Redefining family traditions within your own home can be the key for new Muslims to making it through the holiday season with ease. A Holiday Guide for Muslims - www.MuslimasOasis.com

Redefining Family Traditions – A Holiday Guide for Muslims

As Muslims we have two festivals of celebration, Eid al-adha (festival of sacrifice) and Eid al-fitr (festival of fast-breaking). Then you have  your other celebrations mixed in there such as niqaa (celebration of marriage) and akhiqa (celebration of birth), but in general it is the main two Eid Festivals that we look forward to yearly.

I, like many other Muslims living in America reverted to Islam as an adult. I know first hand that this revelation of having only two festivals of celebration can be a hard concept to swallow for new Muslims.

Think about it for a minute, the time between Halloween and New Years Day is filled with family traditions. The Holiday season is what brings families together, its a time of year when you get to visit and celebrate with family members that you don’t see every day. Not celebrating the Holidays is a drastic change that represents a loss of family and can bring on feelings of loneliness.

Don’t fret there are some steps you can can take to make the transition easier on you and your family. You can counteract the feelings of loneliness by Redefining Family Traditions within your own home.

Redefining Family Traditions

  • Attend a Conference – Most Muslim Communities will have some type of conference that correlates with each major Holiday on the Georgian Calendar. You could plan ahead and travel to one outside of your community, this will be a fun time that you’re family will look forward to.
  • Learn Together – Do a family research project! Yay, this could actually be really fun. Research different Holidays to find out what their origin is then pull together some proofs from the Quran and Sunnah to explain why Muslims should not participate in these Holidays.
    Make the most of your Eid Celebrations. We as Muslims celebrate two festivals each year, make the most of it.

Get Everyone on Board

  • No Call List – Call your most important family members in the days and weeks leading up to a Holiday. Give them a kind reminder that you do not celebrate the Holiday in question and ask that they please not call with well wishes on that day. You can take it a step further by educating your non Muslim family members about the two Eid celebrations and explain that this would be a great time for them to call and express their well wishes or send gifts for your children.
  • Notify Teachers and School Staff – Both public and private schools are required to follow Federal and State mandated Holiday schedules. If your child attends public school the school may even have scheduled Holiday celebrations. Notify your child’s teacher and other necessary school staff ahead of time letting them know that your child will not be participating in any Holiday celebrations. Request that your child be allowed to go to another area when these celebrations are taking place, if the school can not accommodate your request don’t second guess the idea of keeping them home.

Benefits of Not participating in Holidays

  • Save Money – Most of these Holidays are surrounded by the idea of spending money. Spending money on food, gifts, new clothes, costumes, decoration, etc. I mean really the list is endless, but you don’t have to worry about that. Keep your money in your pocket, in the bank, stuffed in your mattress, whatever your desired savings method is, I’m not one to judge.
  • Days To Relax – You’ll get paid time off of work regardless of whether you’re celebrating or not. Now you have more time to spend with your non Muslim family and get some much required rest and relaxation. P.S. the two Eid Festivals are easy days to get off of work because most likely no one else is requesting those same days off.
  • Extra Pay – If your job is open on Holidays you can sign up to work and make some extra money. Some employers offer an incentive of Holiday pay.

 

RedefiningFamilyTraditions (1)

Reminder

Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is Severe in punishment. (Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5: 2)
The Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Narrated by Ahmad, 2/50; Abu Dawood, 4/314). And he said, “Be different from the mushrikeen.” (narrated by Muslim, 1/222, no. 259)

What strategies do you have for getting through the Holiday season with your head held high? Share your beneficial reminders in the comments below.

The Young Mans - The first in a series of Islamic stories for kids! - www.MuslimasOasis.com

Islamic Stories for Kids Book Review: The Young Man’s Plan

The Young Mans  – The first in a series of Islamic stories for kids!

A book review by Lisha Azad

“To harm a great prophet
Who was kind and sincere.
What a terrible plot!
What an evil idea!”

The rhythmic words chanted repeatedly throughout the book are immediately catchy and emphasize the main theme of the story: the young man’s plan. As a mother in Islam, it’s a valuable story I want my children to know.

RS Khan’s The Young Man’s Plan is a story of Sahabi ‘Umar ibn ul Khattab (may Allah be pleased with Him), one of the most distinguished and well-loved Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who planned to kill the Prophet as Islam began to spread widely in Makkah. It’s only her debut book but in a few expressive paragraphs, RS Khan skillfully sums up the story of the determined and courageous young man who went on to become a great follower and leader of Islam and who was ultimately bestowed the title of Al Farooq, the one who can tell right from wrong.

While my 9-year-old son was fascinated by the story, the illustrations held the attention of my 3-year-old. Vivid, colourful sketches very beautifully bring to life the poetic rendition of the change of heart this man experienced and the complete transformation he underwent upon accepting Islam. Facial features and expressions have been avoided in the sketches and even though the story unfolds in the barren desert landscape, the visual appeal this book holds cannot be disregarded. The pages are in full-colour and the focus is on the young man and his determination can be felt intensely in the way he is depicted marching forward to carry out his plan.

The Young Man's Plan  - The first in a series of Islamic stories for kids! - www.MuslimasOasis.com

The first in a series of tales from the lives of the Companions of our beloved Prophet, this book also features a colouring activity book to accompany it. Future publication plans include at least 4 similar rhyming picture books with tales based on the lives of the Companions accompanied by colouring books and workbooks insha’Allah, to further the understanding of children and to provide them with fun activities through which they can learn more about the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) and other Islamic topics.

The author

RS Khan has been a writer for SISTERS magazine for a number of years, mainly writing for the inspiration section, in which she normally shares her personal experiences in order to, bi idhni Allah, bring benefit other sisters. But sensing the gap in Islamic literature for Muslim kids that provide a fun and balanced way of learning about Islam, she and her husband recently set up Education Enriched, an Islamic publishing company with the aim to publish books that inspire young Muslim children with true stories from the Seerah.

Beginning with this series, they look forward to publishing a high-quality set of books with stories that really can inspire Muslim children to become like the most exemplary Muslims of the past in a fun and interesting manner. The Young Man’s Plan looks all set to fulfill this aim by encouraging Muslim children across cultures and communities by being an invaluable aid in instilling love in their hearts for those who were closest to the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him).

 

The Young Man’s Plan is currently available in WISE bookshop in High Wycombe, and Al Manar Bookshop in East London (behind East London mosque) and online through Education Enriched. Presently, the colouring activity book (target age range 3-5) is in stock, and there’s an offer of £7.99 to buy the storybook and colouring book together (original price 10.48).

The Young Man's Plan  - The first in a series of Islamic stories for kids! - www.MuslimasOasis.com

What does it mean to participate in western holidays for a Muslim? Where do you stand? What do the scholars say? Join us for a discussion on Thanksgiving for Muslims in America.

Muslims in America: Thanksgiving

Living in the west creates many questions about how far a Muslim assimilates or participates in western holidays. Often, we look to the origin of the holiday, and make decisions on whether we will participate based on how the holiday started, the important traditions and their meanings, and the significance of it today. I believe Halloween and Christmas are fairly obvious holidays to avoid (and yes, I realize many people do not avoid them, but generally, most Muslims in America do), but holidays like Thanksgiving and Independence Day (both American holidays) are less clear.

What does it mean to participate in western holidays for a Muslim? Where do you stand? What do the scholars say? Join us for a discussion on Thanksgiving for Muslims in America.

 

I am not here to offer a fatwa (religious ruling) on whether you can participate or not.

With that said, I’d like to offer some thoughts, insight, and information.

Origins of Thanksgiving

Rulings on whether you can celebrate

Not all of these agree. It is all food for thought.

Personally, I have a hard time celebrating something that only means to people what we are told it means in the media. We are told Thanksgiving means giving thanks, and celebrating the bounties in the last year, regardless of their size and significance. We are told it is a time that we bring families together to bond and reconnect after a possibly busy year. Some of these things are true, but I personally have issue with glazing over what Thanksgiving means to the Native Americans. I would love if we could bring in traditions that honor the sacrifices they have made, and the troubles they still face because of the immigration of Europeans just a few short centuries ago. In sha Allah (God willing), that can be a beneficial addition if one chooses to participate in Thanksgiving traditions.

Eid is always #1

One thing all scholars agree on is Eid should never be overshadowed by the celebration of another holiday. Ever. For the sake of our families, our faith, and our kids, we should make Eid as exciting, enjoyable, and enriching as possible, in sha Allah (God willing). I recognize with the media and the ease of finding decorations, it takes more work to make Eid bigger and better than the other holidays. Even if you don’t participate in western holidays, if you own a TV, or head to a store anytime between October and February, you are overrun with advertisements for various holidays. No one said the right thing is going to be easy, but it will be worth it, in sha Allah.

The meaning of Thanksgiving

We know that the reason behind Thanksgiving should be something we concentrate on every day of the year, but in practice do we make that happen? Is Thanksgiving the only time we share what we are thankful for? Is it the only time we reflect on what we are thankful for? Muslim or not, we should be reflecting and speaking our thanks throughout the year. Let’s work to make it a daily practice to be thankful, inside and out.

Family ties

Some families put incredible significance on certain holidays, and choosing not to participate is akin to a slap in the face. Each person knows their own family, but remember: slow and steady wins the race. If you came to Islam, or decided to start seriously practicing Islam relatively recently, and now your family is grappling with how you are changing, then on top of it you are refusing to attend their special event, even for a short period of time, it could be doing more harm than good. On the other hand, pacifying family members year after year with your continued participation as if nothing changed isn’t beneficial for you either.

We should live our Islam each day. Not just the days it is convenient for us.

Make the steps you are able to make, but remember that life and its inevitable changes do not happen within your comfort zone.

Western holidays look different for everyone. Everyone takes different steps to their ultimate goal: Jannah (Heaven/Paradise), but in sha Allah we are all making steps. Decide for yourself how western holidays affect you and your iman, but don’t confuse this with how comfortable you feel. Comfort is not a sign of iman necessarily. Shaytan (Satan) is wonderful at helping us feel comfortable.

What does Thanksgiving look like for you as Muslims in America?

Are you ready to be a parent? Do you know your responsibilities? Come learn the rights your child has upon you in this life, for the benefit of the Hereafter - www.MuslimasOasis.com

Are You Ready for Parenthood? Rights of a Muslim Child

Aziza is a beautiful newborn. Since the day Ayesha and her husband Abdulrahim conceived her, they have been hoping and praying that their first child will be born healthy and grow up into a God-fearing, morally upright citizen, meanwhile assessing and asking themselves some important questions while preparing for the arrival of their baby: Will Ayesha go back to work? Will she use breast or bottle-milk to feed Aziza? Have they saved enough to feed and care for one more family member for life?

All parents-to-be or new parents would think of such questions and they are pertinent because they help us plan and prepare for the long and arduous parenting journey ahead. But as a mother in Islam, perhaps your focus should be on some more important questions such as:

What right does this child have on us as parents? What responsibilities has Allah, the Most High, placed on us by putting this child in our care?

Because as Muslim parents, we are responsible for raising our children in an Islamically approved manner. Hence, these are challenging questions, the answers to which are essential if we want to raise a generation of Muslims that is pious and virtuous.

Are you ready to be a parent? Do you know your responsibilities? Come learn the rights your Muslim child has upon you in this life, for the benefit of the Hereafter - www.MuslimasOasis.com

Rights of a Muslim child

  1. Right to noble birth – Obviously, this is a matter to be considered at the time of marriage, which is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) highly recommended selecting pious women to marry so as to ensure that the children resulting from the marriage would be raised in a virtuous environment.
  2. Right to live – Once conceived, a child is protected by Allah’s laws (which generally forbid abortion).
  3. Right to Tahneek – Aisha (RA) relates that “The people used to bring their newborn children to the Prophet and he would bless them and perform the tahneek” (Sahih Muslim). ‘Tahneek’ is the Arabic word for a ritual that was performed by our Prophet (peace be upon him) when a child was born to one of the families of the righteous Sahaba (companions). He would bless the child and apply mashed date pulp to its palate. These days, this rarely practiced Sunnah ritual of Tahneek may be performed by any virtuous person on a Muslim child.Similarly, it is the right of the child to hear the adhan as soon as it is born. The male child has one more right, namely the right to be circumcised.
  4. Right to an aqeeqah – It has been narrated by Ali (RA) that the Messenger of Allah slaughtered a goat on the occasion of Hasan (RA)’s birth and said “Oh Fatima! Shave the head of Hasan and pay silver equal to the weight of the hair as charity” (Sahih Sunan at-Tirmithee). Likewise, it has been reported by Abdullah bin al-As that the Prophet said, “To whomsoever a child is born and he wants to perform a sacrifice of Aqeeqah on behalf of it, he should sacrifice two goats for a boy and one goat for a girl”. (Sunan Abu Dawood). It is in keeping with these Hadith that a newborn’s head is shaved and an animal slaughtered for sacrifice.
  5. Right to be given a good name – The Prophet (pbuh) said: “On the Day of Resurrection, you will be called by your names and by your fathers’ names, so give yourselves good names.” (Hadith Abu Dawud). Our Prophet always chose names with good and pleasant meanings, asking people to change their names if they meant something unpleasant.
  6. Right to be breast-fed – Until the age of two years, this is another right of the child {The mothers shall give suckling to their children for two whole years. (Surah Al-Baqarah: 233)}
  7. Right to love and affection – Little children need constant demonstrations of affection and love. Our beloved Prophet (pbuh) loved children dearly and expressed this love. There are many authentic hadith relating how he would offer ‘salaam’ to children, play and make jokes with them. He would even allow his grandsons, Hassan and Hussain (R.A), to ride his shoulders during his prayers. It is reported that once a Bedouin saw the Prophet (SAW) kissing a small child. When the Bedouin wondered out loud, “I have eight children but I never kiss them”, the Prophet (pbuh) remarked, “What can I do if Allah has taken away love and compassion from your heart?”Of course, these are the most basic rights that every Muslim child is entitled to and which most Muslim parents readily give. However, there are other rights that kids have and responsibilities that parents must fulfill, that come up as the baby begins to grow and reach different stages in life such as toddler, preschooler, schoolboy/girl and teenager.
  8. Right to education – As the Hadith goes, “Seeking knowledge is an obligation on every Muslim.” (Ibn Majah), so parents ought to make every effort to expose their children to all sorts of moral and intellectual knowledge. Islam also emphasises the education of girls. The Prophet (SAW) once said, “He who provides good upbringing to 3 daughters shall go to Paradise”. A man asked, “What if one has only two daughters?” “He also shall go to Paradise”, said the Prophet. Another man asked, “And what if one has only one daughter?” “He too”, replied the Prophet (PBUH). In today’s circumstances, a ‘good education’ is not just the chance to learn to read, write and do Math, but to learn how to live as a Muslim as well.
  9. Right to proper food, clothing and shelter – Children also have a right to be fed and clothed. However, parents today have to be vigilant about the kinds of food they allow their little ones to consume. Otherwise the child’s health is compromised at an early stage and this sets him/her up for sickness and disease, thus preventing him/her from growing up into a productive member of society.
  10. Right to fair treatment – Even if/when the heart is inclined to one child, parents must not discriminate against one child or favour one over the other. More importantly, parents should not favour boys over girls as, in Islam, there is no difference between having a daughter or a son.
  11. Right to be raised in a good Muslim environment – Raising a good child and raising a good Muslim child are two very different things. Parents seeking to raise a good Muslim child require knowledge and understanding of the teachings of Islam, therefore we must ask ourselves the following question:

    As parents, do we have within us the Islamic knowledge to raise a good Muslim child? Are we model Muslims ourselves?

    Obviously, the first step in this regard would be to educate ourselves with the Qur’anic principles and hadith (in general and especially with regard to parenting). Then we can hope to mould our own behaviour in line with Islamic teachings and become role models that our children can follow. Some of us obsess about the friends our children keep and the schools they attend but seem oblivious to the fact that the TV, computer games and the Internet can also send out powerful messages, which are often un-Islamic. As parents, it is our responsibility to protect young minds from being morally corrupted. Surrounding ourselves and our children with Islamic role models is vital to good Muslims in today’s world. Mothers should supervise the dressing of Muslim girls and explain to them the reasons for Hijab and the need for modesty. Girls and boys must be taught the reasons for segregation in public places and given guidelines for behaving with the opposite sex so as not to fall into sin, knowingly or unknowingly.

  12. Right to own and inherit property – There are Islamic laws that allow for ownership and inheritance of property from parents and other relatives. Even a minor or an orphan cannot be denied this right and it is a highly punishable sin in Islam to do so.

Last but not the least, it pays to remember that the early years of life are the best years in which we parents have the golden opportunity to mould our children and their personalities. Be it as simple as a child’s eating habits or the learning of good manners or on a more serious note, learning the fundamentals of Islam, parents are the child’s first teachers and the family is the first school. Lessons learnt in the family leave a lasting impression on any young mind. Allah entrusts our children to our care and ultimately we are responsible for them. If we raise them in an Islamically-approved manner, they become our source of pleasure and contentment, first in this life and then in the Hereafter.

Let us make dua’a to Allah to make this task easy for us. May He help us to become the model parents we wish to become and to raise our children to grow up to be model Muslims of the next generation, Ameen…

****

Lisha Azad is a Qatar-based children’s author with 4 published children’s books based on Islamic values and themes to her credit. Having been a published freelance writer in the Middle East for more than two decades, she also has a wealth of experience in writing on myriad subjects for women’s and children’s magazines. As a mother of two young children, parenting is a topic quite close to her heart and she currently runs a parenting page on Facebook at Conscious Parenting Approach.

For more information on her writing, please visit www.lishawrites.com.

Share The Deen Review

Share the Deen is an Islamic educational company selling products from apparel to posters to games. They sent us a set of two of their card games to review, so here’s what we thought.

What it is

Share the Deen’s games are card based memory type games. Their ‘Women in Islam’ set is a set of cards with the name of the person on the front, and a short retelling of their story on the back, these can be used as flash cards and for trivia games. The ‘Allah’s Prophets’ set is a memory game, you lay out the Q cards and the A cards and match the facts. The ‘Women in Islam’ set features a reference card where you can learn about the women who are mentioned in Qur’an and also ideas on how to use the deck. The ‘Allah’s Prophets’ set has a reference list with the answers to the questions so that you can look them up until your confident, this is a great memorization tool and would be an excellent format for many other Islamic applications.

What I like

The packaging and cards are excellent quality, they are designed well and they are well written. The concepts are known to most so they aren’t hard to learn, although they are better for families with older kids since they are language based with no visuals. I love the concept and the overall execution is all but flawless. The information on the cards appears to be sound and the opportunity to learn about influential women in Islam is a welcome one.

What I don’t like

Unfortunately I do have a few qualms about the cards. The first of those is that they don’t provide references for further study or to find the information in context. In my opinion this is a huge oversight and I hope it will be added to future sets (via a reference card/sheet or on the individual cards themselves). The other perhaps more minor qualm is the particular subject choice (re. Allah’s Prophets), the facts are important parts of Islamic history, but aren’t too relevant in day to day life for young Muslims, especially for kids I feel it’s important they learn the basics of their religion, the fundamentals of practicing their deen, before memorizing facts and what is essentially Islamic History trivia. I hope ‘Share The Deen’ develops this concept further to include sets with that practical sort of information as well, I’m looking forward to the Qur’an, Prayer and other fundamentals sets!

In Short

Muslim Friendlywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
These games teach Islamic facts and history, they have no images of living things nor anything questionable.
Positive Messageswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The deck of 'Women in Islam' cards is a great resource for building Muslim identity in both boys and girls, helping to build respect and understanding of the role of women in Islam. There is one question in the 'Allah's Prophets' set that I wasn't fond of 'Prophet Ibrahim's Second Wife?', Hajar's role in our history is so much more than that, not a major issue but I thought that could have been worded better. Otherwise no negative messages.
Educational Valuewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Teaches facts, trivia and history about Women in Islamic history and about Allah's Prophets. I thought the information could have been more practical, thus giving it more educational value, but it is still packed with educational value.
Qualitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Beautifully designed and well made.
Valuewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
'Women in Islam' card deck is currently $9.99 and 'Allah's Prophets' memory game is $13.99. I think those are reasonable price points for games of this kind.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Identity building and educational, these are an excellent addition for your family's Islamic game collection this Eid.