Saturday, April 24, 2010

Crazy Urges

I have a new crazy urge, I wanna learn how to sew. My mom is an excellent seamstress (in my humble opinion) she's been making all sorts of dresses since I was a baby. Even now, she's sending me some summer suits, JazakAllahu Khairun Mamma. When living at home, I never bothered to learn this important skill from her. She would sew, I would take care of the housework and study. Enjoying a brand new suit (much to my dad's chagrin  and later, my hubby-ji's : "you already have so many, why are you wasting?" they say-true... but they clearly don't understand the female mind (luv you Pa-Jaani..please continue reading my blog in spite of this new post...please!) in exchange for washing some dishes and brooming...not a bad trade off!

Now, I have this urge to sew. I wanna make these really nice designer, modest outfits and present them to the world. My new attempt at expressing my creativity (or lack there of). This comes after my urge to crochet (I've sort of mastered the chain thanks Umm Humza!), knit (still trying to figure out how to hold the needles ) and bake designer cakes (don't even bother to ask how I mutilated the brownies today!). But, Insha'Allah, over the summer, I'm going to make a special effort to learn something from Mama. Even if it's how to put a thread in a needle...

P.S. I over exaggerate, I can do that  the thread into a needle thing...err..most of the time

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Greater then a Mother's Love

Ibraheem had a cold the last couple of days. Coughing with phlegm, runny nose, fever and crankiness, he had it all. It was his first, so it was very hard on him…and more so for me.  It was hard for me to see my baby suffering. Unable to tell me where it hurt or what I could do to make it better, his helplessness made me cry. I am told that for new  mothers, the first bout of sickness is very, very tough. It's very true, I experienced it firsthand.

It's amazing how much love and tenderness a mother shows to her child, especially when he/she is sick.  The constant waking at night to check his fever, to pull the blanket a little higher, to comfort him with your touch, to ensure he's eating properly, giving medication on time…and then after all that, questioning whether what you've done is enough. Or is there something more you could do to make his aches and pains go away.

But we forget sometimes, that all that occurs is from Allah (SWT). There is hikmah  in everything, big and small, significant and insignificant, that is way beyond our comprehension. And even this, the sickness of a child and the mother's care, has some hikmah and opportunity for betterment that we're unable to identify. I've come to realize that there is only so much I can do, for everything is in the hands of Allah (SWT).  I can pray for Him to help me be a good wife, a loving mother, a dutiful daughter, a caring sister, a dear friend and most importantly a pious Muslimah; however, the ability comes from Him.   And so I prayed, and I did my job as a mother and He took care of the rest. His mercy and love has no bounds; His caring does not falter when there is shortage of sleep or abundance of fatigue. And when I dose off, He's still there, along with the angels, taking better care of my baby. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Have I got food on my niqab!!!

It was a lovely day today. Partly cloudy with a nice cool breeze. After spending an hour doing some intense work out, we decided to give little Ibraheem an outing. We took him to the beach, it was such a beautiful day...the perfect day to enjoy an ice cream cone ( I saw a kid walking around with one and my worked out body craved for one too; so much for the work out). So being the 'your wish is my command' type of a hubby that S. can be sometimes, he kindly walked to the little hut and bought two strawberry-vanilla cones. Oh, how yummy they looked.

 As S. passed the cone to me, I started to panic. How am I supposed to eat this cone in public while wearing a niqab? Did I mention it was a beautiful warm day? The cone started melting and trailed slowly down my fingers. I had to eat it fast. I lifted my niqab and slipped the cone underneath, generously smearing the fabric of my niqab with the delicious cream. A couple of licks, and I realized there was no way I could do this with dignity. I took a seat at the bench, and tried to quickly work my way through the cone, which was now dripping pink and white on to my all-black abayah (oh so visible!) My hubby, seeing the condition I was in, quitely commented "for once, you're more of a klutz then I am" (oh? was it that obivious?). I quickly finished my cone, most of which was shared with the fabric of my niqab and some with my abaya (how generous I am, I share with my clothing!), and rushed as fast as I could to the nearest bathroom. I washed my niqab and wringed  it as best as I could. Allhumdulillah, it was a lovely, warm day and the niqab dried pretty quickly.

Later that night, S. got a call from one of his colleagues.
"Saw you at the beach today!"
S.: "Oh, yeah we were there for a bit"
"Yeah we were going to come meet up with you, but you were heading the other way."

They must have seen my mad dash to the bathroom...ooooh..niqab and ice cream cone not a very good combination indeed!Never, ever again  will I indulge in public! Next time when I have a craving, I'll make sure to take my niqab in to consideration!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Cup of Tea

Recently (like in the past two days), my love for tea has renewed. I used to be a big tea person before marriage. Thanks to Mama, I would drink at least three, steaming mugs a day. However, after the wedding, the addiction just sort of faded away. S. isn't big on tea, he's more the cappuccino type. A Medium french vanilla from Timmies.

The other day, I had some friends over for a potluck and decided to make some tea. Right after having asked everyone if they would like some, I realized I didn't have any milk (real smart, huh?). I did what any good hostess would do, I improvised. I had some evaporated milk on hand so I decided to use that instead. And boy, did that tea taste good. The next day, I found myself making a cup of tea in the middle of the afternoon, rationalizing that I had to use up the left over milk. But when I added "evaporated milk" to the grocery list, I knew I was hooked.

So here I am, my third cup of tea for the day in hand and am thoroughly enjoying it. It's just not the drinking, I enjoy making the tea as well. Heating up the water to a light boil, adding a cracked cardamom, then the tea bag. As the bag releases it's colour and the water comes to full boil the smell of the tea is so tantalizing. And then you add the milk to get that beautiful creamy colour, and let the mixture come to a slow simmer. It's such a soothing task. But as I take that first sip, I'm reminded of those moments of sharing a cup of tea with Mama and Aunty (after the wedding). It would be just our time, to sit and chit-chat. The last 8 months or so, I spent with my husbands parents, Aunty and I would have our cup of tea in the late afternoon. It was downtime after the morning chores and before the dinner rush. We would enjoy some chocolate chip cookies or whatever sweet snack was at hand with the tea.

Reflecting on it, I don't think that it's the actual tea (although the caffeine kick does help the grogginess), so much as the memories it brings back. The wonderful times spent with the two most important women in my life. A remembrance of all the conversations and discussions we would have. And a deep longing to return and make some more memories with them while indulging in a cup of tea. (Insha'Allah)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Story of the One-Eyed Mother

Son's Statement:
" My mom only had one eye. I hated her"... she was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students & teachers to support the family. There was this one day during elementary school where my mom came to say hello to me. I was so embarrassed. How could she do this to me? I ignored her, threw her a hateful look and ran out.

The next day at school one of my classmates said, "EEEE, your mom only has one eye!" I wanted to bury myself. I also wanted my mom to just disappear. So I confronted her that day and said, " If you're only gonna make me a laughing stock, why don 't you just die?!!!"My mom did not respond...I didn't even stop to think for a second about what I had said, because I was full of anger. I was oblivious to her feelings.

I wanted out of that house, and have nothing to do with her. So I studied real hard, got a chance to go to Singapore to study. Then, I got married. I bought a house of my own. I had kids of my own. I was happy with my life, my kids and the comforts. Then one day, my mother came to visit me. She hadn't seen me in years and she didn't even meet her grandchildren. When she stood by the door, my children laughed at her, and I yelled at her for coming over uninvited.I screamed at her, "How dare you come to my house and scare my children! GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!!! "And to this, my mother quietly answered, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address," and she disappeared out of sight.

One day, a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house in Singapore. So I lied to my wife that I was going on a business trip. After the reunion, I went to the old shack just out of curiosity. My neighbors said that she died. I did not shed a single tear. They handed me a letter that she had wanted me to have.

Mom's Letter:
"My dearest son, I think of you all the time. I'm sorry that I came to Singapore and scared your children. I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I may not be able to even get out of bed to see you. I'm sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up. You see........when you were very little, you got into an accident, and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn't stand watching you having to grow up with one eye. So I gave you mine. I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye."

With my love to you, Your mother.
This one made me cry. We take our parents and family for granted, especially our mothers, SubhanAllah.  Just so you know, I love you all (especially Aunty and Mamma)! May Allah (swt) bless you with health and iman (Ameen).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple and Sincere)

I got this in the mail today: 

Wedding of Hazrat Fatimah (Radi'Allahu Anha) :

Fatimah (Radi'Allahu Anha) is the youngest daughter of our beloved Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). Out of all the children, she(R.A) was the most beloved to him(PBUH). Hazrat Muhammad(PBUH) said, "The Queen of the ladies in Jannat is Fatimah(R.A)." Hazrat Muhammad... also said, "Fatimah(R.A) is part of my body. Whoever grieves her, grieves me."

When Fatimah (Radi'Allahu Anha) reached the age of fifteen, proposals for her(R.A) marriage began to come from high and responsible families. But the Prophet (PBUH) remained irresponsive.

Ali (Radi'Allahu Anhu), who was 21 at the time, says: "It occurred to me that I should go and make a formal proposal, but then I thought, 'How could this be accomplished, for I possess nothing.' At last, encouraged by the Prophet's kindness, I went to him and expressed my intention to marry Fatimah (R.A). The Prophet (PBUH) was extremely pleased and asked, 'Ali! Do you possess anything to give her in Mahr?' I replied, 'Apart from a horse and an armour I possess nothing.' The Prophet (PBUH) said, 'A soldier must, of course, have his horse. Go and sell away your armour.'"

So, Ali (R.A) went and sold his armour to Uthmaan (R.A) for 480 Dirham and presented it to Rasulullah (PBUH). Bilaal (R.A) was ordered by the Prophet (PBUH) to bring some perfume and a few other things and Anas (R.A) was sent to call Abu Bakr(R.A), Uthmaan(R.A), Talhah(R.A), Zubayr(R.A) with some companions from the Ansaar (R.A).

When these men arrived and had taken their seats, the Prophet (PBUH) recited the Khutbah (sermon) of Nikaah and gave Fatimah (R.A) in marriage to Ali (R.A). He announced, "Bear you all witness that I have given my daughter Fatimah(R.A) in marriage to Ali for 400 Mithqaal of silver and Ali has accepted." He then raised his head and made Dua saying, "O Allah, create love and harmony between these two. Bless them and bestow upon them good children." After the Nikaah, dates were distributed.

When the time came for Fatimah (R.S) to go to Ali's (R.A) house, she was sent without any clamour, hue and cry accompanied Umm Ayman (R.A). After the 'Isha Salaat, the Prophet (PBUH) went to their house, took permission and entered. He asked for a basin of water, put his blessed hands into it and sprinkled it on both Ali (R.A) and Fatimah (R.A) and made Dua for them.

The sovereign of both worlds gave his beloved daughter a silver bracelet, two Yemeni sheets, four mattresses, one blanket, one pillow, one cup, one hand-grinding mill, one bedstead, a small water skin and a leather pitcher.

In this simple fashion, the wedding of the daughter of the leader of the worlds was solemnised. In following this Sunnah method, a wedding becomes very simple and easy to fulfill. "

We are so involved in doing things that conform to the rules of society, often times falling into haraam. Weddings today consist of expensive halls, with costly food, decor, and big cakes ( I had it all except for the latter).  All those people we invited and the many that we couldn't, are all a distant memory. There are only a handful that we're still in touch with. So much of the focus is on the big day, however, it's the rest of the days that matter the most. All those people, for the pleasures of whom we do all these 'wordly' preparations, just eat, wish you well, give their gift and go home. "The bride looked pretty, the food was too spicy... I'm so tired"...and that's it, it's all forgotten. All that preparation...for what? I wish that weddings would be like that of Fatima (RA), such simplicity and beauty.

Does the amount of money spent on a wedding, reduce the anxiety the bride feels? Does it lessen the bittersweet pain of the brides' parents as they give away their precious daughter? Does the pain lessen if she travels in a stretch limo or an antique from the 60's? Is the groom less nervous in an expensive tux or following the lead of a marching band? Does the sincerity of the guests dua's and well wishes for the couple lessen if there are no more then 20 dishes at the open buffet? Does anyone remember the smell of the fresh flowers strewn all over the ground as the bride made her entrance? Given enough time, do the guests remember what colour the bride wore? Many years later, when sitting in a rocking chair, with her grand-daughter in her lap, will the bride recall the minuscule details of her wedding day? Or will she share the memories, experiences and wisdoms gained from the many years of a beautiful marriage with the man that Allah (SWT) had ordained for her? Forget 'many years later', I can't even remember the colour of the napkins at...what was the name of that wedding hall? May Allah (SWT) guide us and forgive us (Ameen).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Allhumdulillah for the Small Things

The weekend has come and gone. Allhumdulillah it was a good one. I fasted on Thursday, surprisingly it was a very easy fast. The day sped by very quickly, and in the evening R. invited us for dinner. May Allah reward her for preparing such a yummy meal. I'm going to put the veggie recipe on here, Insha'Allah. Friday, we were just chilling at home. It's very rare that we get some 'free' time as a family. There is always so much going on, especially with S. But the moments, we get, however short, should be cherished. May Allah grant us peace and tranquility in our lives (Ameen).

The fasts have been good. Unfortunately, I've only been able to do two. I decided I would do it every other day, as I get really, really drained. The body is not used to it, and I don't want to risk getting sick. Plus, I go to the gym everyday, although I try to slow down the workout on the days of the fast, I am wiped out at the end of the day. I've started my homeschooling too, Allhumdulillah. So all that combined, plus cooking and a very active and demanding baby (Masha'Allah), I just can't seem do it everyday. Insha'Allah if I aim to keep at least 10 fasts a month, then I should be good. May Allah bless me with the strength (Ameen).

As I said, I've started homeschooling. It's the child of a family friend of ours. The school he goes to has it's summer vacation from April to June. They will open back up in July when the rest of his family is vacationing in Pakistan (silly, is it not?) So they've kindly given me the opportunity to school him. Masha'Allah he's a good kid and is very kind towards Heemu ( the most important thing for me, I don't wind a child who will bully my baby or be a bad influence on him). May Allah bless me with the guidance to teach this child well and arouse in him the love of deen (Ameen).

Insha'Allah I will do weekly posts about our homeschooling adventure!

Till then, Ma'a Salaama