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.

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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.

Ramadan with my wife and kids… (Especially for my wife)

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

As much as we plan for Ramadan and despite the immense Barakah and Blessing in the month itself, our hectic lives and complicated lifestyles always make Ramadan a busy time in the household. With a toddler and a new born, this Ramadan was always going to be a challenge but as I reflect on the month passed, I think we did alright. This post is dedicated to the person who worked day and night to ensure the Ramadan Family Machine was well oiled and maintained.

From the pre Ramadan planning, meal planning and food preparations right up to the kids Ramadan activities, dealing with my hectic routine and taking care of the Eid Gifts… when you really think about it, Ramadan also serves as a reminder of the blessings we have throughout the year that we take for granted… the wives, the mothers, the facilitators of Ramadan.

This year, my wife (and fellow blogger) had the task of not only managing the entire household but also to create the ideal Ramadan environment for our children and in particular, our 3 & a half year old son. It required a valiant effort from the both of us but looking back right now, I believe it was well worth it and definitely well accomplished.

She cooked our food, made me oats for Suhoor every day, cared for the kids, I even saw her feeding both kids at the same time while I had my afternoon nap after work one day. ‘Super-Mum’ comes to mind when I think about it in retrospect. Cooking and cleaning aside, its the ‘Kids Ramadan’ that really impressed me, both as a husband and a father.

Even before Ramadan began, we had a Ramadan Advent Calendar on the wall detailing our ‘Ramadan Activities’ for each day. These included arts & craft, reciting Quran, learning Surah’s and even making binoculars for our Moon-sighting adventures. The activities may seem simple but the impact they had on our son was truly amazing.

The advent calendar gave him something to look forward to each day and the awareness of Ramadan encouraged him to help out around the house. The Ramadan consciousness instilled in him through these activities eventually gave him the courage to attempt fasting and also accompany me to Taraweeh at the Musjid.

I can not describe the joy of having a toddler insist on going to the mosque for Iftar and Taraweeh, I believe the Ramadan environment facilitated by my wife’s ingenious ideas played a big role in achieving this and for that I am grateful.

Despite not watching any tv for the entire month (Zaky Videos were the exception), the kids we entertained through-out the day and there was never a dull moment in the house, Alhamdulillah.

After reflecting  on the past month with my wife and kids, I am reminded of one of the teachings of Islam and this has given me a greater appreciation for the wisdom behind this teaching…

 The first right of the child over the father is to choose a righteous wife in order to be a righteous mother.

May Allah reward her and increase her! I pray that this Ramadan has been a fruitful month for everyone and that Allah shower his Mercy and Blessings on the Wives, Mothers and caretakers of this Ummah In Sha Allah.

For anyone who doesn’t already know, my blog is married to the the blog, Modest Munchies so check out some of my wife’s savvy tips and ideas for the kitchen and the family there.

Eid Mubarak!

The wedding verse… 30:21

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

I came across one of my favourite verses today… it brings back memories of my wedding day and pretty much every other wedding since. Perhaps if married couples remembered and actually reflected on this beyond their weddings, we wouldn’t have so many broken homes… #JustSaying

30_21

And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. – Surah Ar-Rum, Verse 21. 

It sounds romantic and looks good on wedding cards, but in order to truly benefit from it, we must remember and reflect In Sha Allah.

May Allah make our spouses the coolness of our eyes!

Ameen!

…4 years married!

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

What a way to start the year… my son turned 2 on the 1st of January and the 2nd was our 4th wedding anniversary. I guess the fact that we have a 2-year-old son forces us to believe that we’ve been married for more than 2 years but it definitely doesn’t feel that way. It really feels like it was just the other day. So much has happened, so much has changed in these 4 years but there’s 1 thing that hasn’t… our marriage. Four year’s later and despite occasionally taking things for granted and being a bit cranky, I still feel like I did then. Grey hairs have sprouted and body weight has fluctuated but inside, I still feel for my wife what I felt that day 4 years ago.

With each day comes greater challenges and bigger responsibilities but the realisation that our marriage stands so strong 4 years on is soothing and certainly reassuring. Marriage is so easily taken for granted and it’s so easy to neglect the person we wake up beside each morning, I’m thankful for these reminders that often wake you up to the many blessings you have around you.

I’d like to use this milestone to change a few old habits and make sure that my wife and our marriage are both given as much attention as they should and a little bit more. Love, affection and romance are not reserved for newly weds or special occasions and should be celebrated everyday. If I fail or come short for some reason, I hope this post will remind me and keep me on track.

The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) said: “The believer with the most complete faith is the one with the best character, and the best of them are those who treat their wives the best.”

… Insha Allah!

My little boy is 2…

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

My little boy turns 2 at midnight tonight. It’s been an amazing 2 years but I can’t believe he’s grown so fast. I can still remember the day he was born and as I flick through the photos I have on my phone, I can’t fathom how time has passed and how much he’s grown. I remember the emotion I felt the day he was born and every so often he would do something that would reignite those emotions within me. Reflecting on the last 2 years has given me those jitters again tonight and I am so proud of him. I’m so grateful to Allah for blessing us with such a bundle of joy and allowing him to grow and develop the way he has over the last 2 years.

Kids often get taken for granted and we sometimes fail to acknowledge what a blessing they are. Someone once told me that I should work hard while my kid is young so I can spend time with him when he’s older and more understanding, after spending the last 9 months at home including 6 weeks of babysitting while the wife was studying, I disagree. The time you get with your kids is priceless whether they can understand it or not, even they’re too young to remember it, you always will and I am so grateful that I could spend so much time with him and could watch him grow and develop every day.

As he gets older, our responsibilities grow too and I pray that we always do what’s best for him. He has definitely been the coolness of my eyes and tonight I pray that he always is Insha Allah.

Perhaps one day when you’re older and you read your old man’s blog on some futuristic tech gadget… Know that I love you!

Allah, grant my little boy good health and a long, prosperous life, allows us to take care of him while he’s young and let him take care of us when we’re old!

Ameen!