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Adventures of the Travelling Muslim Moms; Part II

By Muslimmoms.ca Team sunset-landscape--colors_19-135709

Here we are again with more “funny” stories from the travels of our Muslimmoms.ca Team. If missed our first segment, be sure to check it out on our website! Enjoy Adventures of the Travelling Muslim Moms; Part I.

Enough is Enough!

We went to India with a 5 year old and a 1 year old. On the way back, I packed about 15 diapers in my diaper bag. My daughter started to have terrible diarrhea one hour into the flight. I changed her diaper 45 times throughout the journey. Funny part was: there was another baby with diarrhea and air hostess said that their diaper supply is finished as well, so if either of us need more diapers, we would have to take it from other parents. Alhamdollilah we didn’t need any extra 45 was enough. This was NOT funny at the time! -         Bushra Aafaqi

The Mystery of the Great Suitcase Switch

My story is so sad it’s funny! When I accompanied my husband to travel to Canada two weeks after getting married, we stopped over in London UK for our “honeymoon” for a week. We had packed just one suitcase for our stay in London and the rest of the luggage was locked and stored at a family friend’s place. Trouble was discovered once we landed in Toronto, and I decided to finally unpack all my luggage! I opened one of our largest suitcase (which I knew had contained most of newly made bridal outfits) only to discover it was full of some old cotton western clothes! At some point in our journey from Khi, PK to London, UK to TO, we had lost our luggage, instead picking up someone else’s identical suitcase full of junk!!!! It’s been 22 years and to this day, I sigh when I think about this incident. The worst part?! That suitcase also contained my mom’s black and gold Kashmiri shawl which she was given at her wedding! Okay I am going to go cry myself to sleep now! -         Rahila Ovais

I am Woman, Hear Me Ignore You!

Mine would be before I got married. I was working for a TV channel in Dubai and when I boarded my flight, the head of the news department, and my boss was also on board (I’d fought with him to get my vacation). He was at the peak of his career and loved to brag. The entire cabin crew was fawning over him. I was seated next to him because he did not want a mother/child sitting next to him on our two hour flight. Anyways, once we settled down he proceeded to tell me that he had to go to Islamabad to interview the PM. That was my cue to start heaping praise on him, instead I told him he would probably need to rest and took out my book to read, ignoring him for the rest of the journey. Needless to say, I could not last long at the channel! I still find the whole episode funny… especially when I returned and my colleagues shook their head in dismay at my having wasted a golden opportunity to ingratiate myself into the inner circle and fast track to promotions! Absolutely no regrets! -         Aaisha Zafar Islam

Not Without Our Luggage!

We travel to Pakistan every year. We are a family of 5 so when taking international flights we are allowed a luggage allowance to 2 pieces per person. Of course being typical Desi’s we always travel loaded with gifts and every knick knack on the planet. Heaven forbid I won’t be able to find the exact shoe to match my outfit in the entire city of Karachi so I must travel with at least 10 pairs of shoes. Every year, it’s a joke(a rather painful one) that we all squeeze in to a minivan with 8-10 suitcases, get off at the airport where everyone stares at us, some with disdain some with sympathy and understanding. Since our kids were too small to help us move the trolley,s my husband and I would have to take turns to actually move 4 odd trolleys through the airport until we check in. Needless to say, our toughest ordeal is actually getting to check in, the 18 hour flight is a piece of cake in comparison! -     Muneezah Jawad

Hello? It’s Nature Calling!

I enjoy travelling with kids by air and by road. We usually take road trips to the US with a bunch of friends so we have a decent group with kids. 
The funny part of these road trips are when we get sms’s or calls for a pit stop when someone’s kids want to go to washroom in the middle of now where. Everyone starts searching for a nearest Rest Area or a fast food chain to stop at. Once we all had to stop on a road side to accommodate one such incident. The hilarious part was all 5 vehicles standing with hazard lights on and every other car would stop by to check if all was well. Poor family and kid were very embarrassed. Until now we recall that one incident of a sudden emergency… when nature calls you have to answer! -         Rumina Rizvi

How Motherhood Changed Me

How motherhood changed me

Having my son, also my first-born, was my ultimate wake up call, literally and emotionally. The very next day son and I came from the hospital and I was an absolute post-partum hormonal mess, I cried and begged Ma for forgiveness. We were all bawling, three generations of us! Son was crying because he was a newborn, I was crying because I was overwhelmed by motherhood day 2 into the experience and Ma was crying because I was. I’ve never been the crying sort; maudlin sentimentality annoys me, having children changed that.

I’ve realised that I can be the strongest person around and be an emotional mess at the first sign of a troubled child. And I’ve learned that I have super-powers…everyone knows them as a mother`s intuition. I can find everything, I can do everything, I can see and feel everything that relates to my brats. Motherhood -  helping women become superheroes.

~ Aaisha Zafar Islam

Motherhood has changed me and my lifestyle in a profound way. My children have taught me selflessness, compassion, patience and how to grow in love. Over the years, I have also learned to become quite the counselor, story-teller and referee! Alhamdullilah, I feel blessed and privileged to be a mother and hope I can do justice to the most important role that I have been bestowed with.’

Iman Khan

I used to get freaked out by little hopping spiders. After becoming a mother I once single handedly wrestled a one foot centipede. I kid you not. Just the thought of that thing in the same house as my baby made me see red. I am now the crocodile hunter of the family.

I am also immune to every gross thing possible, I have cleaned so much vomit and poop nothing deters me. I have eaten saliva covered banana that my child lovingly fed me after gumming it to a pulp in her toothless mouth. I can catch vomit in a plastic bag with perfect precision.

Life hacks: 5 minute meals to 500 uses for baby powder to how to ignore a pack of howling, brawling, whining kids in public and keep a smile on your face.

Being grateful. Appreciating that the little things are actually the biggest things. Heartbreak and unconditional love.

Khaula Mazhar

I remember being a short tempered and ambitious person with no patience for kids. Motherhood has taught me patience as the most important virtue. It has taken my wings and has slowed me down to appreciate small blessings of life. It has proved that happiness is not in high-paying jobs and in globe-trotting but in simple moments spent with my kids, in sharing a joke, co-sleeping in the cozy bed, baking treats and in evening walks to the park. More than anything it has made me empathize with my mom and appreciate the hard work she put in in raising me and for instilling in me the life skills to bear challenges of life. She taught me how to stay positive in the bleak hours and how to keep believing in Allah. Inshallah I want to instill same positivity and admiration in my kids.

Mariam Mazhar

I could say that the same things everyone else says about how mother hood has changed them. However I want to tell you how it’s kept me the same. It allowed me to still see the world through the eyes of a child. It keeps me in awe of all that surrounds me because I see the same glimmer in my children’s eyes.  They look at everything with excitement and a new perspective.  As a person ages they naturally become more cynical but motherhood keeps you tied to your own childhood and you hope the world is as amazing for your children as it was for you. In a nutshell it keeps you young and optimistic.

As children grow up we teach them to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and as adults we tend to forget those words frequently. Well, being a mom has reminded me to make sure I thank Allah (SWT) for his countless blessings.  The children he gave me are the most precious gifts in the universe for which no thank you is going to be enough. Like a child who jumps with glee at the prospect of a new toy I am filled with joy when I get those precious kisses from my daughter, so motherhood has kept me grateful and thanking Allah and also pleading with him for their well being constantly in my duas.

I’ve been through many changes due to becoming a mom, but my core being is still the same if not stronger. I’m thankful to Allah and in awe of the miracle of life that surround me.

Muneezah Jawad

Physically:  I can NOT sneeze, laugh or run anymore without crossing my legs. My body will always be flabby and I love it as it reminds me of all that stretching I went through with each of my four kids.

Mentally: Even though I feel like I have nothing left up in my head, with each additional child I have gained more patience, while dealing with all the stresses of motherhood.

Spiritually:  As my kids are growing older, now more than ever I have a deep desire to grow closer to Allah.

Rahila Ovais

I had my 3rd child a few days back and as ecstatic I was to hold him, I was equally ambitious and made several promises to myself on giving him the best of everything as a mother.

Motherhood has taught me patience and values of morals, religion and above all a proper educated upbringing. I learned what greater responsibility it is to bring them up with knowledge and education so they make their own wisdom and lead strong successful lives Insha’Allah. Humility and humbleness is the most important attribute in one’s personality no matter what one may become in life, I want them to be grateful to Almighty and be kind. With them I learn, grow and mature every day. Because of them I’ve become closer to my Lord. Alhamdulilah!

~ Rumina Rizvi

 I do not live in a clean room anymore. I am not allowed to get sick. I yell at my kids .I fight with them over the remote control but not for anything in this Universe I want to change my status. Because sometimes when I plop on the couch, exhausted, I ask myself where is “me”. A voice tells me, they are” you”. I nod and get back to my job of being a mom.

Shazia Afzal

 It’s incredible, I have learned so much more about myself than I could have ever imagined. They teach me something new every day. When I had my daughters, I thought I was going to be the one teaching them and giving them so much knowledge, but they have been teaching me so much wisdom.

Being a mom is the most rewarding thing in the world.

Sukaina Imran

How has motherhood changed you? We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions! Do share below.

Event Report: ISNA Community Forum On The New Health And Physical Education Curriculum

By Rumina Rizvi

ISNA Community Forum

A hot topic in the news these days, the suggested updates to Healthy and Physical Education Curriculum are giving many parents sleepless nights. It is the same set of ‘updates’ that had to be backrolled a few years ago after a public outcry against it. This time however its proponents are in no moods for arguments, consultations, announcing that the changes will be implemented in the academic year beginning in 2015.

Sister Sumera Wasiq, a community worker, organized a community forum at ISNA Canada premises recently, inviting speakers, guests and concerned parents to talk about the proposed changes to the curriculum.

The guests at the event included Sheikh Alaa Elsayed, Regional Minister Charles Sousa and Jason F. Policy Director.

Hina Mirza Zuberi, media and events coordinator ISNA, Canada welcomed the attendees and guests to the forum.

The congregation started with recitation of Qur’anic verses and their English translation. Sheikh Alaa Elsayed welcomed the parents and expressed his gratitude on a large turnout on the cold week night. He requested all parents to be patient and kind to the guests and write down their questions to be handed to the guests for the Q/A session to be conducted later.

The turnout was amazing, with more than 1500 people showing up to a standing room only.

In the questions and answers sessions and manifests in September, Charles Sousa from the Ministry of Finance said parents can exempt their children, he said:

‘The religious schools and home schoolings would be exempt. It would not be integrated into the other subjects, contrary to the 2010 curriculum which states Cross-Curriculum and Integrated Learning is actually just that, crossing subject matter into other classes, and even refers to Language, Social Studies and Science’.

The parents however were not satisfied with the replies and had ambiguities on what to be expected out of the curriculum after its release.  Their major concern was for their children’s innocence and vulnerability and also protecting their rights, values and religious beliefs. They could not come to terms with finding the curriculum to be age appropriate with explicit materials being used for explanatory means.

Concerned parents were asked to write to their MP’s and MPP’s in opposing the curriculum and implementation in the coming fall of September onward in all public school in entire Ontario.
Another peaceful demonstration by the parents will take place next week (today, February 24, 2015) at Provincial Legislature Queens Park, Toronto at 11am. It is also expected to generate some heat and pressure on the Minister of Education and the Premier.

You can watch a video of the session here.

Parents opposing the curriculum can also sign up to the petition here.

 

Disclaimer: The event was only hosted on ISNA Canada premises, however it did not represent the opinion or viewpoint of ISNA Canada, and ISNA will not be held liable to ideas expressed by the organizers.
Image: ISNA Canada FB page 

Courtship In Islam

By Rumina Rizvi

Courtship in Islam

 

There are a lot of single Muslims trying to work their way through the marriage process. It’s not always easy to know what’s permissible and what isn’t. What will work and what won’t. This is a guide for anyone who is thinking about marriage.  It will help prepare one for what to expect, what to do and what not do to before one begins their search for the perfect match and start meeting potential prospects.
Courting, as it is practiced in much of the world, does not exist among Muslims. Young Muslims boys and girls do not enter into one-on-one intimate relationships, spending time alone together, ‘getting to know each other’ in any way before deciding whether that’s the person they will marry. Rather, in Islam pre-marital relationships of any kind between members of the opposite sex is forbidden.

Importance of Consent

The Prophet SAWS recommended the suitors to see each other before going through with marriage procedures. One of the conditions of a valid marriage is the consent of the couple. Marriage by definition is a voluntary union of two people. That is very important because it is unreasonable for two people to be in a relationship for life without knowing each other. The couple are permitted to look at each other, talk and seek a future husband or wife with mutual compatibility, spiritual understanding and also attraction.

Family Involvement

Usually a family member approaches the other family to suggest a meeting. They consult amongst themselves to narrow down potential prospects. When the young couple and their families agree, the couple meets. The choice of a partner by a Muslim girl is subject to the approval of the father or guardian. This is to safeguard her welfare and interests. Still a woman has her rights secure. The Prophet SAWS, said:

“The widow and the divorced woman shall not be married until she has consented to that and the virgin shall not be married until her consent is sought.”

The Qur’an says:

“…believing men and women should lower their gaze” (An-Nur: 30)

Getting to know each other

The couple are not permitted to be alone or go out together. Shariah law allows a man and woman to be in a room with the door open so that someone can hear just outside, or to meet in a cafe that is public and open. The idea is that a single Muslim gets to make judgement of the other person without pressure from relatives and without losing modesty. Islamic conduct elucidates the practice of courting.

Islam recognizes that humans are given to weakness, so this rule provides safeguards for their own sake. If the couple seems compatible, the families may investigate further, talking with friends, family, socially etc. to learn about the character of the potential spouse and family.

While it is recommended for a man to marry a woman whom he loves, because the Prophet SAWS said:

“There is nothing better for two who love each other than marriage.” (Sahih Al-Jami`, 5200)

However, this love should not be overwhelming and cause a person to forget other characteristics which he should look for in the person he wants to marry.

The most important characteristic is religious commitment. The Prophet SAWS said:

“A woman may be married for four things: her wealth, her lineage, her beauty and her commitment to religion. Choose the one who is religious, may your hands be rubbed with dust [i.e., may you prosper]!”

Before making a final decision, the couple prays Salat ul Istikhara to seek Allah’s help and guidance. The couple may agree to pursue marriage or part ways. Islam has given this freedom of choice to both young men and women; they cannot be forced into a marriage they don’t want.

This type of attentive courtship helps assures the strength of the marriage, by drawing upon the wisdom and guidance of the family’s elders in this important life decision. Family involvement in the choice of a marriage partner helps assure that the choice is based not on romantic notions, but rather on a careful, objective evaluation of the compatibility of the couple. That is why these marriages often prove to be successful in the long term.

About the author:

Mother to two wonderful kids, Rumina Rizvi works for an Islamic Education Academy, catering to a large community of Muslims, conducting Quranic and Islamic studies. She also works with New Muslim Care Halton Chapter for our New Muslim Revert brothers and sisters and feels privileged to be living in this part of world, learning and exploring knowledge of Deen and contributing to her community.

 Image: 123RF

What’s In Your Food?

By Rumina Rizvi

Image: Freeimages

Image: Freeimages

When I took Food Science as a subject in my O’ Levels, little did I know how much I would benefit from it in years to come. Eating a healthy diet means eating the right amount and variety of food. Eating well plays an important part in maintaining good health. Our eating pattern should emphasize on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as well as low or no-fat dairy products, and lean animal proteins. What really matters, though, is knowing yourself. You need to make responsible eating choices within the context of your preferences and lifestyle.
Having an understanding of nutrition basics can be extremely helpful. To compliment a healthy eating habit, an active lifestyle is also essential. Below is a quick run-down of nutrients in our food and the pivotal role each one of them play for a healthy balanced diet to meet our body’s needs.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrate-rich foods are the primary source of energy for all body functions. Your body breaks down carbohydrates, or carbs, into fuel for use by your cells and muscles – that’s why eating a moderate amount of carbohydrates is necessary for most people. There are two types of carbs – sugars and starches. Sugars are simple carbohydrates that can be easily digested by your body and include foods like cake, soda, candy, jellies and fruits. Starches are complex carbohydrates that take longer to be digested and include foods such as breads, grains, pasta, tortillas, noodles, fruits and vegetables.

Many carbohydrate-rich foods are loaded with other nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are not only great carbohydrate sources, they are also excellent suppliers of vitamins A and C and many other vitamins and minerals. Most dairy products are also great sources of carbohydrates.

Some foods rich in carbohydrates have fewer nutrients. Foods made from sugar (white, brown, powdered and raw) as well as corn syrup, honey and molasses are simple carbohydrates that provide little to the diet except extra calories, and that can lead to excess body fat. Use the top tier of the Food Guide Pyramid as your guide, and limit your consumption of sugary foods – even if they do contain carbohydrates.

Image: Freeimages

Image: Freeimages

Fibre

Fibre is an important kind of carbohydrate that comes only from plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains. The two types of fibre are soluble and non-soluble. Soluble fibre helps control blood sugar and may also lower cholesterol. Non-soluble fibre doesn’t appear to lower blood sugar or cholesterol but may help reduce the risk of colon cancer. It also helps maintain bowel function.

When choosing packaged breads, grains and cereals, use food labels to determine how much fibre a food contains. The fibre content of manufactured foods is listed on the Nutrition Facts label. Adults need between 20 and 35 grams of fiber every day.

Good sources of fibre include wheat bran, whole wheat, oatmeal, beans and legumes, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries and bananas.

Proteins

Proteins are responsible for growth and maintenance of all body cells and structures, like bone, muscle, blood cells, skin and hair. They are also the primary component of enzymes, proteins which help facilitate many of the chemical reactions within the body, including digestion. A healthy diet should include 2-3 servings of lean protein each day. Try baked or grilled chicken, fish and beans. Some grains are also very high in protein. Mixing quinoa with grilled vegetables makes a very satisfying lunch or side dish. It’s important for women to eat enough calcium in their diet. Low-fat dairy products are also excellent sources of protein. Try reduced fat yogurt, cottage cheese and milk.

Image: Freeimages

Image: Freeimages

Vitamins & Minerals

Fruits and vegetables are key in providing many of the vitamins and minerals that are essential for health. For e.g. iodine,  in iodized salt which prevents goitre. Women between the ages of 19 and 30 should consume 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables each day.

Among the different types of vegetables, current dietary guidelines recommend 3 cups of dark green, 2 cups of orange, 3 cups of dry beans and peas, and 3 cups of starchy vegetables each week.

There are many easy ways to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Eat a salad with each meal. Try having an egg white omelet with mixed vegetables in the morning. Substituting cut vegetables or a piece of fruit in the afternoon for a snack instead of chips or processed snack is an easy way to cut calories. Fruits and veggie smoothies are also an excellent choice for a healthy lifestyle.

Fats

Fats, or lipids, are an important part of our diet and shouldn’t be eliminated altogether. In appropriate quantities and types, fats will provide much needed energy to get us through the day. Additionally, they support and cushion our internal organs, protecting them from harm. Fats are found in almost all types of foods, from butter and oils to dairy products, meats and processed foods.

It is recommend that hydrogenated and trans fats be avoided. Other fats should be minimized whenever possible. Generally speaking, fat should be restricted to less than 30% of your caloric intake each day, and saturated fats should be less than 10%. Try grilling vegetables or chicken instead of frying them. It’s an excellent way of cutting back fats. There are so many marinades and spices that you can use to flavour your food, you won’t even miss the fat. Instead of using fattening salad dressings, a little olive oil with some balsamic or other vinegar is an excellent dressing. Also, try some of the lower fat varieties of foods like milk, cheese and mayonnaise.

Water

Finally, one of the staples of a healthy diet is sufficient water and fluid intake. In addition to regulating body temperature, it is found in every cell in the body and is necessary for their maintenance. Water is an essential component for many chemical reactions and aids in digestion and excretion of waste products. While the body does produce water as a by-product to many chemical reactions, it must be taken in regularly to maintain important body functions. It is important to maintain adequate hydration through regular consumption of water.

For more information, click here to read the labels and nutritional value of any processed food you consume. This will give you a clear guideline on what’s good or bad for you.

 

About the author:

Mother to two wonderful kids, Rumina Rizvi works for an Islamic Education Academy, catering to a large community of Muslims, conducting Quranic and Islamic studies. She also works with New Muslim Care Halton Chapter for our New Muslim Revert brothers and sisters and feels privileged to be living in this part of world, learning and exploring knowledge of Deen and contributing to her community.

Do you refer to nutrition labels and plan your meals according to nutrients? What kind of foods are staples and what are avoided in your home? Share with us on our forum!

Recipe Of The Week: Malai Chicken Boti Roll

By Rumina Rizvi

Malai Chicken Boti

If you are short on weekday dinner ideas, this quick and easy recipe is guaranteed to be a hit. You can use store bought parathas for rolling in these seasoned chicken cubes cooked in the oven. The garlic mayo dip can be made in large batches and it goes well with many foods. Enjoy!

Malai Chicken Boti

Ingredients

  • 8 green chillies
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • Mint leaves to taste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp  ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tbsp  cream
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • Salt to taste

Method

Grind together green chilies, coriander and mint with lemon juice to make a smooth paste (green chutney).

Mix in ginger-garlic paste, yogurt and cream. Season to taste with salt then marinate chicken for at least an hour and a half.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Skewer chicken cubes and cook for 30-35 minutes. Prepare the parathas, spread garlic mayo on it and top it with the malai chicken boti cubes. Roll in butter paper or aluminium foil and serve hot

Garlic Mayo

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper

Method

Mix everything and refrigerate for 20-25 minutes before use. This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two months.

 

About the author:

Mother to two wonderful kids, Rumina Rizvi works for an Islamic Education Academy, catering to a large community of Muslims, conducting Quranic and Islamic studies. She also works with New Muslim Care Halton Chapter for our New Muslim Revert brothers and sisters and feels privileged to be living in this part of world, learning and exploring knowledge of Deen and contributing to her community.

An Everyday Makeup Look

By Rumina Rizvi & Aaisha Zafar Islam

Muslim Moms Makeover

Today we will be doing a makeup tutorial. After Eid, and fast heading towards back to school days, the end of August is always party season. This is a look that can go with many outfits, and take you from day to night. So gather your makeup supplies and let’s start away!

Prepare & Prime

Muslim Moms Makeover

Cleanse & tone: Always start with a clean face. Wash your face with a face wash suited to your skin type. Next take a cotton pad and apply a toner all over the face. This prepares the facial skin for smooth and more natural makeup application later.

Moisturize: If you have dry skin, it is better to apply a light moisturizer after the toner. Oily and combination skin types can skip this step and move directly to applying a face primer to their face. A face primer is a lotion or gel that makes your makeup apply seamlessly on the skin and make it last longer.

Prepare

Face Base

Moving on, apply a ‘base’ product on the face. You can use a liquid, cream or powder foundation, a tinted moisturizer or a BB/CC cream according to the level of coverage you want. Our model already has great skin and we used a medium coverage foundation on her, applied with a foundation brush.

Muslim Moms' Makeover

Apply foundation all over the face in even strokes, starting from the middle of the face and blending outwards. Also take the brush down towards the neck for evening out the complexion.

Conceal under eyes and blemishes with a concealer, or you can dab some foundation on these areas for more coverage. Make sure to blend well.

Contour & Highlight

Muslim Moms' Makeover

Contour: Now take a matte bronzer, or a foundation two colours darker than your skin tone and apply it under the cheekbones, sides of the nose, on the temples and the hairline. This is called contouring. It helps define your features and gives more dimension to the face.

Muslim Moms' Makeover

Highlight: Take a lighter liquid or powder face product and apply it lightly in the areas shown in the picture. This is called highlighting and again, it brings your key features forward, enhancing them. Take extra time at this step to blend away any harsh lines between the contoured and highlighted areas of the face.

Eyes and Brows

Muslim Moms' Makeover

Eyebrows: Moving on the eye brows, thick, fuller eyebrows are en vogue these days, so you don’t have to have them threaded or plucked. We will just be grooming them into a better shape here.

Take a spoolie brush (or a clean, washed mascara wand) and brush eyebrow hair up and outwards. Fill in sparse areas with an eyebrow pencil lighter than your hair. Use light, feathery strokes for a more natural look. Brush and blend in everything again with the spoolie brush.

Eyes: For the eyes, use a primer. This is a product that keeps your eye shadow colours from creasing or fading. You can also use a cream eye shadow and layer powder eye shadow on top of it to make it last longer. We are making up our model with neutral, earthy shades for an everyday look.

Muslim Moms' Makeover

Take a flat eye shadow brush to apply a medium brown shade all over the eyelid area. Next take a darker shade and apply it in the crease and towards the outer ‘v’ of the eye. Use a blending brush to blend in the colours together and smoke out the darker shade.

Define eyes: Now take an eyeliner, liquid, cream or gel and using an angled eyeliner brush, line your upper and lower lashlines. Make sure you get as close to the lash lines as possible so there are no visible ‘flesh’ gaps.

Muslim Moms' Makeover

You can also use a dark eye shadow to line around the eyes or use an eyeliner pencil. Just make sure that it is a long-lasting formula that will not fade way or leave you with raccoon eyes!

Muslim Moms' Makeover

Apply mascara on top and bottom lashes to complete the eye make up.

Colour for the face

Muslim Moms' Makeover

Smile away: Your lip and cheek colour should ideally be in the same shade family. We have used a beautiful peachy shade for our model as it suits her complexion so well. Smile and blend some blush on the apples of your cheeks. Then use a lip brush to apply a lipstick, or use it straight out of the tube.

Brush out and make your hair. Voila, you are ready for a party!

Muslim Moms Makeover

 Behind the scenes:

  • Make up, styling and photos by Rumina Rizvi
  • Text by Aaisha Zafar Islam

Rumina Rizvi is a freelance makeup artist with over 8 years of experience in makeup and skin care. She enjoys doing make overs and photo shoots and events when time permits.

Aaisha Zafar Islam aka Mascara Mom is an incurable beauty junkie. She is also the executive editor of MuslimMoms.ca

Mompreneur: Raana Smith of Silver Envelope

By Rumina Rizvi

Raana Smith of Silver Envelope

Raana Smith of Silver Envelope

Raana Smith began creating Islamic stationery products at the tender age of eight when she wrote Eid Mubarak  with a permanent black marker on a plain ribbon purchased at K-Mart. As a child of the 80′s, Raana longed for fun, classy ways to celebrate Muslim holidays and special occasions. Her love lasted into adulthood as she started designing greeting cards and printed ribbons for the two Eids.

People loved the gifts and cards they received so much that Raana started producing cards and ribbons in higher quantities to offer to her friends and family. Slowly, she added a product or two every year to much customer appreciation. In 2001, Raana started Silver Envelope.

Today, with a product line that includes greeting cards, invitations, wrapping paper and gift bags, scrapbook art, buttons, balloons, and much more, her hobby has turned into what something of a service to the Muslim community. Silver Envelope today employs people who work at their offices in Richmond, St. Louis, and Doha, Qatar.

Muslim Moms of Canada to talked to this enterprising lady as part of our Mompreneur series.

Silver Envelope

Can you please tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

I’m an American Muslim with a passion for design, Islamic Art and paper. I love any type of paper product–everything from paper cups to games and, of course, stationery. I was born in the early 70′s to a Pakistani mother and an American father. I grew up in a very small town in Virginia – we had cows in our back yard!

I found that I didn’t quite fit in to either culture and decided to just do my own thing, march to the beat of my own drum and make myself happy. I have a degree in Political Science and worked as a technical writer during the internet boom of the early 2000′s. I love traveling especially to Islamic historical sites. My favorite places so far have been Andalusia and Morocco.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

My father became Muslim before meeting my mother but we still visited our Christian relatives on traditional American/Christian holidays. Talk about a blending of cultures! I was exposed to both sets of holidays and enjoyed the fun and festiveness surrounding the Christian holidays. Ramadan and Eid didn’t have the same feeling for me but that could have been for several reasons. So, at the age of eight, I started making my own Eid ribbon–each Ramadan, I’d buy red satin ribbon at K-Mart, unroll it, write Eid Mubarak across the whole roll, and then use it to wrap gifts. I knew that we only had two holidays to celebrate and I wanted to make it a fun time for family.

After finishing college and moving to California with my husband, this idea struck me again. Wanting to make Ramadan and Eid special, and not wanting to use Christmas cards and decor, I set out to make a few cards and ribbons for our holidays. They were well received and so I added a product or two each year to see how they would do. What started out as a hobby and has now turned into a business with over 150 skus and operations in two countries. However, our goal has always been the same: Inspire and revive the Islamic spirit in people, especially our kids, through celebrations. It provides a sense of importance and being part of a bigger community.

Raana Smith

Is entrepreneurship for everyone? Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming a Mompreneur?

I don’t know if entrepreneurship is for everyone. You have to be willing to take risks and realize that you may not get it right every time. I started the company in 2001 and didn’t welcome my son until 2010. I had a good 9 years of running the business without being a mom, but I run the company today the same way I did back then.

The biggest obstacles I faced were in the beginning, with the actual products. Tasteful cards and ribbons were not seen in the Muslim market. Nothing was! It took a little time for people to catch up with the idea and when they did, Alhamdulillah, the idea caught on!

What are the biggest challenges you face as a mompreneur?

I think every mom has a work/life balance struggle. My challenge these days is being self-aware and mindful of my time with my son. I don’t have as much time with him as I used to (because it’s the busy season) so when I am with him, I hide my phone and am present in the moment. I’m not tweeting photos or talking to other people, I’m just there with him playing, painting, or sword fighting like knights.

As a mompreneur, how do you approach risk taking? And how does being a mom factor into your decisions?

I approach risk taking full speed ahead. We have new ventures overseas and things are opening up for us, Alhamdulllah. How does being a mom factor in to things? My time is meticulously scheduled. From the time I drop him off at his pre-school to the time I leave to pick him up, I am focused 100% on work and making the best use of my time.

Is the profession personal? How do you keep a balance between home life and work life?

Again, I’m very focused and I do not socialize in the day while my son’s at school. I may go out with friends once or twice a month in the evenings. But once I’m on my own time, I try to make the most of it. While I’m with friends or family, I’m focused on them. It may be only a 30 minute visit with someone, but I try to make it a focused and fun time!

Raana Smith

What are you offering this festive season of Ramadan & Eid ?

We are very excited to offer our Party Kits for Ramadan and Eid. You can find them here. They include decorations, food kits (you add the goodies, we make them pretty), and even party activities like fanoos craft kits and a ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ inspired games.

And last but not the least, what advice can you give to other Mompreneurs?

If there’s something your passionate about, stick with it. Keep doing what you’re doing and never compromise on quality. Always make your intention to please Allah and you will be successful, Insha Allah.

We at Muslimmoms.ca wish her the very best for all her future ventures Insha Allah.

You can look through Silver Envelope’s Eid collection here. You can also ‘like’ their Facebook fanpage to stay posted on their latest offerings here.

Silver Envelope

 

About the author:

Mother to two wonderful kids, Rumina Rizvi works for an Islamic Education Academy, catering to a large community of Muslims, conducting Quranic and Islamic studies. She also works with New Muslim Care Halton Chapter for our New Muslim Revert brothers and sisters and feel sprivileged to be living in this part of world, learning and exploring knowledge of Deen and contributing to her community.

 

Event report: Halal Food Fest TO 2014

By Rumina Rizvi and Aaisha Zafar Islam

Halal Food Fest Toronto 2014

Halal Food Fest Toronto 2014

“Halal Food Fest TO, #hffto, is the largest halal food festival in North America attended by over 30,000 visitors. This year’s festival tagline is “Eating Well” to celebrate and promote healthy eating. We welcome everyone to join this celebration. With the events planned, the festival is sure to be a feast for your eyes — and of course, your stomachs. The Festival is organized annually to bring the community together.”

- Organizers of Halal Food Fest TO, 2014

We’d seen a blitz of messages preceding the festival and honestly, they had us at halal! Is the festival really a must-visit? MuslimMoms of Canada had a reporting team on ground to cover the largest halal food festival in North America. Read on!

According to Salima Jivraj, the founder and marketing director for Halal FoodFest TO, last year had seen more than 30,000 attendees at the event and the numbers were sure to be larger this year.

“We’ve doubled our venue size from last year and have more things planned for the entire family in seven festival areas,” she told the media as she took them around on the festival’s opening day.

Halal FoodFest TO was held on June 14th and 15th, at the International Centre, Mississauga.

With more than 200 vendors, including 75 + in the sample city alone, the festival was an absolute gastronomic treat!

Some highlights at this year’s FoodFest included the Grill Master Competition as well as demonstrations and informative seminars through-out the two days, on ‘Eating Well’ also the theme for this year.

Notables in the guest list included MP’s Brad Butt, Linda Jeffrey, S Wong, Shaykh Yousuf Badat and Shaykh Omar Subedar as John Tory introduced the speakers at the front stage. However the crowd’s most energetic cheering was reserved for  Nazem Kadri #43 from Toronto Maple Leaf, also the brand ambassador of the Paramount Fine Food.

Take a look through our picture gallery capturing the best of the festival, then read through our reporters’ accounts. Don’t forget to add your own comments on our discussion boards!

Veteran Festival Go-er

Rumina, an ardent foodie was at the event both days. She’d also come to the FoodFest held last year and had a good comparison model on hand already.

Day One

The moment I stepped in, I was astounded at how well organized the whole setup was. Unlike last year, there were no line ups at the registration booth.

With three rows for pre-registered attendees and separate ones for on-site ticket purchase as well as Help Desk tables, everything was streamlined from the very entrance.

After the media walk-though and opening speeches, I went to the Sample City to indulge in treats that vendors and sponsors had. My pick of the lot were Twisters’ yummy fresh cut fries with chilli’s, tornado fries and sausage stick. They had huge line ups and people were anxiously waiting for the hot n fresh tornado fries.

Next I got myself some kachori chat from Premium Sweets and headed for the outdoor Street Festival. I got to meet Chef Aleem Syed, Toronto’s Second Chef on a Wheelchair – Co-Owner and Executive Chef at Black Ox Bistro.

Finally I decided to have a full meal from the Burger Factory – a succulent beef patty filled with mozzarella cheese- grilled to perfection. I topped off everything with the famous funnel cake.

I knew I was done for the day with enough temptations to return for tomorrow!

Day two

The second day I went for another round of food sampling and exploring other stalls selling clothing, books and other items.

Clothings, hijabs, embellishments, jewellery, wall decorations and art works, Islamic charitable organizations and NGOs, it was a well-rounded line up of vendors.

Second day’s highlights included Azhar Usman, the famous stand up comedian to entertain the crowd. He took over the stage for Grill Master held at the Outdoor Street Fest.

The outdoors had vendor trucks from the famous Beaver tails, Yalla Paramount along with a newbie Buster’s Sea Cove. My eyes this time were on the savoury and succulent fall off-the-bone ribs by Karachi Kitchen, right at at the entrance to the outdoor.

It was a complete family event that will be much anticipated for another round, next year.

 

A First Timer’s Report

Aaisha Zafar Islam went there alone to report on the event, but the festive atmosphere and many, many treats and food temptations got her to call in her family and friends. Come one, come all!

To be fair, I am not a food enthusiast. I like good food, but I lose my appetite when I see too much of it. Despite the dazzling array of food varieties on sale at the second Halal Food Fest TO, I must say I enjoyed the event.

All feedback I had gathered from friends, of last year’s event, had scared me of huge line-ups and an absolute crush at the venue. I thought it wise to go there as a reporter and not as a festival attendee.  My idea went up in barbecue smoke as soon as I stepped into the Festival Area!

Here’s what I liked about the festival:

The variety of food, all halal that could be sampled, bought and eaten.

Daddy’s Halal Ribs were highly recommended by Salima in her media tour. I passed on her words of gastronomic wisdom to my husband and promptly got ribbed on the name. However, he did get me some of these famed ribs and a second round for himself, so that is real endorsement! Unlike me, my husband is a foodie, he loves trying out different cuisines, cholesterol and digestion worries all forgotten!

In a quirky turn of events, our party ended up eating from Daddy’s Ribs and Big Mama’s Burgers!

I also enjoyed the cheese seminars held through the day. Who knew there were such a number and assortment of artisan cheeses, all #madeinCanada, that we could eat as Muslims. I have saved that list for my next grocery trip!

The ‘pit stop’ complete with colouring books, crayons and a Chevy at the festival. The children in our party had actually monopolized this area! The friendly attendant there was given a crash course on where his friends lived by my son. My toddler, on the other hand refused to come out of the SUV. ‘Mine!’ she said, too bad we could not bring that vehicle home to ‘sample!’

Modest clothing, all natural personal care items, halal gummies, teas, Islamic books, one day was simply not enough to take in all the festival offered. Unfortunately my little ones were totally exhausted by the end of our day, and I had to stay at home to recover from the excitement on Sunday.

 

Did you go to the festival? What did you like the most? Let’s share our halal food finds on the MuslimMoms.ca forums!

 

Welcome To The Deen, Sisters

By Rumina Rizvi

Image: Salam Stock

Image: Salam Stock

All across the country, according to Statistics Canada, Muslim population is growing at a rate exceeding other religions. National Post, a Canadian daily, cited the National Household Survey of 2013 to report that the Muslim population is growing even faster than the number of Canadians identifying as having no religion, though just barely.

According to Wikipedia, there are 1,053,945 Muslims in Canada or about 3.2% of the population, making them the second largest religion after Christianity and the fastest growing religion in Canada. In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), 7.7% of the population is Muslim, making GTA the highest concentration of Muslims in any city in North America.

The New Muslim Care program is an engaging program that creates a positive impact on the lives of those who accept Islam and begin a new life as Muslims. Every participant goes through a cycle which includes components to assist them with various educational, emotional, and social needs. Through this approach, new Muslims are able to sustain their faith and remain steadfast in times of adversity.

Working with the New Muslim Care Halton Chapter, I get to interact with many reverts and also those who are interested to learn about Islam and experience it while being amongst Muslims. With the progressive numbers of Converts to Islam increasing every day, I decided to ask two sisters about their journey to Islam.

Personal stories of two Sisters

Alex, now Sister Madeha*, was born into a strong Christian family. Her upbringing was all about following Christian values as put in the New Testament. She went to public school in Hamilton for primary schooling and then a Catholic High School though it had mostly Muslim students. At that time, she says, she was a racist but that was only since she didn’t know much about Islam. Now she’s a practicing Muslimah Masha Allah and this is her story, in her own words.

“Years later after school and college I met someone who started teaching me about Islam and it intrigued me. I kept learning regularly, becoming more fascinated every day. Finally I realized I want to become Muslim.

“I started with asking my Muslim friends questions about culture and religion difference. I assumed maybe I’m being dumb but these questions needed to be asked. I started reading the Qur’an for my own understanding. I got struck by every word and was totally into it. I was living and breathing Islam. That’s all I had on my mind and about the past life.

“I then met the New Muslim Care Chapter and they had wonderful people to help and guide me. With them I could learn the daily rituals, greetings, mannerisms and etiquette. A lovely sister taught me things that are wowing me now. She taught me how to perform Wudhu and pray Salah with khushu and khuzu. I was taught how to wear a head scarf (hijab) by two little girls.

“I went to the Dar us Salam Mosque and declared my intention in front of few witnesses Wa ash-hadu anna Muhammad ar-rasullallah. Then the Takbeer… Allahu Akbar! was said aloud by everyone present.

“I’ve stopped listening to music, smoking, drinking or wearing revealing cloths. I was exiled from my family at first but with efforts and will of Allah swt we meet sometimes and they’ve accepted my new identity as a Muslim. Alhamdulilah I’m proud to be a Muslim and humbled by the constant guidance and help I receive from my New Muslim Care Sisters.

*Actual name was not disclosed due to request from the sister.

Another personal story of inspiration and reverting to the Deen is that of Sister Tahira. She too converted to Islam recently.

“After meeting and becoming friends with many Muslims from my university and asking hundreds of questions, I contacted community members that attended the local mosque and they guided me to New Muslim Care Sisters group. I gathered all information and every single word I wanted know about Islam. Once convinced that I wanted to make the final decision of entering Islam but there was a hurdle I had to pass.

“How I should tell my family. I decided that I was going to tell my mother before I converted, as I respected her a lot for raising me and taking care of me my entire life. I love her, and felt it was the right thing to do. I told her a few weeks before Christmas, and her reaction was hard to handle. She cried and wouldn’t talk to me for days, but I knew this is what I wanted to do, and I felt nothing should come before God. I was glad I told her before I went to the mosque, because one day she’ll realize I respected her enough to tell her beforehand.

“I was looking forward to the day I would go to the mosque. I continued to read, study, and memorize the Quran, and now, I am going to the mosque to convert (revert), Alhumdulillah, I have never felt this content before in my life. Ever since I started my journey to becoming a Muslim, I have felt at peace with my life, and I thank Allah every moment of the day for granting me the knowledge and wisdom to continue on my journey and guiding me on the right path. It was difficult with my family, but my mother is beginning to accept it, and one day, maybe she, too, will realize that Islam is the true path. Converting to Islam has honestly been the best decision I have ever made. Praying five times a day, giving up eating pork, gelatin and family (Christian) holidays was challenging initially but I feel pure now.

Advice for Convert Sisters

Although it all seems strange and new at first, keep praying and reading the Qur’an. You will find peace and strength in doing that. Talk to the sisters you see at the Mosque. I’ve found that people are more than happy to talk to new Muslims but you have to approach them first. Don’t be afraid to admit to other Muslims that you don’t know things, and ask questions. Make Dua and ask Allah to guide you and give you strength.

 

About the author:

Mother to two wonderful kids, Rumina Rizvi works for an Islamic Education Academy, catering to a large community of Muslims, conducting Quranic and Islamic studies. She also works with New Muslim Care Halton Chapter for our New Muslim Revert brothers and sisters and feel sprivileged to be living in this part of world, learning and exploring knowledge of Deen and contributing to her community.

Are you looking for more knowledge about the Deen, or do you know someone who is getting interested in reverting? Join us for support and discussions on all matters of faith on our forums.