Tag Archives: Sisters Magazine

Fragile Vessel – From a Blogger to the Bloggers


I like how Hend Hegazi said in her recent interview with Umm Afraz Muhammed which is published here, that not everyone is going to like your work, your writing. She spoke a known, but not necessarily always remembered, fact. It is such an important fact to remember as a blogger. We need to let people “not like” our work, and consequently have peace with it in our minds.

Each one of us is unique, but not necessarily “good enough” in readers’ eyes. Some of us have huge word bank, while others use simpler vocabulary. Some share their thoughts in simpler form, while others find eloquence in a different path. Some hold degrees while others hold only experience. And so on….

Writing for many of us starts with the passion to share our thoughts in our own words. Pure love for writing motivates us to get started. But as human as we are, some times it is inevitable to fall in the trap of “likes.” This trap is oh so hard to avoid, and oh so depressing to be in. Like anything else in life, renewing our intentions is a must in this field too.

Keeping high goals as writers is understandable. For instance, wanting to write for sisters magazine some day (YES, that is a high achievement) or publishing one’s own book. Interestingly, to reach these goals in some undeniable manner we need to keep our readers happy. The more readers you have the better it is. Which is the very reason why it so hard to avoid the trap of “likes.” We need to balance it out for ourselves and remind ourselves from time to time. While we would like our content to be liked by readers, our writing should not be for the sake of “likes.” There is a huge difference. In first one, we share our thoughts as they are and then are content with how many ever people agree with our thoughts and like our work. Whereas in the latter one, we write in a way that readers may accept it – that is when we have lost the sole purpose of our writing.

Problem is in front of us and so is the solution.

We just need to remind ourselves and each other.

May Allah help us purify our intentions and help us write to spread good & knowledge for the benefit of Muslim Ummah and mankind in general. (Aameen)


Veteran mover Safa Ouhib hands out the hints she has picked up over years of packing and picking up boxes.


From Sisters-Magazine – How to move house without losing your sanity

It started when I was ten years old.

“It’s been well lived in,” was my mother’s euphemistic description of our new house. This was my first move, and at the age of ten I did not fully understand what she meant. I soon found out – together with the meaning of the term ‘elbow grease’!

However, some of our family’s preparations made the move easier. Wrapping all breakables well, for example, ensured that we arrived at our new home with ornaments and china, if not sanity, intact!

My house moving experience broadened after getting married; my husband and I lived in six different flats in the first four years. Moves sometimes coincided with big projects at university and these were stressful times. Through all that moving, I hope I picked up some useful tips along the way to help you make your move as pleasant as possible.

In advance  

1. Take your move as an opportunity to do a big clear out, donating to charity or recycling where appropriate. It’s annoying and a waste of time and energy to pack and move things that you will end up getting rid of when unpacking in your new house – be ruthless! Start this process well in advance as it always seems to take longer than you’d imagined to pack everything up.

2. Know whether things like curtains, carpets, and light fittings are staying or whether you need to bring or buy your own.

3. Cancel phone and internet contracts well in advance if you have them and arrange for new ones to be set up at your new address. Although it’s worth mentioning that it is usually not possible to set up new contracts until you have actually moved. You may be without internet access for some weeks. If you rely on this, especially if you work from home, think about how you will cope and make alternative arrangements.

4. Collect boxes from supermarkets and DIY or electrical shops as they are often willing to let you take ones in various sizes and strengths. Keep stronger ones for heavier items. Usually the boxes have been flattened and you need to reassemble them yourself using strong tape – layer the tape well. I usually do a few layers on the inside and outside of the box – the last thing you want is your possessions falling out the bottom! Wrap all breakables well and mark boxes clearly as FRAGILE.

5. As you pack, number the boxes and keep an inventory of what went into each box. This way, you pack the items that are used the least and work your way up to those you use frequently – and when you unpack, you will know to start with the highest number and work your way down. Keeping an inventory is especially important if you are moving to a different town or country, so that if a box goes missing or gets damaged, you will be able to remember what the contents were.

6. Decide what each room in your new house is going to be used for and which bedrooms people are going to take. This way you can label boxes accordingly. Consider colour-coding the boxes with stickers or markers – using the colour red for all the boxes that contain kitchen goods, for example. In the new house, place a sticker or page with that colour on the door of the room so that the movers will know which boxes should be placed in which room.

7. Have more boxes, markers and tape than you think you will need. Remember to label the sides of the boxes, not just the tops, as it will be difficult to read the label if other boxes are stacked on top of it.

8. If you have older children involve them in the moving process. They can help to pack their clothes and toys for example. It helps to decide beforehand which bedrooms kids are going to take. I remember my mum drawing a little plan of our new house and we decided who would take each bedroom. This definitely avoided squabbles on moving day.

9. Think about the layout of your new house and plan where bulky items like beds and couches will go, bear in mind that things like the washing machine, computer and phone will probably have to go into pre-existing fixtures.

10. Remember to have phone numbers for your gas and electricity supplier so you can inform them of the move and take meter readings on the day you move out so you will not be billed for any fuel you have not used. Also take meter readings when you move to your new home and phone the relevant suppliers with these.

11. It is useful to have a few frozen meals prepared, transfer them to the new house in a cool box and then put them in the freezer.

12. If your new house is unoccupied, try to arrange for yourself and maybe a few family and friends to go there before the moving day and give it a good clean as this can save valuable time on the day.

On the day  
13. Arrange for younger children to be looked after if possible.

14. Older children may like to stay with friends while the contents of your old house is being packed up. They will almost certainly want to be involved in unpacking at the new house so they are less likely to get bored as the day wears on if they have been doing something else in the morning. Assign older children some age appropriate tasks – they could make a start at unpacking their bedroom or do some cleaning if necessary.

15. Accept all the help you can get! If family and friends are helping out with the move, treat everyone to pizza or whatever else you can buy through take-out, rather than attempting to cook a meal that first day.

16. If you are moving in town, instead of packing clothes into suitcases, simply remove them from the cupboards while still on the hangers, wrap them up in sheets and rehang straight into the wardrobes of your new house. Not only does this save time in packing, it causes few creases and saves you on the subsequent ironing.

17. Be prepared to live out of boxes for a while. Bear in mind that it will take time to get everything the way you want it (if this ever really happens) and it is normal to feel unsettled. Talk to your kids about this too if they are feeling unnerved by the changes.

We made our last move about six weeks before our son was born. When my husband broke the news that we had to leave our flat, to my shame, I cried. However, we’re still here over two years later, alhamdulillah! And, at the end of the day, experiences like moving house, having to let go of possessions, saying goodbye, are all tests which we can choose to embrace insha Allah. They are, after all, only small challenges on our journey to our real home.

Safa Ouhib is an Irish revert who left her native Dublin after getting married, and spent the next few years moving from flat to flat in Edinburgh. She is now settled in Falkirk, Scotland. She hopes her moving days are not behind her though, as hijrah to Algeria is her next dream move. 


Forgotten Heroines

Article from Sisters-Magazine – https://www.sisters-magazine.com/2016/03/22/forgotten-heroines-the-mothers-daughters-scholars-and-warriors-of-islamic-history/

Muslim women in the West today are in a seemingly unique position, often straddling two worlds – that of their family’s ethnic culture and that of their Western country of residence. They are struggling to both revive their faith and their intellect, managing a balancing act of family and career.

Often, we feel alone, stranded in circumstances for which there is no textbook manual on how to do it all right. Surely we can’t be the only generation of Muslim women to face such trials! In fact, we aren’t. Islamic history books are filled with stories of exemplary Muslim women, young and old, who navigated cultures spanning from Asia and Arabia to Europe.

These inspiring women came of age in environments eerily similar to our own: Fatimah bint Muhammad (SAW), whose early teen years were spent struggling through the difficult first days of Islam in Makkah; and  Ama bint Khalid, who grew up in the Christian country of Abyssinia during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). They dealt with feelings of isolation, cultural differences and the struggles faced by the pioneers of a new way. They fell in love, fought in wars and achieved heights of scholarship envied by men.

From the Sahabiyat (female Companions) to female scholars in our own times, Muslim women have always had powerful female figures to look up to and emulate. Unfortunately, however, these inspiring women have been forgotten and marginalised by their own people, to the detriment of all Muslims, both men and women.

Now, we hope to revive and relive our neglected history by bringing to light not only the exploits of these heroines, but their humanity as well. We aim to build a direct connection and sense of relevance between the current generations of Muslim women and those who created legacies before us.

Coming of Age in a New World

Modern society marks the transition from childhood into adolescence with contemporary constructs such as issues of identity and angst. For young Muslimahs in the West, these struggles are compounded with further questions about religion, spirituality and their place as citizens in societies whose values are often at great odds with those of Islam’s.

Ama bint Khalid was one of the first young Muslimahs to grow up in a non-Muslim environment and whose love for the Messenger of Allah (SAW) blossomed in her heart before she ever met him. Her parents were amongst the earliest believers in RasulAllah (SAW) and were of those who made the first hijrah (emigration) to Abyssinia.

As a result, Ama was one of a handful of young Muslims who grew up in a distinctly Christian society. Though she undoubtedly faced difficulties and challenges, her identity as a Muslim was strengthened by her circumstances, rather than weakened or driven to compromise. Her parents would regularly share with her and remind her of the reason for which they emigrated: their belief in Allah (SWT) and His Messenger. They would tell her stories about RasulAllah (SAW) – his kindness, his generosity, his concern for others even if they were not his family or friends and how he worked so hard to save everyone from the terrifying punishment of the Hereafter. Long before she ever met him, Ama loved this amazing man of whom her parents spoke so fondly.

Ama was a young girl faced with a massive challenge: living and growing up in a country foreign to her family, struggling to learn a new language and a new culture and, more importantly, retaining the faith for which they had emigrated in the first place. In the midst of this utter strangeness, she fiercely held onto her belief in God and His Messenger (SAW), her saviour.

Though the challenges are many, young Muslims in the 21st century are not the first to experience isolation, alienation and negative propaganda directly concentrated on their faith. Youth such as Ama bint Khalid and ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (RA), both of whom were raised upon Islam from a very young age, grew up in a society where they were labelled as either crazy people, terrorists or both. Most Muslim teenagers often think that they have little in common with famous and awe-inspiring Sahabah of the Prophet’s time, but the truth is that their struggles were very similar to those we are going through today.

Today, young Muslims in the West have far more available and at their disposal than Ama bint Khalid had over 1400 years ago. Masjid youth groups, Islamic schools, youth conferences, CDs and DVDs; these resources provide not only knowledge, but a strength of solidarity for young Muslims growing up in non-Muslim societies.

Teenage Muslim girls who are trying to juggle their non-Muslim school environment, culturally-different home environment and plain old teen hormones need look no further than Ama bint Khalid to feel both comforted and inspired. If Ama could do it – in a time when there was no internet, no halal takeout and no varieties of cute hijabs – why can’t you?

Narrated Sa’id: Um Khalid [Ama] bint Khalid bin Said said, “I came to Allah’s Messenger along with my father and I was wearing a yellow shirt. Allah’s Messenger said, “Sanah Sanah!” (‘Abdullah, the sub-narrator said, “It means, ‘Nice, nice!’ in the Ethiopian language.”) Um Khalid added, “Then I started playing with the seal of Prophethood. My father admonished me. But Allah’s Apostle said (to my father), “Leave her,” Allah’s Apostle (then addressing me) said, “May you live so long that your dress gets worn out, and you will mend it many times, and then wear another till it gets worn out (i.e. May Allah prolong your life).” (The sub-narrator, ‘Abdullah aid, “That garment (which she was wearing) remained usable for a long time.”) Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 22


Umm Khadijah (Zainab bint Younus) is a young woman who finds constant inspiration in the lives of the Sahabiyat and other great women in Islamic history. She hopes that every Muslimah is able to identify with the struggles of these inspirational women and follow in their footsteps to become part of a new generation of powerful Muslimahs.


Sometimes we can be over-critical of ourselves. Klaudia Khan offers some Qur’anic pearls to help us get over sins of the past.


Article taken from Sisters Magazine – https://www.sisters-magazine.com/2016/03/10/forgiving-yourself/

“Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: If you were not to commit sins, Allah would have swept you out of existence and would have replaced you by another people who have committed sin, and then asked forgiveness from Allah, and He would have granted them pardon.” (Muslim, 37:6621)

Making mistakes is a part of life. Islam teaches that we should strive for excellence, not for perfection, because the latter is unobtainable for any human being. We just have to accept that however hard we try, there have been and will be times when we wrong ourselves. Alhamdulillah, making mistakes doesn’t automatically make us losers, because Allah I in His mercy taught us that we should repent for our sins and ask forgiveness and we shall be forgiven, insha Allah.

“He is the One that accepts repentance from His Servants and forgives sins: and He knows all that ye do.” (Ash-Shura:25)

The Qur’an reminds us in numerous verses that one of the names and attributes of Allah (SWT) is Al-Ghaffar – The Oft-Forgiving, The All-Forgiving.

”Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Az-Zumar:53)

“But seek the forgiveness of Allah; for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (An-Nisa:106)
Seeking Allah’s forgiveness, especially in the early hours of the morning as the Prophet (SAW) used to do, is one of the best forms of worship and through it Allah’s attribute of Al-Ghaffar comes into effect. We believe that Allah I will forgive us every time we transgress as long as we repent, because He himself told us so in the Quran:

“For Allah doth blot out (sins) and forgive again and again.” (An-Nisa:99)

We are also encouraged to forgive others as we wish for ourselves to be forgiven. Holding a grudge is not befitting any Muslim and the last person you’d want to resent is yourself.

Feeling guilty over mistakes is normal. It shows that our conscience is healthy and it leads to repentance which is necessary for obtaining Allah’s forgiveness. In that sense guilt may be constructive. But sometimes, instead of leading to liberation remorse becomes oppressive. If we keep on recalling past sins and blaming ourselves again and again, the guilt becomes a burden that makes our spiritual, social or mental progress impossible. We cannot go forward, get over our wrongdoing and start doing something good, because guilt has us rooted to that one point in our lives. Worse still, the excessive guilt may lead to committing more mistakes. For example, if we acted wrongly towards our parents or children and we cannot get over feeling guilty about it, we might instead start believing that we have become bad daughters or bad mothers. Attaching these mental labels to ourselves won’t help us in changing for better, in mending our ways and making up to the people we have wronged.

“And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of the night: For those things that are good remove those that are evil: Be that the word of remembrance to those who remember (their Lord).” (Hud:114)

Sometimes we might feel that our bad deeds have amounted to so much that our lifetime would not be enough to counterweigh them with good deeds. Yet Allah (SWT) in His mercy revealed to us that good deeds can wipe away our bad deeds. The Prophet taught us that best of deeds is the sincere belief in Allah (SWT) (Bukhari 1:148). So when changing for the better, this should be our starting point. Trust Allah (SWT) and believe in all He has revealed to us through His Prophets. And once your soul is back on the right track, your heart and your mind will follow and good deeds will be the natural consequence of your faith.

There are also some duas which Prophet Muhammad (SAW) taught us and which have the power to wipe away sins if said with sincere belief in Allah (SWT). These are: “La ilaha illa Allah wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahu-l-mulk wa lahu-l-hamd wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadir” (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah. He is the Only One and has no partners. For Him is the Kingdom and all the praises are due for Him. He is Omnipotent).

Regarding this dua the Prophet (SAW) said: “Whoever says [this dua] one hundred times will get the same reward as given for manumitting ten slaves; and one hundred good deeds will be written in his accounts, and one hundred sins will be deducted from his accounts, and it (his saying) will be a shield for him from Satan on that day till night, and nobody will be able to do a better deed except the one who does more than he.” (Bukhari 75:412).

Another supplication is: ‘Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi’ (Glory be to Allah and His is the praise), and whoever repeats it hundred times a day, “will be forgiven all his sins even if they were as much as the foam of the sea.” (Bukhari 75:414)

“Say to the Unbelievers, if (now) they desist (from Unbelief), their past would be forgiven them”(Al Anfal:38). Those who revert to Islam start their record afresh: all previous sins committed while they were ignorant are forgiven. As a revert myself, I remember the day of my shahada, the first day of my life as a Muslim, as a profoundly joyous one. I truly felt like if my life was beginning anew and this feeling was very uplifting and liberating. Whenever in my life I happen to go astray I remind myself of that feeling, of the mercy of Allah’s forgiveness and this helps me turn the page and start a new day with a resolution to make it better than the last one. This is what I ask of Allah (SWT) in my everyday prayer: to help me become a better Muslim day by day.

What has been done has been done – we cannot deny it nor forget it. The past wrongdoings can serve us as a reminder of our weakness and a warning not to commit the same mistake twice, but that’s it. In Islam there is no concept of suffering, especially that imposed on oneself, as a mean to achieve Allah’s love and mercy. Whatever befalls us – all the trials of goodness and difficulty – happens to test us and we should remain patient in all circumstances. Committing sins is often referred to by the Prophet (SAW) as ‘wronging oneself’ and it does bring pain and remorse. But there is no need to deepen our suffering through constant remembering of failure. Instead we should be grateful to Allah (SWT) for each day He gives us in which we get a chance to make up for the bad deeds by doing good deeds. And the gratefulness should lead to contentment. Allah (SWT) wants us to be happy. “In the bounty of Allah. And in His Mercy, in that let them rejoice”(Yunus:58)

The Quran that Allah (SWT) blessed us with is often referred to as ‘glad tidings’ and it confers the message of Allah’s great mercy and of His forgiveness. Forgiving Allah’s blessings may lead us astray as in Quran we read:”The Evil one threatens you with poverty and bids you to conduct unseemly. Allah promiseth you His forgiveness and bounties. And Allah careth for all and He knoweth all things.” (Al-Baqarah:268) Let’s not get distracted by Satan and his baseless threats. Forgiveness is within our reach, we just need to ask Allah I for it and start mending our ways straight away. “Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?” (Surah Ar-Rahman)

Klaudia Khan is a writer finding inspiration in real stories people tell her every day. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Pakistan and the UK.




Manar Umm Travis is charmed at the sight of flowers floating in her teacup and invites us to take a sip.


ARTICLE ORIGINALLY FROM SISTERS MAGAZINE – https://www.sisters-magazine.com/2016/01/01/blooming-cuppa/

Next to water, tea is probably the most consumed beverage worldwide. And yet, I don’t believe most people venture into the possibilities of the distinctive taste and effects that teas can offer. I am hardly a tea connoisseur and yet, I enjoy the wide array that’s available – flavourful, fruity, unique, green, black, herbal, oolong, Chinese, Turkish – with sugar, honey, lemon, or milk. To me and for most people, tea is like a potion to invigorate our minds and bodies before a busy day and also to unwind and relax at the end of it.

Growing up in Canada, my mother introduced me to the world of teas when I was very young. She gave me chamomile tea when I was unable to sleep, peppermint for a tummy ache, Earl Grey green for relaxation and invigoration and green tea for detoxification. As I grew older and the tea market expanded, I tried every kind of tea I could find. However, it was very recently that I discovered the pure beauty of loose-leaf tea compared to using teabags.

On a trip to Istanbul last Eid, we realised that even more popular than Turkish coffee was their tea that was served steaming from tulip shaped glasses. While shopping for bags, the shop owner offered us a choice of the uniquely flavoured black tea – chay – or their other famous apple tea. I took only one sip and fell in love with the fragrant glass of tantalizing chay. My next day’s itinerary was not to visit some famous tourist site, but to buy tea to take back home with me to Cairo.

My chay quest took me to the famous spice bazaar in Istanbul. I was hunting for the loose black tea powder as well as the apple tea made from pure bits of the fruit. We came across one of those shops in a little nook, nestled between other intriguing stone buildings, set apart by the bins of spices and hanging arrangements of dried herbs. I stepped inside to the warm greeting of a very friendly elderly Turkish woman. We asked her for the chay which is served all around the city. While she was packing our tea purchase for us, I stumbled across a group of bins with delightful colours and scents. I had noticed the apple tea, made from little bits of dried apple but my heart really jumped out of my chest when I realised the assortment before me – there was cherry tea, strawberry tea, orange with peppermint and something called “Love Tea” – all enticing my senses from within the bins. I knew then that I wasn’t about to leave the shop with only black chay.

Back in Cairo, I tried all my floral concoctions. I knew I was in love with them forever. Funny how I’ve always known that chamomile is a flower, yet having drunk chamomile tea from tea bags for so many years, I delighted at the sight of the actual flower in my cup. It most certainly was a tea lover’s dream come true and I truly regret not buying more while in Istanbul.

Not to despair, however. Cairo has an array of Attars – shops designed for the sole purpose of selling loose spices and herbs. They also sell many key chay ingredients like hibiscus, chamomile, rosehips, jasmine and many more if you need to create your own infusion of flower tea. The most aromatic and tantalizing flavours usually include berries, and the Turkish “love” tea was an eclectic mix of strawberry, cherry, orange and apple for a fruit explosion on your taste-buds.

The most convenient way to serve loose-leaf chay is in a teapot designed to hold the flavourful bits back when pouring. Let it sit at least five minute to maximise flavour. To heighten the floral experience for your guests, I suggest adding a few dried flowers either inside their tea cup or beside it, on a saucer. And everyone’s favourite eye tease is the chamomile flower tea with peppermint and orange – a zesty and tangy spin on the traditional white flower drink. I promise you, taking a sip of some lightly sweetened tea from your favourite mug will never be the same once you have had a flower in your cup.

Manar Umm Travis is a Canadian revert, married to an Egyptian and currently residing in Egypt. Together with her husband, she has embarked upon this journey for the sake of Allah I as travellers, adventurers, strangers in a strange world trying to make each moment count.


ORIGINALLY POSTED TO SISTERS-MAGAZINE – https://www.sisters-magazine.com/2016/01/15/4-steps-to-becoming-an-outstanding-assistant-ceo-of-your-household/

child hot air balloons

Received any good customer service lately?  It certainly is hard to come by these days. But it does exist – and when you experience it, you can immediately tell the difference from the professionals and those who just don’t have the talent. Don’t be lulled into thinking that good customer service just happens. Companies that have exceptional customer service train their employees to be superior customer service agents. As the Assistant Chief Executive Officer of your household, you can move up from being a mediocre disciplinarian of your children to an outstanding disciplinarian by implementing the following techniques that CEOs of major corporations utilise. Here they are:

1. Set goals.
Don’t just assume your child knows how to behave, let him know what you expect of him or her.  “I want you to be in bed by 9:00.” “I want your homework completed before you get on the computer.” “I want you to find other ways than hitting to let your younger brother know that you’re angry with him.”  When setting goals for your child, limit goals to no more than two or three. Too many goals can be overwhelming and reduce how successful your child will be in accomplishing his goals.

2. Reward accomplishments.
When your child performs a desired goal or even attempts to accomplish a desired goal, reward him. Give him a smile, a pat on the back, or a verbal compliment. “I see you finished your homework before getting on the computer. You are being very responsible.” Or, try one of the most effective reward systems around – the star chart system. Write your child’s name on a sheet of paper, and whenever he accomplishes an established goal, give him a star on his chart. When he receives ten stars, give him a treat, buy a new toy, or take him somewhere special. Letting him join in on deciding what the reward will be can be even more effective in helping him strive for his goals.

3. Provide Feedback.
Make certain your child knows when he/she has accomplished the goals set. This can be done by selecting from the suggestions mentioned above in step 2. Your child will also need to be reminded when he/she is not achieving the goals and where improvement is needed.  Feedback needn’t be harsh; it merely needs to be consistent. If penalties are needed, get in the habit of using methods that avoid corporal punishment. As an alternative, remove desired privileges for a period of time, such as computer use, phone use, electronic game use, special outings, or other desired activities. Also, try time-outs; the time should be commensurate with the child’s age. With all forms of penalties, avoid expressing anger or shouting. Always try to remain calm when implementing penalties. This helps prevent unnecessary or unrestrained lashing out with your tongue or hands.

4. Continue your programme.  
It’s easy to get bored with alternative discipline methods that avoid hitting and shouting. You might get tired of returning to the star chart to put up stars. You may become restless in coming up with ideas for rewards or penalties. Don’t give up. Research parenting sites online for lists of rewards and penalties for your specific child’s age. Stay motivated with the star chart system by remembering that when you cease taking the time to put up stars, you often end up having to spend your time resolving discipline offences instead. Rewards encourage good behaviour – without a doubt. So keep it up!

Now the next time you make a phone call and receive a real live person at the other end who responds with impeccable courtesy and manners, you know why – because you do the same in your own corporate office.

Grandma Jeddah is the  author of, Discipline without Disrespecting: Discover the Hidden Secrets of How to Effectively Discipline Your Muslim Child – And Keep Your Peace of Mind While at It. To order her e-book or subscribe to her free newsletter, visit her website at:  www.grandmajeddah.com


ORIGINALLY POSTED TO SISTERS-MAGAZINE – https://www.sisters-magazine.com/2016/01/15/marriage-breakers-when-someone-besides-your-spouse-becomes-your-rock/

stones love hearts

It has been several years since I got married, and even more since I have been witnessing the difficulties in the marriages of a few Muslim friends: sisters who seek my personal counsel now and then. In retrospect, if there is one thing I have learned, it is the wisdom behind Allah’s description of one of the prime qualities of righteous Muslim wives:

“Therefore, the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to the husband), and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard…” [Quran – 4:34]  

When I studied the Qur’an at first, as a young teenager, I did not understand why the angels Hārut and Mārut were sent with the ability to teach witchcraft (called “sihr” in Arabic), as a fitnah for mankind, with this “magic” described further in the Qur’an as “that which creates discord between a man and his wife.” [Quran – 2:102]  

Years of experience have taught me the great Divine wisdom behind Allah’s laws, commands and words. I have also significantly understood why people want to cause dissension between a husband and wife. It happens more subtly and rampantly than we naively believe.

First, let us accept the fact that the reason why the husband-wife relationship is the prime target of Satan, our avowed enemy, is that it forms the foundation of the happy, hearty, productive Muslim family unit. This unit is, in turn, the foundation of a righteous society. If this relationship is good, the Muslim home functions smoothly, and the next generation of Muslims grows up morally and spiritually upright. However, if the husband-wife relationship is rocky and tumultuous, it undermines the emotional well-being of every individual in the family, particularly the children.

Nothing helps raise better children than righteous Muslim parents who are emotionally close, compatible like good friends, and incessantly loving towards each other. If the parents are practicing Muslims as individuals, but do not get along well with each other, the children will not be able to grow up feeling emotionally secure and confident.

In the early days, a husband or wife – or both – usually continue to seek advice and guidance in their personal matters from their parents, out of  habit:  both are young, inexperienced in making independent decisions, and not very close to each other. However, parents on both sides should discourage this in the long term as it can undermine the pair’s close relationship.

Imagine the wife always turning to her mother, father, sibling or friend when she faces any problem, be it a pregnancy-related ailment, a plumbing fault in the kitchen, or – Allah save us – intimate details of her last fight with her husband.

On the other hand, the husband might consult only his father for financial and career advice, or his siblings or friends when worried about some workplace problem, giving  his wife attention only when retiring to bed at night.

If both spouses continue thus, it will not be long before things take a downturn between them. This is because, no matter how close someone else might have been to the husband or wife before marriage, continuing to confide in them instead of their spouse will make them find out intimate marital details, which in turn will make them involved. Interference and conflict will be the obvious outcome.

Parents of the couple like to feel needed even after the marriage and take their time to let go. It is, however, entirely up to the wise couple to keep their personal matters to themselves; even something as trivial as what they had for dinner, what ornament they just bought for their living room, or what they plan to do with the annual job bonus.

Early in the marriage, say within one or two years, if things are not rectified, a wedge will form between the couple, and it can continue to keep them emotionally apart from each other with each passing year, even if they continue to occupy the same bed and have children.

In joint family systems, it is the wife who usually compromises, because she has little personal privacy or independence, and has to always “share” her husband with his relatives. More often than not, he continues to be close only to his family, treating his wife as just a housekeeper and child-bearer. He comes home and unburdens himself on his parents and siblings, whilst his wife is busy with the household chores. A wife might feel like talking to her husband after his day at work, but as soon as she sits with him, his mother may ask her to make the tea. When she leaves, her husband will then talk to his mother. This can make his wife seethe with frustration.

Many women piously put up with this compromise on their basic marital rights without protest, year after year. However, this acquiescence undermines their long-term marital happiness.

As I said before, it is entirely up to the individual husband and wife themselves to keep their guard up about divulging their personal matters to their families, whilst maintaining their mutual closeness. Polite but firm tight-lipped-ness should meet questions like, “So, are you in the family way yet?”, “Did you find out at the last ultrasound if it’s a boy or a girl?” or “What salary are you getting since your promotion?” We must remember that our parents and relatives love us and are concerned about us, however, whether their concern transforms into meddling is totally up to us.

Of course, individual families are always much more complex, and marital problems cannot be painted with a wide, generalising brush. Some couples are very open and accommodating with their respective families, with everyone living together very cordially, sharing everything in life without any problems. Each case is different, and what might work for some, could cause problems for others.

The best advice I can give to a married person is this: whenever you have to unburden yourself about a problem, or seek counsel before a major decision, or just need to vent your emotions:

1.  Turn to your spouse first – yes, even before you talk to your parents.

2.  Consult your spouse, even if you have mentally decided what to do.

3.  Conceal your spouse’s faults behind their back, and if someone mentions these fault(s) without just cause before you, be quick to come to their defence.

Remember, spending time together, openly communicating, and being emotionally available and responsive to your spouse is of prime importance for the marital relationship. Other relationships can be given their dues without compromising the closeness between husband and wife. This needs discretion, wisdom and tact, not to mention fear of Allah and conscious obedience of His commands.

Sadaf Farooqi is a Pakistan-based mother-of-two who has faced and overcome with Allah’s help, a wide spectrum of marital challenges. One of the most important lessons she learnt is that a person should not compromise emotional closeness to a pious spouse for the pleasure of others.


Tharid 1

Article originally from SISTERS MAGAZINE – https://www.sisters-magazine.com/2016/02/13/the-prophet-saws-favourite-dish/

There may be nothing elegant about pouring hot meat and broth over a plateful of bread, yet around the world such humble fare is regarded as savoury, satisfying comfort food at its best. In Morocco, you’ll find chicken and lentils served this way; in Iraq, chicken and chickpeas and in the UAE, lamb and vegetables. In Italy, a number of soups are ladled over bread, while in America, roast beef and gravy ‘sandwiches’ might be presented in similar fashion.

Tharid – A One Dish Meal
Meat and bread dishes date back centuries, if not thousands of years. Not only can references for such stews be found in medieval cookbooks and texts, but tharid, a meat dish served communally on top of a platter of bread, was known to be the favourite meal of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). As Abdullah ibn Abbas said, “The food the Apostle of Allah (SAW) liked best was tharid made from bread and tharid made from Hays.” (Sunan Abudawud)

In fact, the Prophet (SAW) is famously quoted as saying, “The superiority of ‘Aisha to other ladies is like the superiority of tharid to other meals.” (Bukhari)

From another hadith, we learn that, on at least one occasion, the tharid served to the Prophet r included gourds along with the meat.

Likewise, modern day versions of tharid typically feature lamb, beef or poultry stewed with either beans or vegetables. Seasonings vary from one country to another. In some cuisines the consistency may be as thin as soup while, in others, it’s as thick as stew. In Morocco, the word trid(assumed to have derived from tharid) describes a traditional preparation of meat or poultry served atop shredded bread, while in Iraq, meat and bread dishes may be referred to as tharid, taghrib or tashreeb.

Talbina – A Soup, Condiment and Cure
In the time of the Prophet (SAW), tharid wasn’t always served plain – it might also be garnished with a healthy quantity of talbina, a barley flour-based soup with the consistency of yoghurt.Tharid prepared this way was a traditional meal offered to a bereaved family, while talbina itself was believed to be beneficial for the sick. The Prophet (SAW) said: “At-talbina gives rest to the heart of the patient and makes it active and relieves some of his sorrow and grief.” (Bukhari)

Modern science shows that barley is indeed good for our health. Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, barley is also low in fat and significantly high in fibre. Not only does the soluble fibre in barley help reduce cholesterol and help slow sugar absorption, but the insoluble fibre in barley may help to reduce the risk of certain cancers, according to http://www.barleyfoods.org

Make Your Own Talbina
Talbina is easy to make. Simply cook one tablespoon of barley flour in one cup of milk or water for about 15 minutes or until thick, stirring several times while the mixture simmers over low heat. If desired, stir in a little honey to sweeten the mixture to taste. Serve plain or spooned over tharid.

Although we don’t know precisely how the tharid enjoyed by the Prophet (SAW) was prepared, you can replicate his favourite meal by serving any soup or stew of your choice over slices of day old bread, shredded pita or torn flatbread. Or, try the curry-style tharid recipe below.


Iraqi Tharid with Chicken – Tashreeb Djaj
(Serves 4 to 6)
• 1 whole chicken, cut into 4 to 8 pieces
• 4 tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 or 2 onions, chopped
• 4 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 or 3 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
• small bunch of cilantro (coriander ), chopped
• 1 to 2 tbsp curry powder
• 1½ tsp salt, or to taste
• ½ tsp black pepper, or to taste
• ½ tsp turmeric
• 2 cups chicken broth
• 2 cups water
• 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
• 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 6 servings of pita, naan or other bread
1. Wash and pat the chicken dry. If desired, remove and discard the skin.
2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven. In batches, brown the chicken on all sides. Remove the chicken from the oil and set aside.
3. Add the onions and garlic to the oil and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, coriander and spices. Cook for several minutes, until the tomatoes begin to soften.
4. Return the chicken to the pot and add the water and broth. Bring the liquids to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is tender, about 45 minutes. Add the chickpeas and potatoes (and a little more water to cover if necessary – you’ll want ample broth) and continue simmering until the potatoes are cooked and the chickpeas are heated through. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
5. On a large serving platter or in individual bowls, make a bed of broken or torn bread. Arrange the chicken in the middle and spoon the sauce, chickpeas and potatoes over all. Serve immediately.

Christine (Amina) Benlafquih writes on varied topics including religion, food, health and culture. You can find more of her writing on the web at Moroccan Food at About.com (http://moroccanfood.about.com).