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.

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.

Ramadan Prep… Clearing up the clutter once again!

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

Ramadan 2014 is fast approaching and with only a few weeks to go, it’s time to re-visit a few Lifestyle Optimisation Strategies. Clear up the clutter now so you can take advantage of every opportunity during the month of Ramadan.

  • 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/Sehri
  • Go easy on socialising and social media so you can avoid unnecessary talk/chat, etc – something I need to work on this In Sha Allah.
  • Limit the amount of Entertainment/Television/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 ModestMunchies.com
  • 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.

Over the years I’ve observed how Ramadan preparation changes with our circumstances. Ramadan as a child with my family, then as a teenager, as a husband with my wife, as a new father, last year with a toddler, this year with my 4 month old daughter…Alhamdulillah.

Circumstances often change but the yearning for Allah’s mercy remains and continues to grow. This is also from the blessings of Ramadan.

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

Filling empty containers…

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

Today’s Jumuah sermon was a continuation of Dr Mohamad Abdalla’s lecture on the importance of time management. The entire lecture series has been absolutely inspiring and has captivated the Jumuah audience over the last 4 weeks. 

The issue of Time Management is something I am passionate about and I was blown away by the 1st lecture in the series a few weeks ago. Since then, the audience has grown in number with many attending Jumuah at Kuraby just to hear Dr Abdalla speak. 

In his talk today, Dr Abdalla mentioned a letter of advice from Imam Ibn Al-Jawzi to his son on the issue of Time. The story caught my attention so I noted a few details and looked it up this evening. This is what it read:

“Know, dear son,
that days are but hours,
and hours are but breaths,
and every soul is a container,
hence let not any breath pass without any benefit,
such as on the Day of Judgment you find an empty container and feel regret!
Be aware of every hour and how it passes,
and only spend it in the best possible way;
do not neglect yourself,
but render it accustomed to the noblest and best of actions,
and send to your grave that which will please you when you arrive to it.”

As a Muslim, I’ve heard this advice many times before but I found this particular line very intriguing… “let not any breath pass without any benefit, such as on the Day of Judgement you find an empty container and feel regret”. The idea of an ’empty’ container got me thinking. 

We place so much emphasis on either doing whats right or whats wrong that we forget about the time we’re not doing anything at all. How many containers do we leave empty each day? 

Perhaps by focussing solely on the good and the bad, we overlook the amount of time we waste each day. The fact that with each hour, we have the choice of filling these containers with good deeds, bad deeds or no deeds at all really puts things in to perspective.  Despite all the good we try to accomplish with every hour, I don’t like the idea of having too many empty containers. 

What are we doing with our spare time? 

A gift from the Almighty… a sacred trust!

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

By the grace of Allah, we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl over the weekend. Despite being a 2nd child and having to wait almost 9 months for her, nothing can prepare you for the excitement, nervousness and emotions of child birth. 

Alhamdulillah it went well and after a few (long) hours, we were holding our little baby girl. Occassions like these are filled with emotions and bring back so many memories. It’s almost as if you can feel the chemical reactions in your body and if you’re not careful, you’ll feel some of the liquids drip down your cheeks 😉

In the months and weeks leading up to the birth, I took an interest in all things baby related and began doing some reading to recap on some of the information I had learnt with our first child. After various articles, google searches and lectures on the topic, there was one statement that caught my attention and resonated over time… that Children are a sacred trust from the Almighty entrusted unto parents. 

We were intrigued with the simplicity yet profoundness of this statement which also made naming her very easy… Amaanah! Sacred Trust or Entrusted in English. I hope that her name will always serve as a reminder to us that she is indeed an Amaanah from Allah. 

Perhaps this is the inspiartion I’ve been seeking. 

A new chapter In Sha Allah.

Hajj at home with my wife & kid!

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

It usually starts with Hajj Package posters outside the mosque, then a few Hajj preparation seminars and finally the meeting and greeting as the chosen people depart on the spiritual journey of Hajj. Despite the emphasis on the importance of Hajj and in particular the first 10 days of the month, growing up I always assumed that the auspiciousness of the month of Hajj was exclusive to those actually performing the pilgrimage.

As a child I was always aware of the occasion, but I can’t remember anything special or different during the month of Hajj. The one time it really impacted me was the year my parents undertook the journey and left my sisters and I at home with the grandparents. When you’re a kid and you’re parents leave for such a long time, the Hajj memories you’re left with aren’t so great. Nevertheless, it was the one year, we experienced something different during the month of Hajj.

This year was a little more eventful and spiritually uplifting. As soon as Hajj approached, Facebook & Twitter were flooded with messages and reminders of the importance of Hajj and some of the commendable acts of worship associated with the first ten days. I was reminded everyday and the reminders alone instilled a sense of awareness and I found that engaging in some of these acts of worship and even fasting during these days became instinctive. Social media is not all bad, but you have to be engaged with the right people, groups & organisations to benefit from them.

At home I was reminded about Hajj through my wife’s awesome idea of a Hajj advent calendar for our 2 and half year old son. The calendar had little pockets for each day of the first 2 weeks of Hajj and he would get to open one of the pockets each day. I’ll leave the details of the calendar for my wife’s blog but by acknowledging the importance of each day and making an effort to do activities relating to the events that took place and take place during Hajj, we were constantly reminded of the importance and significance of Hajj and then Eid.

My son loved the idea and by Eid day had learnt about Hajj, the Ka’ba, Ihram, Tawaaf, Prophet Ibrahim (A.S) etc and became enthused about Eid day and the idea of one day visiting the Ka’ba In Sha Allah. All it took was a poster and a brilliant idea from my wife but the results were amazing. Being able to celebrate and enjoy Hajj at home with the family was truly a blessing. The highlight of my Hajj at home was watching my son get confused with the extra Takbeer at the Eid Salaah… truly heartwarming.

With the end of the month of Hajj and the beginning of a new Islamic year, my aim is to find ways of integrating faith and spirituality into every month. Ramdhan and Hajj are special indeed, but in order to counter the moral imbalance of the world our children live in, we need these reminders more often. I’m hoping the wife has a few more ideas up her sleeve or possibly on her blog.