Sunday, 21 June 2015
A few days ago Ramadan began, the month of fasting for Muslims all over the world. During this month, Muslims must fast from sunrise to sunset. During daylight hours, no food or drink will enter their mouths. Once the sun begins to set, Muslims will break their fast, normally with dates and a glass of water, followed by a delicious meal.
Why do we fast? Because it has been prescribed for us. It is one of the five pillars of Islam. The pillars are the fundamentals of the faith, the five things we must do as Muslims. The first is shahada or testimony of faith. It is the belief in Allah, one God, and belief that Muhammed pbuh was his messenger. The second is salat, or prayer. As Muslims we have to pray five times a day. The third pillar is zakat, or charity. Muslims should give a certain percentage of their income to charity each year. The fourth pillar is sawn, or fasting and the fifth pillar is hajj. Hajj is the pilgrimage that Muslims should complete once in their lifetime.
Not only is Ramadan the month of fasting, it is also a time when Muslims spend more time in prayer and reflection, read the Quran and do as many good deeds as possible whilst trying not to do wrong. Of course, we should try to do these things all through the year but we are human, we forget and Ramadan acts as a reminder for us.
During Ramadan, I like to do as many religious-themed crafts and activities with the children as possible. Here is a simple craft activity to teach children about the five pillars of Islam. You will need cardboard tubes, paint and alphabet stickers or a pen to write on the tubes.
First, paint the cardboard tubes. We painted each tube a different colour.
Next stick (or write) the five pillars of Islam on the tubes, one on each, and write 'Islam' along the longest tube at the top. When you are doing this you can explain to your children what each pillar means. I think this craft looks lovely displayed in the home.
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
It has been almost two weeks since I became a mother for the third time. Two hectic weeks after moving house, our second son entered the word. He made us wait nine days past his due date but I was grateful for the extra time to get the new house sorted. Now we are finally settling into life as a family of five; slowly getting back into the routine of everyday life. I feel blessed, once again, to have a healthy baby. Motherhood is wonderful and as I reflect on being blessed for the third time, another sister reflects on waiting for her first blessing.
I am so pleased to introduce this guest post by Christal, a revert muslimah who blogs about the mind, body and soul over at ChristalBlogs. Do take a look at her wonderful blog where you can find articles about many different and interesting topics.
Waiting for a Blessing – Thoughts on Becoming a Mother
There are plenty of blog posts out there about being a mother and her status in Islam, but I am yet to read one about the anxieties we may feel as sisters in the West about becoming a mother from an Islamic perspective.
It wasn't until I became a Muslim and got married that I seriously thought about becoming a mother one day inshaAllah. Coming from a background of hardworking strong women, the thought of juggling motherhood and a job never seemed to faze me. It was not until I started reading and learning more about women and motherhood in light of Islam that I began to worry that I wouldn’t be able to make the cut.
We all know the famous hadith in Sahih Muslim and Bukhari about the Companion that came to the Prophet (saw) and asked who deserved the best companionship from him. The Prophet (saw) went on to tell him that it was his mother 3 times before mentioning his father the fourth time.
We also know of the hadith stating that Paradise lay at the feet of the mother in Musnad Ahmad. But to be that mother, the one that deserves the best companionship from her children and to warrant Paradise lying at your feet, you have to put in the right efforts.
To say that my life has changed significantly since becoming Muslim is an understatement. I never imagined that I would choose having children over progressing my career but that's the point I'm at Alhamdulillah. To have both in my eyes would be an injustice to my children who, in my opinion warrant my full attention and don’t deserve to just be pawns moved around to fit into my 9 to 5 routine.
"And his carrying and his weaning is in thirty months"[46:15] For a working woman, this would be quite difficult, even with maternity leave on offer. It may seem harsh for those that want to pursue a career and have children but even in our modern society, we have to make the choice. Which is more important to us, raising the next generation of the Ummah or working for the duniyah?
One of the greatest sins is also to be unkind to one's parents as seen in the hadith in Sahih Bukhari, and as Muslims we can’t even say "Uff" to them despite what they may do to us. This in itself just proves how important it is to strive to be the best parent you can be, so your child will treat you with love and respect.
In Islam, the mother is not only the person who, by the will of Allah, brings the child into the world. You're the first teacher, the first counsellor and the first friend. We owe it to our child, potential and already here, to be the best of all 3.
"When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing charity, knowledge from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes supplications for him." (An-Nasa'i, 3651)
Raising a righteous child in the world we live in today is no easy task, but by doing so you are not only pleasing Allah, you are securing a sadaqah jarriyah (on-going charity) for yourself. So sisters, don’t be scared as I once was to embrace motherhood. Indeed, it is a blessing from Allah.