal and one can neither have access to any of these without His leave, nor can one confer them on others. The bounty of having faith and being directed to the right path is also fully contingent upon God's leave which is based on whether or not people's intellectual faculties are alive. Those who do not use their intellectual faculties or those who use them in improper ways, are devoid of God's leave to believe.
The Quran attaches great importance to the intellectual activities or faculties, all of which it relates to the "heart;" these faculties are reflection, using reason, considering, knowledge, insight, "hearing," etc. It regards anyone who is devoid of these as being dead. Even if we relate all these to the heart, or each to a different faculty, the way to keep these alive is to refrain from being pre-conditioned, and to avoid prejudices, incorrect viewpoints, evil intentions, sins, wrongdoing, arrogance, and selfishness. These are the vices which prevent one from believing.
Compiled From:
"The Quran: Annotated Interpretation in Modern English" - Ali Unal, pp. 444
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Syed Abul Ala Maududi, Vol. 4, p. 69

Understanding the Prophet's Life
Among People
The Prophet, peace be upon him, never regarded himself as greater than anybody else. Only his radiant face and attractive person distinguished him from his Companions. He lived and dressed like the poorest people and sat and ate with them, just as he did with slaves and servants. Once a woman saw him eating and remarked: "He eats like a slave." The Messenger replied: "Could there be a better slave than me? I am a slave of God." [Haythami]
One time when he was serving his friends, a bedouin came in and shouted: "Who is the master of this people?" The Messenger answered in such a way that he introduced himself while expressing a substantial principle of Islamic leadership and public administration: "The people's master is the one who serves them." Ali says that among people the Messenger was one of them. When he and Abu Bakr reached Quba while emigrating to Madina, some Madinese who did not know what the Prophet looked like tried to kiss Abu Bakr's hands. The only external sign distinguishing one man from the other was that Abu Bakr seemed older than the Messenger. [Ibn Hisham]
Compiled From:
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, p. 298

Shariah and Freedom
In its fullest sense, the Shariah is virtually synonymous, and can be used interchangeably, with the word Din, which can only inadequately be translated as 'religion'. Din literally means 'way of life', 'submission', 'following' or the 'Way'. Though the word Shariah in its various derivative forms is found in five places in the Quran, its extensive use only came into vogue much later; for the words Islam and Din were more commonly employed to express the same meaning in the early days of Islam.
The Shariah includes both faith and practice. It embraces worship, individual attitude and conduct as well as social norms and laws, whether political, economic, familial, criminal or civil.
It may also sometimes be used to imply, in a more restricted sense, do's and don'ts- the rules and regulations for conduct and behaviour. Lastly, it is also used as the equivalent of the Islamic laws.
The Shariah is thus nothing less than the divinely ordained way of life for man. To realise the divine will, man must follow the Shariah. To live in Islam is to live according to the Shariah. To give up the Shariah or any part of it knowingly, wilfully or deliberately is to give up Islam. A Muslim must therefore do his utmost to observe and to implement the whole of it, wherever and in whatever situation he finds himself. Hence the Muslim insistence, persistence, commitment and passion for it.
The act of total submission to God in accordance with the Shariah given by Him in no way diminishes human dignity, freedom and responsibility. The act of submission is the highest act of human volition and freedom, for it implies freedom to disobey God. Indeed, in submitting to God, all the chains and shackles of every form of serfdom, servility and bondage are broken, whether they be to other men, to ideas, to nature, to man- made objects or to institutions. For before the affirmation of One God must come the forsaking of every false god.
More importantly, total submission to God elevates man to the state of Khilafa, (vicegerency), whereby he is accorded the highest place on earth by being endowed with reason, articulation, volition, freedom and responsibility. The responsibility to follow the Shariah according to the Qur'an (33: 72), is the fulfilment of amanah, the trust which even the heavens, the earth and the mountains dare not bear.
Compiled From:
Islam: The Way of Revival, "The Shariah - Islamic Law" - Khurram Murad, p. 189

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The G Word

Has anyone else noticed that the G word had become the new F word? No one says the G word anymore. What is the G word? God. I noticed this a few years ago with all the shows taking it out. When someone sneezes, they say, Bless You. Whoops...who is doing the blessing? Thank God and God willing seem to have disappeared too.And in public, do you even dare to say it anymore? With 16% of Canadians being atheist, people are beginning to eliminate the word for fear of offending anyone. I said thank God the other day and the couple I was talking to looked so startled. But when I said God willing to a man with a cross, he didn't blink an eye. In Islam there are a ton of expressions with the word God (Allah) in them which I don't use when out and about, but if I did, I can just imagine people's shock! With churches closing all over the place, one wonders if the word God will become obsolete. Will muslims begin a revival I wonder, or will the longing to fit in overtake the need to mention our creator?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

From Behind The Veil - Review

This is a little overdue. This was last month's book choice. I really was inspired by this book and could relate in a lot of parts. For example she comes from a big family and tells about its hardships. I can feel her pain as a mother to a large family who has gone through tough times in the past and never has as much as wealthier people. This book is about one women's journey and how calamity, whatever it may be in our personal lives can change us for the better. Sometimes when we suffer it opens up our hearts and minds to other's suffering. This book focuses on two of her main problems; first the islamophobic attack she experiences and then her reaction to it which was her extreme allergies. In this book she grows so much and becomes a much better person and a better muslim. This book will also make you empathise with the muslims who are going through allergic reactions and avoiding them through so many avenues ie bringing thier own food everywhere. I used to always think it was only non-muslims who had allergies since I had never come across any muslims with them but reading one Muslimah's blog about her son's allergies and reading this book and finding out that my quran teacher's daughter has peanut allergies really opened my eyes. Read this book if you want to take lemons and make them into lemonade. Couldn't we all use a little sweetness in our lives?

Friday, May 13, 2011

French School Resources

My kids' French School let us borrow some resources mainly a leap pad with many French leap frog books. Some titles are Scooby Doo, Dinosaurs and Nemo. The kids really like them because they are so interactive.

Friday Nasihah - Can't Disown Actions,Gather Together,Support All Religions

Living The Quran
Can't Disown Actions
Al-Isra (The Night Journey) - Chapter 17: Verse 13
"Every human being's action have We tied around his own neck. On the Day of Resurrection We shall produce for him a record which he will find wide open."
The Arabic phraseology of this verse provides a highly graphic description which uses the word, 'bird', in place of 'action', as used in the translated text. Thus we have here a metaphor referring to what flies of a person's actions and becomes tied around his neck, so that it never parts from him.
A person's actions do not leave him, and he cannot disown them. The same applies to the wide open record of all his actions. Thus whatever he has done in life is laid bare. He cannot hide, ignore or disown it. Both descriptions of the bird denoting action and the record thrown open produce a very strong effect that adds to the fears experienced on that very difficult day when nothing remains hidden.
The causes that lead us to ultimate salvation, to our perpetual happiness or unending misery, lie within ourselves. It is the proper use of our natural faculties, our power of judgment and decision, our preference and choice which makes us earn either happiness or misery.
People who do not understand things properly hold external factors to be responsible for their fortune. If people were to critically examine themselves, they would appreciate that the factors which had put them on the road to their destruction and ultimately led to their undoing lay within themselves - their own bad character traits and bad decisions. Their destruction was not thrust upon them by outside factors.
Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 11, p. 140
"Towards Understanding the Quran" - Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, vol. 5, p. 29
go to the top ^
Understanding the Prophet's Life
Gather Together
To believe, along with the recollection of the presence of the Creator, is a way of understanding one's life within Creation and among people, for, from the Islamic point of view, to be with God is to be with human beings. By trying to excel in the practice of their religion, Muslims are immediately called to face the communal dimension of Islamic way of life.
To pronounce the shahada is to share in the community spirit with its immediate implication, which is the promotion of social activities. Prayer establishes connections with our Muslim neighbour in a specific place, while zakat enlarges the circle of our social relations, for the whole of the sum must be spent on the needy people in the area where it is raised. Fasting develops an even broader feeling, for by fasting and by thinking about it, we are in spiritual communion with the poor of the whole world. And this communion finds a final, tangible, and physical realization in the pilgrimage to Mecca.
In philosophical terms, one might say that this feeling has a part in Muslim identity at the heart of the practice and that it constitutes one of the distinctive characteristics of such an identity. As the Prophet said: "Gather together, for the wolf picks off only the sheep that stand alone." [Ahmad, Abu Dawud]
Compiled From:
"Western Muslims and The Future of Islam" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 86-89
Support All Religions
An Islamic government is charged with supporting all religions equally. It is a twist on the American ideal of separation of church and state, which forbids government from having any role in religion. In contrast, Islam says the state must support all religions! The Islamic government is forbidden to seize the churches, synagogues, or temples of any group, nor can the government meddle in the appointment of religious leaders by each group. The treaty Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, made with a local Christian community is very clear: No bishop can be removed from his office and no church can be confiscated.
From the time of Prophet Muhammad through the last Muslim Empire of the Ottomans Muslim rulers have been particularly concerned with the welfare of their non-Muslim subjects and their religious needs. For example, in the year 1076, the Muslim ruler of Bejaya, in present-day Algeria, wrote to Pope Gregory VII about the desire of the Christians in his land for a certain priest to be promoted to bishop. The pope was so overjoyed at this expression of religious respect that he wrote a beautiful letter in response, which concluded with the words: "We pray with heart and mouth that, after a long sojourn in this life, the same God may guide you to the bosom of happiness of the holy patriarch Abraham."
Has Muslim history had its share of despots and kings? Sure it has, but so has the Christian world. What is to be judged are the principles and not how faithfully they are applied.
Compiled From:
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam, 2nd Edition" - Yahiya Emerick, pp. 231, 232

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Nasihah- Share of the World

Living The Quran
Share of This World
Al-Qasas (The Story) - Chapter 28: Verse 77
"Seek, by means of what Allah has granted you, the life to come, and forget not your share of the present world; and do good as Allah has done good to you; and seek not to spread corruption on earth."
God has created the pleasures and luxuries of this life so that people may enjoy their share of these, and work towards obtaining them. The only proviso is that in such enjoyment of pleasures they should seek the reward of the hereafter. Thus, the wealthy neither deviate from the road leading to heaven, nor neglect their duties as a result of their riches. When they seek the hereafter, their enjoyment of pleasure becomes a form of gratitude to earn more reward. The divine way of life enables man to progress spiritually without suffering deprivation or wasting natural resources. It makes the wealthy look forward to the life to come hoping to be among the successful on the day of Judgement, without depriving him of his share of enjoyment in the present life. In fact, the divine system urges him to do so as a duty, so that he does not discard life's pleasures and look down upon the life of this world.
The money we have is a gift God has granted us out of his kindness. Hence, it should be received with gratitude and used for good purposes, and doing kindness to other people. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq said: "Your religion is your future and your money is your livelihood; there is no good in a man with no money in his name."
We should therefore live this life fully. We should be interested in it. Thus, all good things in life must be pursued, but not the love of this world. There is no true enjoyment of the good of this world if we do not adequately prepare our home in the Next world. Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz used to repeat the following verse unceasingly: "There is not good in the life of a man for whom Allah has appointed no share in the everlasting abode."
Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 13, pp. 270, 271
"In the Early Hours" - Khurram Murad, pp. 105, 106

Understanding the Prophet's Life
Publicizing Sins
Haya (shame or modesty) is one of the most important factors that keeps a person away from committing a lewd or sinful act. If a person has no feeling of shame or modesty, then there is nothing to prevent him from doing almost anything. He would do almost anything because he has nothing inside him telling him that such is not good behaviour and that he should be ashamed to act in that fashion.
When a person commits sins, his feeling of haya is lessened. As he commits more and more sins his haya is weakened more and more, to the point that it may not exist at all. When he gets to that point, he does not care what people might say or think about him. In fact, he might even start to brag or tell about the sins that he has committed. This type of person will not be forgiven and the road to repentance will be blocked for him. The Prophet, peace be upon him, has said:
"All of my nation is apt to be forgiven except for those who commit sins openly. Included among those who commit sins openly is where a person performs a deed during the night and although Allah had concealed that sin, in the morning he says, 'O so and so, last night I did such and such.' He spent the night being concealed by Allah and in the morning he uncovered Allah's concealment from himself." [Bukhari]
Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, p. 803
Private Realities
Today's consumer can wake up to a personalized selection of news waiting on her or his computer screen, click on a saved Web address in a browser, and get the latest stock reports or sports story, complete with integrated video and animated graphics. This is the age of information when we want it, how we want it, all automatically updated to suit our tastes, as smart search engines learn our preferences. We are approaching a time when each individual lives in a personalized information and media cocoon, protecting and promoting each lifestyle, while making common issues and concerns more distant and harder to fathom.
Perhaps individuals balancing the dilemmas of a fragmented, personalized media system against the potential of a digitally networked society will make their information choices in sensible ways. Perhaps people will not turn away from the tough problems in society and the world. Given the choice to construct increasingly private realities, people may choose to link to information sources that keep them informed about the problems of those who cannot help themselves (or who cannot afford the communication technologies required to be in the political loop). However, it is also possible that people will avoid issues that (they think) do not affect them, that seem hopeless, or that require more thought and human concern than they care to give. Research on news habits and political participation patterns is not encouraging. Studies of news consumption from the late 1980s through the turn of the millennium reveal steady declines in attention to national, international, and local politics. These declines are associated with decreasing likelihood of voting. At the same time, rapidly expanding networks of digital communication offer the potential for people to stay in touch with large amounts of distant information at relatively low cost.
A prime concern is that, left to their own choices in this information environment, people may seek out only the points of view they already agree with and form virtual communities with only those people who share their religious, economic, social, or entertainment preferences. One aspect of this closing circle of information around the individual is that social reality itself becomes an increasingly personal production.
Compiled From:
"News: The Politics of Illusion" - W. Lance Bennett, pp. 252-262

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

October Book Club Pick-Wandering Lonely

October's Book Club Choice is Wandering Lonely in a Crowd.

September Book Club Pick- For God and Country

This book is a little old but I never got around to reading it yet.  I have read My Guantanamo Diary though.

May Book Club Choice- Islam and the Discovery of Freedom

Just a reminder that for this month the choice is Islam and the Discovery of Freedom.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Blue Butterfly

I just finished watching the Blue Butterfly. It was very inspiring. While I sit here and wait for my results its good to know that there are miracles happening in this world.