January 28, 2009

Beat the Heat

Melbourne is experiencing it's hottest days in 100 years and all that is on my mind right now is the heat. SubhanAllah, I'm very bad at coping in hot weather, which is kind of surprising given that I spent most of my childhood in Saudi Arabia. I guess the laid back lifestyle there makes it easier to get by.

It has been forecasted to be over 40 degrees for four consecutive days with today being our first. Alhamdulilah, I'm glad I can stay home in this sweltering heat but my heart goes out to those who have to actually get out of their homes and go to work. We've had a relatively easy start to summer, but looks like now it's making up for the mild days that went by. Alhamdulilah, atleast we got to go out and do some summer activities, and I'm hoping after this scorcher of a week we have some respite and I can venture out again with the kids and get a breath of fresh air, inshaAllah.

So before I start whinging all over again about how hot it is, maybe it's a good idea to list the good things about summer to lift up my spirits.
  • More daylight, which means more time to stay outdoors
  • Lots of reasons to dig into a bowl of ice-cream (low fat perhaps)
  • On days when you feel fat you can resort to some yummy smoothies. Add whatever you like - strawberries, blueberries, yoghurt, store bought vanilla custard (Yep, Try it!), mangoes and any other seasonal fruit you can get your hands on.
  • Going to the beach and feeling the sand under my feet and splashing around in the water
  • Scrumptious BBQs
  • Family picnics and day trips, my favourite!
  • Shopping
Before I sign off I'd like to share this hadith that springs to my mind everytime the heat starts getting to me.
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "In very hot weather delay the Zuhr prayer till it becomes (a bit) cooler because the severity of heat is from the raging of Hell-fire. The Hell-fire of Hell complained to its Lord saying: O Lord! My parts are eating (destroying) one another. So Allah allowed it to take two breaths, one in the winter and the other in the summer. The breath in the summer is at the time when you feel the severest heat and the breath in the winter is at the time when you feel the severest cold." (Sahih Bukhari).
So what is the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about summer?

January 21, 2009

Never say Never

Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. - Michael Jordan
As a school aged child I was often encouraged by my dear mother to strive hard and achieve my goals. No matter how tough a situation might seem, stubborn persistence and faith in Allah and in myself would get me through and the sweetness of success was well worth the effort. We had a motto – “Never say never. You can and you will” and when ever I would stumble and needed motivation I’d repeat it in my head until it made me confident and gave me renewed energy to complete the task at hand.

Now being a mother myself, I realise the impact this has had in my life and I am ever thankful to my mom for guiding me through and being the strong pillar of support at times when I needed her most. I must admit though that after having children I’ve let myself take a back seat and have put off many times what I want to do with my life but now I realise that if I want my children to succeed I need to show them how and the only way I can do that is by chasing my dreams and succeeding myself. Only then will I be able to arm them with the ammunition they require to excel in both this life and the next.

There are some simple rules I follow to help my children believe in themselves and stop them from being a quitter. I feel that this form of encouragement and support from the parents and caregivers should be practiced from a young impressionable age. Every task they embark upon should be taken as a challenge and they must endeavour to be successful. There are surely going to be times when they might fail, but ceaseless efforts will eventually make them a winner. As the saying goes,” A winner never quits and a quitter never wins.” Embedding in them the qualities of a winner and giving them the power to hold on despite the most adverse circumstances will help them easily overcome their obstacles and obtain desired results.

This holds true in matters both concerning this life and the next. Our ultimate goal is Jannah, and to attain the highest level of Jannah we need to put ourselves to the test and strive to be the best of Allah’s slaves. By incorporating qualities of a true winner such as optimism, determination, confidence, patience and above all faith in Allah (swt) we can be assured that we will be where we want to be, InshaAllah.

Life will often present to us situations that will throw us off track and make us feel like we cannot go on but at the end of the day what matters most is not what happens to us but how we react to it. Accepting change as a challenge will help lift our spirits and make life smooth sailing. There will be times when will be required to pick ourselves up, dust off and get back in the race and those who manage to achieve this are the true achievers.

I too have some goals I want to achieve and after procrastinating for the past few years I’ve realised that if I want something badly, I cannot expect it to come to my doorstep. I need to strive towards it and I know deep down that I do have the capabilities of accomplishing my goals. It’s only a matter of believing in my self and letting go of my comfort zone and stepping out in the open and tackling my fears head on.

This is a reminder for me more than anything else to go back to being a fighter. I can, I will and I have to…

75 Ways to Encourage Children

January 20, 2009

Charity sees the Need not the Cause

At these trying times when our fellow Muslims in impoverished nations around the world are in dire need of our help, here are some ahadith and verses from the Qur’an that will encourage us and help us hasten towards generously giving in Allah’s cause.

Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:

'The likeness of those who spend their money for Allah's sake is as the likeness of a grain (of corn), it grows seven ears, every single ear has a hundred grains, and Allah multiplies (increases the reward) for whom He wills, and Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures needs, All Knower' (2: 261).

'Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan which Allah will double unto his credit and multiply it many times?' (2: 245).

Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari: The Prophet said,

"On every Muslim there is enjoined (a compulsory) Sadaqa (alms)." They (the people) said, "If one has nothing?' He said, "He should work with his hands so that he may benefit himself and give in charity." They said, "If he cannot work or does not work?" He said, "Then he should help the oppressed unhappy person (by word or action or both)." They said, "If he does not do it?" He said, "Then he should enjoin what is good (or said what is reasonable).' They said, "If he does not do that''' He said, "Then he should refrain from doing evil, for that will be considered for Him as a Sadaqa (charity)."
(Bukhari - Volume 8, Book 73, Number 5)

Charity is a means of gaining barakah in your wealth. The prophet (pbuh) stated, 'The Charity does not lessen one's money'. It can also lessen or take away sufferings and calamities that a person is experiencing. The prophet (pbuh) said, 'Cure your sick people with Sadaqa (i.e. charity)!' It can also serve as a means of reaping continuous rewards long after you’re gone. Abu Huraira (ra) reported Allah's Messenger (pbuh) as saying: When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased). (Bukhari)

It is more befitting of a Muslim to give in charity from his best possessions and that which he loves most.

'By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give (freely as a charity) from that which you love; and whatever you spend Allah knows it well.' (3: 92).

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "If somebody gives in charity something equal to a date from his honestly earned money then Allah will take it in His Right (Hand) and bring it up for its owner as anyone of you brings up a baby horse, till it becomes like a mountain." Abu Huraira said: The Prophet. said, "Nothing ascends to Allah except good." (Bukhari)

Narrated 'Ali: While we were in a funeral procession in Baqi Al-Gharqad, Allah's Apostle came and sat down, and we sat around him. He had a small stick in his hand and he bent his head and started scraping the ground with it. He then said, "There is none among you, and no created soul but has his place written for him either in Paradise or in the Hell-Fire, and also has his happy or miserable fate (in the Hereafter) written for him." A man said, "O Allah's Apostle! Shall we depend upon what is written for us and give up doing (good) deeds? For whoever among us is destined to be fortunate (in the Hereafter), will join the fortunate peoples and whoever among us is destined to be miserable will do such deeds as are characteristic of the people who are destined to misery." The Prophet said, "Those who are destined to be happy (in the Hereafter) will find it easy and pleasant to do the deeds characteristic of those destined to happiness, while those who are to be among the miserable (in the Hereafter), will find it easy to do the deeds characteristic of those destined to misery." Then he recited: 'As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah and believes in the Best reward from Allah, We will make smooth for him the path of ease. But he who is a greedy miser and thinks himself self sufficient, and gives the lie to the Best reward from Allah we will make smooth for him the path for evil.' (92.5-10) (Bukhari)

Gaza Ambulance Aid
Human Appeal Intl - Gaza Appeal
Gaza Survey

Our Children in Gaza

About a year back when I was attending the annual Islamic conference here in Melbourne, I had a very emotionally draining experience which has left a huge impact on my life. It has made me more grateful to Allah for my blessings and I realised the extent of pain and suffering others go through when they lose someone close to their heart, a part of their soul – their child.

It all happened when hubby was minding my daughter, who was just over 2 years old back then, while I attended one of the lectures. When it ended and I returned to hubby he looked extremely worried and I walked up to him to ask him what’s wrong. What he told me made my heart sink and I was engulfed with a feeling of fear and despair. He said he couldn’t find my daughter!

Here I was standing amidst a huge crowd of people frantically running from one corner to the other trying to spot my little girl. I was angry at myself for letting this happen and my heart was pounding fast in my chest. I hurriedly ran up to the volunteers and asked them for their help. Soon enough there was a team of people looking for her and I started making du’a to Allah to keep my child safe and protect her. Her beautiful innocent face flashed before my eyes and I didn’t want to think of how it would feel if I lost her forever and didn’t see her again. Those moments from when she went missing to the time she was found were heart wrenching. When they finally found her and brought her to me I was overcome with relief and tears streamed down my face while I embraced her. I thanked Allah over and over for reuniting us. Alhamdulilah, the time I was away from my child was short lived and I didn’t have to deal with the pain for long.

But what about our dear sisters & brothers suffering in Gaza? What happened with me cannot even compare to what they are going through. The pictures floating around on the internet speak about a gruesome truth. These people are losing their children and their loved ones and seeing them die before their eyes. There is nothing they can do to protect them and save them. Can you imagine how they must feel? What have these innocent children done to deserve this? Everyday they live in fear, traumatized and scarred – physically, mentally and emotionally, for the rest of their lives.

The question is - what are we trying to achieve? The widespread injustice and death of civilians just goes to show how immature and inhumane people can be. We need to grow up! War is not the answer. Killing innocent civilians under the pretext of trying to settle your disputes is not the solution.

Make du'a for our children in Gaza. Donate generously for the sake of Allah, so they can get the aid they require. Sponsor a child & make a difference in their life.

O Allah, the fate of our people in Gaza is in your hands. O Allah, You are aware of our affairs and to You we return. To You we raise our misery, sorrows and complaints. Ya Rabb! Put an end to the injustice of the oppressors and bestow Your Mercy upon all Muslims, Ameen.

January 13, 2009

Seeking Allah's Pleasure

5 things we can do to gain Allah’s pleasure:

  • Be grateful

“And He is not pleased with ingratitude in His servants; and if you are grateful, He is pleased with this in you.” [Sûrah al-Zumar: 7]

  • Always speak the truth

Allah will say: This is the day when their truth shall benefit the truthful ones; they shall have gardens beneath which rivers flow to abide therein for ever: Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Allah; this is the mighty achievement.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 119]

  • Be good to our parents

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah’s being pleased is in the parent’s pleasure, and His displeasure is in the parent’s displeasure.” – 1899 Sunan al-Tirmidhî

  • Be pleased with Allah’s decree

“Whoever is pleased, He will be pleased with him; and whoever is displeased, His displeasure will be upon him.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2396)]

  • Have firm Faith (Eeman) and strive to be obedient to Allah (swt). Work alone is not sufficient to earn Allah’s pleasure. Work needs to be accompanied by true belief and faith in Allah.

A soul that is firm on faith will be addressed by the following words in the hereafter: “Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (to Him)” [Sûrah al-Fajr: 28]

Allah says: “Their reward with their Lord is gardens of perpetuity beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein for ever; Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him; that is for those who fear their Lord.” [Sûrah al-Bayyinah: 8].

Always be mindful of your intentions and never judge an individual based upon their acts of obedience or disobedience to Allah (swt). We should not make judgements in matters of the unseen and only Allah alone has knowledge of everything and He is the best judge. All we can do is hope for the person whom we see performing good deeds and obeying Allah that Allah is pleased with him & fear for the person whom we see committing evil deeds and acts disobedience that he is earning Allah’s displeasure.

A person may do what appears to the people to be good, but he may face an evil end. In this case Allah is not pleased with him. Another person may do what appears to the people to be evil, but he may face a good end. Then Allah will be pleased with him.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “By Him besides whom there is no god, one of you will act like the people of Paradise until between him and Paradise there remains but the distance of a cubit, when what is written overtakes him and he begins to act like the denizens of Hell and thus enters Hell. And another amongst will act in the way of the denizens of Hell, until there remains between him and Hell a distance of a cubit, then what is written overtakes him and then he begins to act like the people of Paradise and enters Paradise.” Sahîh al-Bukhârî (3208) and Sahîh Muslim (2643)

We seek refuge from Allah from His wrath and ask Him to guide us and make us among those who please Him and are close to Him, Ameen.

[The matter in this article has been taken from www.islamtoday.com]

January 09, 2009


Please take some time out to read this article posted on one of the most influential Islamic blogs ever.

Don't forget to sign the petition launched by CAIR to collect one million signatures.

January 08, 2009

Canine Pets

Please tell me I'm not alone on this one! I dislike dogs. And my reason isn't just religious but also personal. I am not too comfortable with having a dog sniff me or come close to me. They make me nervous and the stories I hear about dogs mauling their owners, children and even strangers makes me want to run miles away in the opposite direction.

Living in a western country where dogs are a common household pet, it's difficult to not come across one when you step out of your house. They're everywhere! I've seen myself do numerous things when I spot a dog, and most of the stuff makes me laugh out loud or sometimes drown in embarassment when I think about it after I'm safely back home. To name a few - trace my steps back to where I began if I see a dog walking towards me; climbing on to children's playground equipment if I see a dog in the area; wait till the neighbour puts the dog on leash or locks them up inside their house before I step outside; do a quick 'dog-check' everytime I leave the house to make sure no dogs (or any other pets for that matter) are wandering around etc. (Ok, so now you're probably thinking I'm crazy and need to get my self checked out.)

I've noticed that some dog owners are somehow aware of Muslims and their phobia with dogs, which is good in a way. Because everytime they see a hijabi around they make sure their dog is at a fairly safe distance & it also saves me from looking like a complete fool by trying different techniques to avoid them.

We've had some rather embarassing moments with our neighbours who recently moved into the house opposite ours. They have an overly enthusiastic dog, to say the least, and he loves jumping on to everyone. DD1 has had a few screaming episodes when he has approached her and not to mention our body language a few times has made it clear to them that we are not the type who are going to go all mushy over their pets friendly nature.

Dogs are considered impure in Islam. There are certain rulings on what a Muslim should do when his clothing or utensils in which he eats comes in contact with a dog. It is not permitted to keep a dog unless it is for a purpose, like hunting or guarding property or other uses that are not contrary to the Sharee’ah, and even then there are many conditions that should be met. The Prophet (pbuh) said:
"Whoever keeps a dog, except a dog for herding, hunting or farming, his reward will decrease by one qiraat every day." (Reported by Muslim, 2948).
The ruling on touching a dog (taken from www.islamqa.com)

If you touch it when it is not wet, then your hand does not become impure, but if you touch it when it is wet, this means that the hand becomes impure, according to the opinion of many scholars, and the hand must be washed seven times, one of which should be with earth.

With regard to vessels, if a dog has licked a vessel (i.e., drunk from it), then the vessel must be washed seven times, one of which should be with earth, as was proven in al-Saheehayn and elsewhere, in the hadeeth narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If a dog licks the vessel of any one of you, let him wash it seven times, one of which should be with earth.” It is better if the washing with earth be the first washing. And Allaah knows best.

January 07, 2009

Dua: The Essence of Worship

With the recent happenings in Gaza receiving widespread condemnation from people all around the world, it’s time for us to wake up & pray for those who are being oppressed. As an Ummah we need to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters and the best we can do is make dua for them. Below are some duat I’ve compiled from various reliable sources. Please take some time out after every prayer and if possible try to offer voluntary prayers at night and make dua. May Allah accept our supplications and ease the sufferings of those who are experiencing hardship, Ameen.

Remember, when you make dua for someone, it also benefits you. So make dua for your fellow muslim brothers and sisters with firm faith in Allah swt and hope for it to be answered.

The prophet (SAW) said: ‘There is no believing servant who supplicates for his brother in his absence where the angels do not say, ‘the same be for you” [Muslim]

اللهم أصلح أمة محمد اللهم فرج عن أمة محمد أللهم ارحم أمة محمد

'Allahumma aslih Ummata Muhammad. Allahumma farrij 'an Ummati Muhammad. Allahumma Rham Ummata Muhammad [sallAllahu alayhi wasalam]

O Allah! Improve (help) the state of the Ummah of Muhammad. O Allah! Grant ease to the Ummah of Muhammad. O Allah! Have mercy on the Ummah of Muhammad.

اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْلَنَا وَ لِلْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ وَ الْمُؤْمِنتَ وَ اَصْلِحْهُمْ وَ اَصْلِحْذَاتْ بَيْنِهِمْ وَ اَلِّفْ بَيْنَ قُلُوْبِهِمْ وَ اجْعَلْ فِىْ قُلُوْبِهِمُ الاِيْمَانَ وَ الْحِكْمَةَ وَ انْصُرْهِمْ عَلى عَدُوِّكَ وَ عَدُوِّهِمْ

Allahumma aghfir lana, wa lil mu'miniia, wal-mu'minaati, wa aslih-hum, wa salih dhati bayynihim, wa allif baina quluubihim, waj'al fi quluubi-himul imaana wal hikmata, wa-nsurhum 'ala' 'aduw-wika wa 'aduwwihim

O Allah! Forgive us, and the believing men and women, and remove their faults, and cause peace and love among their hearts, and infuse into their hearts a firm faith and wisdom, and let them be victorious over Your enemies and their enemies.

رَبَّنَا أَفْرِغْ عَلَيْنَا صَبْرًا وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَنَا وَانْصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ

Rabbana afrigh alayina sabran wa thabbit aqdamana wansurna ala alqaumil-kafiriin

Our Lord! Pour out constancy on us and make our steps firm: Help us against those that reject faith. [surah al-Baqarah; 2: 250]

رَبَّنَا لاَ تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِنْ نَسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَا إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِنَا رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لاَ طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا أَنْتَ مَوْلاَنَا فَانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ

Rabbana la tu·akhidhna in nasina aw akhtaana, rabbana wala tahmil alaiyna isran kama hamaltahu ala alladhina min qablina, rabbana wala tuhammilna ma la þaqata lana bihi wa'fu anna waghfir lana warhamna anta maulana fa'nsurna ala alqaumil-kafiriin

Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden Like that which Thou didst lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; Help us against those who stand against faith. [surah al-Baqarah; 2: 286]

اللَّهُمَّ مُنْزِلَ الْكِتَابِ، سَرِيعَ الْحِسَابِ، اهْزِمِ الاَحْزَابَ، اللَّهُمَّ مْهُمْ وَ زَلْزِلْهُمْ

Allahumma munzilal kitabi, warii'al-hisaabi, ihzimil-ahzaaba. Allahumma ihzimhum wa zalzilhum

O Allah! Revealer of the book, Swift to account, defeat the groups (of those who reject faith). O Allah! defeat them and shake them. [Muslim; 3:1362]

رَبَّنَا لاَ تَجْعَلْنَا فِتْنَةً لِلْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ

Rabbana la tajal-na fitnatan-lil qawmi-dhalimeen

Our Lord! make us not a trial for those who practise oppression
[surah Yunus; 10: 85]

January 05, 2009

Collingwood Children's Farm

Much to hubby’s disappointment I managed to fit in a visit to the children’s farm. Hubby isn’t much of an animal person & isn’t very fond of places that allow them to roam free. But I’m glad that he let DD1 experience the farm atmosphere even though it wasn’t his cup of tea.

We wanted to be there during the cow milking session and alhamdulilah made it in time. DD1 stood in line patiently waiting for her turn to milk the cow but when it was time she changed her mind and decided she wanted to groom the cow instead. So I took the opportunity to have a go myself and for the first time ever, milked a cow! I was proud of myself as I walked out the farm that day. I had experienced something I never thought I’d do and even enjoyed doing the same.

Other than that there were the usual farm animals - goats, pigs, sheep, lamb, hens, horses, peacocks, geese & guinea pigs. DD1 was disappointed there were no rabbits as she was looking forward to cuddling one. But she sure did enjoy chasing the hen around.

Here are some pictures.

Peacock checking out the peahen ;)

DD1 chasing the hen


Melbourne Aquarium

We kick started our holiday by taking the kids to the aquarium. It’s funny that I’ve been to the aquarium in Sydney and Auckland before Melbourne, even though this is where I live. I guess being tourists, you know that you’re not going to be there forever and tend to tick off as many places of interest as you can before you depart.

I’ve had people tell me earlier it’s not ‘great’ but I think it was pretty interesting and was quite impressed. I enjoyed watching the penguins the best and for me that was the highlight. We also made it in time for the shark feeding session, and DD1 and hubby seemed to enjoy that the most. DD2 slept peacefully through most of it.

They’ve got heaps of exhibits with different species of animal from the underwater world. I think we spent a good 2-3 hours there.

A picture speaks more than a thousand words, so I’m going to stop blabbing & start posting some photos.


Melbourne Aquarium



Melbourne skyline around the aquarium

The majestic King penguins

The cheeky Gentoo penguins

We were there during the penguin feeding session and it was hillarious to see them all diving in for a bite when the keeper threw the fish into the water. And the gentoo penguins do live up to their reputation of being 'cheeky'. I tried taking a few shots of them swimming in the water (that was on the other side of the exhibit) but unfortunately our ancient camera didn't quite capture the moment. In fact, I couldn't take many photos inside the aquarium as the lighting wasn't adequate and the thick glass in the exhibits made it harder to use flash and these were the only ones I managed to capture.

Time flies when you're having fun

The title sums it all up for me. If you've noticed I was on a short break from blogging and even surfing the internet for the past couple of weeks or so (which is quite unusual for me).

Alhamdulilah, beloved hubby had time off work so we made the most of him being home and decided to go places and do some sight seeing around Melbourne. I've been here for almost five years now, but haven't really ventured out and this was a great opportunity to just go out and have fun.

We did heaps of things, and the kids enjoyed themselves too. I'm sure DD1 is going to feel bored at home now after the eventful weeks we've had. But inshaAllah not long to go for her to start kindy so she can be occupied again. As for me and DD2 I guess it's back to reality! Alhamdulilah.

I do intend sharing some of my experiences and photos with my readers, inshaAllah. Please bear with me and I will get around to doing that soon.

If it makes you feel better, I did think about my blog and have a few topics in mind I want to write about, so hopefully the coming days will have some new posts for you to browse through.

Till then, take care and be good. :)

Wassalaam Alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakatuhu.