Category Archives: Be Inspired

Ramadan and Beyond: Feeling Blessed and Happy

By: Elaf Selim

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I have a friend who is very pure at heart but she always struggles with many aspects in her life; feeling depressed and sometimes miserable. She wishes to feel peace and happiness. I was talking to her the other day about the happiness we feel every year in Ramadan and I realized that this month is a great opportunity for anyone who wishes to strengthen their gratitude muscles and train their eyes and hearts to see all the blessings that God gave us. This leads certainly to a peaceful and happy heart, something we all hope for.

Since you are reading this article, chances are that you live in more comfort than many people on the planet who have no access to electricity and the internet. You probably have a roof over your head and you probably know what you will eat tomorrow. Going through the day to day business of life, sometimes makes us forget how much we are blessed. I believe that no matter where you are in life and what your struggles are, you can ‘choose’ to see all of God’s blessings in your life. It’s a conscious choice that we can make in our hearts and ask God for strength, support and guidance as we train ourselves to be more content and happy with everything we have regardless of everything we don’t. So, even if your life is tough and full of hardship, you will probably find so many small gifts and blessings here and there to ease the pain and comfort you. And there is no better time than Ramadan to focus on this soulful growth.

So the question is: how can this beautiful state of mind and soul be achieved? The secret to be utterly grateful and happy is to open your heart to God’s help and strive to live in the moment, every single moment. Living in the moment will allow your heart to see and enjoy all the beauty around you. Seize the opportunity whenever you notice little things you love in your life to say ‘Thank you God’ in your heart. You can use Ramadan as a training phase to adopt a more content and happy heart. In Ramadan, our hearts are humble and open and this makes it the best time for adopting positive habits.

Here are some simple examples and you can create thousands more:

  1. When you wake up in the morning and see the sun, remember to thank God who created your eyes and the sun and gifted you the beautiful view of sunrise. Don’t just say it, but imagine yourself without the blessing of eyesight and feel the gratitude deep within your heart.
  2. When you dress your kids for school, remember to take a second and look into their eyes. Imagine your life without them for a moment and thank God for the blessing of having your children filling your life, a gift that God gave you so you may experiences,  joys and happiness.
  3. When you see your parents, take a moment to be happy and remember to thank God deep inside your heart for having them in your life. It’s a major blessing.
  4. When you speak with your best friend, thank God that you have someone to talk to. Loneliness is painful and many people are not so fortunate.

The list goes on and on: the wind on your cheeks, the clean air you breathe, the pure water you drink, the comfort of your home, all the good food you have, each piece of clothing you wear … etc. You will never run out of beautiful things to feel grateful for. It’s a training process but it’s worth it and Allah (swt) has promised to give us more and more if we thank Him. The key is to not to take anything for granted in life and not to fall into the trap of spiral thinking about problems and hardships. Yes, we need to think about them in order to solve them but they should not consume every inch of our mental space. Be steadfast in prayer, they helps a lot. When you think of something painful, consciously remind yourself of something else beautiful in your life; you will never fail to find one. This shift in thought pattern needs practice and patience and dua’a. Ask Allah (swt) for guidance and help so you may reach this beautiful state of happiness and comfort of the heart. Believe me, it is very possible for all of us, and you may be surprised to notice that most of the happy people on this earth own far much less possessions or comforts compared to you. So in summary, I and my friend will be challenging ourselves to count our blessings every day in Ramadan so this may be a habit of our hearts.

What are you thankful for today?

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.

Islamic Crafts: Time Chart For Salat

By Sukaina Imran

Islamic Crafts: DIY Time Chart For Salat

As a Muslim Mom, I find it tough to bring up my children with Islamic values in a non-Muslim country. Growing up in Pakistan, we never had to make any special efforts to mark our religious occasions like Eid or Ramadhan. After moving to the US and having my daughters, I started putting my education to use at home. I started decorating my house for Eids and doing small craft activities about Islam to engage with my children and help them understand Islam easily and in a fun way. May Allah keep all our kids on the right path. Ameen.

This easy DIY Salat Time Chart is the perfect craft to keep your little ones busy, teach them about Islam and the second pillar of our faith. More than just a crafting activity, it strengthens quality family bonding time as you talk your children through the process, guide them into making the chart and instill in them the significance of all the prayers and their timings.

Things you will need

  • Foam cardboard
  • Label maker
  • Paper clocks (or you can use small disposable plates to make clocks)
  • Glue gun and stick glue
  • Trim of your choice

Instructions

  • Cut your foam cardboard according to the size of your clocks.
  • Print names of Salat with your label maker.
  • Paste everything on your board with glue stick.
  • Use the glue gun to stick trim for a nice border.

 

About the author:

Sukaina Imran is a Montessori trained teacher from Pakistan. She moved to the US after getting married and worked in an Islamic school in Texas for three years. She also has a child psychology diploma. After the birth of her first child, Sukaina quit formal work and decided to put her Montessori teachings to bring her children closer to Islam.

Wedding Festivities, Same Yet Different

By Nicole Aliya Rahim

Wedding Festivities Across The World

Weddings are fun, festive and joyful. They mark the contract between two people in the name of Allah (SWT).  While a Nikah and Valima are simple, there are a multitude of rich traditions that stem from cultural upbringings that make the occasion more colourful and festive for all. Some of the most common wedding traditions among the various cultures in the Muslim world.

Henna night

Used particularly in desert climates due to its cooling effects, the use of henna can be documented as far back as 9000 years ago.  Wedding henna can be applied using different motifs that reflect particular regions of the world. Furthermore, the ceremonies surrounding the henna application also differ. The henna night is called ‘hana-bandan’ in Iran and ‘beberiska’ in Morocco.

In Somalia, it is common to see flowery motifs, triangular patterns, as well as the tips of the fingers dipped in henna. In Pakistan, the groom’s family may have a hand in deciding the henna patterns that the bride wears.  In Saudi Arabia, a happily married female relative may be the one to apply the henna to the bride.

In Turkey, the henna ceremony is called ‘kina gecesi’ and is celebrated by placing dry henna into a silver or copper vessel. In Malaysia, henna is also considered a blessed plant and is used as protection from unwanted evil influences. Lastly, in Tunisia, it is customary for the henna fun to last about seven days!

Turmeric for ‘glow’

Turmeric is a yellow aromatic substance that comes from the rhizome of the ginger plant. Applying turmeric onto the bride and groom during the days leading up to the wedding is typical in many cultures. Often mixed with milk, sandalwood powder, oils or other substances, turmeric is known for its exfoliating properties resulting in a glowing complexion.

In Guyana, the bride’s mother, grandmother and closest friends dab it onto the bride a few days before the wedding. A Mayun, in South Asian traditions is the start of seclusion of the bride for seven days. During this time, her female relatives apply turmeric, sandalwood powder, and aromatic oils to her skin. The mixture is applied first by her mother, followed by seven married ladies, then by the rest of her relatives and friends.

Gaye haloud or ‘yellowing of the body’ as it is known in Bangladesh is the night when turmeric, mixed with water and milk is rubbed on the bride.  At this time she receives gifts and her wedding outfit from the groom’s family. Better than your most fabulous spa day, the turmeric ritual brings families and friends together, surrounded by drums and folklore songs.

Drumming up a Baraat

Drums, accepted in Islamic traditions, normally accompany wedding festivities. Often with drums is the baraat that carries different spelling in various countries. For example, in Guyanese weddings, tassa players welcome the baraat (grooms family to the bride’s side). There may be a bit of a friendly battle between the drummers, which presents itself as a source of entertainment for the guests.

In Malaysia, the bride sends a signal to the bridegroom known as a sirih latlat, to let the bridegroom know that the bride awaits him. The bridegroom and his party proceeds slowly towards the house of the bride, led by the women. This is the ceremony of berarak, or walking in procession. Behind them come the group of musicians beating the various types of drums used, especially the hand-held drum known as the kompang, as well as bearers of decorative flowers (bunga manggar).

In South Asian cultures, ‘baraati‘ refers to the groom and his procession, his relatives, friends and guests. The groom typically rides in on a white horse embellished with decorations along with a Shahbala (young child similar to a ring boy) who is dressed identical to the groom. Often, this baraat is led by dhol (drum) players.

New furnishings for a new life

Another interesting custom is the tradition of decorating or buying furniture for the newlyweds’ home. Such is the case in Somali and some Turkish traditions. In Morocco, this is called a ‘furnishing party’ and happens five days before the wedding. By tradition, if the groom’s family is wealthy enough, they pay for most of the furnishings purchased.

This list is by no means exhaustive and it provides a small glimpse into common wedding traditions across cultures. These customs are what families look forward to during the wedding time; they provide laughter, lighthearted-ness, and a sense of community and joy. For more resources on wedding traditions, customs and wedding planning visit Nikah.ca.

About the author:

Nicole Aliya Rahim is proud mommy to a 9 month old daughter and practices as a Board Certified Behavioural Analyst in Downtown Toronto. As a behaviour analyst, Nicole consults, assess and treats individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health complexities.

In addition to this, Nicole is the CEO and founder of Nikah.ca where you can find planning tools, real wedding stories and Islamic inspired wedding trends. Also in the works is the second annual Nikah wedding event (October 3rd 2015) and Nikah.ca magazine for Muslims planning their wedding.

Sources cited:

Turmeric & Saffron, All About Turkey, Turkish Culture, malayculture.com
Informant resources: Shamima Matadar and Idil Said.

5 Spring Cleaning Tips For You And Your Home

By Mona Ismaeil

Spring Cleaning your home

Symbolically, spring can be considered a fresh start. New flowers are blooming, many animals welcome their young into the world and we clean out our homes! There is something extremely satisfying about doing a spring clean. By de-cluttering your home, you de-clutter your mind and you life.

Studies show that the rituals of cleaning and getting rid of what’s no longer serving you such as worn out posessions, old habits, emotional ties or unhealthy thoughts- can actually improve your physical and mental health. 

Kate Hanley; Spring clean your life.

The closet

This is probably the hardest part as we tend to attach ourselves to our clothes. We attach memories to our clothes; why else would it be so hard to give up that old sweater? Perhaps you spent an amazing day with your family when you wore that sweater. Perhaps you met your husband in that sweater. With that said, it is very important to clean out your closet mulple times a year. There  are a few rules to cleaning-out your closet:

  • If you haven’t worn it in over a year, likely you won’t  wear it. If you are like me and sometimes need a break from your clothes, put it away for a season and when you pull it out again you may be reinspired to wear it.  Otherwise for basics, you likely won’t wear it. This is especially true for anything with tags.
  • Dress your body TODAY. Don’t keep those old jeans for the day you loose 20 lbs and fit in them again. Yes, our bodies change especially after we have children and that’s perfectly fine. It is important to remember that you deserve to feel amazing in your clothes no matter your weight.
  • If your clothes do not make your feel beautiful, strong  and confident, get rid of them. It’s  that simple.
  • Rather than hang on to something ‘just in case’ donate it and k now that someone will be very grateful to have it.
  • Rethink how you shop. Focus more on basics and pieces you know you won’t get sick of and less on what’s ‘on trend’. Think style vs. trend. Define your own style and choose pieces that really fit well. It’s fun to experiment with a funky patterned or bold coloured blouse but don’t step too far out of your comfort zone or it won’t be worn.

Spring Clean Your Home - Closet

Storage/Laundry Room/Garage

These are often dumping grounds for all things that do not have a home.  When it’s spring cleaning time, you’d be amazed at the treasures you can find in there! Take some time to sort through everything. Make sure that each thing you touch has a place to go. Plastic bins are great for sorting items in storage as you can still see what’s in each bin. If need be, use labels. Be sure to have with you a large garbage bag for garbage and a couple boxes for items you will donate or perhaps sell.

At this time, you should be seeing if you need to create extra storage and organizing spaces whether it be shelves, hangers bins, boxes, etc.

Spring Cleaning - Laundry Room

Pantry

It is very important to clean out your pantry  and spice cabinet often. Although some food items are non-perishable they do expire! Check for them regularly. Also at this time, you should put out items with closer expiry dates to the front to be used first. It is not unlikely you’ll find something that you thought you’d try but didn’t really like or you’ve forgotten about completely. For more pantry organizing tips, read Organizing Tips for your Home – The Kitchen.

Kid Stuff

We all agree that children grow up too fast! This means that children will outgrow clothing very quickly. For cleaning out their closets,  you can follow the same rules as for your own closet. At the same time, you should be keeping in mind your plan for growing your family. For clothing items that you want to hang on to for future use, vacuum sealed bags do wonders! For toys, only keep toys that your child will actually play with often. Throw away broken toys as the edges can be harmful to children. Other toys can either be stored in plastic bins or donated to a local charity, daycare of women’s shelter.

Life

This will be the hardest task of all and is a two step process:

Step 1

Take time to think of how you want to ‘clean’ out your life. Think about what is getting in the way of full enjoyment and productivity  in your life. Do you have people in your life that are wearing you down? Are there any sources of negativity that you can eliminate?  Have you spread yourself too thin? Where do you want your life to be going vs. where is it going? How is you level of Iman?

Step 2

Discuss with your spouse and remember to include all aspects of your life that you share. This includes your home,  finances, children,  friends, family, careers, etc.

Here’s to more sunshine, and life springing back!

About the author:

Mona Ismaeil is the associate editor at MuslimMoms.ca

Images:
123RF
Rubbermaid HomeFree series closet system via photopin (license)
Rubbermaid HomeFree series closet system via photopin (license)

Ibn Sina: Life And Contributions To Learning

By Fariha Asif

Ibn Sina

Muslims have made a significant contribution to the world’s knowledge bank. They have made many discoveries and written countless books about medicine,surgery, physics, chemistry, philosophy, mathematics, astronomy and geometry, to name a few.

One of the most famous exponents of Muslim Universalism and an eminent figure in Islamic learning was Ibn Sina, known as Avicenna in west .

Early life 

Ibn Sina was born in Bukhara (in modern day Uzbekistan) then a leading city in Persia. His youth was spent in company of the most learned men of his times and he became accomplished in all sciences and arts. Avicenna had memorized the Quran by the age of 10. He learned Indian arithmetic from an Indian green grocer. He also studied Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence).

Teenage and Adult life 

As a teenager, he was greatly troubled by the theory of metaphysics of Aristotle which he could not understand  until he read AlFarabi’s commentary on the work. For next few years he studied philosophy in which he encountered greater obstacles. In such moments of confusion, he would leave his books,perform ablution and go to the mosque and continue praying till light broke on his difficulties.

He turned to medicine at 16 and not only learned medical theory but, also by gratuitous attendance of sick, had discovered new methods of treatment. The teenager achieved full status as a qualified physician at age of 18.

Contributions and Discoveries  

Medicine

He spent last years of his life in Hamadan where he composed ‘The Canon Of Medicine’ which is among the most famous books in the history of medicine.

Mathematics

He divided Maths into branches such as geometry, astronomy, arithmetic and music. Then he further subdivided each of these topics. Geometry, for instance, he categorized into geodesy, statics, kinematic, hydrostatic and optics. Astronomy he subdivided into astronomical and geographical tables and calendars. Arithmetic he subdivided into algebra and Indian addition and subtraction.

Science and Philosophy 

Ibn Sina discussed reason and reality claiming God is pure intellect and that knowledge consists of mind grasping intelligible. To grasp intelligible, both logic and reason are required. Ibn Sina gives the theory of knowledge describing the abstraction in perceiving an object rather than concrete form of object itself. The major work  of Ibn Sina in philosophy and science is his famous book ‘Kitab Al Shifa’ (The book of Healing). Despite the book’s title, it is not concerned with medicine rather it is intended to cure or heal ignorance of the soul .

Metaphysics

He examined existence. He considers the scientific and mathematical theory of world and it’s ultimate causation by God.

Astronomy 

He made astronomical observations and made several correct deductions from these. For example,  he observed Venus as a spot against the surface of sun and correctly deducted that Venus must be closer to Earth than the Sun. He invented an instrument for observing the coordinates of a star. The instrument had two legs pivoted at one end, lower leg rotated about a horizontal protractor, thus showing  azimuth, while the upper leg, marked with a scale and having observing sights ,was raised in plane vertical to lower leg to give the star’s altitude .

Mechanics 

It was a topic that Ibn Sina classified under mathematics. He defined simple machines and their combinations which involve rollers, levers, windlasses, pulleys and many others.

Ibn Sina is rarely remembered in the West today and his fundamental contributions to Medicine and the European Reawakening goes largely unrecognized. However, in the museum at Bukhara, there are displays showing many of his writings, surgical instruments from the period and paintings of patients undergoing treatment. An impressive monument to the life and works of the man who became known as the ‘doctor of doctors’ still stands outside Bukhara museum and his portrait hangs in the Hall of the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Paris.

 

Jumuah Journals is a weekly series on MuslimMoms.ca where we will be focusing on inspirations, significance of days, events and history of Islam, as well as profiling notable Muslim thinkers, scholars and heroes.

About the author:

Mother to three wonderful energetic boys,  Fariha Asif is a doctor by profession. She is also a dedicated student of Deen. She loves reading, writing, making new friends and strengthening ties with old friends.

Biography sourced from: Mac Tutor History
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Kaamilah.ca: A Positive Approach to Business

By Iman Khan

Kaamilah Online

Entrepreneurship is synonymous to relentless hard work, enduring commitment, and immense dedication. It advertently comes with a series of spiraling highs as well as staggering lows. Our ability to handle these oscillations is directly proportional to our efficiency and productivity as a capable businessperson.

A little over seven months ago, I too bit the proverbial bullet to delve into the business world by becoming a part of Toronto-based, Kaamilah Boutique.

Kaamilah, translating to complete in Arabic, is the original luxury boutique for Muslim families in Canada. The concept opened its doors to the GTA community in the Fall of 2013. Farheen Khan, the vision extraordinaire and powerhouse behind this endeavour initiated the space to support and grow small businesses owned by enterprising Muslimahs.

Kaamilah has worked to provide a sociable platform to house brands and their craft under one roof. It is a collective effort that fosters sisterhood and positivity, and strives to function as a cooperative to assist with the growth of each individual business. With brands like The Craft Souk, The Olive Tree Soap Company, Kashkha, Dara Boutique, Smore Treats, Hafsa Creates, among others, Kaamilah hosts a dynamic team that lends creativity and resourcefulness to our community.

I have learned much from my association with Kaamilah and I hope that some of these lessons can also help aspiring Mompreneurs in our midst.

At Kaamilah, here are some ground rules and useful reminders we stand by to maintain a balanced approach:

Visualize positive scenarios

The power of the mind is immense. And you can leverage this attribute by occupying it with happy thoughts! Think up a vision of everything you hope to achieve, and your dream will unravel before you! For this reason, most successful entrepreneurs have vision boards that help them keep their eye on the ball and consequently, steer them to reach their set goals successfully.

Give of yourself to others

Always do well by your peers, guests and customers. Honesty is indeed the best policy. Be fair in all of your business dealings, and never hesitate to give useful advice, collaborate or offer a helping hand to someone in need, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone to accommodate another.  A state of mind that is positive improves decision-making skills, and helps in better judgment.

Optimism is the attitude of the Believer

Meditate, perform Salah, immerse yourself in Dhikr and ask Allah SWT for His Help and Guidance, always. In good times, show gratitude and when in a fix, ask of Allah, fully knowing only He is capable of guiding us on the Right Path, setting right our wrongs, and the caretaker of our Rizq.

 Say Alhumdullilah – now, and always!

Be perpetual in your gratitude towards Allah SWT and everything that you have been bestowed with, and in the process watch your life transform for the better. Stay grounded in the face of success, and disappointments. A positive, grateful temperament is your mainstay to success in this life and the Hereafter. Always seek the smaller blessings that have been sent your way to rid yourself of self-pity and hopelessness. Remember, the Mercies of Allah are infinite!

Be a people magnet

The attitude of an optimist who focuses on solutions rather than problems, and seeks valuable opportunities in every situation – is contagious.  Surround yourself with those who make you happy and bring out the best version of you.

Exercise and spend meaningful, quality time with family and friends. There is no substitute for happy living than good health and a great support system.

With a little effort towards inculcating a vigorous and positive psyche towards your work, and life in general, you will find yourself lucky more often than not. Here’s to shining optimism!

About the author: 

Iman Khan is a new immigrant to Canada, and lives with her family in Mississauga, ON. She is the creative founder of hijabistas.net, and manages the online operations for luxury Muslim boutique – kaamilahonline.com

MYVoice: A Publication By The Youth, For The Youth

By Aminah Ahmed

MyVoice

MyVoice’s motto is ‘Empowering the Muslim youth creatively while learning and teaching our deen.’

MYVoice is a non-profit Muslim youth magazine entirely written and published by Muslim youth. The publication hopes to inspire Muslim youth to gain confidence in their identity as Muslims growing up in Canada by letting them take the reins and finding the right path to success.

A little over a year ago, our current Editor-in-Chief and Mentor, Nargis Naqvi, realized that there were not enough opportunities for the Muslim youth to express their creativity and grow as confident individuals within society. She wanted to create an initiative for the youth to express themselves while using their faith to leave a positive impression in the world around them. Thus,  MYVoice came into being. MYVoice is a quarterly magazine with six publications out in the market so far, Alhamdulillah!

With over fifty members and a dedicated team of executives, MYVoice works hard to publish each and every issue. Young designers, illustrators, editors and writers all work together to create an exceptional magazine while the Executive team of youth make plans to take it further and make it better. Each quarter, 5000 copies are printed and distributed across the GTA in various libraries, coffee shops, mosques and university MSA’s.

MYVoice has also been present at various events such as MuslimFest, RIS, Muslimah sUnited, and Halal Food Fest. In May 2014, MYVoice hosted its first event on Mother’s Day and it was a rousing success. Titled ‘My Mother Tribute’ this ladies-only event featured a play, fashion show, free portraits by a professional photographer, sit down dinner, a bazaar, as well as speakers and performances by the youth. We have another in the pipeline for the coming year.

Each issue of the magazine focuses on different themes that are relevant to our youth and community. The first issue of the magazine focused on identity crisis, featuring articles such as; ‘Who am I really.’ This article took the readers on a journey with Zainab, a young grade 10 students who tries to discover who she is. The next issue focused on the idea of tolerance and patience, culture vs. identity, and proud to be me.

Through my experience working for MYVoice I have learned so much about myself. I have developed new skills that will remain with me for the rest of my life. I have been given the chance to experience new and challenging tasks that have prepared me for the future. MYVoice has helped me grow as a person, teaching me about effective communication and time management. I have had the opportunity to meet incredible people while working for MYVoice. Along with skill building, MYVoice has truly helped me find my voice, as clichéd as that sounds, it’s true. I enjoy knowing that I am part of something bigger than myself, I feel like I am contributing to the growth of the Muslim youth and our community. MYVoice works towards promoting positivity and creativity during a time where teens are facing a deficit within these two aspects of life.

I truly hope that our community can see the need for this amazing opportunity to empower the Muslim youth, build bridges with others and earn sadaqa-e-jaria by spreading the deen. You can support us today in one of the different ways below:

  • Like us on facebook here and follow us on twitter here
  • Subscribe for your yearly issues as gifts to others by going here and spread the word for others to buy their copies
  • Become our distribution agent in your local area
  • Purchase 50 or more copies at bulk rate to distribute to your neighbors and non-Muslim friends as a form of subtle da’wa
  • Pledge any amount monthly or quarterly and donate via paypal (www.myvoicecanada.com) or e-transfer to our email address: info (at) myvoicecanada (dot) com (a reminder email will be sent every month)
  • Become a sales rep by getting us Ads for our magazine and earn commissions as well
  • Make Dua for our intentions, success and for our team of youth working so hard!

Thank you!

About the author:

Aminah Ahmed is a high school senior and an executive member of the publication.

Jumuah Journals: Bayyinah & Ustad Nouman Ali Khan

By Aaisha Zafar Islam

As a Muslim browsing around the social media, late into the night, or even quickly taking a sneak into your Facebook feed, there is a high chance of one’s coming across a video by Ustad Nouman Ali Khan.

An American Muslim, Ustad Nouman Ali Khan is the founder and CEO of the Bayyinah Institute for Arabic and Qur’anic Studies. He is arguably one of the most influential and famous Islamic lectures in the world, a feat thanks to the social media savvy of his team.

The institute’s actual campus is in Dallas county, Irving, Texas, however, Ustad Nouman’s reach is global. Thanks to podcasts, numerous youtube videos and the Bayyinah TV, his lectures are readily accessible to everyone.

One of the reasons for Ustad Nouman’s immense popularity is his easy and laid-back style during his lectures. He keeps them simple, easy to understand and peppers his lectures with good humour, anecdotes from life that everyone can relate to.

For mothers with young kids and busy home-makers, who have little time to enrol in classes, or take out time to learn more about their religion, these lectures and podcasts are the perfect way to seek ilm.

Bayyinah Institute’s rise to an actual campus entity is an inspiring story you can read more about here. It had humble beginnings in 2006, when Ustad Nouman started teaching Arabic in the New York and New Jersey areas, branching out into Tajwid and Reading essentials with Wisam Sharieff.

In two years’ time podcasts were launched, with Tafsir of the last two Juzz of the Qur’an.

In 2012, a new series was launched for children, ‘Arabic with Husna’, as Ustad Nouman started teaching the language of the Qur’an to his young daughter and started filming those sessions. It was part of the Bayyinah TV project that started in the same year. This is an annual subscription based service that gives access to over 300 videos and lessons on Arabic language and understanding the Qur’an. There encompass four courses including Arabic with Husna, Quran: Cover to Cover, Diving Speech and Themes from the Qur’an.

Podcasts are free audio lectures that can be downloaded or played online. These cover Tafsir of Surahs from the Qur’an, ayah by ayah, audio recordings of seminars as well as Khutbas delivered by Ustad Nouman and other instructors at the Institute.

Whatever way you chose to seek a better understanding of our deen, it is heartening to know that one can spend productive time online, instead of whiling it away on trivial things.

May Allah increase our knowledge, Ameen.

Jumuah Journals is a weekly series on MuslimMoms.ca where we will be focusing on inspirations, significance of days, events and history of Islam, as well as profiling notable Muslim thinkers, scholars and heroes.

Global Pink Hijab Day

By Mona Ismaeil

Pink Hijab Day

We’ve all heard of Global Pink Hijab Day but how many of us actually know how or where it started? You would be surprised to know that this global event started as an experiment by the founder Hend El-Buri and a group of high school students in Columbia, Missouri.

The purpose of this experiment was to do 3 things:

Hijab: By having a number of women wear pink hijabs, the idea was to encourage people to ask questions about the hijab and Islam. It is the opportunity for Muslim women to explain to Non-Muslims why we wear hijab.

Society: It is meant to encourage Muslim women to be active members of the community. To get out and participate in something that is not just specific to our deen.

Health: To raise funds for breast cancer research and increase awareness of breast cancer and how it impacts us all.

Did you know?

  • Breast Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in women?
  • 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime?
  • Philippines has the highest incidence rate for breast cancer in Asia?
  • Men can get breast cancer but women are 100 times more likely than men?

 The Pink Hijab

This event was to bring together Mohajabas and Non-Mohajabas wearing pink hijabs, scarves, shirts, etc. as a movement and a gesture of solidarity in support of those affected by breast cancer. Global Pink Hijab Day is held on the last Wednesday of October. For 2014, that would be Wednesday October 29th.

Although this movement started in a small collage town in Missouri it has grown and is now observed in many countries around the world.  Breast Cancer does not discriminate. It knows no race, nor religion. Each and every one of us has known someone affected by breast cancer. This means either someone who has survived it, someone who is currently fighting it, or in unfortunate cases; someone who has passed away from it. We might even know someone who knows someone. We are all aware of how this tragic disease takes so much from so many women AND their families.

What can we do? As most of us are not doctors or health specialists we need to look at what we have in our reach to do to help bring an end to this disease.  AWARENESS! That’s what we can do! As women, we need to stand together to shed light on how common breast cancer is. This is not a taboo topic and we need to have open and honest conversations about it. Although we all want to believe we are untouchable, we are not. God Forbid it is one of us in that physician’s office getting the news, we would want know that there were women out there trying to help. Women who could feel our pain. Women who were praying for our health.

Pink Hijab Day

Take a look in your community. Is there an event taking place? If so, GET INVOLVED! If not, START SOMETHING! On y part, I am proud to announce that my business Modern Hejab as well as with my friend The Muslimah Mommy will be hosting a Pink Hijab Day Get-Together. We will be meeting over breakfast to discuss the topic of breast cancer, pray for those fighting breast cancer and to celebrate the survivors.  The same time, we will be raising funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.  Modern Hejab has a selection of Pink Hijabs on sales and I will be donating $1.00 from their sales throughout the month of October, to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

We can do this today, so our daughters don’t suffer tomorrow.  Please, get involved in any way you can.

May Allah bless us all with a lifetime of health and happiness. May he ease any pain and grant patience to overcome any obstacles.

About the author:

Mona Ismaeil is mother to a sweet little toddler, owner at Modern Hejab  and a blogger.

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.