DO AS I DO Q2.44

My biggest challenge as a parent is setting the right example for my children. Getting up for ablution once the adhaan (call to prayer) is made so they can link the adhaan with prayer; meticulously performing wudhu so they learn not to rush through the motions; garbing up properly so they understand they should also cover their awrah; then calmly performing salaah and refusing to be distracted by them.
do as i do
But that’s not all. I have to watch what I eat, how I eat it, start with Bismillah and end with Alhamdulillah even if I didn’t use to; reduce my attention to the media, phones, gadgets and increase eye contact; keeping my word; courtesy and manners; hygiene; being active physically and mentally; conversing in my native dialect more frequently; what I watch on TV and listen to on the car radio or play on the CD; adhkaar, adhkaar and more adhkaar

“What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Phew! All these little acts go a long way in moulding them even before I am aware. The more consistently they see these acts (and consistency is difficult unless it is already a habit), the easier it is for them to assimilate like the sponges they are. Our children want to be just like us when they grow up (and they know better than to replicate us). We catch glimpses of ourselves in them when they walk, talk, laugh, sleep…

Who we are is a collage of subconscious habits and we often get shocked when we see our mini-me’s mimic our words, actions and mannerisms. And of course, they do not discriminate in what they learn; even though they even seem to have a greater inclination toward imbibing negative traits!

Do not make your child, nephew, niece or neighbour’s child blame you for the vices (s)he later develops in life simply from watching you as ‘He who guides to a good deed is like the doer.’ Just as you would receive good tidings for the good acts you guide them to later in life, so would you receive your share from the sins you inspired them to commit. You may also be punished for advising them to good while you do otherwise.

Most importantly, rather than dissuade them from being better Muslims, let us encourage them to be better because, who knows? They may be our reason for being admitted into Paradise.

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Zakat-ul-Fitr

Zakatul Fitr (ZF) is an obligation on every muslim, young or old, male or female. It is the giving of sadaqah toward the end of Ramadan till before the ‘Eid prayers on the 1st of ‘Shawwal. It seeks to purify the one who fasts from any indecent act or speech; and acts as food for the needy.

Ibn Abbas said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) enjoined Zakatul-Fitr as a purification for the fasting person from idle talk and obscenities, and to feed the poor. Whoever pays it before the (Eid) prayer, it is an accepted Zakah, and whoever pays it after the prayer, it is (ordinary) charity.” graded Hasan

If one cannot afford to give, that is, one doesn’t have enough for the day’s meals, then he is entitled to be given. If you are reading this, I bet you can afford to give. Here are some points to note:

• It is a timed sunnah and can be given from the 28th of Ramadan till before the ‘eid prayer. Paying it on time gives the needy time to prepare and enjoy it before the ‘Eid prayers.

• Its measurement is one sa’a (approximately 4 mudd) of local staple grains. This is the minimum requirement and could be increased voluntarily or expanded to include more. For example, tomatoes, salt and money to cook could be added to the ZF to ease the burden of cooking on the beneficiary. Hanafi scholars even permit the money equivalent to be given as it may be more useful to the beneficiary than raw foodstuff.

• The haddith says, ‘One’s faith is not complete unless he loves for his brother what he loves for himself. If you love rice, why buy maize grains to give as Zakat? Why burden the recipient of the zakat with such invaluable grains from which he can only make popcorn and a few processed meals? If you can afford better, please do get grains that will be better appreciated.

• As the head of the household, a man may have to give ZF for each member of his family if they cannot afford to do so themselves. Even muslim servants should have their zakat paid for if they cannot provide it.

According to Sheikh Yusuf AlQaradawi, ZF is a compensation for any shortcomings in the the fasting individual’s acts and speech during Ramadan. It also aims to spread love and happiness among the ummah during the Day of ‘Eid. It also purifies one’s soul from shortcomings from adoration of property and from miserliness.
If the time frame is not complied with, and ZF is paid after the Eid, it becomes sadaqah and no longer ZF.

May Allah accept our acts of worship.

TILAWAT-L-QUR’AN

[Qur’an in Ramadan 2:Q2.142-Q2.252]
quran-ramadhan

Salaam, people! Hope we had a spiritually fulfilling day yesterday.

One of the oft-practised acts in Ramadan is recitation of the Holy Qur’an in its entirety at least once. It is perhaps the most popular resolution of the month. Makes sense since the Qur’an’s revelation began in Ramadan and deeds are magnified during this month.

It was a habit of the Prophet (SAW) to recite to Angel Jibril every Ramadan in a review, and he was said to have reviewed it twice in his last year of life.

Remember that we will be rewarded for each letter (not word) we recite, so if you stutter or are not proficient in reading the Qur’an, lucky you! It is important to note that we should all endeavour to learn and practise tajweed while reciting the Qur’an, giving each letter and word its due by pronouncing and articulating properly following the rules of quranic recitation.

Some of us cannot read the Arabic text of the Qur’an but we can enjoy the beautiful recitations by various reciters. They can be downloaded free at http://www.quranicaudio.com and http://www.mp3quran.net. This way, we can listen to the Qur’an in the car on our way to work or school, on the bus with ear-phones, on a queue, in between lectures, at lunch break; anywhere really. We can also get a good translation of the Qur’an in a language we know and fill our days with the Words of Allah.

A nasty habit I have observed is how some of us make a racket while someone else is reciting the Glorious Qur’an. In Qur’an 7:204, we are instructed to listen and be silent during the recitation of the Qur’an so that we may receive mercy.

Above all, we should apply what we have learnt of the Qur’an in our daily lives.
Read. Understand. Practise.

Tip: Dua during Sajdah (prostration) of the Qur’an:
Sajada wajhiya lilladhi khalaqahu, wa shaqqa sam’ahu wa basarahu, bihawlihi wa quwwati. FatabarakAllahu ahsanul khaaliqeen.

REFLECTION Q10.24,31; Q13.3

image credit: www.bobqat.com

image credit: http://www.bobqat.com


When we were younger, we would yearn to play outside. It was fun to be outdoors even when the sun was intense or it was raining. It was great to enjoy the splendour of nature and beauty all around us (or maybe it was the unlimited space for play!). We enjoyed seeing a plane fly, then watching the clouds and imagining what they represented, gazing at the stars and letting our imagination run wild.

My dad used to call me to see birds nestled in our trees. We always woke up to the sounds of birds tweeting in the morning and we could mimic and identify their songs.

One of my favourite places is the beach; its magnificence, expanse, beauty and danger. I also love looking up at rocks, boulders (yet to see a mountain). It’s amazing how solid, massive and ancient they are; what secrets they hold.

It is awesome using Allah’s gifts of our senses to appreciate the world around us.

Unfortunately, the skyscrapers and tall buildings started coming up, obstructing our view of the sky and restricting the flow of air. More industries were established with the powerful polluting effluents which darkened the landscape, dimmed the colours of the rainbow and muddied up the clear spring waters; bright neon lights covered the skyline at night and blurred out the visibility of the stars. Gadgets, videogames and other appliances emerged and turned our gazes firmly toward them. We no longer look up at the sky to see the beautiful cloud formations, instead we jampack our minds full of a plethora of needs, wants and data. No time to reflect on the wonder of Allah’s creation.

Are you presently in the office or at home? Step to the window and open it if you can. Take in a lungful of air (polluted or not) and hold it for a while then release it slowly. Praise Allah that you can do that without the aid of a machine. Let the scales fall off your eyes and experience the vastness of the heavens, the beauty of nature around you, no matter how small. Step out of where you are and take a little walk if you can and thank Allah you are able to appreciate via your senses. Drop the gadgets for a minute and be grateful for life. Life is for the living.

Alhamdulillah for life!

10 WAYS TO REDUCE KITCHEN DUTY IN RAMADAN

When some of us hear Ramadan, we instantly think: FOOD! FOOD! FOOD! We imagine lots of cooking, exotic meals, lots of food, overeating, hours of cooking in the kitchen, more hours doing a tower of dishes and pots, belching throughout Tarawih and sadly, very few thoughts of actual worship.

Other members of the family are resting after Maghrib, we are in the kitchen, yet to observe our salaah. They have gone for Tarawih, we are scrubbing pots and pans. They are sleeping; time to finally catch up but we fall asleep instead. They are observing Qiyaam-lail but we need to prepare sahur. And on and on till Ramadan is gone. While cooking for the family has its reward, should we ladies aim to spend all our waking moments in the powerhouse of our home doing kitchen duty, cheating ourselves out of the stack load of rewards available? Ramadan is about our relationship with Allah. We can cook up a storm during all the other months of the year but other months do not possess the qualities the Holy Month does.

The holy month is almost upon us so let’s resolve to make the most of it this time. I will highlight 10 ways to help us cut down on our kitchen time in Ramadan. Note that this size doesn’t fit all so you may have to tweak it to suit your family.

1. Accept that everything occurs in accordance with Allah’s Will. If you have family members who loathe recycled meals, must eat everything ‘fresh’ and not out of the freezer, perfect your intention and convert your cooking to ibaadah. Once you intend to cook for them for the sake of Allah, to nourish them in order to help them worship Him better, your time spent cooking no longer seems like a waste. Besides, food cooked with love, fisabilillah always tastes better!

2. You have to make your intention known to your family beforehand that you intend to make the most of this Ramadan and would like their help in actualising it. You may need to put your foot down as you explain the things that may need to change this Ramadan for your plan to come to fruition.

3. If you read my Shaaban post, you would have stocked up on non-perishables and had your menu written out by now. Your menu should not be filled with complex time-consuming dishes. It should be healthy and include a variety of food classes especially fruits and vegetables. Drawing a menu saves you the headache of thinking of what to cook and helps with the grocery shopping but remember that you may need to be flexible sometimes.

4. Foods that need lots of preparation time should like our West African pap, bean cakes (akara, kose), moinmoin, blended tomatoes, peppers and onions, elaborate soups, samosas etc should be prepared to a certain level in advance, batched and stored in the freezer. Once the menu calls for them, it will be faster to prepare them. For example, I blend my dehulled beans and store in the freezer. A pack will brought out of the freezer and allowed to thaw in the fridge ready for frying into bean cakes the evening. Likewise with samosas and pap. My tomatoes, peppers and onions are blended and boiled so when I need to prepare stew, it’s quicker. You can also buy lots of vegetables, chop/slice/dice them and store in various packs. Thaw and add to your soups, rice, pasta dishes to increase nutritional value.

5. When shopping, buy food items that shorten your preparation time, if healthy. Diced/chopped vegetables, de-scaled fish, pre-cleaned catfish or cow offals, soft cowhide (pomo), grilled fish or chicken can be procured at our local markets. Some of the sellers do often offer these services for free or for a little token.
fast-not-feast
6. While in the kitchen or out grocery shopping, seize every opportunity to make ibaadah. Instead of gossiping during cooking, recite along with your favourite reciter. While you are waiting at the checkout aisle at the supermarket, recite adhkaar instead of emptily browsing through your phone. Perform extra nawafil units of prayer while food simmers on the cooker.

7. Schedule inviting guests for iftar to coincide with your monthly period, if you can and you aren’t already menopausal!

8. Have you heard of division of labour? If you need help, ask. If you need a maid, employ. No need to act like a martyr. Involve anyone around you in the preparation for iftar. People are often willing to help or will help anyway if only we would ask.

9. Remember it is a fast, not a feast. The essence of the iftar is not to compensate for the meals we missed during the day. This defeats the purpose of the fast. It is counterproductive to gobble on food then become too sluggish and useless to perform worship. Meals high in simple sugars tend to make us hungrier. Eat right by choosing whole grains, complex carbohydrates, unsaturated fats, lean meats, proteins, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Avoid or cut down on salt, sugar, canned foods, fizzy drinks, saturated fats etc.

10. For Allah’s sake and in consideration for whoever is going to pray beside your family, keep the garlic-y and onion-y dishes till after Tarawih!

Wishing you a fulfilling Ramadan in advance!

WEEKDAY CHALLENGE: OUTDOORS Q16.3-18

When was the last time you prayed outdoors, apart from Eid prayers? When did you ever take your prayer rug outside and lay it on the grass, beach sand or snow? Have you or your children ever climbed a tree or rock to call the adhan? Or performed ablution in a cool clear stream?

There is such an intensity that comes with praying outdoors, particularly for us women. It just feels so delicious and awe-inspiring and special. The wonder of Allah’s creation surrounds us and is filled with such beauty and colour. Fruits, birds, animals, trees, mountains, the sun, the clouds, the moon, stars…the quiet serenity of nature…
muslim-boys-praying-outdoors-mountain
Challenge yourself and pray outdoors today. You will be glad you did!
PS. I would love for you to send me your pictures and share your experiences. Do e-mail me @ anchorwithkeidi@gmail.com and I will share your pictures with us all.