Category Archives: Be Inspired

The First Days of Fasting

By Saraa Mahfouz

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I felt excitement when I learned that I will be fasting that Ramadan. I was almost 9 years old and Ramadan was during the winter months. The days were shorter and the breeze became cooler.

I remember telling my mom what I wanted for Suhoor; a bowl of my favourite cereal and glass of juice. When my dad woke me up with a slight knocking at the door and coming to my bedside speaking quietly, I immediately jumped out of bed. We sat together at the breakfast table and started eating. My dad reminded me to make the intention and then smiled at me proudly. It was almost time to for school and I brushed my teeth and headed out to the world.

The first thing I did as I got to school was rush to my teacher and tell her I was fasting and that I couldn’t eat or drink all day. My teacher seemed happy but confused as she didn’t know what was going on. She asked if I can explain more and maybe do a presentation to the class. I was really excited and nervous at the same time. At that time I was the only student in the school who wore a hijab. There were other Muslims in the school and many were fasting as well.

After the morning announcements were made my teacher called on me to come up to the class and explain what Ramadan was. I walked slowly to the front of the class and started telling my classmates about how I will fast for the month, no eating or drinking from morning until evening. Of course my knowledge of the subject was limited at that age but I explained to them that I was fasting to recognize the children in the world who don’t have food. Many of the students asked if they can fast as well. It was an exciting feeling and I felt proud of myself. The next day almost the whole class said they were fasting!

Fast forward 15 years later. I have my own classroom and my own set of students. The first day of Ramadan came during the fall. It was the first week of school and Ramadan had already begun. My students were the same age as me when I first fasted and the excitement was the same if not more. This time all the students in my class were Muslim but all of them had different cultural traditions. Students came rushing to me in the morning to tell me they were fasting with the same speed that I once had.

I imagined myself running through those doors excitedly telling my teacher. The students were proud that they were fasting and most of them knew they were fasting for the same reason and more. They wanted to decorate and sing Ramadan songs. They wanted to share their stories of breaking their fast with their families. I looked at them with pride the same way my father did that first morning of fasting. I thought to myself that I couldn’t wait to share the traditions with my own little family.

About the Author

Saraa Mahfouz is a mom of two boys (3 and 1) and is expecting a girl in July. She has been an elementary teacher for 6 years and has a passion for sharing her thoughts and experiences with others.  She started blogging in her university years but motherhood and her two busy boys have since become her first priority. Saraa also dabbled in photography for some time. She is very excited to get back into writing and sharing her passion with the muslimmoms.ca community.

Eds’ Note: Blessed Ramadan

ramadan kareem

Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you many learn piety and righteousness” (2:183)

The most beautiful and blessed month is coming very soon and it is never too early to prepare. These 29 or 30 days, give us so many opportunities for reconnecting with family, the soul and most importantly Allah (swt). It is the greatest time to reignite your inner fire.

We at Muslimmoms.ca have a wonderful line up of articles for you for Ramadan. Why do you fast? What happens if you eat something? People question what they do not understand and the concept of “starving yourself” for the sake of religion is something many do not understand. Do you have the answers? We do in our FAQ of Ramadan article.

Did you know that fasting can actually be beneficial to your health? We have a number of wonderful articles that will show you the benefits of fasting as well as to help ensure you have a healthy Ramadan.

Working during Ramadan can be a challenge and we have the tips you need to speak to your employer and colleagues about Ramadan as well how to keep up with your work during Ramadan.

It is essential to excite our children about Ramadan and Eid. With the strong presence of Christmas, Easter and other Non-Muslim holidays in the West, it is vital that we show our children the beauty of our holidays. Educate them and involve them. We have some lovely crafts to share with you that will undoubtedly get your kids motivated!

Inviting guests over for Iftar? Along with our weekly recipes you’ll surely want to share at an iftar gathering, we also have some healthy suhoor ides to share. Further, we’ll give you our advice on iftar etiquette.

A jam packed month to help you with all your Ramadan planning! Wishing you a blessed Ramadan!

Dedicated to Charitable Causes

By Erum Zehra

Charitable causes

Those who (in charity) spend of their goods by night and by day, in secret and in public, have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

[2: Al-Baqara-274]

Allah undoubtedly rewards those who generously give to the needy and help with cash and kind. There are innumerable organizations performing commendable deeds in Canada and all over the world that need our assistance. We have compiled a list of some charitable organizations based in Canada as “Charity begins at home”. All of the following are working for worthy causes that can benefit greatly from your patronage.

Nisa Homes

Nisa Homes, a project of National Zakat Foundation, is the first group of transitional homes for Muslim women and children in Canada. They offer shelter, food, medical help, spiritual aid, therapists, counselors, and financial aid to women from all backgrounds and different walks of life. Many of their residents are survivors of domestic violence. They have two homes, one in Mississauga, Ontario and one in Vancouver, British Columbia. They need donations to provide food and other facilities to their residents on a regular basis. Please visit the following for more information.
www.nisahomes.com
www.facebook.com/nisahomes

315 NISA

Muslim Women’s Helpline is the first and largest Muslim women’s helpline in North America. They answer over 2,400 calls every year and due to their limited resources, they still end up missing calls. Their counselors are available twelve hours a day and can help with virtually any issue that women might be facing.  Please donate to help them serve even more women. Please visit the following for more information:
www.315nisa.com
www.facebook.com/315nisa

Maryam Home

Maryam Home, a project of ICNA Relief Canada, is a temporary shelter home for women experiencing abuse.  Maryam Home will be open to all women but mainly seeks to help single, Muslim women who find themselves in abusive domestic situations in and around the GTA. The home will provide women with shelter, halal food and counseling to help them return to living normal lives and regain their confidence. ICNA Relief has already purchased a suitable property in Mississauga and requires 1 million dollars to renovate, furnish, staff the facility and begin operations soon. Please click here to donate: icnareliefcanada.ca/maryam-home

Plan Canada

Plan Canada gives you the opportunity to sponsor a girl and transform her life for only $39 per month. You can choose the region where you want to sponsor the child. As part of your sponsorship you can exchange letters and photos and visit your sponsored child. When you sponsor a child, your donations are pooled to support a wide range of programs in your sponsored child’s community. This means you are helping to improve the life of your sponsored child and the lives of all those in the community.  plancanada.ca/sponsoragirl

Children of Hope

Children of Hope is a volunteer organization that works to help orphans and destitute children around the world. They raise funds to meet the basic needs of these children to ease their suffering irrespective of race, religion or creed. They also help to educate these children so that they can lead respectable lives and have a bright future. Please visit http://childrenofhope.ca/ for more information.

HOPE

Help Orphans and Promote Education (H.O.P.E) Foundation has been helping orphaned children, youth and their families for more than three years. They’re proud of their heritage of cultivating community building, supporting academic readiness, and embracing diversity. Beyond caste, color, creed, religion or nationality. H.O.P.E is here to bring attention to the orphans of the world, the less fortunate among us, who seek such refuge, shelter and care. Please visit www.helpforhope.ca for more information.

My Women Support – Dedicated to Empowering Women

By Erum Zehra

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As mothers we have a tendency of keeping the needs of our families before ours. While this helps our families develop and achieve their goals, we end up neglecting ourselves. Sometimes this negligence makes us lag behind in life and we lose the sense of achievement and empowerment. Kiran Moid launched her website in 2005 to reach out to women who needed help with empowerment and motivate them to achieve what they want. We at Muslimmoms.Ca interviewed her to learn more about her initiative and efforts.

What is the history behind “MywomenSupport” and when was it created?

When I came to Canada 14 years ago I went through all the phases that a new immigrant had to go through. I went through stress, anxiety, pregnancy and above all adjusting with the new environment. Being a fresh business graduate I applied my management knowledge in this situation and treated this phase of life as the initial stage of management. I developed workshops for moms where they learned time management skills, decision making, leadership, problem solving and how to apply them in their daily life. It was a big success and one can easily see the changes in the life of those women. In 2005 I started MyWomenSupport.com, this was the time when internet was not very common in our community and social media did not exist. We are a registered Non-profit now and our work for the betterment of women in the society is still going on. The thought behind MyWomenSupport is to empower women and motivate them to achieve what they dream.

How can women be empowered?

Empowerment comes from within .Thinking positive and looking at the brighter side that anything is possible if they put their heart into it. Never stop learning: a new craft, a new language or improving your existing language skills, a business course or parenting skills are all ways of self improvement. Learning is food for mind and a healthy mind help you become a better person in every way. So a woman who is well equipped, mentally strong and eager to learn is an empowered woman.

 Can you share some stories of women you have already helped?

I am fortunate to be a part of the Non Profit sector because one can feel the importance of human existence in the society where people are linked without being related to each other and you are connected through feelings and emotions. A long-term relationship is not a guarantee for a healthy relationship. A times you are alone in the presence of all the people around you and you need someone who listen to you without judging you and help you explore different options with you. You get to listen to stories that revolve around betrayal, mistrust, bad decision, lies, authority challenge, self-existence, brutality, cheating and sometimes adventure.

Once a senior woman called and insisted that she will only talk to me .When we talked for the first time I listened to her story. She was a broken woman who had given more than 35 years to her marriage and kids but now she was alone as her husband had been in a polygamous marriage and her real sons had disowned her. She did not have the basic necessities of life. She called when no one was home. I wanted to help her beyond my profession because my heart was superseding the mind at this time but I had to control my emotional self and guide her to make her decision. It was tough but together we did whatever was best for her.

How can you help women facing domestic violence/abuse?

Domestic violence eats a person from inside. They lose their confidence, self-esteem, and strength, mental and physical stability; basically their whole personality is affected. We encourage the person to talk, as sharing your story or problem with someone who knows how to solve it can help them in a big way. Prolonging the situation encourages the abuser to continue with his actions because there is no one to stop him. We guide them step by step and refer the victim of abuse/violence to available resources if we do not specialize in a particular state of affairs. We are fortunate that the government in power is taking some serious steps to support the victim and help is available out there. Please do not keep silent as silence can harm you.

 What are you other areas of expertise?

MyWomenSupport has been helping women to start their own business by providing them basic knowledge and financial help.  Life skill coaching, skill development and career development are some other areas that I support women with. I like to listen to My Women and I am told that I am a good listener. I do not like to leave my clients in the middle of a situation because I work like a friend who is there for you in need.

How can women request help from you?

Our website is http://www.MyWomenSupport.com.We are accessible through e-mail , phone and one to one sessions can also be arranged if required. My direct phone number is 647-830 8425.

 What are your future plans?

Right now we are working with our local government to establish a Women Empowerment Hub which will work as a social enterprise and a BIA (Business Improvement Area) that is focused on women entrepreneurs. This will provide a platform for women to grow and participate in the growth of our economy. We need more female participation in politics, trade, and business especially from our immigrant women.

 How can the community help you?

We are always in search of women with skills who would like to contribute by sharing their knowledge. We can train them so they can help others. This society is so dependent on people who work selflessly to make others happy and we are fortunate that people around us are eager to help but structured help can make a better impact. Volunteering increases the happy hours of your life so if you want to help others please contact us so together we can make a difference in the life of others.

 

 

The Noble Call Of Teaching

By Aruj Sipra

The noble call of teaching

Teaching is one of the oldest and noblest services to the society in any culture. It’s also a process to prepare the next generation of skilled professionals and workers like engineers, doctors, educators, legislators and good citizens.

Being a teacher myself, I can say that teaching enlightens both parties, student as well as the teacher. Not only the students learn but the teacher also learns the lessons of life from students.

I started my teaching career right after graduating, as a way to start earning and the thought of getting my paycheque kept me going though I would say, it was not an easy ride. I was and still am fond of little children but at a distance so having a class of 20 children under the ages of three years old was pretty hard especially when you are young and naive yourself. There were many cries, grunting and kicking and to make matters worse, at times, I was the only teacher in the classroom. I survived against all odds because I had in me, one of the most important powerful teaching tool, patience.  A teacher’s patience is the heart of students’ long-term learning and skills.

Teaching isn’t for everyone, but if you love being around children, then it’s one of the noblest professions. You should have patience and to make it easier, have a pretty good sense of humour. Many times I have noticed children say the funniest things and I laugh with them. I feel much better because my students see me as a happy person.

Pre-school is also one of the most rewarding and fun grades to teach. Everything is new and exciting to these students. They love to sing and play games and really can learn to work together and treat each other with a great deal of kindness.

A positive feedback, simple words like“good job” or  “excellent” may not mean much to us but they mean the whole world to students. Publicly praise positive behaviour and show your students that you are celebrating their achievements as well.

The hardest part of being in this position is when parents don’t back you. If you have kids throwing punches, you simply can’t have it. And the parents will sometimes come in and make a hundred excuses; it’s not their child, it’s not their fault. When you don’t get support to correct problems, it’s disappointing.

I am often asked by the parents, “What are the best ways parents can help teachers and that teachers can help parents?” My answer, The Child-Parent-Teacher Triangle method which was developed by Dr Maria Montessori.

The three best ways parents can help teachers:

  1. Be involved in your child’s education – show them that you care and create a positive ‘triangle’ relationship between yourself, your child and your child’s teacher.
  2. Educate yourself on the current trends in education – how is your child’s teacher educating your child. Times change and so does the way we teach. As a parent it is your job to come to grips with the new ways of learning, to best support and guide your child through their learning journey.
  3. Send them to school happy – give your child a hug before they walk out the door and you head off to work. Look them in the eye and tell them how much you love them, how proud of them you are and boost their confidence every day. They will be more secure and ready to start a positive day of learning.

The three best ways teachers can help parents:

  1. Communicate – it is the key to success and keeping parents involved in their child’s education is critical. Don’t wait until parent conferences to let them know that their child is falling behind. Email them, call them or talk to them at the gate – keep them involved!
  2. Educate them – bring them in for professional development – teach them how you teach Math or English – support their learning as it is just as important as their child’s. They have to support learning at home.
  3. Be positive – send a note home or an email to let them know the amazing things their child is doing. Make no exceptions, do this for EVERY child. The smallest thing, can make the biggest difference!

There is always a leg-up personality in every successful person’s life. In most of the cases you will find, it is either one of their teacher or one of the grandparent that helped them how to ride and control reins of life. Aristotle said, “Those who educate the children are more to be honoured than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.”

About the author:

Aruj Sipra is the community manager at MuslimMoms.ca, a teacher who absolutely loves her job and derives true joy from interacting with little ones.

 

Nisa Homes – Dedicated To Helping Women

By Erum Zehra

Nisa Homes

MuslimMoms.ca talks to Zena Chaudhry about Nisa Homes and how the organization, with its transitional homes for women and their children, has been instrumental in helping these victims of abuse get their lives back on track. 

Can you please share with us stories of some women who are housed in Nisa Homes so that we can get an idea of their plight?

Due to confidentiality and safety issues, we cannot share entire stories, however there is one story which always sticks out for me. We got a call from an older woman one night whose abusive husband had Islamically divorced her. That same night, we picked her up from the closest GO station and brought her to Nisa Homes. From there, we learned that she had been trying to complete her Master’s degree but was having great difficulty due to the domestic abuse. Nisa Homes became a safe space for her where she could focus on herself and we were there for her to help her get her life back on track. Three months later, she graduated with her Master’s degree, got an apartment, and a job. She embodies what we hope and wish for all of our residents. Our goal is to support them in realizing their potential and truly believing just how strong and courageous they are.

It’s also interesting to note the statistics of the major reason why women and children come to Nisa Homes. 38.6% of the residents come due to domestic abuse, 36.5% come due to poverty, 13.6% come because they are refugees or immigrants without support, and 11.3% come for various other reasons. All of these women and children need our support, so our house operators and volunteers are trained to understand and work with women from all different walks of life.

Who are the people behind Nisa Homes. What is its history and when was it created?

The idea behind Nisa Homes was brought up in 2014 within National Zakat Foundation. They set out to determine whether there was a need for transitional homes or shelters for Muslim women and children in Canada. Their preliminary report indicated that there was indeed a demand and they set out to open the first transitional home for Muslim women and children soon after. In 2015, the homes began filling up and we began to see a clear need across Canada for these homes. At the moment, there are two homes – one in Mississauga, ON and one in Surrey, BC. Nisa Homes is run by two individuals – me and Yasmine Youssef. However, we do have the support and backing of National Zakat Foundation, as well. Zubair Qasim and Zaid Mirza are our two advisors and National Zakat Foundation, as a whole, is our financial backer.

How common is domestic abuse in a country like Canada?

Domestic abuse exists in every nation and state around the world and Canada is not an exception. Every six days, a Canadian woman is killed by an intimate partner – if that statistic isn’t alarming, 1 in 4 women have also experienced some sort of abuse in their lifetime. Additionally, 67% of all Canadians say that they personally know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted.

Further, it is important for us to recognize that the Muslim community is not immune to this either. There is domestic abuse in Muslim communities too but this doesn’t mean that our rates are statistically higher or lower than those of the rest of Canadians. We need to understand that people from all cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds can be abused. When people talk about “honour killings” what they don’t understand and take into account is the fact that any domestic abuse-related murder is an honour killing, regardless of the religious background of the perpetrator.

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What kind of laws are in place to protect victims from domestic abuse?

Unfortunately, there are no specific laws about family violence, however many of the laws currently in place can work to protect women and men from an abuser. These laws can be found at: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/fv-vf/laws-lois.html

Does the government provide any kind of support to such victims?

Yes, there are some services provided by the government for survivors of domestic violence. There are victim services offices in every major region of Canada, shelters, helplines, and survivors of domestic abuse and violence are also put on the priority list for subsidized housing.

If yes, then why was there a need to establish a facility like Nisa Homes?

Nisa Homes was created due to a need in the Muslim community. We have no statistics or information about the number of Muslim women and children who are abused and this is, in part, due to the Muslim community being unwilling to talk about these topics. Domestic abuse and homelessness are seen as taboo topics in the Muslim community so it is important for us to bring these issues to the forefront because they will not go away if we refuse to address them. We should not deny the existence of abuse in our community but we should instead work to provide education and social services to create a safe environment for Muslim women and children.

Islam honours women greatly, so why haven’t there been strides made to protect them? We, as a Muslim community, have a responsibility to protect and honour women so how can we do that without having specific services for them?

Additionally, Nisa Homes is not just a group of transitional homes. We offer shelter, food, counseling, behavioural therapists for children, referral services, education and employment services, safety and sustainability planning, and financial assistance.

Through working at Nisa Homes, we have discovered that Muslim women often returned to abusive and unsafe homes to avoid staying at shelters due to stigma within the Muslim community as well as the community at large that often further exacerbates the problem by putting the onus on Islam. Additionally, mainstream shelters portrayed a lack of cultural and religious sensitivity from both the other residents as well as shelter workers at times, which results in women not being able to practice their religion, heal through spirituality or be prosecuted for their religious choices by, for example, being turned away from shelters, not being allowed to have iftar if the time did not coincide with dinner, or mocked for praying or making wudu (ablution).

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How are the operations and the facilities funded?

All of our funding comes from private donors – we don’t get any funding from the government. Thus, the majority of our funds come from zakat, sadaqah, and donations. The rest of it is all sadaqah and general donations. Whenever Nisa Homes cannot make ends meet, National Zakat Foundation assists in covering our expenses. However, it is our goal to be self-sufficient within this year, insh’Allah. In order to do that, we need to build a strong donor base which goes out and actively fundraises for Nisa Homes along with donating themselves. Donations can be made at www.nisahomes.com/donate

How can the community help Nisa Homes?

The three most important ways that the community can help Nisa Homes are: spreading the word about Nisa Homes, donating funds or items, and donating your time and effort. Don’t shy away from talking about domestic abuse and violence in the Muslim community – let’s address this issue and help the women and children who fact this abuse.
For in-kind donations, you can always email nisahomes@nzf.ca to see what items we are looking for at a certain time. We always welcome toiletries and non-perishable food items which can be dropped off at our office.

World Hijab Day: Feb 1st, 2016

By: Rahila Ovais

Hejab

For this World Hijab Day we asked our fellow team members a few questions on Hijab? See their insightful answers below:

1. What does the Hijab mean to you?
2. How do you feel when you wear the Hijab?
3. When did you start wearing the hijab and what lead you to making that decision?
4. Were your family and friends supportive? What did they say?
5. What reactions did you get when first starting to wear the hijab?
6. Have you ever had any negative attention while wearing the hijab? Please explain.
7. Have you have any positive attention while wearing the hijab? Please explain.
8. Have you had any funny comments or moments while wearing the hijab?
9. If you could say what you wanted to non-Muslims regarding the hijab what would you say?
10. Lastly, how do you feel about the hijab being recognized as ‘oppressive’?

Erum Zehra

  1. Hijab is an essential part of my attire and expresses my identity as a Muslim woman.

  2. I feel complete and comfortable when I wear Hijab.

  3. I started wearing Hijab after I went for ziyarat at the shrine of prophet’s grandson Imam Hussain, the great martyr. The visit reminded me of the sacrifices given to preserve the true essence of our religion. Adopting Hijab was a way of accepting and practicing this true essence.

  4. Yes, they were supportive and happy.

  5. To be honest, I didn’t care about how people were reacting. I was focused on making Allah happy and that made me happy too.

  6. Not any I can remember.

  7. Yes, women have come up to me and said Masha Allah you do Hijab.

  8. I don’t recall any

  9. Hijab is a part of several religions including Christianity and Judaism.

  10. I find my Hijab to be liberating and protective at the same time. It is so much more than a garment and it’s certainly not oppressive.

 

Mona Ismaeil

1. Hijab is my outward expression of my deepest self. It is my protection, my identity and my devotion to Allah (swt)
2.  I feel empowered, protected and very confident. I know that I am an embarrassed of my deen and I wear it with pride. I want to be that go to person for when people have questions. I want to have open and honest dialogue about the beauty of hijab and in turn the truth about women in Islam.
3. I was 22. I felt that the hijab and a stronger connection with Allah (swt) was missing from my life. It was just time to put it on.
4. They were all very supportive. It was something i really wanted to do and my Muslim and Non-Muslim friends alike respected that.
5. I actually received many positive reactions. I feel I received more respect.
6. I think I am one of the “lucky ones” I have actually not received any negative attention.
7. Many people (especially Non-Muslims) start off with “I love your scarf”, “you look so beautiful”, etc. I like to accept those compliments in a very welcoming manner hoping to initiate dialogue about hijab.
8. Someone asked my husband if he had ever seen my hair.
9. Hijab truly is a beautiful thing and in all Faiths there is a form or another of head covering for women. Let’s focus on what we have in common as human beings and less on what makes us different. Ask questions to increase knowledge, not to ridicule. Open your mind to understanding us and we will open our hearts to sharing what we are all about.
10. It’s actually the total opposite! Having full control over how much of your body someone sees is incredibly liberating. Hijab gives a Muslim women so much power over herself.

Rahila Ovais

  1. To me, hijab is not just that piece of cloth covering my hair. When I first decided to don the hijab, It took a complete overhaul of my closet. It’s a constant reminder of what it means to be a Muslim. It’s a continuous prompt that I must also always make sure of all the little things that are required of me, to pray on time, not to indulge in gossip, not to lie, not to listen to music to name a few.  Hijab is my identity now. No one has to wonder and ask me what my background is or where I am from. They see me as a Muslim and that is enough.

  2. Donning the hijab has made me more confident, more self assured and contrary to popular belief, it has given me more independence. I feel protected.

  1. It has been about five years since I started wearing hijab. Before I started taking hijab I used to look at all other hijabi sisters with respect and admiration and wished I could be as strong and brave as them, I used to ask them to pray for me too that Allah gives me Hidaya (guidance). Inspiration came to me in many ways. I had attended a lecture during my last pregnancy and the lecturer described how a woman when she gives birth becomes as pure as the baby. The way she described it gave me goose bumps and sent chills down my spine. I wished I had been enlightened earlier.

  2. It was interesting to note that my coworkers were more supportive than family! My family is a reflection of modern day Muslim. It is a general opinion on my husband and in-laws’ side that we don’t have to dress a certain way to be identified as a good Muslim. I agree with this to a certain level. Wearing a hijab does not really qualify you as a Good Muslim but for me it has certainly enabled me to learn more and practice more of my religion without imposing it on others around me.

  3. I remember the first day when I walked into my work with my hijab on, I was ready for a few weird looks and a lot of questions. It was to my uttermost surprise that there were no weird looks; in fact most of my coworkers complimented me. Few had questions, like what made me decide to wear hijab after all these years. To them my answer was simple “because I have to, my religion prescribes it for me, and because I want to set a good example for my girls and if not now then when”.

  4. Alhamdolillah I have never encountered any negative attention due to hijab.  Most people are genuinely interested in learning more about hijab.

  1. During an event at work, I couldn’t believe how many pleasant encounters I had. There was this Egyptian lady, when I greeted her in the morning, she automatically replied with a Salam. Another Muslim Pakistani gentleman said Salam and automatically lowered his gaze while he spoke to me. Yet another older Muslim lady, who had met me before in my non-hijab wearing days had a hard time recognizing me, nevertheless when she did she said “MashaAllah you look good. Pray for me too”. I replied “In sha Allah, you never know when you will be inspired and Allah will grant you Tawfeeq (inspiration)”.

  2. Once I was walking with my co-worker on a particularly windy day, I quickly learned wind is NOT my friend especially when I was wearing a silk scarf!

About the Author: 

Rahila Ovais is a mother to four ranging from 20 to 5 years old. She’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself. You can follow her on Facebook: HijabiMommy.

39 Things I Learned in My 30′s

By Rahila Ovais

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2015 marked the year when I celebrated the last of my birthdays in my 30’s.  Besides the fact that I still cringe and cry every time I discover a new grey hair; my 30’s were the years when I really embraced aging.  Being a young mom, I spent my 20’s in child rearing and career building. Now that I approach the big 4-0, I can honestly say that my 30’s were the learning years. Here is a list of things I have learned……

  1. Allah has perfect timing; never early, never late. It takes a little patience and it takes a lot of faith. But it’s worth the wait.

  1. Believe in the power of prayer with conviction.

  1. Before you judge other people’s actions, ask yourself “Have I been in this situation before?” If not, don’t judge!

  1. Learn to always mind your own business.

  1. Hurt me and I may forgive and forget, I may even turn another cheek, but if anyone hurts my family I will turn around and bite.

  1. Don’t let anyone tell you “you can’t”.

  1. I am not a morning person but oh the wonders you get to see when you wake up early.

  1. “Kill them with kindness; bury them with smile”.  Smile when taking a compliment; also when being criticised. Smile when you don’t have an answer.

  1. Worrying doesn’t improve anything.  Most problems get worse if we take them too seriously.

  1. Don’t undermine yourself by comparing with others. You are in no competition with anyone.

  1. Envy is a waste of time; you already have all you need.

  1. Do not change your own hopes and wishes to make others happy.

  1. A handwritten greeting card, a handpicked wildflower bouquet or a home-made cake; these are the things that matter.

  1. Take lots of pictures of your kids when they are young, they grow up too fast but do not forget to make memories in the process.

  1. It’s never too late to do anything you want.

  1. Life would be boring if everything was perfect.

  1. Patience is needed with everyone but most importantly with ourselves.

  1. Men are from earth, women are from earth; just deal with it!

  1. Before making a choice, always ask yourself the most basic question. “Can you sleep at night with the choice you made?”

  1. Spend as much time as you can with your grandparents. You will miss them a lot when they are gone.

  1. The best person who can help you out of your problems is the one you see in the mirror.

  1. There is nothing wrong in being the first to apologize. It is equally important to accept an apology wholeheartedly.

  1. Nothing should stop you from standing up for what is right; sometimes  being kind is more important than being right.

  1. “Honesty is the best policy”. Never cheat or lie.  My mom did a fine job of teaching me that, now I can not lie to even save my life.

  1. Express gratitude. Be the first one to say “thank you”; people will always remember that about you.

  1. Keep your sense of humour.

  1. Age is just a number and grey hair happens; this is your time to be creative with it.

  1. If time permits, volunteer you time for others.

  1. Holding on to grudges takes a lot of energy.  Forgive often and wholeheartedly.

  1. The key to being happy is to expect nothing from others. You are in-charge of your own happiness. Go buy those goddamn 4 inch heels if that’s what will make you happy!

  1. Teach your kids to enjoy the wonders of life. Spend time outdoors in nature and marvel at the sunsets and full moons together.

  1. When life gets crazy, do something normal. And if life gets too normal, do something crazy.

  1. You children will become who you are; so be what you want them to be.

  1. Write down all the funny things your kids say when they are young. They will be all grown up in the blink of an eye.

  1. Save that last piece of chocolate for yourself.  Sometimes there is nothing wrong with being selfish.

  1. You will eventually become your mother, be proud of it.

  1. Take all the learning opportunities that arise when you are trying to teach your kids.

  1. Keep your promises.

  1. Life is a circus; It’s a balancing act and a juggling routine. Have fun!

 

Share the lessons you have learned as part of growth?

About the Author: 

Rahila Ovais is a mother to four ranging from 20 to 5 years old. She’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself. You can follow her on Facebook: HijabiMommy.

Coming Up with a Great New Years Resolution

By  Elaf Salim

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As I watch the snow fall in my backyard, I can’t help but think about the past year, 2015 and all the events that happened changing my life and the lives of people I know. The year has come to an end, wrapping up all our accomplishments and our struggles. If you are a fan of personal growth and development, it is a good practise to set yourself some goals in the beginning of the new year to work on them and hopefully achieve them by the end of 2016. Having hopes and aspirations for the new year is a beautiful habit but if you would like to actually achieve them I have some tips for you.

1-      Step into Reality

It is very important to understand your current starting point, all you have achieved so far and all the strengths and weaknesses you have before you choose your goals. Grab a piece of paper or your journal and start describing your current life. Write about your family, relationships, friendships, health, career and financial situation.

2-      Decide Where You Want to Go

Where do you wish to be by the end of the year? Write down a detailed description of your life and the accomplishments you would like to achieve. If you don’t know your destination, you will end up somewhere else. Also make sure your goals stretch you beyond your comfort zone but are still achievable. For example, if you live in a one bedroom apartment and would like to up-level, you can set a goal to move into your first town house, instead of your dream 10 bedroom mansion. While Allah can absolutely make all your dreams come true and everything is actually possible, it is better to set a goal that you believe you can achieve within a year.

3-      Choose Your Set of Measurable Goals

The key here is to choose a few tangible goals so you are not overwhelmed and to make these goals measureable and specific. For example, instead of hoping to ‘lose weight’, set yourself a specific achievable goal such as, ‘lose 10 pounds’. This will help you a lot in planning and decision making and will keep your momentum going throughout the year.

4-      Write the Detailed Steps

You need to have a plan, in order to achieve these goals by the end of the year. So write down the actionable steps you need to accomplish for each of the goals to come to life. Try to be specific and detailed so you can track your progress throughout the year.

 

Here are some of my goals for inspiration. You may relate to some of them but your goals will be different since you are a beautiful unique human being and your life is different:

-          Spend 1 or 2 hours of quality time with my son everyday

-          Read at least 1 page of Quran everyday

-          Visit friends and family and enjoy their company twice

   per month

-          Take two weeks of vacation and travel back to Egypt

-          Strive to achieve a consistent level of monthly income

   from my business – add your specific number here ;)

-          Eat healthy meals at least 4 times every week

I hope you have a wonderful new year and may God give you all your heart desires.

About the Author:

Elaf Selim is a Software Engineer, a Jewelry designer, a blogger and a Mom. She is the owner of SkiesAndSparkles.com, a handmade artisan jewelry shop. She loves photography, writing, historical architectures and nature in all forms.

 

 

Tips For The Online Momprenuer

By Mona Ismaeil

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I started my online business with my husband in 2010. I can’t believe it’s been that long!  Elhamdulillah it has been a success and although it took a long time to get off the ground, it was worth the effort. When I chose to stay home with Manessa in 2013, knowing I had Modern Hejab to occupy my time as well as provide financial support for my family made that decision easier.

It was not easy at first and I would be lying if I said that an online business is easy – it is not! Although you aren’t opening up a store with long working hours, it is equally difficult but in a totally different way.  Online selling gives flexibility and you can reach customers from all over the world, but there is far more competition for you which means you really have to know what you’re doing.  Here are some tips to help make your endeavour a bit easier.

Know Your Product

When you decide what you want to sell, it must be something you really understand. You must be a product expert in order to be able to successfully sell it to others. Potential customers feel more comfortable buying when they feel like the seller knows everything about that item. For example, I sell hijabs. That means I must know everything and anything about hijab. That means fabrics, what’s good for each face shape, styling, washing, drying, EVERYTHING!

Know Your Selling Platform

There are so many places you can sell your product, you need to choose which one is best for your type of business, your commitment and your budget.

Amazon: www.amazon.com

Great platform which can help you to move a great deal of product. Requires a big commitment as they have strict rules for images, postings, communication with customers. Also it is a great deal of effort to set up. You have to know how to play by the rules! Also, they have Amazon fees which takes a chunk out of your profit.

Etsy: www.etsy.com

Fantastic site especially for handmade items . There is a certain culture that goes along with Etsy which lends well to more expensive handmade items. The only thing to consider is you have to pay $0.20 per listing per month. You’ll be investing into keeping the listing up whether or not you’re selling.

Ebay: www.ebay.com / www.ebay.ca

This site is easy to set up and can be great for selling but there is very high competition as you can have sellers from all over the world. Your prices needed to be very low in order to compete.

Your own website

It is always great to have your own site as long as you know how to drive traffic to it. Your website will not just show up on google on its own. You will need to put some effort into marketing and SEO. Also, the design and set up will take time.

Facebook

This is probably your easiest option for setting up a selling space. It has the least amount of effort when it comes to set up. Be sure to make a PAGE, not a GROUP. You will have to set up some sort of payment system which you can do through PayPal.  You will have to do some work in getting followers and engaging them to keep them not only interested but so that you continue to show up on their feed.

Know Your Competition

If you sell jewellery, you must be knowledgeable of all the other jewellery sellers as well in your style, price range and location (city and country). In the online world, you are not only competing with the store across the street, you are competing with every online store across the WWW. This means you need to step up your game when it comes to products, promotions and marketing.

Know your Customer

This takes time but you must understand your customer base. The way you market to moms is different than you would teenage girls. If your product is good for different ages, genders, etc. you must really work hard to cater to all of those and market to their liking.

Remember You Are Still a Mom

I’m not a stranger to getting frustrated with Manessa because I’m trying to work and she’s nagging at me. We must remember that you and your business but work around your child’s needs not the other way around. We are first and foremost moms and developing a balanced schedule and life is tricky but you can do it! Your passion for your business and your family will be your greatest asset.

 

About the Author:

Mona Ismaeil is  the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary  teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.

Are you an entrepreneur, or thinking of going that route? How do you manage your time to make sure that your business is as successful as your family life?