Ramadan Decorating Ideas and Printables

Eid Printables

ModernEid’s 2015 Printables make it easy to decorate for Eid.

One of the amazing parts of Ramadan as a Muslim parent is getting the chance to introduce the magic of it with your children. One of the ways to bring that magic to your child’s life is to welcome Ramadan to your home by decorating it with Ramadan decorations and crafts. Here are some tips to make decorating your home for Ramadan fun, easy and not too messy.

Printables

I admit it. I am a Muslim mom who loves shortcuts that look fancy. Who doesn’t? I have a newborn and a toddler, but I still want my home to look cute and ready for Eid and Ramadan. What is the best way to do it? Using printables. With the click of a mouse, you too can make a Ramadan decorated room worthy of Pinterest. Here are my favorite printables:

ModernEid Printables

Sakina Design Ramadan Printables

In My Studio Ramadan Banner Printable

DIY

Since my oldest child is now 4, I decided we could make a banner together so that she could have fun too. However, the perfectionist in me wanted the banner to look cute too. So I did an easy DIY banner with this kit from Target. To make it even easier, I added these stick on letters from Target to spell out “Ramadan Kareem.” She loved it! She got to play with stickers and I got to create a cute Ramadan banner. It was a win for all of us.

We also did crescent moon and star cut outs and doused them with glue and glitter. Let me just add that I now know why adults call glitter evil. It is terribly messy and is hard to get out! However, my daughter loved the activity and if it makes her excited about Ramadan, it is worth the mess and memories.

Lights

Oh Christmas, you aren’t the only holiday where people want to put up lights. Long ago, I used to stock up the day after Christmas on lights so that I could string them all over my house when it was time for weddings, Ramadan and Eid. This season, it seems that retailers are catching on about Ramadan and there was an abundance of lights to be purchased in the patio section of my local Target (oh Target, how I love thee). Some Muslim moms even found gold and silver battery operated lights in the Dollar Section of Target! Seriously, how are you not running to Target now?

I was not one of those lucky thrifty moms and I selected a super cute gold themed string of lights by Lilly Pulitzer from Target for Ramadan (I promise, this post was not sponsored by Target, I just happen to shop there a LOT).

How are you welcoming Ramadan this year? Do you have any decorating ideas that you would love to share? Please let us know in the comments below!

Mothers In Islam

Muslim mom cradling her son's face.

Motherhood in Islam reflects the innate nurturing side that all mothers have for their own children.

Salaam my lovelies! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend inshallah. In the United States, yesterday was Mother’s Day, so I hope my fellow Muslim moms felt the love from their children and families.

One of the things that I noticed in our community is that there is a deep divide about celebrating Mother’s Day. While I have written posts about how it is not permissible for Muslims to celebrate holidays like Halloween or Christmas (based on scholars), it is typically because these are holidays based on other faiths. However, many Islamic scholars have deemed it permissible to celebrate Mother’s Day. And why would we not want to celebrate Mother’s Day? It is a day where we can honor our mothers like Allah (swt) and the Prophet (saws) recommend!

In fact, in the Quran, Allah (swt) states: Allah says: “And We enjoined upon man concerning his parents. His mother begot him in weakness upon weakness and his weaning is in two years. Give thanks unto Me and unto thy parents. Unto Me is the journeying.” (Qur’an, 31:14)

We all know this hadith: Abu Hurayrah relates that a man came to the Messenger of Allah and said, “Which person is the most worthy of my excellent companionship?”

He replied, “Your mother.”

The man asked, “Then who?”

The Prophet said, “Your mother.”

Then the man said, “Then who?”

The Prophet replied, “Your mother.”

Then the man said, “Then who?”

The Prophet said, “Your father.”

(Bukhari and Muslim)

While we know this, did we ever stop and think about the meaning of this ayah and hadith? First, let’s look at the ayah. Allah (swt) mentions how the mother had “weakness upon weakness” when she has a child. This refers to the weaknesses of pregnancy and delivery. Yes, motherhood starts with pregnancy’s trials too. Once I got pregnant, I realized how my mother must have endured countless sleepless nights as a pregnant woman as well as countless days feeling the lovely waves of nausea from morning sickness. Alhamdulillah, motherhood is one of those rare moments where the very being taking your strength and energy becomes the very being you love even before you see him/her!

The hadith also indicates how important mothers are because of the difficulties of pregnancy and delivery as well as parenthood. If you notice, the hadith lists your mother 3 times over your father. Why is that? This is because your mother carried you for 9 months, had to endure childbirth, and then helped raise you versus a father who helps raise a child. Fathers are still important, but it shows Allah (swt)’s mercy on and fairness on mothers.

I actually overheard an older man complain about Mother’s Day asking why not celebrate fathers too? Well, in the United States, Father’s Day is celebrated in June. So both parents have a day to be recognized. That being said, Islam elevated the status of mothers because mothers have this extra portion of parenthood. So why not take the time to appreciate our mothers? While we should do this every day, doing something extra for our moms on this special day makes her feel appreciated and we gain reward. What better way to earn Jannah? I think its easier than doing any extra form of ibadah (worship).

So make sure to show your mom some love. And fellow Muslim moms, remember that while Mother’s Day is important, even if you didn’t get break, Allah (swt) sees all your hard work and will reward you accordingly inshallah. So keep being that awesome mom!

Muslim Children and Bullying: What Do Parents Do?

Stop bullying

We all need to work to stop bullying of all kids.

Salaam my lovely readers. I hope you are well inshallah. I was recently asked by a fellow Muslim parent to discuss a pretty serious topic: Muslim children and bullying. In particular, what does a loving Muslim parent do when kids at school ask/tell their child if he/she is a terrorist?

We all view bullying as a rite of passage to adulthood. Teen movies always depict the popular kids picking on everyone else and reigning supreme in places like high school or even junior high. However, bullying is going even further than before because bullies have high tech tools like smartphones and laptops. It can make even seemingly harmless labels linger a lot longer than they should. How can a child teased about one incident move on if that one incident is forever memorialized on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr?

Another scary dimension for Muslim parents is the added burden of being labeled as “other” in America even if you are born here. Before, it was harmless surprise in the face of fellow Americans to see a hijabi speak in accentless English. Now, we have to face the fact that people may look at you as a scary person, or there may be bigots who hurl insults at you or your children. We have to teach our kids to value themselves first so that no matter what other people say or think, they will have a strong foundation of self esteem and worth to elevate themselves beyond that.

How do we instill this in our kids?

  • Make Sure Your Kids Know They Matter To You: I want my baby girl to always know she is first in my heart besides God. I want her to feel safe to tell me about her day and her choices (even if right now its picking cereal over rice). She knows she matters because when she calls or reaches out for me, I am responsive. Be there for your kids so that they never feel alone.
  • Let Your Kids Know They Are Not Alone: When I share stories of my early teen hijabi days and what bullies said to me as a teenager to other teens, they look surprised because it is similar to the stuff they get too. Times may change, but people don’t. Share these stories with your kids so they know it happens to all of us, even their parents. Also, tell them God is always watching and listening to them. When they feel despair, HE is always there.
  • Encourage Civic Responsibility: One of the best ways to combat bullies is for your kids to get involved with helping their community. It helps them feel valued, loved, and gives them a sense of belonging. All of these things are the very things that bullies want to strip away from our kids. Another added benefit is that it actually helps deepen bonds in our community and is part of the Sunnah (life of the Prophet Muhammed (saws).

Kids Say The Darnest Things

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I am a terrified mother. Why? Because I have a two year old daughter and I noticed that she can repeat anything like a parrot.

Alhamdulillah. She is absorbing a lot of information that she will be able to apply later in her life. However, I am scared that she is trying to absorb too much of what the adults around her do.

I want her to be a good person. But there is no manual to accomplish this. I stubbed my toe and thankfully said ouch, but all day my toddler kept rubbing her toe and saying owwww. What if I said &$?!!’ by accident?

How can I filter what she absorbs? The answer is that I can try, but I can’t do it 100%.

All I can do is keep trying. At least Muslim parents have some guidance in the Quran, Sunnah and the lives of the Companions alhamdullillah.

According to Umar (ra) the rights of children from their parents are:

1) To choose a good mother (or father) for him/her.

2) To select a good name for her/him.

3) To teach him/her the Quran.

For the first one, I actually sat and thought my Hubster would be kind hearted with his future kids when we met for marriage talks. This is because I saw how gentle he was with my own nieces and nephews. He also made sure to spoil his cousin’s children regularly. Mashallah, I am lucky because when I have to discipline my toddler, he tempers that with his warmth and love.

The second one is important too. A name becomes a part of a person. If you give a good Islamic name, you start to embody that name. My name is Minara which is a derivative of minaret which is where the caller of prayer stands. It is interesting because it is now in my nature to call others to the beauty of our deen. I named my daughter Safiya so she can embody the noble qualities that the wife of the Prophet (saws) had. And wouldn’t you know she is very empathetic and fiercely independent mashallah.

Lastly, I am trying to teach her Quran. I am not the best parent, but I am trying. She is only two (today is her birthday!) but I can at least try to teach her Surah Ikhlas.

I hope that Allah (swt) blesses all those Muslim parents out there trying. It’s not easy, but keep trying. Even in the United States, there are people of all faiths trying to stay modest and raise good children to be good people. Just remember that and make lots of dua for you and for me too! 🙂

Tips on How Soothe a Sick Toddler

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If you have children, then you know that when baby is sick, no one is happy or can be at peace. Sick toddlers especially demand a lot of attention. What is a Muslim parent to do with a sick toddler? Here are my tips and tricks for how to soothe that poor sick toddler:

1. Baby Vicks VapoRub: this product is a miracle worker. Rub this on your little sick toddler’s chest and the bottoms of her feet and she will instantly feel better.

2.Steam Bath (or shower): this helps open up your sick toddler’s little stuffed nose and will let your sick baby breathe a little better.

3. Fluids: I am a strict mom. I only allow my little toddler milk or water. However, when she is feeling sick, I do let her have juice because she thinks she is getting a treat and it helps her stay hydrated. I also feed her soups when I can tempt her.

4. Special Me Time : I let my toddler get her way when she is sick. This means reading her extra books and watch her favorite TV show (not too much though!).

5. Extra Love: I sit next to her while she sleeps so if my sick baby needs me, I am right there. I am blogging right now while she is resting. I give her extra cuddles, kisses and love in the hopes it helps her get better faster iA.

I hope these tips help you if your little one is sick. Do you have any other helpful tips to share? Make sure to comment below.

Raising Muslim Kids In A Hyper Sexualized World

Muslim Children in Hyderabad

Muslim Children in Hyderabad

With more children suffering at the hands of this sexually driven world, I am starting to feel scared as a Muslim parent. Recently, The Telegraph did a whole article about the prevalence of pornography in all facets of our lives and how they are starting to affect children. Reading the article struck fear in my heart. As a parent of a toddler who is barely 2, I am starting to realize that she is absorbing everything around her; good and bad.

I am lucky because at this age, I can be her media gatekeeper. I refuse to watch anything remotely adult around her. It has been a blessing for me too. I recently shared an article on my Facebook about how desensitized that our society has become that Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance did not cause anyone to bat an eyelash. I was blessed because I didn’t subject my eyes and my soul to what was described as a purely objectifying performance that did a disservice to the singer and women in general. However, I can’t shield my child from glancing over magazine covers while in line to buy groceries and other inevitable instances of sexualized exposure.

That being said, I am not going to despair. In the time of the Prophet, there were all sorts of ignorance (jahiliyya) around. People used to go around the Kaaba naked! So in order to combat these influences that may take away my child’s innocence, I plan to do the following:

  • Spend as much time as I can: I plan to spend every moment I can ENGAGED with my child. I lock my phone in an unknown place unless we are FaceTiming grandparents and I spend as much time as I can talking to my child face to face. we play games, we play pretend, we do yoga, we watch child appropriate TV. We even pray together. I want my time with her to dominate her memories.
  • Teach boundaries: I want my daughter to know what is right and wrong. When she does something wrong, I simply say stop and walk away so she knows that there are consequences to her wrong actions. I hope this instills a sense of responsibility in her inshallah. I am still a new parent, so if anyone has any pointers, please let me know! She knows that she can’t touch any electronic device without a grown up supervising.
  • Show your love: I show my daughter I love her all the time to the point she rubs my kisses away. But I want her to know that she is loved for who she is, not for what she looks like or what she can give anyone. I want her to grow up feeling valued as a human being so that when the time comes, she will know that she is not an object and that she has more to contribute to society. It is so sad, but even The Onion did a parody piece about the awkward moment that a girl transitions into a sexual being. So when that moment comes, I hope that my daughter knows she is more than that to me and can hold tight to the values I raise her with inshallah.

Being Present: Mommyhood Woes

As a proud mom of a toddler, I keep repeating “This is happening too fast! Stop growing!” My little girl is reaching each milestone faster and faster.

It also makes me realize how important it is to be content with your life and the people in it RIGHT now. Too often, we have conditions attached to our happiness. “If I get into school” or “When I get married”. What we forget is to be grateful for what we have NOW.

I remember how when my daughter was first born, I would say “it will get easier later” or “when she gets bigger I will”. But now that she is turning into this beautiful person, I realize how I should have savored her babyhood a little more.

So now, I am more engaged with her. I read her stories (I always have) but I play with her too. I make silly faces. I do very inelegant and unfashionable things just to make her laugh. I want her to remember me as a fun loving mom. Not a mom who was counting the moments to the next milestone.

In a way, I have to thank Allah for giving her as a gift to my life. Because without her, I would have never learned to slow down. So I thank God every chance I get. And I also pray to slow down this rapid growth just a tad too ;).

Halloween and Islam

Cute Picture From Jannah Steps Blog

I know that a lot of you may be tempted to dress yourself or your kids up for Halloween. However, the majority of scholars have said that Halloween in particular is a celebration that true followers of Islam should not celebrate.  I feel awful because even though I was always a practicing Muslim, I didn’t realize how harmful Halloween was until much later in life. So I decided to write this post to help more Muslims gain awareness about it.  While it may seem harmless to dress up and eat candy on Halloween, here is an excerpt from SuhaibWebb.com.

“The consensus of our scholars have prohibited taking part in the activities or selling the items specifically related to celebrating holidays representing religions other than Islam. This is due to the hadith we mentioned, ‘Whoever imitates or resembles a people is one of them’ (Bukhari)

Among these is Halloween which is an ancient polytheist pagan tradition of Europe that was switched to All Souls day once Roman Catholicism had spread throughout Europe. It gained back its pagan roots with the capitalist venture of profit in those polytheist rituals. The current practices are almost identical to those done by the Polytheist originators of this holiday. If you are truly a follower of the Qur’an and Sunnah – not someone who follows their desires, or someone who simply wishes to fit in even when it compromises their religion – then you will not partake in this holiday.

We must not take part in this celebration. Instead, we should try to organize mosque activities on this night, or try and go somewhere that doesn’t celebrate it, or at least just keep your lights off outside of your house.”

For those of you in the Bay Area, MCC East Bay is planning a nice event called November’s Eve Celebration at Sienna Ranch from 5:30pm-8:30pm. It will be a halal alternative to Halloween replete with s’mores, bon fire, face painting, and henna. Since this is NOT a Halloween event, please don’t come in costume iA.

I hope this post finds all of my East coast readers well and I hope this helps all Muslims decide to do the right thing today iA.

Why Eid ul Adha Makes Me A Better Parent

This post is a little bit late, but I wanted to share my thoughts about this past Eid last week.

Muslims celebrate two holidays. Eid ul Fitr which celebrates the end of Ramadan which is a month of devotion and fasting. And we celebrate Eid ul Adha which honors the sacrifice that Ibrahim (as) was prepared to make.

How many of us would have been willing to sacrifice a child?

In the Quran, Allah (swt) tests Ibrahim (as) by sending a command to sacrifice his son Ismail (as) in a dream. Ibrahim (as) was torn. He was convinced he had to do it, but look at the beauty of the verse in the Quran. In Surah 37 ayah 102:

And when he was old enough to go about and work with him, (one day) Abraham said to him: “My son, I see in my dream that I am slaughtering you. So consider (and tell me) what you think.”

He said: “Do as you are bidden. You will find me, if Allah so wills, among the steadfast.”

While most parents focus on the obedience part of Ismail (as), I noticed that Ibrahim (as) as a parent treated his son as an adult mA. He tells his son about his dream and doesn’t just order that he obeys Allah (swt)’s command, he asks his son “What do you think?”

As a parent, I find it easy to tell my daughter to do something, but it’s a bit more challenging to sit there and explain why.

But in the Quran, it clearly shows that these two Prophets shared a relationship of mutual admiration and trust.

I can only hope that I can aspire to a certain degree of this, but I do know that this particular Eid will always remind me that parenting is not just about ordering your child to do what’s best, but having a real relationship based on mutual trust and affection iA.

I hope you all had a lovely Eid! And please make dua for all of us. I pray that all the Hajjis making their way back have their accepted iA. Stay tuned for fashion tips for curvy hijabis coming soon iA!