9 Children’s Books That Help Promote A Growth Mindset

Have you ever taken time out to think about your mindset?. How much it has an affect on you and how you handle situations that occur in your life? Until a few years ago, I never *really* thought about it and its effects. I was aware of it, however I only started thinking deeply about mindset a few years ago. I underestimated just how much it can play a role in just the most basic day to day things that happen. Mindset is an extremely powerful tool.

As I began reading about mindset, I started to see there was a lot of talk about the difference between fixed and growth mindset. The more I read, the more I could see my old self and my ‘new’ emerging self within both categories. Alhamdulilah for growth and change. Our mindsets (positive and negative) can be shaped by many thing i.e past experiences, trauma or stem from your childhood. If you find yourself deeply rooted in a fixed mindset, there is *always* the option to make changes and it is never ever too late. Just like anything you want to pass on to your children, it needs to be something openly practiced by you, as children are not only little observers but also great imitators. This is one of the best ways to introduce the growth mindset to your children. There are many books out there for adults, who are trying to work on their own mindset to free themselves from the shackles that is a fixed-mindset.

A growth mindset is the idea or understanding that personal qualities and abilities can change. Leading people to take on challenges, persevere in the face of setbacks, and become more effective learners. It focuses on the “process” (consisting of personal effort and effective strategies) rather than on intelligence or talent.

Our society is one that worships talent and there is an assumption that someone who possesses intelligence or ability-along with confidence in that ability- has the recipe for success. However, over- emphasis on intellect or talent can lead to people becoming vulnerable to failure, fearful to take on challenges and unwilling to work on their shortcomings. This births the belief that intelligence or ability is innate and something that cannot be changed no matter how much effort or work you put in, also known as fixed mindset.

Having a growth mindset empowers you to live by the notion that your abilities, talents and intellect are things that can be expanded endlessly, through hardwork, effort and perseverance. This is the very basic explanation of such a big and deep concept but there are many resources online that can help you to learn more about it.

I started looking online for children’s books that promote grow mindset. I was pleasantly surprised with just how much is out there. These are some of the titles I purchased, they are all available on Amazon.
‘I can’t do that…YET’- Rayyaan’s favourite at the moment! He uses this phrase whenever he is struggling with something (goal achieved!) and requests it as a bedtime read often Purchase Here!

i CANT DO THAT YET
‘The girl who never made mistakes’ Purchase Here!

the girl who never made mistakes
‘Rosie Revere, Engineer’ Purchase Here!

Layout 1

What do you do with a problem’ Purchase Here!

what do you do with a problem
‘Thanks for the feedback…(I think)’ Purchase Here!

Thanks for the feedback i think
‘No Excuses! How what you say can get in your way’ Purchase Here!

No excuses
‘Unstoppable Me! 10 ways to soar through life’ – Has 10 ways actionables for self-love (which I’m all for!) and a short story for each point, to see it in action. Purchase Here!

unstoppable me
‘Ish’ by Peter Reynolds Purchase Here!

ISH
‘Incredible you! 10 ways to let your greatness shine through’ Purchase Here!

Incredible you

If you decide to purchase or already have any of the books I have mentioned, do let me know your thoughts on them in shaa Allaah. Has it had a positive affect on your child?. Also if you are working to change your own mindset and have found any beneficial resources that have helped you, please do share!

Umm R x

*Affililate links included

Learning To Trust The Journey..[Free Printable + Planner Stickers]

I can honestly not remember how many times I have sat down, excited and eager with a pen in hand and big goals in mind. Hurrying to write them down, as though they would escape, without thinking about my journey to get there. My mind was primarily focused on the end goal, from wanting it so badly. The result? Little progress, followed by a complete burnout. The end goal wasn’t the problem. Dreaming big is always a great thing alhamdulilaah, it was my own lack of preparation for the journey towards that goal, that was the cause the recurring burnout.

In eagerness to achieve a close relationship with Allaah ta’ala, we can often set goals that, on paper look exciting and easily achievable, but in reality, they can be a hindrance to *real* progress.

In our enthusiasm to strive for the akhirah, it is incredibly easy and tempting to try to do it all. Dive completely into everything. Whether that is tahajjud, sunnah fasts, hifdh etc. Although this is praiseworthy and our efforts will never be wasted in the sight of Allaah ta’ala, starting small and perfecting the basics can be more beneficial.

There is a da’ee that once said the reason people go from ‘practicing’ the deen to not even doing the basics, is because they did not have a firm foundation, to begin with. How true is this? Perhaps we can all relate to it, one way or another at some point in our lives.

I had a realisation ever since returning from a Qur’aan retreat I attended, that if I continued setting goals with only the end goal in sight and ignoring the stepping-stones I need to tread upon to get there. I would be in the exact same position I am now, again and again with little progress.

The reality is, success is a series of small wins. Every little progress deserves to be celebrated and embraced. Any progress you make sincerely towards Allaah no matter how small is a step forward towards that big dream you so desperately want to see come to life.

I’m sure you have all come across the hadeeth “The most beloved of deeds to Allah are those that are most consistent, even if it is small” [ Bukhaari & Muslim] at one point or another. I really feel this is a hadeeth that should be on display in every home as a reminde (Which is why I created a free printable of it. Downloadable link at the end of the blog post). A reminder to slow down and focus on the journey and your series of small wins. After all, is it not the love of Allaah that we are so desperately trying to earn? The Prophet alayhi salaatu wa sallaam has already told us how to achieve it, so why do we make it hard on ourselves?

As time passed, I learned to be sensible about my goals. Taking into consideration that life isn’t always going to go how I expect it to and so I need to be flexible and be aware of my pockets of time. Understanding that I have responsibilities and so may not be able to achieve as much as I want to in a short amount of time, but working towards it a little every day in pursuit of my Lord’s love and pleasure means more to me.

Whatever it is your heart is yearning to achieve for His Sake, slow down and ask yourself, what is it you can do to avoid burning yourself out, resulting in prolonged stagnation? What steps can you take to ensure that you are striving daily in small doses for the pleasure and love of your Lord?

A mountain does not form over a weak foundation.

Hadeeth poster printablehttps://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3A-txWP7yYsaXFGMHlXTENRZnM/view?usp=sharing

Planner Stickershttps://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3A-txWP7yYsdkExaEI1Y0hnRVU/view?usp=sharing

Nature Curriculum Week 1: SEEDS

This year I wanted to incorporate some more in-depth learning about nature. Rayyaan spends a lot of time outdoors and playing at parks but I wanted him to establish a deeper connection with nature itself. The benefits are incredible and exploring nature sets the tone for mindfulness, gratitude and strengthening ones relationship with Allaah ta’ala through His creation.

I had previously seen this particular nature curriculum by Lynn Seddon all over social media, with great reviews and feedback. It is called ‘Exploring nature with children’ and can be purchased (downloaded) HERE. This is the first curriculum I have considered so far since we started our homeschool journey. Because I had absolutely no idea where to start and what to do apart from the obvious nature walks, I thought I would look into it. I was pleasantly surprised alhamdulilaah. A year long curriculum that covers all seasons and is divided into weekly themes/topics of study. I thought this would be perfect for us to follow loosely* bi’idnillaah.

The curriculum also comes with books and art recommendation list to supplement learning as well as poetry to read. This is where the disclaimer comes in. The curriculum contains some poetry and themes which are not compatible with the Deen and so obviously should not be used. I researched some children’s poetry related to the topic i.e. seeds and printed them off to use instead and will also be skipping over the other unsuitable bits.

*I mentioned that we would be following the curriculum loosely for a number of reasons. First being that we would not be following their timeline (weekly change of theme) and instead I will go at Rayyaan’s pace and interest. If he prefers to stay on a topic for longer than a week than I am more than happy to do that. After all this is about learning and understanding and not rushing to finish the curriculum. Secondly when it comes to painting, drawing etc (which this curriculum encourages) Rayyaan is a bit up and down about it. He will go through phases of loving to do it and at other times he will be not that interested. So whilst I will encourage him and present to him the tools and resources needed, I will simply leave it up to him to decide if he wants to or not. Overall I will be seeing how we go and taking and leaving bits in shaa Allaah.

I really loved a few things about this curriculum, particularly the idea of a family nature table. Rayyaan loves to bring things home from the park/walks i.e. flowers, stones, sticks etc so I felt this would be a perfect way to display his finds. Also the idea of creating a regular trip weekly where you spend time observing and studying nature with your child is a wonderful thing to incorporate into your weekly routine. Quality time, organic learning and fresh air!

I wanted to make this blog post to show you what resources we used to learn about week 1’s topic, which is seeds in shaa Allaah. I’m hoping it will help anyone following the curriculum or thinking about it. This is what the front page of the contents looks like. You can have a look at the preview on their website (linked above) as well in shaa Allaah

We went out on a nature walk to explore different plants and trees, particularly taking a look at any fruits and seeds we may come across. We took a basket to collect and bring home any finds, to investigate and explore further in shaa Allaah. Alhamdulilah grateful to have some lovely woodland and parks near by to explore.

These were our pretty findings Allaahumma barrik

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To supplement learning we use numerous books. Some of the books we use are our own and some borrowed from the library (A homeschoolers best friend! Saves you a great deal of money)

These ‘Spot 50’ set of books are absolutely brilliant! They contain such pretty illustrations and detailed yet easy to understand information/facts. I have learnt so much from them myself. I got them on eBay for £3 alhamdulilaah. We used them to identify the different leaves, flowers and trees we came across.

The Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia is a great reference book to have in every household, regardless whether you homeschool or not. Very useful and sparks a lot of curiosity and questions. Purchased this for a bargain of £5 from WHSmith.

This book is from the 30 book set ‘Everything I need to know for school KS1’ which is also a useful set to have (minus one book regarding evolution). You can get it from The Book People. We used this book to discuss how seeds grow and what they need in order to grow. We went on to discuss the process of dispersion and how the seeds spread and settle to grow in different places.

20170911_215829
Taking a look at different seeds and their plants. Talking about comparison in size, colour and texture. Can also be used as a matching game. (These were gifted to me by a lovely sister over a year ago)

I thought we would end this theme with planting seeds of our own in shaa Allaah. Rayyaan really enjoys anything to do with gardening so this will be perfect for hands on learning!

We used this book from the library in shaa Allaah:

Another thing we have been doing in shaa Allaah is looking at seeds within the food we eat. Foods we eat such as; strawberries, apples, kiwi, cucumber, pumpkin seeds, green beans, sunflower seeds etc. Also the fruits and vegetables that contain seeds which we don’t eat such i.e. apples, oranges, peppers etc. I cut up some fruit and vegetables and we had a look at the seeds inside. Rayyaan really enjoyed this as it was a hands on activity. We discussed the shape, size and colour of the seeds and whether we eat them or not. Rayyaan decided to draw a picture of the a pepper that I had cut in half and labeled the picture Allaahumma baarik laahu.

A lot of reading and hands on exploration is the route we took with this. The aim was to encourage curiosity, interest and questions and it did just that alhamdulilaah. I will be sharing some more over on my Facebook and Instagram page, so do follow our journey there in shaa Allaah.

Umm Rayyaan x

An Insight Into How I Plan Our Homeschool Year

It is that time of year that homeschoolers start preparing to start their homeschool year and with that comes a lot of planning, effort and research into curriculums, resources and activities.

One of the most asked questions I get is about our homeschool routine/homeschool plan. It takes a lot of time to reply to every individual message outlining how I prepare for the upcoming homeschool year. So I thought it would be better to create a blog post that gives a little insight into how I do it. That way it is easily accessible for those interested and hopefully helpful. This will *not* be a detailed outline but just a brief idea that may be of some benefit in shaa Allaah.

Before I start writing about how I plan, it is important to realise that everyone is different. What works for my family and I, may not work for you and yours. Also the fact that every child is different, has different learning styles etc should be taken into account when reading other peoples homeschool plan. Remember this is your own journey and you do whatever works for you.

I first started ‘formal’ planning in 2015 but we had started homeschooling quite some time before that. I say formal planning but it was mainly for me to have an idea of how Rayyaan was progressing, what he enjoyed doing and how he enjoyed learning (his learning style). It was also to keep tabs on small goals that I had made for Rayyaan. Rayyaan has only just turned 5 not long ago Allaahumma baarik lahu so this plan is very loose and flexible. I will discuss this more later in shaa Allaah.

So this is how I broke it down. I would first do a yearly plan. I would divide subjects into catagories such as:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Arabic
  • Qur’aan (hifdh)
  • Islaam
  • Numeracy
  • Science themes
  • Geography themes
  • Miscellaneous (This is primarily fine/gross motor skills activities)

Within each category, I write down themes, ideas and topics I hope to cover throughout the year. This makes it easy for me to refer back to and tick things off as we progress. From this yearly plan I plan weekly. I take from each category and break it down further into individual activities, projects and so on. There is no limit on how long I work with Rayyaan on something. The purpose here is for him to learn and not follow any rigid plans or schedules. With science and geography I do not do much planning at all, we just have fun with it doing experiments and talking/ reading about the world around us. *Unless* Rayyaan has conveyed an interest in a particular topic then we will delve into it more and I will plan for it.

One of the most important thing for me that I do whilst planning is I ask Rayyaan himself, what he would like to learn about and I write it down and plan activities for those things. This is his journey of learning and so it has to be all about his interests. That brings me to my next point. Majority of this plan is derived from his interests and activities are interest-led. There is no pressure on him to do anything and I think that is important when teaching, especially young children. The goal here is to develop a love for learning and not make it a chore. So if Rayyaan has no interest in an activity I have planned and prefers to just play, then he is encouraged to do just that. I say this because I receive messages from sisters saying that their children sometimes as young as 2/3 will not sit and do activities. They are children and of course they will not still still for long periods of time or sometimes even at all. That is perfectly fine! You will be surprised at how much learning takes place just from playing. In fact playing is an integral part of their learning and is just as important as ‘sit down’ activities.

Spending time outdoors, at the library and in nature is also a huge part of our homeschool plan but I don’t write anything down for these things as they happen throughout our week, the entire year unless weather permits otherwise. Arts and crafts are incorporated into what ever topic we are studying at that time to make it more fun and enjoyable and so this will go in my weekly plan as opposed to my yearly plan.

Books are also a huge huge part of our daily life. We have read-aloud throughout the day and over meal times (his favourite) and read to me time (where Rayyaan reads a book/s to me or his father). Whatever we are learning I make sure we have books on it. Reading is so important and extremely beneficial for aiding in learning to read, picking up vocabulary and bonding time (there are man more benefits). If there is one thing I could recommend to you it would be to read together as much as you can. Even if your child wants you to read the same book 100 times (I have been there lol).

My primary goal is to make this journey all about Rayyaan and make it as enjoyable and enriching as possible. This is the plan that works for us *right now* but next year in shaa Allaah it may not and I may have to make changes, who knows. Flexibility and adapting to your child’s needs and abilities will make the journey much more smoother.

Last thing to mention, for the sake of your own sanity and your children’s relationship with learning, do not compare your journey to that which you see on social media. Every child does things differently, works at different paces and reaches milestones at different times. A child of the same age or younger than your own, who is working at a faster pace does not mean that you are doing everything wrong or that your child is not smart. *Every* child will thrive but at their own pace and with daily encouragement.

I pray you found this little insight into our homechooling plan useful. May Allaah place barakah in our teaching and our children’s learning. Aameen

Umm Rayyaan x

Cultivating Deep Connection

Marriage. A beautiful union that brings two different people together, uniting in love and purpose.

Before getting married I had this preconceived idea about it. Not so much like the fairy tale type marriages that you see in films, but I would say I didn’t fully appreciate how difficult it actually can be at times. Add children to the mix and it is entire different ball game. Marriage is hard work. It is a continuous work in progress. It requires constant effort from both spouses. Sometimes sacrifices are made out of love and support, according to whatever the issue at hand is, and sometimes sacrifices are not always ones that make us scream with joy. 

Before children there was quite a bit of free time. Along with impromptu and regular date nights & quality time both together and separately with friends. You both could focus on nurturing and building on that  special bond between you. Going out of your way or going that extra mile even if it was something small, it would be a regular occurrence. I’m not saying that these things are impossible after having children of course, because it isn’t but a lot of things change once you both become responsible for the lives of little humans.

I have read a few blog posts and articles on married life after having children and a lot of them had the same narrative that tended to focus on the woman getting her  ‘mojo’ back (assuming that it had been lost). The notion that woman should beautify herself for her husband daily, keeping on top of everything at home and making things as easy as possible for her husband who had just spent a number of hours working hard in his role to support the family. Whilst I can understand that that perspective, I found that articles/blog posts like this do one of a few things (or all of them combined). A) They put the burden of a successful marriage on the wife alone and make it sound (although perhaps unintentionally) that the success of a marriage or strong spousal relationship was based solely on the amount of time and effort she puts in to her appearance B) It gave the idea that because the husband worked outside of the home (and this is referring to sisters who are homemakers, as these posts often do) he somehow works that little bit extra harder than you do and so you should have no qualms (or more precisely complaining to the hubby about how tired you are after an extra long day raising his child/ren)  with being able to stay on top of it all. Clean house, freshly prepared meals daily, making sure you are looking just as beautiful as you did on your wedding day etc C) Showed little to no regard of the real common issues that spouses may actually face that go beyond artificial beauty and daily applications of make up. 

Sometimes the idea that if you do everything you are supposed to do as a wife and mother then suddenly the foundation of your marriage (you and your spouse) doesn’t need that extra bit of work after all. Whilst trying your best to be the best version of you in every aspect of your life is admirable and encouraged, we need to look beyond the lists of ‘being the perfect husband/wife’.

When you have children, you both have to adapt yourselves to a completely new way of living. You realise that all that time and effort you had been able to put into each other and your relationship has now become divided between not only each other but with  your blessing/s given to you by Allaah. That coupled with sleepless nights and a now a seemingly unending list of things to do by the end of each day, you have complete and utter exhaustion. The usual advice you get about spending quality time with your spouse in the evening once the kids are asleep (only a few hours at a time) is at the back of your mind whilst you count down the hours until you can crawl into your bed and pray for an uninterrupted nights sleep. All to wake up and do it all over again.

The reality is that at times nurturing that bond and relationship with your spouse can be difficult because so many things seem to unintentionally and unknowingly take priority, and suddenly date nights can be postponed to the following week (or month), quality time turns into half-asleep nods of acknowledgement between you and at other times you have a extra fingers and toes squeezing in between you both in bed or pinching food of your plate after eating their own food (Why does our food always taste better to our children?).

I honestly believe that before anything, the advice to be given to couples should be about the bond and deep connection between spouses. This is the basis of all good things that come after it. You can dress yourself up to look amazing and your husband can get a hair cut every week, wear a new aftershave and look good for you too but if that deep connection is missing then what is the point? How can you build something solidly beautiful on an unsteady foundation. I remember a webinar by Megan Wyatt about reviving love between spouses and she mentioned how a lot spouses seem to think that the ‘honeymoon period’ disappears quite quickly but in reality that is not the case. The reason for this was simply lack of real deep communication. Not the quick exchanges whilst either one of you are rushing out the door but deep, meaningful conversation with eye contact. When was the last time you made the time to sit down with your spouse (this is for brothers too) and actually had a proper conversation with no gadgets, phones or disturbances (for some this may be just before going to bed as that is the only chance they get). Just love, deep connection, eye contact and real interest in each other? It is definitely something to think about. I found myself asking myself that question after the webinar too and I knew there was room for improvement, isn’t there always?

This is where our effort should be directed to first, I’m not saying do not beautify yourself or look nice for your husband at all (no refutations please lol) by all means make the effort, but try not to neglect the emotional intimacy. The foundation. 

 

 

Juggling Parenthood & Personal Goals..

I absolutely love reading about mothers who are reaching their dreams and goals, even with all the responsibility that comes with being a parent, running a household and working. Maybe it is because I myself am a homeschooling mother who is a student too and so it gives me so much motivation and inspires me to keep pushing through the bumps along the way. I am blessed to know sisters who are doing the same thing and reaching incredible milestones Allaahumma baarik lahunna. All juggling a million and one things but still do not give up on their own dreams. They strive with the belief that bettering themselves will not only benefit them but their spouse, children, family and ummah at large.

Being a part of an online Muslimah bloggers group, I am fortunate to meet some wonderful and inspirational sisters alhamdlilah. One of them being Samina. She oozes positive and uplifting vibes whilst encouraging and supporting everyone to keep on going. May Allaah bless her and her family aameen.

Since she is studying Arabic and Qur’aan like myself, I thought it would be perfect to conduct a mini interview with her to share how POSSIBLE it is to study and take care of your other responsibilities alhamdulilaah. It’s for sisters who are currently sitting there doubting themselves and questioning if they really have what it takes, YES YOU DO. It is for sisters who are doing their thing but need a little motivation to keep pushing through, YOU GOT THIS. It is for the sisters who are considering treading on this path and just need that little push, BISMILLAAH!

Asalaamualayki wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakatuhu my dear Samina,

Please share a little bit about yourself in shaa Allaah:

My name is Samina Farooq. I Co-found ayeina.com and #AlhamdulillahForSeries with my elder sister (my best friend) Ayesha.

I am an engineer by qualification, a Quran and Arabic-language student by occupation, a photographer by eye, a writer by heart, an artist by nature and a Muslim by soul. A mum of one, currently studying Intensive Arabic Program from Islamic Online University while also following Bayyinah institute’s ‘Arabic with Husna’ classes, one baby step at a time.

What made you want to study Arabic? What was the defining moment that gave you the push you need to start?

I started my serious journey towards better spirituality by joining the Taleem-ul-Qur’an course offered by Alhuda International. That was the life-altering course that helped me fall in love with the beautiful language of the Qur’an.
I didn’t know I had the thirst for more until I took a sip!

What/where have you studied?

1) Alhuda International’s Taleem-ul-Qur’an course (Pakistan) – the course taught us the in-depth analysis of the words in Qur’an (digging into the roots of Arabic) and basics of all the Islamic principles.

2) Dar-udh-dhikr’s beginner Arabic course (Saudi Arabia) – not sure why they called it a beginner’s course. It was taught completely in Arabic, that was the course during which I actually started conversing in Arabic (with a LOT of gestures to clarify my point ).

3) Bayyinah’s Arabic with Husna.

This course is short and very easy to grasp onto. It has loads of Arabic Grammar exercises along with great examples and practical methods of learning.

4) Islamic Online University IAP (Intensive Arabic Program).

This is what I’m currently doing as well. One year still left…

In the middle, I’ve been doing short courses here and there – from al-maghrib institute etc.

Being a wife, mother, student and running your website/blog how do you balance it all? Quality family time, ‘me time’, studying etc.

With all the eggs you keep juggling, you yourself are usually the first egg you drop and break! Something that I’m working on! I remember taking my final exams online while in labour (I almost failed that semester). So I’m not sure where the balance lies. I wish I knew. But knowing your priorities really help. What and who is the most important. Some days one thing can be more important than the other while other days, another thing can be more important.

Some days will be a complete mess and some days you’ll feel like a victorious queen!
Subtracting useless things from life can help a great deal. Alhamdulillah for all the team members and volunteers who offer to help with ayeina every now and then – it makes my blogging task MUCH easier.
We also ended up hiring an intern because blogging/business was becoming a LOT of work.

Can you share a tips of time management, study tips or words of advice?

Utilise the time after Fajr. As per study time is concerned (or any creative work – writing/reading etc.) – I can’t stop raving about the time after Fajr – something that is full of barakah and the time when your children are asleep (sometimes they’re not, but it’s still a beautiful time to start your day).

You’ll notice the thing you’ve been spending hours on at night, gets done in a few minutes in the early mornings. That’s how the barakah of the early morning is.l!
I’ve always noticed how early morning learning not only stays with me for a long long time, but my fresh morning brain understands things better than my used-up night brain.

What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt on your journey in regards to studying Arabic.

Speak/listen/read it as much as you can. Even when you sound like a complete weirdo. 😂 Even when you can’t understand it…because that’s the biggest step towards pushing your language skills forward.

Plus, listening can be done anywhere anytime. While cooking, cleaning, driving etc. So take full advantage of audio lessons as a student with multiple responsibilities.

What would you say to fellow mothers out there wanting to seek knowledge but are afraid of taking on extra responsibility or not being able to dedicate themselves to their studies?

You remember the time you thought you can’t handle such a HUGE responsibility of upbringing a child? Then Allah gave you one and you did an amazing job. Then another and again you pushed through. And responsibilities kept increasing and so did your strength. Before all that, you never knew you could do it. Until…you did it!
If you’re passionate about something, know that you’ll do it. May be not within weeks, not even months. May be it will take you many years. But you’ll do it. Because you CAN! ❤

May Allaah bless our dear sister Samina and continue to bless her and her family aameen. Do check out Samina’s website ( ayeina.com) it is ah-maz-ing!

May Allaah place barakah in our time and allow us to reach our dunya and akhira goals. Aameen

The answers which you seek are just a supplication away..

Du’a. One of the most powerful gifts given to us by Allaah ta’ala. A tool that has no sell by date, no limited amount of use; and very minimal instructions.
“The most excellent worship is du`a.”
[Sahih Al-Jami` no. 1133]

Du’a is also something that can be abandoned. There are some of us who leave off making du’a in its entirety and earn the displeasure of Allaah ta’ala and there are some of us who make du’a and then become impatient when the answer doesn’t fit in to their time frame and so they give up.
“Whoever does not ask of Allah, He becomes angry with him.”
[Classed as hasan by Al-Albaani. Saheeh Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, 2686]
“The most incapable person is the one who does not make du`a, and the most miserly person is the one who does not give salaam.”
[Sahih Al-Jami` no. 1055]

There are times in the past where I admit that I regretfully became impatient but each time i did, i’d remember an incident that happened about 9 years ago. There was something I really really wanted, needed even. You know the type of longing for something where the mere thought of not getting your du’a answered didn’t even even cross your mind because you desperately needed or wanted that thing. That was how important it was to me. So I made du’a and I pleaded with Allaah to grant me this wish that I had been longing for.

When i called upon Him, I blocked everything out and focused on how much I was in need of Him and my inability to provide it for myself, all the while embracing and really grasping His power and Mercy that could provide this yearning need within a blink of an eye. I called upon my Rabb and then left it to Him completely. From that day on I was making sure to be conscious, to not fall into the trap of impatience.

Within a mere few days that answer came and with it came a new found hope that run deep, reaffirmed yaqeen and infinite love for my Rabb. The answer was better than what I had even asked for. I had asked for a drop and my Rabb had given me the ocean. I remember breaking down in tears when I received the phone call from my mother (May Allaah have mercy on her and grant her Jannatul Firdous aameen) informing me of what I had been waiting for. Allaah ta’ala knew how much I was in need and how much I longed for this wish even more than I knew myself and out of His infinite Mercy and kindness He sent down sakeenah intricately wrapped with a gentle life-long beautiful lesson.

From then on I knew the one thing that was needed was yaqeen. Certainty in knowing that Allaah ta’ala will answer you. It may not be in your time frame and then again who are we to put conditions on our du’as? It may not be exactly what you asked for or be answered in the way you hoped it to be; but just remember that the One who answered your call knew that you would ask Him for it, even before you were aware that this is something you would be supplicating for…
“Verily your Lord is the One modest and Generous, and when His servant raises his hands to Him in supplication, He is diffident (in some wordings, shy or hesitant) from returning them empty.” [Ahmad, Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi – Hasan]

Now fast forward to just a few weeks ago in my nahwu lesson, my ustaadha gifted us with a Qur’aan gem and lesson. May Allaah preserve her.

A lesson from Soorah Al-‘Araf..

A conversation between shaytaan and Allaah ta’ala. Shaytaan disobeyed Allaah ta’ala when he arrogantly refused to prostrate to Adaam alayhi sallaam. Allaah ta’ala banished him from Paradise and told him that he was from those who are disgraced.
Al-A’raf 7:13
قَالَ فَٱهْبِطْ مِنْهَا فَمَا يَكُونُ لَكَ أَن تَتَكَبَّرَ فِيهَا فَٱخْرُجْ إِنَّكَ مِنَ ٱلصَّٰغِرِينَ
[Allaah] said, “Descend from Paradise, for it is not for you to be arrogant therein. So get out; indeed, you are of the debased”

However Shaytaan had a need and he knew that only Allaah ta’ala would be able to fulfill it for him even though he was aware of what he had just done and as a result was now damned. He still asked Allaah. He asked Allaah ta’ala to grant him respite. Allaah told him:
قَالَ إِنَّكَ مِنَ ٱلْمُنظَرِينَ
“Indeed, you are of those reprieved.”
– Al-A’raf 7:15
This was the response of our Lord to shaytaan himself after he arrogantly and ungratefully disobeyed Him. This is the response of the All-Mighty to the accursed enemy. This is our Rabb. This is our Allaah.

If Allaah granted shaytaan his wish what makes you think that He will not do the same for you, when you worship him daily and continuously throughout the day, when you call upon Him alone & you rely solely upon Him for your needs. When you praise Him with your daily adkhaar and remember Him through your tilawah. When you do what He commands and stay away from what He forbids; and even when you do err you follow that error up with a good deed and make tawbah. How can you give up on getting a response from a Master who does not tire from our neediness and our wants?

Duaa is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. Whether it be the silently whispered du’as or the loud and urgent pleas made in desperation. Keep asking Him and when you do ask, know that your response is already prepared and ready..

Dont be hasty. Have yaqeen. Be sure of the response of your Lord and then await it.

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A relationship with the Qur’aan

The Qur’aan. A book that every Muslim wishes to have that wonderful close relationship with where you cannot go a day without reading it, embracing its treasures and lessons and you turn to it constantly for reassurance, answers and comfort. The reality can sometimes be different. With the hussle and bussle of everyday life and all that it throws at you, and the constant swaying levels of our emaan; it can be hard to get a moment of peace and quiet. The kind of peace and quiet needed to really take it all in and truly reflect. Can it be difficult? Yes. Is it impossible? Absolutely not. After all Allaah ta’ala never made our deen as a burden upon us nor does He Jalla wa ‘ala give us more than we can handle alhamdulilaah.

For me personally, my relationship with the Qur’aan has been quite a journey. Sometimes moving at snails pace but a journey nevertheless. There are times where I felt that I could definitely have connected with it more and taken from it solace, peace and hope aswell as it’s warnings. Since starting to study Arabic my relationship with the Qur’aan has changed dramatically alhamdulilaah, the snail pace journey is no longer and has picked up some momentum but still a *slow* steady journey, which I’m perfectly happy with. After all small consistent deeds are more beloved to Allaah ta’ala right?

It has become more of a companion for me, one that only gives out its secrets if you work *hard* enough to get to know her and love her. One that gives you so much without asking or getting anything in return apart from your attentive mind and yearning heart.

I’m still at the VERY beginning of this beautiful journey with the Qur’aan and still have such a long way to go in shaa Allaah but im grateful for the opportunity that Allaah ta’ala has given me to even be able to build a close bond with His words on a deeper level. Alhamdulilaah thumma alhamdulilaah.

Through this journey, my routine or day to day activities at home has somewhat changed from what it used to be and Rayyaan has definitely picked up on it. He is seeing me slowly progress on this path and has a taken such a keen interest in it. He asks questions, he takes part, he even courages me Allaahumma baarik lahu by passing me the Qur’aan after each salaah. Although this is such a blessing which I’m undoubtedly grateful for, it is also something that makes me quite appregensuve and conscious of how I spend my time. In the sense that I know he is watching how I deal with the Qur’aan, like REALLY watching (and copying). He is seeing how often I read it and study it and how much time I give to the book of Allaah ta’ala. This is definitely something that keeps me on my toes and makes me think more about the examples I’m trying to set for him. It works well as a motivator when needed, in those times where shaytaan or laziness creeps and makes you want to slack or procrastinate.

Something that I have been trying to do for a while is look for ways to give Rayyaan the opportunity to build his own relationship with the Qur’aan from a young tender age. The Qur’aan is not age restricted nor is it only for a specific type of people. We don’t have to wait till they turn 7 years old or older, in order to introduce them to the Qur’aan. We just have to think of ways we can make the words of Allaah a part of their everyday lives and something that they naturally want to love, learn about and embrace.

I was really happy to come across this post by Dr Hesham. I love all his posts, alwyas positive, productive and creative. Here he has listed ways in which you can get your children to love the Qur’aan. I have included my own personal tip, something that works for my family at the end.

I pray whoever reads this benefits from it.

1. Tell stories. Sure everybody loves stories, and the Qur’aan is full of them.

Allah says: “We relate to you the best of stories” (12:3). Tell the story of Yusuf with his siblings (Surrah 12), Ibrahnim with his father (19:41-50) and Luqman with his son (31:13-19).

Children will certainly love it if say it in a lively and interactive manner.

Children also love animal stories and the Qur’aan has some of those as well. Tell about the initiative of the ant (27:18), the courage of the hoopoe (27:20) and the good company of the dog (18:18).

2. Inculcate one Quranic manner a week. the Qur’aan is also full of manners: e.g. honesty, fairness, and kindness.

Select one manner in which the family will together practice for a week. During this week, read about this manner in the Qur’aan.

If it was kindness, for example, read on kindness to parents (17-23). If about patience then read about the patience of Ayyub (Job) (21: 83-84).

You may use an index to identify a certain manner and its corresponding location in the Qur’aan.

3. Reward. Encourage the child to read the Qur’aan and reward. Kiss and hug when they read or memorize verses.

Show recognition and reward as a sign of good behavior. “I will forgive what you did today [name the bad behavior], because you read Suarh Yasin [the good behavior]”.

4. Engage with competitions and quizzes. Children love to ask questions, but they like quizzes too.

Ask questions like: how many parts (or juz’) are there in the Quran? Name three Prophets (or countries, animals, plants etc.) mentioned in the Quran?

Quiz while dropping to school, in a trip or when having dinner.

5. Connect to specific chapters. Use the fact that certain chapters have a specific value to encourage the child to read or memorize.

For instance, al-Ikhlas (Sura 112) is equal to a third of the Qur’aan and al-Mulk (Sura 67) defends and saves.

6. Protects and cures. My daughter was ill one day and had a headache. I put my hand on her head and read Al Ikhlas, Al Falaq, Al Nas and said in a voice that she could hear “O Allaah! Remove this disease and cure her. You are the Great Curer. There is no cure but through You, which leaves behind no disease.”

A child must take the medically prescribed drug when ill, but must also believe that Allah is the one who cures, and that this cure happens through his words in the Qur’aan.

Allah says: “And We send down of the Qur’aan that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe” (17:82).

7. Prayers: there are many Quranic prayers (duas) and remembrance (zikr) that if the child learns will connect to the Quran.

When in the car to school, for example, the child says: “Glory to Him Who has subjected this [the vehicle] to us, and we could have never had it. And verily to Our Lord we indeed are to return” (43:13-14).

Or prays when in agony or in distress by saying: “There is no god but You, Glory to You; verily I was one of the wrongdoers” (21: 87).

Such prayers help create a strong emotional bond between the child and the Book of Allah.

May Allah bless our children and open up their hearts to love the Qur’aan in this difficult and confusing time and age.

Hesham Al-Awadi

*TIP 8- MY OWN TIP*

Create a designated Qur’aan time in your home. For us, after every salah works best. Allow your children to sit with you and you recite to them. If you are doing hifdh with your children, this is the perfect time to allow them to practice in shaa Allaah. Allow your children to hold a Qur’aan with english translation/transliteration and teach them to respect the Qur’aan and how it should be dealt with.

-Take turns. You recite a portion of Qur’aan and then ask them to recite their chosen soorah or portion. For younger children that don’t yet know how to read Arabic can recite from memory but holding the Qur’aan builds that connection with the book of Allaah ta’ala. Correct them as they go along.

-Do this after every salaah if possible and you will notice the habit develop *very* quickly. You will notice the amount of Qur’aan you read daily will increase as well as your longing and love for it. The way your children will view and love the Qur’aan will also positively change. They will be quick to get the Qur’aan ready for you after salaah eagerly and be quick to remind you if you forget (trust me on that). Overall you will notice the increase in barakah in your homes bi’idnillaah ta’ala.

-Even if you have very young children, sit them on your lap and include them. Make it a real family affair and familarise them with the words of Allaah.

-For those doing hifdh with young children and are starting with juzz ‘amma. I recommend you to recite all the short suwar before bed together with your child/ren. You will be amazed how quickly they pick it up and retain it.

May Allaah allow us all to be from amongst the huffadh and ahlul Qur’aan.

Spreading a little love on Jumu’ah

With everything that is happening in the world right now. The plight of our family in Syria, Palestine, Burma, CAR, Uzbekistan, Yemen and many many other places that unfortunately don’t have a voice to reach out for help. The ummah needs to come together, unite upon tawheed, return to the Sunnah of our Nabi alayhi salaatu wa salaam and be the ONE body that our beloved informed us of.

Although we may feel helpless in that we are not able to physically remove the harm from those who are suffering. There are many ways in which we can try and do our bit. First and foremost is making du’aa. Throughout the day, at times when they are most likely to be answered (i.e. when it us raining, last hour of asr on a Friday etc), in qiyaam and tahajjud and qunoot etc. Ultimately victory is from Allaah ta’ala and we ask Him alone to grant us victory over the oppressors. We can and should donate our wealth, our time and love to help make things a little bit more bearable for our family in need.
One thing that has been extremely difficult is seeing the children in those pictures and videos being circulated online. Those poor children crying, scared and in shock. Most having lost their parents and those who haven’t, cling to them for dear life. Those parents who are helpless yet display such incredible strength and courage. I see these things and I look at my own child and see how incredibly fortunate I am not to be tested with such a difficult and challenging test.

I can’t explain to Rayyaan the atrocities that are happening. I cannot show him the pictures, the videos and the violence against innocent Muslim men, women & children but I can teach him to love, to give and to help others.

“The best actions are to cheer up your believing brother, to relieve him of a debt, or to feed him.”

[Saheeh αl-Jami’ | 1096]

Last Friday I decided that we would bake some brownies and take them to the masjid for Rayyaan to give them out to other children. I wanted him to understand the importance of giving to others and making others happy. The importance of giving from something that you love (he definitely loved these brownies, he would’ve ate the entire tray if I let him). The importance of sadaqah on a Friday and just the beautiful feeling of giving in itself.

We made them on Thursday evening and placed them in individual bags on Jumu’ah morning and off we went. The children were happy to receive, the parents were grateful and a lesson well learnt alhamdulilaah.

We cannot tell our young children about the horrors of these war crimes or show them the gruesome reality of what’s happening to our family in the war torn countries. What we CAN and should do is teach them to be givers, helpers and lovers. Raise them to rush to help those in need. Be quick to offer help, support and aid to those who need it the most. Teach them HOW to be a Muslim instead of just telling them. Provide them with opportunities to practice the sunnah as opposed to just teaching them from a book.

Spread a little love the next time you go to Jumu’ah with your children. The ummah desperately needs it.

“Give each other gifts and you will love each other.”

al-Adab al-Mufrad 594

Visual Du’aa Board [Printable]

We have so many beautiful adhkaar and ad’iyah in our deen, that if we were to memorise them all we would be in a constant state of remembrance of Allaah ta’ala. How is that for ‘goals’?

Learning adhkaar is something that can be taught from a very young age. In fact personally I feel that it is much easier to teach younger kids adhkaar, they pick it up so quickly alhamdulilaah.

When I started with Rayyaan I wanted to make it a family affair. Something we can do together to get closer to Allaah and make fond memories. We started with the Learning Roots ‘Remind Me’ posters [Purchase HERE] and stuck them up around the house. They worked great alhamdulilaah. We still use them today as reminders. I then found these printables from mini-mumin.com and used them in addition to the Learning Roots posters.

duaa-pic

I wanted Rayyaan to enjoy learning Adkhaar. I wanted him to understand that learning them will please Allaah ta’ala and it is something that the Prophet alayhi salaatu wa sallaam did and encouraged us to do.

I found this wonderful printable from TJ Homeschooling where you can keep track of your children’s progress and see how far you have come as a family too if you are doing together. I printed them out and laminated them. I stuck them up on our main whiteboard so they are visible daily and cut out the little adkhaar squares.

Every time Rayyaan learns a new du’aa he will take a some blue tack and stick it up on the board himself. He really enjoys it and it makes him excited to learn.

As it has worked so well for us, I thought I would share it with you all as well so you may all benefit in shaa Allaah. You can download and print from HERE: