Category Archives: Ramadan
By Saraa Mahfouz
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.
By Maryam Kidwai
Ramadan is right around the corner and I can hardly believe it. The holy month is a time of spirituality, solitude, socialization and a time to feast on savoury delights with friends and family. One of my goals every Ramadan is to indulge a little more in our religious traditions and become a better Muslim in some way. To this end, I also like to involve my kids in the festivities and try to bring them closer to our religion. I find involving them in arts and crafts an excellent way to educate them about the importance of this holy month.
So I have been on a pursuit to identify some fun activities that I can do with my kids this year. Thankfully, there is no dearth of ideas online so the challenge is really to choose the most practical and constructive ones. Below, I have listed some fun crafts and activities that teach something relevant about our beliefs and that are simple enough to do.
Good deeds: Create a calendar or a jar of good deeds that children can do every day. The deeds can be as simple as being kind, helping out around the house or hugging a sibling. Check out these links for some great ideas:
Baked goodies: Bake cookies in the shape of stars and crescents. You can also bake mini cupcakes and frost them with stars or toppers that read “Ramadan Kareem.” Some people prefer the idea of dates – whatever you choose, put it together in a beautiful package and share the goodies with your neighbors, colleagues, friends etc. You may also attach a note to explain the significance of the month and the reason behind our fasts.
Ramadan journal: Keeping a Ramadan journal is a great way to set goals and keep track of achievements each day. You can keep it simple by using a notebook and a pen or feel free to try some options from the list below:
Mason jar lanterns: Mason jars are all the rage these days. So why not make lanterns out of them.
Make beautiful mason jar lanterns with glass paint and gold puffy paint. Use glass paint to paint the inside of the jar. For the outside, use gold in whatever design you like. To add decorative details, you can glue pearls or twine. For easy hanging, add loops of fine-gauge wire. Light them up and your candles are ready to enjoy indoors or out.
Screen time: Kids these days love their iPads/tablets. So why not incorporate some religious learning during their screen time. There are several child appropriate lectures on YouTube that you can watch together. You may also download some of these apps:
Sadaqah jar: Make a sadaqah jar out of cardboard, an empty pasta sauce jar or a pringles can. Decorate it to give it a holy vibe and encourage your children to donate frequently and also collect from family and friends. I find this a good way to reinforce the importance of giving, sharing and kindness. It will help teach them compassion for the less fortunate, which is an essential component of our religion. The collected donations can then be given away at your local masjid.
Quran time: If your kids are old enough, try learning a new surah with them. There are plenty of short surahs to choose from. You can also read stories from the Quran about our prophets, stories of the sahabah and hadith from the prophet’s life.
Prayer rug bookmarks: Make prayer rug bookmarks using simple items like felt fabric, puffy paint and glue. You can go to the moon with ideas on colors and designs.
Ramadan calendar: Indeed, one of the joys of Ramadan is the anticipation of Eid. You can create a calendar as a way to keep track of your fasts and also to countdown to Eid. Here is a link with some ideas:
Candy balloons: Ask your kids to choose candy and sweet treats and fill the balloons. Blow up 30 balloons for 30 days. Pop a balloon every night after iftar and enjoy the treats. You may want to save the best treats for the last 10 days/balloons.
Ramadan is primarily about prayer and worship. It is perhaps the most sacred month for Muslims and it is our responsibility to make the most of the blessings this month brings and at the same time celebrate in all its glory. As someone who grew up in Saudi Arabia, I definitely miss the atmosphere and the enthusiasm with which we welcome Ramadan in Muslim-majority nations. My daughter loves all the decorations and the general vibe during the Christmas/holiday season. She always asks why we don’t decorate our house and why we don’t put up a Christmas tree. While I am not fundamentally opposed to the idea, I do believe that we should celebrate our festivals with all the excitement and glamour that we can, if not more. So this year, I would like to decorate our house some more and I really want to put up lights outside. Something about lights brings out a festive vibe. There are some great ideas for decorating your home. Check out these for some inspiration:
Back home in the Middle East and in the subcontinent, there is tremendous excitement around Ramadan/Eid and I don’t want my kids to miss out. I have bold ambitions but I sure hope I am able to pass on the excitement and the spark of Ramadan to my kids.
About the Author
Maryam Kidwai is a mother to two beautiful girls. She works as a Marketing Communications professional in the financial services sector. Maryam is passionate about women’s rights and empowerment and volunteers at several organizations across GTA. She loves to travel fearlessly, meet new people and entertain. She has entrepreneurial ambitions and wild ideas. Maryam wants to be a renowned author of many books and dreams of building a little she-shed in her backyard where she can curl up with a book to enjoy the gorgeous sun and the short-lived Toronto summers.
By Nasreen Faiz
The holy month of Ramadan is almost here and preparations are in full swing for many families.
Decorate the Home
Wear Your Best Outfit
Make Gift Baskets
About the Author
Nasreen Faiz is a professional wedding planner and designer at Rangeen Weddings and Events. Life should be rangeen (colourful) which is why her main focus is to always create luxurious designs within any given budget.
By Sameera Ali
Six months ago, while getting an adjustment at my chiropractor’s office, I was complaining about how much pain I’m in all the time and that no matter how little I eat, I always seem to be bloated and lethargic plus losing weight is such a battle for me. After hearing me out, my chiropractor suggested I try going gluten-free for a week and see how that works! Well six months in and 15 pounds down, I’ve never felt better!
Benefits of being gluten free are numerous and immeasurable but it does come with its own set of challenges, mainly getting used to new and different flavours and letting go of wheat, and since Ramadan is here, a new challenge for me is to find filling and nutritious gluten free foods I can use for Suhoor and Iftar. The fasts will be long and time for replenishing lost energy and nutrition will be very little. You can literally call it the proverbial “race against time”!
Here are my tips for Suhoor.
I plan to continue with Protein Smoothies/Shakes as my first meal of the day as I find them to be most filling and satisfying. Here some of my go-to Protein Shake recipes guaranteed to keep you full for 4-5 hours straight!
Banana and Date Protein Shake
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1 scoop of your favourite Vanilla flavoured protein powder
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1/2 banana
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk/plain milk
- 2 dates
- 1/2 cup ice
Blend everything together and enjoy!
Mixed Berry Protein Shake
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 cup frozen berries
- 1 scoop of your favorite Vanilla flavoured Protein Powder
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1/2 cup ice
Mix everything together and enjoy!
For days I won’t have time to make a shake I plan to make ahead these delicious and easy to make protein bites!
Make Ahead Mocha Protein Bites
1/2 cup of almond butter
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp shredded coconut
3/4 cup of vanilla protein powder
1 teaspoon melted coconut oil
2 tablespoon crushed raw almonds
1 tsp cocoa powder [optional]
1 tsp instant coffee powder [optional]
Mix almond butter, protein powder, honey and coconut oil until smooth. Then add remainder of ingredients. Roll into 1 inch balls and place in an airtight container in the fridge for storage.
These can be made with many different ingredients and proportions to create custom protein balls to satisfy your personal preference!
So far all my efforts at baking a gluten free bread have failed but just the other day I saw a new gluten-free blend in the store and I plan to bake some loaves of bread and freeze them to use as needed if the bread turns out good! Please share your tried and tested gluten free bread recipes if you have any in the comments section!
For Iftar Ideas, check out my blog at positiveidentity.blogspot.ca as I log in my tried and tested recipes throughout the month of Ramadan so everyone can benefit from them. Bon Apetit et Ramadan Kareem!
About the Author:
Sameera Ali is a full-time freelance content writer /SEO expert and a mom of four wonderful kids who keep her busy and thankful always.
By Muneezah Jawad
Growing up in the Middle East, when times were different, Ramadan to me was the revered month. All the restaurants shut down during the day and people were not allowed to eat outsides till Iftar time and then it was a gastronomic delight for all.
It was a time when neighbours sent over trays laden with yummy treats and when I saw my parents make tremendous efforts to go for Taraweeh, read the Qu’ran and in general became extra devout. Then there were the Eid preparations, but if I travel down that memory lane, I could fill up a little book easily so I’ll just stick to Ramadan.
Children in Canada I feel have a totally different experience and it’s up to us as parents and also as a community to make sure that they appreciate and understand the importance of this blessed month. You can read more about this in my article Ramadan for Children in Canada.
So I thought the best thing to do it to ask children of all ages and walks of life ‘What does Ramadan mean to you?’
Here are the very sweet, unedited responses:
1. ‘I can’t wait to have that red drink you always make Mama! And I am going to fast like you every day!’
Mariam Age 4
2. ‘This year I am going to fast every day and you can’t stop me. I love it when we all have iftar together and you make us those potato chips and spring rolls’
Azam Age 11
3. ‘Ramadan is when the gates of hell are closed and when our Holy Quran was sent to us. People try to give as much charity and do as many good deeds as they can. We go for Taraweeh and lots of iftaars too. In the last 10 nights we also sometimes spend the night at the mosque praying special prayers.
Imaan Age 13
4. ‘It means you cannot wear shorts and you have to wake up early for fasting and prayers at suhoor. You cannot eat the whole day, if you are thirsty in school you can’t eat or drink. You eat at the end of the day at Iftar time’
Daliyah Age 9
5. ‘Ramadan means being thankful to Allah for all his blessings. We fast in Ramadan to show Him our thankfulness’
Haiqa Age 9
6. ‘Ramadan is when people fast. People are poor so we have to be like them, to be like equal’
Afrah Age 9
7.‘Ramadan means we don’t eat and when Adhan goes off then we eat ‘
Ibrahim Age 5
8.‘We fast and pray because it’s nice. We can pray in the masjid and we can’t eat. We go to Eid parties and we can play for a long time in the house.
Rahmeen Age 6
9.‘Ramadan means to fast and remember what Allah has blessed us with that others don’t have. We read more Quran, pray and go to Taraveh. We give charity and try not to do or say bad things.
AbdulNafea Age 14
10. ‘We must complete Quran at least once. We must fast, pray and go for Taraveh’
Noufel Age 11
11. ‘We fast, pray salat, read the Quran and make sure we talk to others properly.’
Rahman Age 8
12.‘Ramadan is when we get lots of samosas, fruit chaat and meet with family at iftar time. I love going to going the masjid for iftar and taraweh so she I can make new friends.’
Aaliya Age 4
13.‘Ramadan means fun for me. It’s fun because you get to fast. I get to stay up all night and eat Sehri in the morning and then sleep late. Ramadan is also exciting because I buy toys for my baby brother and cousins and the poor people. I also help my mom in Ramadan to give treats to our neighbors and friends’
Ruqayyah Age 7
14.‘Ramadan is when you don’t eat food to learn how poor people live. We keep fast, do suhoor, have iftar feast. We should be thankful to Allah for all He has given to us because he gave us good parents and we should behave well towards others, obey our parents. We should pray and try not to miss any prayers.’
Nabiha Age 6
Judging by the responses, it’s easy to see that Ramadan is not lost to our children. Infact we deserve a round of applause for instilling in them wonderful virtues. There is always room for improvement. I think that while the food, family and prayers are apparent perhaps what is missing is the history of Ramadan. What actually happened and why. It’s in the details. Tell them why we eat dates, and the significance of the last 10 nights. Ask your child what Ramadan means to them. It would be interesting and cute to hear! Don’t forget to let us know what they said.
About the Author
Muneezah Jawad is the Social Media Manager at MuslimMoms.ca
By Rahila Ovais
As the end of the school years is fast approaching us, I bet most moms are fretting already about how to keep their kids busy during summer vacations; especially if you don’t have any plans to go out of town during this time. Since this year’s summer vacation will start in the midst of Ramadan, it presents us with an excellent opportunity to get the kids to brush up on their Islamic studies. Besides reciting Quran everyday as part of their Ramadan activities they can also
- Memorize a new surah a week
- Learn a new duaa a week
- Learn the 99 names of Allah
- Read a new story of a Prophet a day
- Read a chapter a day of Prophet Muhammad’s life story
- Check out Sukainaz CraZy Creations for some fun Islamic arts and crafts
At the end of Ramadan there will of course be Eid parties and get-togethers with family and friends, leaving us with lots of time to enjoy the rest of the summer;
- Visit a local farm for berry picking and other adventures like corn maze, farmer’s market etc.
- When the heat is on, there is nothing better than to visit a water park/splash pad or hit the beach or go swimming at your local pool.
- Have a picnic or two; you don’t even have to go too far. Little kids would be happy to have a small picnic in their own backyard.
- Take the kids to a zoo.
- Be a tourist in your own town and visit a historical site or visit a public garden or take advantage of museum discounts.
- There is lots happening in the city during summer; attend a free event or go to the most popular summer festivals or check out a neighborhood festival.
- Watch a movie under the stars
Check out more summer activities ideas here: http://muslimmoms.ca/10-fun-and-frugal-summer-activities-for-kids/
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.
By Khaula Mazhar
It’s that time of the year again! A time to treat yourself to mouth watering samosas, crispy pakoras, fresh fruit salad, tall cold glasses of refreshing juices, spicy mixed chaat smothered in creamy yogurt and …fasting. Fasting is the main focus, sorry I get distracted by the food!
You get asked some questions in Ramadan by curious co-workers or classmates or just the neighbors who can smell the aromatic invitations of fried perfection creating a tantalizing aura around your house.
Why do we fast? Fasting is like a refresher course (and God knows we need it after whole year of doing stuff we shouldn’t be doing!). It reminds us that we submit to the Highest Power in obedience and do our own checks on humility, truthfulness, empathy and charity. For example if you have just bought an expensive, one-of-a-kind designer outfit for Eid, please do not flaunt the fact to moms who have vomitty babies and wouldn’t dare wear anything like it. Do not lie to your mother-in-law about being sick on the day of her Iftar dinner so you don’t have to fry 200 pakoras. (Don’t lie about anything!) Show some empathy and fry those pakoras with a smile. Do spend as much as you can on charity, you did just buy a designer outfit, so don’t complain about the economy as an excuse.
Don’t you get really hungry?
Shake your head solemnly (in the negative!) and paste a martyr like expression on your face as you reminisce about the parathas, fried eggs, and karai chicken you had for Sehri and dream of all the goodies that await you at Iftar. I guess you should mention that we do stuff ourselves enough to last the whole day. Inform them that we do have Suhoor before sunrise so that we may provide our bodies with the fuel needed to last the long day of fasting. Also, remind them that we are allowed to enjoy many delicious foods after sunset; Iftar. Although we do feel hunger, the blessing is in the struggle and it makes us more aware of those who do not have a meal to look forward to.
Why do Muslims start Ramadan on different days?
We follow the lunar calendar. We depend on whether or not the moon is visible to decide the beginning and end of Ramadan. Some Muslims will follow their countries of origin to match Ramadan with the rest of their family and friends, some will follow the local mosques (in Canada). It is actually not that big a deal. Really.
That’s a great way to lose weight right? (They look pointedly at your belly.)
Yes actually it is. It helps detoxify not just your soul but your body as well. That’s your cue to lay off the samosas. And the parathas. And the nihari.
What happens if you accidentally eat or drink something?
Well besides very vocal alarms going off all over the house when your kids/siblings/cousins see that you have slipped, nothing. In fact if you see someone has eaten accidentally, you let them swallow and then gently remind them before they take another bite or sip, that they are fasting. Allah is very merciful and he knows that we are human. As long as it is not intentional, the person may continue fasting the rest of the day as normal.
What questions have you been asked about Ramadan? What is the funniest thing you have been asked about fasting?
About the Author
Khaula Mazhar, author of Mama Loves Me, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now bestows her wisdom upon the world at her blog. Last time she counted she had five kids, however the vast amount of laundry has given her doubts. This is a cause of constant distraction as she tries to finish writing the next NYT best-seller.
- Past it on the front side of the scrapbook with glue
- Decorate how you like
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.