Sunday, August 31, 2008

 

My Burnt Hijab Collection

A visual odyssey.

Not only do I hate ironing, I can prove it:

As I was doing my tidy-up today

I looked at my scarves

and realised how many of them are burnt

and so, feeling a little silly

I decided to snap away

but then I realised

that there were way too many

which were burnt

I couldn't believe it

and thoughts wandered elsewhere

at the creation of God Almighty Most High

who Created the Heavans

and the earth

and all that exists in between

and He Most Powerful, also Created

The Hellfire.

I pray He, Most Wise & Lord of Mercy

Protects and keeps us all,

The Children of His Noble Prophet Adam Alaislam

free from even the smoke and smell of Fire.

And enters us all into Heavan by His Great Kindness.

Amen.

Allahumma Ajirna min-an-naar [x7] O Allah, protect us from the fire.



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Fingertips Bath Bombs!

I come from an interesting household where there is always a lot of weird and wonderful stuff happening.

The recipe is available from the official kid's site: Foundation TV.













It's great fun for kids - whatever their age, making for interesting, alternative activities and gifts.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

 

Observing Learning Environments

8/10/2007
Sitting in a college class I jot some thoughts:

Just by observing what’s going on in the classroom environment, one can come to be in a good position to reflect at one's own practise and conduct. What kind of language is being used to communicate messages? Tone, vocabulary, as well as whether or not it’s accompanied with facial expressions and other body language.

Some individuals will bend over backwards to ensure the students get the ‘best deal’. Others started off that way but soon became overcome by red tape, increased workload, lack of support and an ever-changing set of circumstances which influence the learning life and subsequently it's impact on the class.

And what is the ‘best deal’ I refer to?
Giving the learner the opportunity to reach their potential at it's fullest whilst they are in your company?
Perhaps, doing what’s within your power to give your learner a quality experience. Some of what I observe in the classroom has far-fetching repercussions for our life in general. If I skip back to my previous point for a moment: 'giving the learners the opportunity to reach their potential at it’s fullest whilst they are in your company' can so easily be changed to read:
Giving everyone who comes in contact with us the opportunity to reach their fullest whilst in our presence, company etc.

And we do what’s within our reach to help, assist, or signpost anyone who we interact with or anyone who interacts with us.

Knowing of course that the strength to do so comes from God Almighty. Yes the many opportunities we get to do goodness are given to us by our Creator. Sometimes we don’t know for sure why we get these opportunities. And there’s no real need or point in attempting to find out the answer to ‘why’.
Trust me: a great way to waste your energy is to try and draw your own conclusions to things. Never assume you will know why things happen: pointless pursuit. Also it’s extremely disappointing when you realise that things don’t follow your conclusions! Though this is not the same as finding meaning through ponderance.

Pondering, reflecting and contemplating ‘what does all this mean’ is a different thing indeed. Reflection is an important tool in analysing one's behaviour and rectifying one’s character as a result. Not to mention how useful it is for keeping under control the milleau of wondering thoughts as they roam in and out of one’s mind.

Every thought attached to many others:
the breeding ground for a whole new species.

It makes one wonder what new specie is being created within me. All the more important then, to reflect, on these thoughts: let’s prevent the creation of a specie which will threaten our own existence.
I want goodness to grow within me: for my thoughts to be the means to reaching a greater understanding about ‘what all this means’.

For enlightening to occur and realisation to take root, let me keep on top of any thoughts.

How can we be of benefit to those interacting with us if we are unaware of that within us?

Returning back to those that interact with us and how we should do what’s within our realm to help them: if we are empty what do we give to others?

Let’s go back to the class, observing others can teach us what lies within us.



This piece was written on a morning that I had been asked by an agency to work at a college. It had been a long time since I had been in a classroom setting.


Kindly typed by my volunteer, please say a prayer for her and her family. Thanks.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

 

A Holistic Approach For Muslim Women on Campus

Here is an article (Page 2) I did recently on Muslim women on University campus which was published in the CCJ (Council of Christians and Jews) e-zine 'Dialogue Matters'which is for HE and FE Chaplains. More info about it here.



Disclaimer - I had no input on the choice of images.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

 

Learning The Quran

Adult learners have many obstacles which prevent them from accessing programs of learning. When it comes to Quran learners who have adult children of their own, you could imagine how delicate the mission of learning the Sacred Text for the first time in their life can become. I don’t believe I am the only one who grew up with one parent not knowing how to read the Quran. Many people from my parent’s generation are unable to read it.

They have spent an entire lifetime in yearning to recite, or in the very least to be able to make the sounds of the letters which form the sacred words. They have spent countless hours focused on the letters, watching the mouths of recitors move as the tongue dances to the coming together of that which forms the Message. Many nights did they spend in Ramadan with ears attentively listening to the Imam's recital during Tarawi Prayer; the 30-day completion of the entire recitation would be the annual gift they would receive so proudly. To have made that connection with the sacred once more, they would wait for next Ramadan in earnest: just to hear those words which neither man nor jinn could compose the like of.

Many would spend the days without congregational prayers and await the Friday so they could once more listen to even a little portion of the Quran. The Quran which they kept on the highest shelf: with nothing else above it not even another book. All the while the desire to read and take from this Book becoming greater, sometimes too much for their beings to cope with, during which times they would wash their bodies and hold the Quran; turning the pages with weeping eyes and a heavy heart, praying with their entirety that they be given the great fortune to read what it says.

Some inviduals braved the odds and began their journey of learning the Quran. This write-up speaks about a few barriers and their accompanying solution which may prevent some adults in their 50s plus from starting a learning regime:

1. Lack of Provision

There are not many places which teach adult members of our community. Adults cannot be expected to sit in classes with children.

Solution: Provision of sessions for adults.


2. Respect The Age Factor

Youngsters learned in Quranic sciences such as recitation and tajwid are not always equipped with the gentleness towards people who have not necessarily had those opportunities. This deters older people from pursuing their learning or even enquiring about tuition available. It’s not easy for Grandpa and Grandma to practise the alphabet when everyone else is reciting like nightingales in their midst!

Solution: We should acknowledge that we have all had different advantages and disadvantages in life. To an extent we are the result of this. If we see this through the lens of Divine Planning then we realise that we all have very distinct journeys. So if our journeys are distinct, then so too are the points at which we learn specific things. If we come across someone who has not had the life opportunities that we have, then shouldn’t we ‘lower the wing of humility’?


3. Passing Judgement


Following on from the above is the speed at which many individuals can pass judgement on those who have not yet learnt what may be termed as the ‘basic’ stuff. Some people can wonder how someone going into their senior years has still not learnt how to pray or in this case read the Quran. Stop.

Solution: Stop wondering about the life others have lived and think about what you can do to make a difference or aid them. A word of encouragement goes a long way, and if one is unable to do that then a silent prayer will speak a thousand encouraging sentiments. We simply have no right to investigate the private lives of other people.


4. Learner Styles


Sometimes we can overlook the fact that we all have different styles of learning! Odd as it seems we seldom think that this may be the case with adult learners.

Solution: Maximise modern technological advances and utilise appropriate resources such as audio recitations of the Quran. Encourage learners to become familiar with certain passages by providing listening material. Hopefully this will initiate familiarity with the Quran and will help motivate learners who are finding it difficult. Essentially we should never forget that those working to do something with difficulty are not the same as those who face fewer struggles (as learners).


These were just a few thoughts on the subject of adult learners attempting to read the Quran for the first time. Inspired by my dad’s recent completion of the Book and the discussion it generated. I am sure that there are many more ways we can encourage adults on their learning journey. My aim was to initiate a dialogue and get a discourse started on this important issue present within our communities.

Late Spring 2008


Image: Qurans in a Mosque in Tarim, July 2008

This write-up is one of many which has been kindly typed by volunteer typists. Please say a silent prayer for them and their families.


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Monday, August 11, 2008

 

All things Wrist

Having had no access to 'News' for the last 6 weeks I returned to see the wrist in headlines.

I am unsure what the exact problem or issue seems to be: is the wrist a problem or is it religion? And how does one define the concept of 'jewellery'? I haven't been able to read much about this whole issue as I am still quite jetlagged after 3 flights in 24 hours and thus hoping that what I write here won't be misinterpreted. But this is a topic which really made me think, otherwise myself blogging 2 days in a row is an achievement in itself. And as readers may be aware, I seldom blog what is in the news.

I have two vague points, both related to the wrist: the first in terms of religious obligations and the second with respect to health needs.

The wrist, just like the neck is a member of the body which is accustomed to wearing religious symbols: be it the Kara for the Sikhs, the Sacred Thread for the Hindus or a Thread worn by a Muslim receiving Ruqya. Adding to the latter, in some Muslim societies it is not uncommon for individuals to wear certain precious stones on their wrists for spiritual wellbeing. And there is nothing to say that such customs won't be practised by people here - afterall we live in a global village right?

With respect to health: how would the one wearing a magnetic bracelet be perceived?

I am sure all above arguments have been well-written about during my absence. What worries me however, is the issue of spiritual wellbeing. I may lack eloquence here but I will give it a try: if we are beings with a spirit then is it not our right to look after that spirit? Would it not be detrimental to our wellbeing if we were refused to wear what we consider useful for our spiritual health?

The practise of wearing things on the wrist affects all who have decided to adopt a religious philosophy in their daily lives. So it becomes necessary for us to think what is our duty in such cases as that of the young 14 year old.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

 

Dowra Sharings: 1 - On Sharing

Hats off to the Dowra Team who organised this year's program. They set such a high benchmark in terms of their hospitality that I am brought to humble myself to their kindness. I pray in earnest that everyone can go to spend some quality time with the family of the Prophet Alaislam. Praises to God Almighty Most High.

I intend to share a few things with you all.. and the first of these is the advice I was given: that not everything should be shared.

I am still very giddy and off to rest so leave you to enjoy my neighbour Ethar's blog who was in a room across me.


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