Friday, 22 July 2011

UMMUKA's Jumuah Delights ! Parenting is Heart work!

Moms! Take heart. There is no such thing as being a perfect Mom; perfection belongs to Allah (SWT). Who do you want to be you? What do you want your children to remember you for?

I know it is not easy to change for the sake of Allah and/or the kids, we must realise that we must work hard to be good Muslims and the best servants of Allah (SWT).

Allah has not provided us we an A-Z guide to parenting, which is true. The same qualities that make a good Muslims are the same ones that make a good Mom. Allah reminds us about the character of the Prophet (SAW) – “Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for those who hope in Allah and the latter day and remember Allah much” (Al-Ahzab 33:21). Let us be that shining example for our kids.

When dealing with our kids, let us look to deal with their hearts, when we connect with their hearts they flourish and strive to emulate the good character we portray as parents. Ultimately, the primary aim for any Mom is to connect her kids’ hearts to Allah (SWT).

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible - Marion C. Garretty

A client of mine recently shared this story with me.

“Mom”, called out five-year-old Zainab. If you really want Allah to help you, don’t you think you should start wearing your hijab? Probably Allah will answer your prayers; you have always told me if I need to pray I should wear my hijab. So please get me a hijab so I can help you as well by praying to Allah”. Umm Zainab was full of guilt and embarrassment – she felt very bad and did question the type of role model she was to her daughter. In addition, whether she was an exemplar of good behaviour and character to her daughter?

Alhamdulillah! Allah guided her through her daughter to goodness and since that day, Umm Zainab has always worn her full hijab!
The actions we take and the choices we make say a lot to our children. Whether it is a sigh, a roll of the eyes, or a lie we tell on the phone, our children are watching and listening. You know the saying, "Actions speak louder than words". Words mean nothing if they are not backed by actions.

Show your children how you want them to behave. Show and tell your children that you love them unconditionally. Show your children what you want them to value in life. By being their role model, you are communicating your expectations to them. Endeavour to provide them with a set of values and beliefs that will shape their lives when they fly the nest.
My son, who knows my routine by my actions, asked me how much longer I was going to be on my laptop. I told him I was finishing the last e-mail of the day and then I was going to switch the lights off. He said to me, "Okay, I am going to my room after we have said our bedtime du’as together ". In a very subtle, but powerful way, I have communicated to my child that Allah and prayer (Du’a) are very important.

What do you want to communicate to your kids?
Think about what you say, how you say it, when you communicate, the words you do not say, and your behaviours. These are all ways you can send heartfelt and encouraging messages to your children.

Why don’t you make speaking to your child’s heart one of your Ramadan goals – I know you have all been in undated with e-mails and text messages on how to make this your BEST Ramadan ever! – this is now the time to start being that role model for your kid, I can just imaging how powerful that would be for you and your kids as you work as a team walking your way to Jannah Firdaws.

So let us begin by cleansing our hearts of those black dots, so we can receive the month of Ramadan with a clear mind and a purified heart.

I pray we all walk through the gate of Rayaan – the gate designated for those who fast. Ever since I have told my kids about this gate, they have always visualised themselves walking it through it with their grandma (my mom) because her name is Rayaan. May Allah bless them they always strive hard to complete their fasts with the hope of walking through the gates of Rayaan 

Allah tells us in the Qur’an - For each one is successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah. Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron. (Ra’d 13:11), a great reminder for us all!

Moms! We need to carve out a foundation for our children, with less than 10 days to Ramadan, why don’t you make a commitment today – to be an excellent mom.
What three traits do you want to realise more as a parent? Identify them and build them into your character today, there is no time like the present!

Share your traits with us on our face book page www.facebook/ummuka.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Moms! Prepping for Ramadan.

The month of Shaban will be with us tomorrow. Our mother Aisha (RA) tells us that this is the month the Prophet SAW fasted the most, except Ramadan. This is the month we should start all our prepping for Ramadan, defining our goals for family and ourselves for the year ahead. I make my goals for the year in Ramadan; lots of you have asked the reason why. Its simple I know that in the last ten nights there is the night of laylatul Qadar, I have a MASSIVE du’a list and during the last ten days I keep asking Allah. Knowing I have caught every night gives me satisfaction that by the will of Allah I got the special night and all my dua’s will be answered in this world or the hereafter. With that in mind, I am well set for the year ahead knowing I have asked guidance from Allah.

Usamah ibn Zayd said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting in any month more than in Shaban He Prophet (SAW) replied ‘That is a month concerning which many people are heedless, between Rajab and Ramadan. It is the month in which people’s deeds are taken up to Allah, and I would like my deeds to be taken up whilst I am fasting.’ [Al-Nasa’i]
It is important for us to understand the virtues of fasting knowing it is for the sake of Allah alone, the Prophet(SAW) said: “Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allah, Allah will keep his face seventy years’ distance from Hell,” [al-Nasa’i]
If you want to be productive this Ramadan, revive the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) by fasting this month of Shaban. Due to the long summer days and the little sleep we will be getting, it is very crucial we get our bodies prepared to receive the special guest of Ramadan and not wait to the last minute otherwise we will be unproductive and lethargic in the first few days of Ramadan. The Prophet SAW made the following dua in the month of Rajab for Ramadan – beautiful!

“Oh, Allah bless us in the month of Rajab and bless us in the month of Shaban and let us meet and spend the month of Ramadan in a deserving manner”. This demonstrates the passion of the Prophet (SAW) and the sahabah for Ramadan.
The sahabah spent six months preparing for Ramadan in advance. We should emulate this beautiful method by emulating the Prophetic way of preparing the month before Ramadan knocks on our doors.

We can get the children to start fasting half days and keep extending the time until they make a full day. Get them excited as well by filling the home with a Ramadan atmosphere! We need to make lots of du’a to Allah to make it easy for them.
Now let us look at some other ways we can start preparing for Ramadan.

PrEpPing for Ramadan
Set up a schedule – spend the month of Shaban preparing for a productive Ramadan. What get’s set gets measured; following a schedule will give us the opportunity to know where we are and what more of we need to do to reach our ultimate goal. So Begin with the end in mind: Where do you want to be after Ramadan? This is a pertinent point to bear in mind when setting your goals for the month of Ramadan. A goal could be; to keep praying the 12 rakaahs of Sunnah after the Fard salah without fail and to be in a state of wudu at all times.

Nine Things you can do NOW!
Bonding with the Quran – plan to read a page of the Quran after Fajr and Asr; aim to recite from the Qur’an even if it is just one page. Then start extending the number of pages as you make this a regular habit. Read after Fajr and Asr; do not let anyone disturb you it is a time for you and Allah. The angels change shift between Fajr and Asr, those who saw you reading the Quran would let Allah know.

Listen to the recitation of the Quran
in the mornings, to develop the love and active relationship with the Quran. Choose a favourite reciter (Qari) it greatly helps create that special bond between you and the Qur’an.

Read books on Seerah (The life of the Prophet) and Tafsir (Explanation of the Qur’an) – Select certain topics to study for the month and carry on when Ramadan arrives. This is something you can do with the kids too!

Punctuality in Salah
– We know that the difference between a believer and a non-believer is the Salah. Start now and make that conviction to Allah that you will always pray on time, encouraging kids and other family members.
Mansions in paradise - The Prophet SAW tells us that if we pray the 12-nawafil prayers: two at Fajr, two before and after Dhur, two before Asr and two after Maghrib and Isha. Allah builds a mansion in Jannah for that individual. What a beautiful reward.

- Give Sadaqah daily, even if it is a smile. Plan a project for you and the kids to work on – this year we will sponsor a needy widow and her children.

Dhkir (remembering Allah) –Plan certain dua’s (prayers) you can do throughout the day, such as
SubuhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, Allah Akbar, laa ilaaha illaa – moisten the tongue with the remembrance of Allah an act like this keeps us away from vain talk.
Be in a state of wudu – it attracts Rizq (sustenance) from Allah. Strive to be in a state of wudu at all times.

Early to bed Early to rise
- Prophet Muhammad SAW retried to bed after praying Isha. In order to wake up for qiyaam ul layl and Fajr. The old adage early to bed early to rise still stands. If we start getting in the habit of going to bed after Isha, we will be in a strong position come Ramadan.

Revive the Sunnah fasts
– starts fasting on Mondays and Thursdays – this is a weekly Sunnah of the Prophet SAW.

Switch off the TV and switch on to ALLAH – in the build up to Ramadan switch off from current events for a while, the world will continue when we are gone. Allah will ask what you and I did with our time and not what' is going on in the world.
Disconnect from watching TV and the bollywood and nollywood movies, internet sites, newspapers, favourite magazines etc – replace them with the remembrance and Dhkir of Allah, also forming a special bond with the Quran. We know that “certainly in the remembrance of Allah the soul finds peace”

Finally, we will not be able to grab hold of the blessings of Ramadan if we do not prepare to receive this elusive noble guest; Ramadan gives us the opportunity to save ourselves and family from the hell fire. If we cannot not secure our place in Jannah during the month of Ramadan, then when and where will we?
May Allah help us prepare for the month of Ramadan and most importantly witness it as many people have passed on since the last one? The ultimate goal of Ramadan is to achieve piety and righteousness. Let us not let this excellent opportunity slip us by.

To organise your Ramadan and give it a boost here are some useful tools just click on the links, to start planning the best Ramadan ever.

Ramadan Booster App for iphones

iLoveAllaah Ramadan Tips

Ramadan Resources for Children

SoundVision Ramadan for kids

Khafayah Abdulsalam

Mommy Coach

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