…..Closeness…..

A few months ago I was having a conversation with my sister in law. She said “do you know I read something?” I enquired what it was, she said “I came across a post on Instagram and it said ‘spend time with newborn children as they have spent the most time with God.” The words really struck me as I had been contemplating the ups and downs of motherhood (as you do and never stop.) I was feeling as though I had reached somewhat of a plato. On the one hand I am aware of the tantamount of blessings associated with motherhood, but at the same time there are other things I want to explore and aspirations I want to fulfil.

Then at the same time I do have the usual ‘mum guilt’ that accompanies me and I’m sure accompanies other mothers too. I think about the dichotomy and try and do a balancing act. It usual begins positively but I encounter obstacles sometimes and then it dissipates. Hearing this did give me a renewed vigour for motherhood. It was something small and I am not the type of person who seeks compliments or reassurance but having this perspective is nice at times. It helped me in that moment as it drew upon spirituality which is equally as important as anything else in parenting I believe.

Are there any mothers who also feel like this please leave your comments below.

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Dispute

I began reading Surah Mujadilah today. On reading the translation I could not grasp what Allah was referring to so I decided to read the tafseer (commentary) of this particular chapter (which I would do with any chapter as I do not have a high calibre of knowledge.)

When I read the background I was amazed at the reason behind the revelation of this chapter. It was sent to the Prophet (SAW) after a women had come to him and sought advice regarding a dispute that had taken place between her and her husband. Before the verses were revealed the Prophet (SAW) advised her to have Taqwa (fear) as her husband was old. However, whilst she was there the Wahi (revelation) came down and what the husband had said to his wife was refuted. Writing these things now I am thinking that whoever is going to read may think what is so amazing about this? Well why I was amazed was because marital discord is common not only in the Bengali community but across all communities and often one party is given precedence according to the societal norms. Words are dismissed alongside the feelings of a person leading to resentment and in some cases further conflict. Here by admonishing what was said, Allah provides a balance.

When speaking to my husband later and explaining what I had found out and stating how if we understood and lived by the Quran life would be more simple-he simply agreed.

I realised that even behind dispute there is harmony.

Day 2 Reflection 2

Today,  I read the verses below:

On the day when thou (Muhammad) wilt see the believers, men and women, their light shining forth before them and on their right hands, (and wilt hear it said unto them): Glad news for you this day: Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein ye are immortal. That is the supreme triumph. (12) On the day when the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women will say unto those who believe: Look on us that we may borrow from your light! it will be said: Go back and seek for light! Then there will separate them a wall wherein is a gate, the inner side whereof containeth mercy, while the outer side thereof is toward the doom. (13) They will cry unto them (saying): Were we not with you? They will say: verily; but ye tempted one another, and hesitated, and doubted, and vain desires beguiled you till the ordinance of Allah came to pass; and the deceiver deceived you concerning Allah; (14) So this day no ransom can be taken from you nor from those who disbelieved. Your home is the Fire; that is your patron, and a hapless journey’s end. (15) Is not the time ripe for the hearts of those who believe to submit to Allah’s reminder and to the truth which is revealed, that they become not as those who received the scripture of old but the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened, and many of them are evil-livers. (16) Know that Allah quickeneth the earth after its death. We have made clear Our revelations for you, that haply ye may understand. (17) Lo! those who give alms, both men and women, and lend unto Allah a goodly loan, it will be doubled for them, and theirs will be a rich reward. (18) And those who believe in Allah and His messengers, they are the loyal, and the martyrs are with their Lord; they have their reward and their light; while as for those who disbelieve and deny Our revelations, they are owners of hell-fire. (19) Know that the life of the world is only play, and idle talk, and pageantry, and boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children; as the likeness of vegetation after rain, whereof the growth is pleasing to the husbandman, but afterward it drieth up and thou seest it turning yellow, then it becometh straw. And in the Hereafter there is grievous punishment, and (also) forgiveness from Allah and His good pleasure, whereas the life of the world is but matter of illusion. (20) Race one with another for forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden whereof the breadth is as the breadth of the heavens and the earth, which is in store for those who believe in Allah and His messengers. Such is the bounty of Allah, which He bestoweth upon whom He will, and Allah is of Infinite Bounty. (21) Naught of disaster befalleth in the earth or in yourselves but it is in a Book before we bring it into being – Lo! that is easy for Allah – (22) That ye grieve not for the sake of that which hath escaped you, nor yet exult because of that which hath been given. Allah loveth not all prideful boasters, (23) Who hoard and who enjoin upon the people avarice. And whosoever turneth away, still Allah is the Absolute, the Owner of Praise. (24) We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance, that mankind may observe right measure; and He revealed iron, wherein is mighty power and (many) uses for mankind, and that Allah may know him who helpeth Him and His messengers, though unseen. Lo! Allah is Strong, Almighty. (25) And We verily sent Noah and Abraham and placed the prophethood and the scripture among their seed, and among them there is he who goeth right, but many of them are evil-livers. (26) Then We caused Our messengers to follow in their footsteps; and We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow, and gave him the Gospel, and placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him. But monasticism they invented – We ordained it not for them – only seeking Allah’s pleasure, and they observed it not with right observance. So We give those of them who believe their reward, but many of them are evil-livers. (27) O ye who believe! Be mindful of your duty to Allah and put faith in His messenger. He will give you twofold of His mercy and will appoint for you a light wherein ye shall walk, and will forgive you. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful; (28) That the People of the Scripture may know that they control naught of the bounty of Allah, but that the bounty is in Allah’s hand to give to whom He will. And Allah is of Infinite Bounty. (29)

In truth, I only read the translation a few minutes ago so what I am going to write are my thoughts in real time. Yesterday I felt a reassurance that Allah is aware of our efforts. However reading through the verses now was almost like reading the expectation almost of myself for myself. A few months ago I listened to a lecture by Nouman Ali Khan regarding the light and it made me ponder whether what I have been doing will be accepted or rather will it be enough? I know we can never be certain of our deeds being accepted however we know that the next life is permanent so we have to make adequate preparations. On reading the verses I felt tearful because it was as though these ayahs were what I needed to hear. Although I can never be certain if what I am preparing will be accepted I know that my efforts will not be in vain as Allah has ‘twofold mercy.’  Nonetheless it made me think about where I am lacking and how I can make improvements.

I do feel I have been negligent in reading the Quran and become lost over the past few years. It is only very recently I have began to feel the sparks of spirituality amongst my daily life. My salaah had become mechanical and I was not really conversing with the Most High. Yet I knew I was and am blessed- which sounds strange based on what I have written in the previous paragraph but its true.

I am hoping to reflect and continue further with these gems and improve myself. May Allah accept it from you and May He accept it from me. Ameen.

Contemplation

 His is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth; He quickeneth and He giveth death; and He is Able to do all things. (2) He is the First and the Last, and the Outward and the Inward; and He is Knower of all things. (3) He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days; then He mounted the Throne. He knoweth all that entereth the earth and all that emergeth therefrom and all that cometh down from the sky and all that ascendeth therein; and He is with you wheresoever ye may be. And Allah is Seer of what ye do. (4) His is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, and unto Allah (all) things are brought back. (5) He causeth the night to pass into the day, and He causeth the day to pass into the night, and He is knower of all that is in the breasts. (6) Believe in Allah and His messenger, and spend of that whereof He hath made you trustees; and such of you as believe and spend (aright), theirs will be a great reward. (7) What aileth you that ye believe not in Allah, when the messenger calleth you to believe in your Lord, and He hath already made a covenant with you, if ye are believers? (8) He it is Who sendeth down clear revelations unto His slave, that He may bring you forth from darkness unto light; and lo! for you, Allah is Full of Pity, Merciful. (9) And what aileth you that ye spend not in the way of Allah when unto Allah belongeth the inheritance of the heavens and the earth? Those who spent and fought before the victory are not upon a level (with the rest of you). Such are greater in rank than those who spent and fought afterwards. Unto each hath Allah promised good. And Allah is informed of what ye do. (10) Who is he that will lend unto Allah a goodly loan, that He may double it for him and his may be a rich reward? (11)

I just could not sleep tonight without writing what I had taken away from reading these verses. There is a theme of ‘knowing’ that emanates from the verses that impacted upon my approach to fasting. There was a time when I could fast and I did not think about the duration I could focus on the Quran. However, I lost this and do want it back but reading these verses provided me with a reassurance in trying and appreciating the process of trying for the end reward. The above ayahs have made me re-evaluate where I am and where I want to be and if all of this will enable me to gain eternal reward.

It is as if Allah has given me so much or rather given everybody bounty upon bounty and yet we digress. Allah says in this chapter that ‘He it is who sendeth down clear revelations unto his slaves.’ Words such as ‘revelation’ corresponds with the month we are in at this moment in time. As I thought about these links it made me smile and gave me a spiritual lift that I was in need of, however, I do acknowledge that I have a long way to go but I guess I wanted to simply share this insight.

May Allah accept it from you and from me. Ameen.

Diversity and Maqroot (Date Cakes)

I made these with my daughters after a watching a youtuber. She is called umme Yusuf and makes quick and easy snacks that are useful in any household. The reason why I chose to make this was that it incorporated many hidden skills for the development of, language and communication, fine motor skills, world knowledge, literacy and numeracy. Of course I did not bore my children with the background as to why I was doing this with them that knowledge was more for myself being the geek I am. I mean a lot of parents probably already know this but I am definitely a supporter of embedded learning- and baking certainly incorporates a lot of it. Making these allowed me to discuss different countries. In this way it allowed me to illustrate the Muslims are not just one ethnic group but we are diverse. Growing up I remember that Muslims were ALL (yes ALL) brown skinned and Bengali. Of course I was confused between ethnicity and faith at this time.  My day ensured we attended activities at the Mosque. Where we grew up the Muslim population consisted of many different ethnic groups. It is only after I got married I realised how significant this has been in my life. I know reside in a large Muslim populated city and have noticed there is somewhat of ethnic groups ‘sticking together.’ I noticed this whilst I was studying also. There are always great things to be learned from one another. Having said this I understand why this may have happened. In the 1970’s when there was a diaspora of different ethnic groups entering into the country including our ancestors they settled and made communities for themselves. They lived in overpopulated houses sharing bedrooms so money could be sent back to their respective countries. They never thought that they would actually ‘settle permanently.’ Its something I sort of undermined growing up but to understand the mind set of our elders its important to get into that mind set. Not only did they have to overcome the obvious language barrier they were faced with hostility (similar to what the EU people are facing now.) I guess they wanted to retain aspects of their identity and pieces of their home countries by holding on to what they know. Although much time has elapsed there are still challenges faced by the second generation to make the first generation understand. There has been great acceptance in many communities but we must plough on….I guess I may have thought a bit to deeply whilst doing this activity with my children.

IMG_3170 Please leave comments about any ideas you have regarding this topic.

Gatsby and Atticus

In the past fortnight I have read ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘To kill a Mockingbird.’ Both are classics of American Literature and both the two characters from the books really shone through. The first character was J.Gatsby. Through, the narration of Nick Carraway we are presented with the main protagonist of Fitzgeralds novel. This is interesting is an interesting use of language as the story is narrated in the first person and his observations. So the events are that of perception and the narrators experience. This is similar to Lee’s use of Scout’s narration in her novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ The more I read the book the more I felt the story was about Atticus as opposed to the narrator Scout. I remember this novel being part of my sixth form reading list. However, I definitely related to it more as an adult I think. Same with the aforementioned novel.

Why did I want to write a blog post about these characters? Well they enticed me in a manner of speaking. Gatsby was driven by love for a women that he delved into the underground of the 1920’s and eventually amassed the wealth that was needed to attain her. Atticus is driven by justice being a man of the law but he is fighting the system of 1930’s in America in a small town. Although Gatsby becomes rich he is still scrutinised. This is similar to Atticus. He is scrutinised for attempting to gain justice for an innocent black man. Both tales are gripping in their own way and there are other themes which the authors explore, but it is the ‘scrutiny’ of each I want to delve into.

One man (Atticus) had the status was from a good socio-economic background. The other (Gatsby) paved his way into the high society. Having said this both men were scrutinised and frowned upon- for different reasons which I shall not discuss in to such detail. This scrutiny that they faced is something that is evident in daily life and is relatable. Reading these books reinforced to me that no matter where you are from, what you have, what you have achieved there will always be criticism. It is what you do in the face of this criticism that really defines who you are.

I further went onto link this to my beliefs as a Muslim and living as a Muslim. In everything we do we are open to opinions-more so these days with the fast paced social media and its accessibility. Reading, the books and identifying with the characters provided me with a form of escapism and created a bubble. In this bubble I began contemplating about faith, parenting and aspirations (not things most people would think about I know.) I thought about Atticus’s approach to parenting. How he was open with his children to a certain extent and they knew their limits. He had taught them to read before beginning school and ensured they paid their dues when they made a mistake. He was not an enforcer or a rigid disciplinarian but emanated a calm demeanour. Gatsby was also a character who was honest and determined and knew what he wanted. As Muslims we are encouraged in the same way to have a balance. I guess it was this balance that I related to with Atticus rather than Gatsby. All in all they were both balanced.

 

 

 

Anonymous anonymity

This is for that person who has sacrificed but is not acknowledged. The person that left their world behind and embraced a new world. The person who combined old values to the new values placed before them. The person that felt broken and then healed. The person that held their high although inside they were shattered. The person who tried their level best to help the ones she loved but was dismissed when it came to the important matters. The person who felt they have no voice but if people listened carefully they would the colourful sound of reason enveloped in wisdom. The person who retained that smile and cried in private.

This is for the person who placed their burdens aside to harbour the burden of others. The person who put everything on hold to encourage another to move forward. The person who is diligent but because of circumstances is afraid to use the diligence. The person who is suffering but embraces the moments so no one else experiences what they are going through.

This is for those who………….continue when anyone else would stop.

Remember whatever happens their is a higher deity that rectifies all. Give it your all see where the chances take you.