Ramadan with Zaky & Friends…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

The latest release from One4Kids and a welcomed addition to our collection of Zaky DVDs is Zaky’s Ramadan. We’ve been listening to the Nasheeds for a few months and added the dvd to our pre-Ramadan stock-up for the kids.

As a big fan of the Zaky franchise myself, I was just as excited to check out the new release with the kids this Ramadan. So after mum had a rough night with kids last night, this morning was the perfect opportunity to take care of the kids, watch a movie and hopefully score some brownie points too.


Zaky’s Ramadan is a good way to get kids excited about Ramadan and provides a simple, kid-friendly explanation of all things Ramadan. It’s a good introduction to the concept of Fasting, Suhoor, Iftar and the virtue of the month itself.

The Ramadan episodes cover a range of topics including:

  • Ramadan Moon Sighting
  • Doing Good Deeds
  • Suhoor & Tahajjud
  • Being Dutiful & Kind to our Parents
  • Breaking our Fast
  • Breaking our Fast
  • Cleanliness is One Half of our Faith
  • Zaky’s Advice for Ramadan
  • Helping & Feeding the Needy & Poor
  • Health & Nutrition

Zaky’s advice for Ramadan is very practical and covers more than simply when you can and can’t eat. By focussing on the concept of Good Deeds including kindness to parents, cleanliness, charity and well-being, it provides a more holistic approach to Ramadan which I think is something we need to encourage through kids education.

Too many Muslims make Ramadan about Food and Fasting only which is a great injustice to this Blessed month and gift from Allah. By facilitating a more reformist approach, we can encourage our kids to use Ramadan as an opportunity to form good habits, become better Muslims and ultimately achieve the real goal of Ramadan… the awareness and consciousness of Allah that can guide you through the rest of the year. In Sha Allah.

A $20 investment that will entertain the kids for hours and In Sha Allah encourage good habits and a love for Ramadan. Two thumbs up from me!

The DVD is available online at One4Kids as well as a number of other websites. Click here for a preview of Zaky’s Ramadan and check out my post on Zaky & Friends from last Ramadan.

Tip: Don’t just buy these movies for the kids, watch it with them, answer their questions and let Islamic knowledge be a positive experience for them. You might even learn something yourself.

I hope many more kids can benefit from these movies In Sha Allah!

Assalaamu Alaikum!

American Sharia

American Sharia in Brisbane!

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

I recall the kick-starter project raising funds for the first ever Halal Action Comedy a few years ago and was intrigued by the trailer released a few months later. I forgot all about it until a few weeks a go when my preferred Muslim Charitable Organisation, Muslim Aid Australia announced details of the Australian screenings of American Sharia.

The Brisbane Premiere last weekend went pretty well and I’m sure everyone who attended had a good evening and enjoyed the Halal Entertainment. In true Brisbane fashion, the theatre was less than full and the mood slightly sombre. Thankfully, someone warned Omar Regan about this so he was prepared for the lack of enthusiasm from the audience.

Getting to meet the producer and star of the show was exciting. The funny-man who’s had a few Hollywood appearances was extremely humble and truly appreciative of our support. Selfies ensued.

The movie itself was entertaining and gave us a few good laughs. I must admit, given the nature of the production and the budget constraints, I didn’t have high expectations. Despite the shaky camera scenes and a few too many sub plots through the story, the movie was very entertaining and the message was very clear.

It’s not all comedy, the movie takes you into the life of the protagonist whose character and personality is evolving through the story so there is a fair bit of grief, self-reflection and drama which adds to the depth of the story. I found the story of the Imam who was actually based on Regan’s father to be extremely heartbreaking and almost needed the Comedy to change-up the pace.

It provided an insight into the challenges and trials faced by everyday Muslims living in the West and America in particular. Many of the issues were inspired by actual events that have taken place over the last few years which is a sad reality. As an Australian, I felt a sense of relief that we aren’t subjected to such prejudice and discrimination – though I am sure some would disagree with me on this.

If you don’t watch movies at all then this probably isn’t for you, so step away from the Haram-gun and just avoid the movie all together. If you do enjoy movies and are looking a for a more family friendly, modest yet entertaining production minus the foul language and obscenities, then American Sharia is a good fit for you.

Regan is working on a few more scripts to add to the Halalywood banner and I hope for the sake of our children that these initiatives are supported by the Muslim community so they become viable alternatives to the mainstream.

In Sha Allah!

Ramadan Prep… Clear up the clutter for 2015

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

Ramadan 2015 is fast approaching and with a only a few weeks to go, it’s time to re-visit a few Lifestyle Optimisation Strategies of old. Clear up the clutter now so you can take advantage of every opportunity during the month of Ramadan.

Here are a few tips I’ve used over the years to prepare for the blessed month:

  • Make up previous year’s missed fasts / Pay Fidyah, etc. depending on your circumstances
  • Take advantage of fasting during the month of Sha’ban
  • Recite Quran – if possible, complete your current recitation and begin a new one in the month of Ramadan
  • Get a good sleep cycle going so you can handle waking up for Suhoor
  • Cut down on socialising and social media so you can avoid unnecessary talk/chat, etc
  • Talk to the kids and prepare them for the change in routine ahead – Get them excited too!
  • Limit the amount of Entertainment/Television/Movies/Gaming, etc
  • Plan your meals early – Ramadan is not just about food but since we need to eat and drink, plan your menu in advance and make all necessary preparations so you don’t waste time in the kitchen. My wife’s in charge of this department and I’m sure she’ll be sharing some of her Ramadan recipes on Modest Munchies.
  • Shop now – get your shopping done early, stock up on groceries and your Eid clothes too so you’re not frequenting the shops when you can be benefiting from  the virtue of this auspicious month.

It’s been a year since the last Ramadan, take this opportunity to get back into the zone so you don’t waste valuable time trying to find your feet. Prepare early, prepare well and get ready for the month of Mercy.

For the sisters, if you need support or motivation to help with any fasts you may need to make up, check out the Making Up Missed Fasts post by Modest Munchies. Brothers, if you’re not accustomed to fasting outside of Ramadan, give it a go and you’ll have a greater appreciation for the women in your lives who have to make up these fasts.

Ramadan with 2 kids driving us crazy should be fun and interesting this year In Sha Allah. Circumstances may change but the yearning for Allah’s mercy remains and continues to grow. This is also of the blessings of Ramadan.

May Allah extend our lives so we may witness the month of Ramadan In Sha Allah.

The first ‘Amaanah’…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful. 

As a young father, I recall the feeling of maturity and a sense of responsibility at the birth of our 2 kids. It’s a scary yet amazing emotion I experienced when I held my son for the first time almost 4 years ago. The emotion was even more intense and brought me to tears at the birth of our daughter earlier this year. The father-daughter relationship is probably the best understanding of the concept of ‘Amaanah’. 

I was reminded at Jumuah this week of another Amaanah… One that we often take for granted and can so easily forget. A man’s first Amaanah… He’s wife! 

As the Imam spoke out against violence against women, he emphasized the fact that when we marry our wives, they too are a trust from their parents and indeed from the Almighty. 

Marriage moves quickly from the honeymoon period into the daily grind and though children often remind you of a trust we have with the Almighty, it’s not fair to simply overlook our first Amaanah. 

It’s only when you realize the importance of the relationship with your wife can you truly appreciate the value of her as the mother of your children and the means through which Allah has entrusted you with so much more. 

Something very often neglected. A reminder to myself before anyone. Our wives were and remain entrusted to us… This is something we need to remember! 

I pray that our wives too, are the coolness of our eyes.

10 tips to get your child to pray with you… In Sha Allah!

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

As I watched my almost 4 year old son pray at Jumuah today, I found myself reminiscing over the memories of him lying helpless on the prayer mat as I prayed beside him when he was only a few weeks old. I can’t believe it was the same kid standing beside me today.

Though the requirement to perform Salaah is only incumbent on kids at a later stage, it makes me proud to see him show such enthusiasm and respect for what is such an integral part of our faith and indeed our lives.

It might be easier to put off Salaah until kids are older, but the best habits are formed early in their childhood development, why not make Salaah one of them.

After 4 years of hands-on experience and 1 amazing wife at my side, this is what I have learnt. My 10 tips to getting your kids to pray with you…

  1. Pray with them, make it a habit of praying in front of them when ever possible – I started praying with my son beside me when he was a month old.
  2. Don’t make Salaah a chore – Allow them to witness the joy and peace you experience through Salaah.
  3. Play with them before/after you pray – let the prayer room/area/rug be a place of comfort for them too.
  4. Don’t be quick to pack up the prayer mat -leave it out for the kids to explore.
  5. Pray together, pray as a family – Let Salaah also becomes an activity the whole family can participate in and benefit from.
  6. Answer their questions, talk about Salaah and feed their curiosity – they’ll be emulating your actions in no time.
  7. Let them know when it’s time to pray – make room for them beside you in case they decide to join in.
  8. Entice them with a little kids prayer mat – make it fun and interesting.
  9. Visit the mosque with them – this can sometimes be tricky but I’ll leave it for another post In Sha Allah.
  10. Lots and lots of praise – acknowledge and praise their efforts! I recall my wife constantly questioning me about whether or not I praised our son when he prayed with me. And you can’t argue with wifey wisdom!

It’s not rocket science, but we often take these things for granted. It’s a matter of priorities and lots of patience. I need to test this strategy on our daughter now!

I pray that our children are the coolness of our eyes In Sha Allah.

Exploring the Quran… There’s an app for that!

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

Along my path towards ‘Appreciating the meanings of the Quran’, I found a Web-based app (at the time) called Quran Explorer

I used it a few times when researching the translation of some verses for speeches in the past so when I found it on the App store a few months a go, I knew it would be a handy app to have on my iPad.

As much as I enjoy reading from my hard copy of the English Translation of the Quran, the convenience of an App meant that I would never be without a copy of the Quran and it’s translation… what more could I ask for?

The Quran Explorer iPad App has been very handy and has greatly aided in my exploration of the Quran and it’s meanings. The App has a very user-friendly interface and includes a search function, audio recitation and commentary on each verse. 

Summary of features:

  • Quran (Arabic) Recitation by various reciters
  • Translation in multiple languages and by various translators
  • Audio Translation by verse
  • Tafseer or English Commentary 
  • Unlimited number of bookmarks – very handy for research
  • Auto Scroll Capabilities
  • Audio options include speed of recitation, interval time and repeat for memorization 
  • Bookmark Synchronisation through iCloud
  • Sharing options include Tweet/Email or Saving as image
  • Available on iPad, iPhone and Web App

The only feature missing is a note-taking function which would probably make it the ultimate Quran App for me. The Free version has some restrictions on the number of languages, reciters and a few other features but is fully functional. The full version costs $9.99 which may seem high but, in my opinion is worth every cent.

Having an App like this at the touch of a button allows me to study and explore the meanings of the Quran easily and more frequently than ever before. I believe it is a great tool to facilitate a better understanding of the Quran in general as well as in your Salaah. Understanding what you recite can be the difference between a ritual prayer and a prayer of serenity, humility and devotion… In Sha Allah. 

I pray that we are able to benefit from programs like this and that Allah grant Barakah and success in these initiatives. Technology is major part of our lives, why not use it to better our after-lives.

(This is) a Scripture that We have revealed unto thee, full of blessing, that they may ponder its revelations, and that men of understanding may reflect. (Quran 38:29)

Translated Reflections… Patience & Restraint.

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

After falling asleep reading my Twitter feed which was filled with Anti Muslim sentiment in light of recent events around the country, I was pleased to wake up to these verses…

‘And do you be patient, for your patience is but from God; nor grieve you over them: and distress not yourself because of their plots. For God is with those who restrain themselves, and those who do good’. – Quran 16:127-128.

Recite Quran, understand your recitation and embrace the divine guidance!

May Allah grant us patience during these testing times.