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Ramadan Challenge: It’s All About Intentions!

By Umm Ibrahim

Yesterday was not a good day. I had started the day with the intention of spending the whole day in worship – reading the Quran and nawafil (non-obligatory prayers) mostly. Yet, I was interrupted ever so often by a demanding husband, a cranky baby, relatives on the phone, never-ending chores and even the plumber! The day ended with me feeling cranky and upset because of all these distractions which had made me miserably fail in developing that connection with Allah that I had so ardently desired.

But today, it hit me that Allah is well-aware of my situation. Doesn’t He just want me to grow where he has planted me? Today, I decided to go with the flow and take the day as it comes but just to remember to do everything I do with the goal of pleasing Him. My goal today was not 20 nawafil or 3 juzz; it was simply to obtain the Pleasure of Allah.

So I sat down calmly to read the Quran and ponder over it to please Allah.

When my husband called me to iron his shirt, I closed the mushaf (Quran) without a frown, realizing that Allah is pleased with the woman who obeys her husband happily. I ironed his shirt with love and care to please Allah.

I resumed my recitation until the baby woke up. I bathed him and changed his diaper and fed him, all the while seeking to please Allah, realizing that this was a responsibility He had placed on me and I would be answerable for it.

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When my aunt called while I was busy in my post-Zuhr prayer tasbih (remembrance of Allah), I responded graciously. I sought Allah’s Pleasure in the act of maintaining the ties of kinship, and speaking nicely.

And when the baby woke up from his afternoon nap for the 3rd time, I groggily picked him up and rocked him to sleep. This child would not let me sleep today, it seemed. But my heart was filled with serenity instead of resentment as I sought the Pleasure of Allah in the simple act of loving my baby and being gentle to him. I rocked him to sleep while making dua for his future in this world and the hereafter.

In the evening, when I entered the kitchen, I was not angry for having to miss out on more recitation. Rather, as much as my heart yearned to be in solitude with the Quran, I focused on seeking Allah’s Pleasure by preparing food for my fasting family and feeding them.

At night, my husband had a severe migraine attack and I decided to skip taraweeh prayer in the masjid to be there for him. Though I love every moment of taraweeh prayer, the desire to do what I thought would please Allah more in this situation won.

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Finally, when I went to bed, I was seeking to be refreshed for suhoor (meal before dawn), all the while seeking the pleasure of Allah even in sleeping.

Today was a good day alhamdulillah. Today I learnt the difference between doing something just for yourself or other people and doing something purely for the sake of Allah, seeking His Pleasure.

I challenge you to try this out for yourself. Whatever you do today, whether it be a formal act of worship or a seemingly mundane chore, do it with the intention of pleasing Allah. Because without this intention, you risk all your deeds going to waste!

May Allah be pleased with us all.

Ramadan Challenge: Time Wasters – A Quick Fix!

By Fiza Khan

Bismillah.

Are you excited to make the most of this blessed month?! Have you listed your duas and charted out the goals? Have you planned to pray at the earliest times and offer maximum nawafil (non-obligatory prayers)?

With such enthusiasm and excitement, what could possibly go wrong, right?!

P.R.O.C.R.A.S.T.I.N.A.T.I.O.N!

Yes, that’s one big bad word we lay our arms to. With or without shaitan in town, our desires get the better of us, to the extent that we stop considering certain activities for what they really are (Hint: TIME WASTERS). We adopt them as part of our ‘daily routine’- from minutes of aimless scrolling on the phone screen with half open eyes every morning,  to evenings lost in casual ‘chill-out’ sessions, we slowly get over the initial guilt of losing our precious time to them, not realizing how these activities slowly creep up and throw our goals in the backseat, if not entirely out of the picture.

Every moment of life is a moment worth saving, to be cashed for a better result in the hereafter.

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Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said,

“Every soul will blame itself on The Day of Judgement.

The doer of good will regret that he did not increase in good deeds

And the sinner will regret that he did not repent from his sins.”

(Ighathatul laghfaan p.105)

Every moment not spent in attaining goodness will be a source of regret.

If this is the case of every-day life then what about the precious moments of Ramadan that we can’t measure the worth of on the scale of blessing and mercy.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:

“When the month of Ramadan arrives, the doors of mercy are opened”

(Sahih Muslim: 13:1)

The buffet of goodness awaits, will you sit hand on screen, ignoring it? Will you fall prey to vain desires when you have already shown such paramount strength by abstaining from even the necessities of life – food, drink and the carnal self!

NO!

That’s the resilient cry of your soul longing for a real detox. Don’t hush it, listen while you can for there isn’t much time! When are you going to hold yourself to a higher standard if not today?

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Close off your electronic device and think to yourself, what is it that consumes your days and nights, adding no goodness to your scroll of deeds? Make a list of as many as you can, write them down in actual words. Then, resolve to eliminate at least three. Slowly, or at once, choose your way but don’t give up. Take the real steps to attaining your goals; remove the hindrances that have crept in between you and your ultimate success!

“ A limited number of days…”

(Al-Quran: 2:182)

This is the month of Ramadan, a limited number of days to make the most of..and that too will be our life. May you find yourself on Eid day, not in regret for the time lost but rejoicing for the time availed. May that too be our state on the day we will account for every Ramadan we spent and for the life we lived.

“By time, Indeed, mankind is in loss, Except those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.”

(Al-Quran:103)

The ‘Bad’ Guy

Last year I read a post (https://momsofmuslims.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/one-who-should-not-be-named/) written by a dear friend of mine, Maria. Its message tugged at my heart-strings and I remember exclaiming, ‘That’s  awesome!’

My eldest daughter was 2 years old at that time and I was confused as to how to explain the concept of evil/Shaitan to her.

A couple of months later I found a Bismillah song which became an instant hit with my kids. In this video, little parrots remind a girl to recite Bismillah before everything she does. When she forgets, Shaitan takes over and misguides her. Then, an angel inspires her to say Ta’wwuz, which causes the Shaitan to run away. (Ta’wwuz is a prayer taught to us by Allah to seek refuge from Shaitan.)

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One random day, as my daughter was watching this video,  she looked at me and asked, ‘Mama he isn’t a very good uncle, is he?” (She meant Shaitan)

She was hardly 2 and a half years old then, but I realised that she was ready and took the opportunity to tell her about Shaitan in an age-appropriate way.

I sat her down and taught her that there is a ‘bad guy’ out there who wants us to displease Allah, who wants us to do all kinds of bad deeds. What we have to do is immediately realise that we are under his influence and recite the Ta’wwuz. She understood some bits, but not much.

Over the next few days, however, whenever we watched that song, she would want to hear the same ‘story’ and I would gladly oblige. I would tell her that ‘Shaitan’ inspires us do a bad deed. But, it’s actually our fault because we ‘choose’ to do it. We have free will and can choose to banish him and be the good people we are inherently supposed to be. In order to do that, however, we need Allah’s help and the Ta’wwuz is literally a plea to Allah against the devil.

At this point, I am also reminded of a scene from the Story of Yusuf (AS)- when his father told him that his brothers would plot against him because ‘Shaitan’ is definitely a great enemy. I find this very beautiful; he didn’t blame Yousuf’s brothers because it would have caused enmity in the heart of Yusuf (AS). Instead, he blamed Shaitan!

[Of these stories mention] when Joseph said to his father, “O my father, indeed I have seen [in a dream] eleven stars and the sun and the moon; I saw them prostrating to me.” He said, “O my son, do not relate your vision to your brothers or they will contrive against you a plan. Indeed Satan, to man, is a manifest enemy. (12:4-5)

I’ve taken this lesson seriously as a parent. When my kids misbehave or throw a tantrum, I prefer to direct my anger towards Shaitan and remind them (and myself) to recite Ta’wwuz, instead of blaming and cursing them all the time. (Well, I do fail sometimes and end up blaming them for many things. After all, I am an average desi mom who needs much improvement as a parent!). Also, when one of my kids does something wrong to another, we try to recall blaming Shaitan. Even my 21 month old has started asking me, ‘Shaitaan?’ – (as in ‘Shaitan did it, right mama?”)

A video on anger management by Baba Ali (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGKzPL1lzsU), helped me understand more about how Shaitan works and how Prophet Muhammad ﷺ taught us to curb anger by reciting Ta’wwuz, sitting down, drinking water, performing ablution etc. I try to practice this at home too. Well, most of the time!

Cartoon Satan

 

I also looked for more ways to reinforce the concept of Shaitan in my daughter’s mind. Using the above  image from the book ‘A to Z of Akhlaaq’ by Sr. Nafees Khan, I told her how Shaitan makes a child throw toys and have tantrums (she had started doing that recently). She was quiet for a moment and then asked if that is the reason a ‘Shaitan’ is drawn above the boy’s head in the picture . I said, “Yes, probably!”.

Let me confess – while all this was happening, I was in a frustrated state of mind and was facing anger issues myself. So, helping my daughter learn all these key points would remind me of my shortcomings too. And since I believe in ‘parenting by example’, I started to work on myself as well.

Ever since, I have been a work-in-progress. I lapse often but now I have my kids at my aid. Every time I start to get angry, one of them has the guts to say, “Mama please recite ta’wwuz – Shaitan is coming at you!”

But, in the end, we are all humans. I am not perfect and I cannot expect my children to be perfect either. We work as allies against evil; I calm my daughter down when she needs a reminder and she advises me when I need it.

Perhaps, as children, it is easy to not hold a grudge against another person and blame Shaitan instead, but it starts to become increasingly difficult when we grow up. As adults, we blame people and are full of enmity and hatred against others. I hope I learn to let go of my resentments and that my kids grow up to be people who do not harbour grudges. How amazing would this world become if all of us apply this lesson!

Disclaimer: Although the picture above depicts Shaitan is inspiring the boy, we do not know what is the shape/form of Shaitan since these are matters of unseen in our deen.

About the author:

A Muslim by birth and choice, Accountant by way of studies, an artist at heart, house wife by profession and a blogger mom to two toddlers.
I blog at amuslimmama.com
Twitter: @asbahalaena
Facebook: @amuslimmama

Youth Club’s 2016 – Year in Review

At the close of 2016, Youth Club reminisces its exciting new projects, the fun-filled activities, the laughs, the tears, the events, the tours and all those wonderful moments that it experienced throughout the year. Not being able to share everything in words or pictures, we bring for you a brief review of our year so you can have a share in our memories too.

 

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  • Youth Club established its HQ office in January!
  • Over 13 sisters of the YC team enrolled in a 3 year Quran course that started in January, Alhamdolillah!
  • More than 100 amulets were opened and destroyed by the CEO, Raja Zia ul Haq.
  • The YC sisters had their long-awaited first swimming event.
  • Youth Club launched its Telegram channel, telegram.me/youthclubpk
  • The team visited an old home to spread love and gifts.
  • Several classes were started under top-notch scholars at the YC office for the team, including Arabic, Usool ul Fiqh, Emaan (faith) etc. 
  • YCL launched its counselling services which were warmly welcomed by the public and catered to more than hundred young people.  
  • Youth Club Karachi had their biggest event, Crossroads, featuring many local and international speakers.
  • The brothers went on an exciting bike-trip to the northern areas.
  • The YCI team braved through the month of Ramadan in absence of the CEO, Raja Zia ul Haq, while successfully conducting 10 Ramadan exclusive courses.
  • YCK conducted 8 Ramadan halaqahs around their city while YCL conducted many in Lahore!
  • Youth Club Lahore launched its video series “Reminder series” on social media.
  • Several team members, brothers and sisters, observed aitikaf during the last ‘ashrah of the blessed month!
  • The sisters formed a special team and conducted dawah stalls in several institutes across the twin cities.
  • #JagoUthoBadalDo, the YC hashtag trended locally on Twitter before the event day!
  • The first ever youth conference was organized at Kunri, Sindh. 
  • Youth Club Karachi had its exciting dawah stall for 2 days at Talent Expo Karachi, the expo being attended by 30,000+ people.
  • YC raised the benchmark for its biggest ever female event, by holding the highly appraised “Being Her” event in F9 Park.
  • YC collaborated, hosted and worked with AlKauthar, Azaan, Live Deen, Role Model Institute, Alhuda International, Burooj Institute, IOU Speakers and many local scholars across different chapters. 
  • Youth Club Lahore launched a unique campaign “The Ultimate Role Model”, to educate the youth about the character and attributes of Prophet ﷺ
  • The brothers initiated spiritually enriching Fajr sessions at masajid!
  • YC acquired a drone phantom 3 for media productions.
  • The YCI team bid farewell to their longest standing president and the last of the founding sisters of YC, as the Karachi team welcomed her into their chapter.
  • Instagram competitions were held with many participating in it.
  • YCL conducted two mega events for the year 2016 which were attended by 300+ youth!
  • YC conducted its first ever major online event, Back on Track.
  • YC’s Facebook page hit the massive 40k likes milestone!
  • The teams successfully (well, almost) pulled off surprise parties for the ex-president YCI, ex-operations manager YCI and the standing CEO, Raja Zia ul Haq.

 

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  • YC conducted a whopping 600+ talks throughout the year.
  • More than 42,000 lives were touched and inspired.
  • Approximately 50+ institutes were visited by Youth Club where life-changing workshops were held, including LUMS, EME, NUST, FAST and IBA (among others). 
  • YCL alone conducted 30+ workshops catering to various problems of the youth.

 

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Sidra Naz of the Social Welfare department said:
“I must say I have totally transformed into a new person, I was crawling before and #YCTaughtMe to walk and then run towards the Deen of Allah”

Sana Aslam, a valuable member of YCI who shifted to Lahore a few months ago, shared her feelings:
“YC is my family in which I have my sisters, my friends, my teachers and they supported me to take new initiatives, maintain balance in life and have fun….
…Side by side or miles apart, we are sisters connected by heart!”

Ishaq bin Sadiq, President of YCK, shared the following words:
“As the president of Youth Club Karachi for the past 2 years, I have learned a lot. I consider it a blessing for myself to be a part of Youth Club and at the same time a big responsibility. Youth Club is my passion and everything for me. For past 2 years, Youth Club Karachi is becoming better and better everyday and the team is working dedicatedly in changing the lives of youth. May Allah accept our efforts and help us in the cause.”

Sana Azaz, the Decor Manager and a dedicated member who currently resides in the USA, had to say:
“My best moment of 2016?
Every moment, where I learnt something and I felt like my faith elevated at that point…

…YC has expanded especially this year, this is what I observed and that’s an amazing thing, welcoming new people. And it’s YC speciality that it has people from every field, and they are very special on their own.”

Hajrah Khawar, Ex-President of YCI who left in October of this year, said:
“Looking back at my 5 years spent in YC, and seeing it grow from an idea to this inspiring and happening organization, all I can say is YC gave me a lot! It taught me many lessons; in relationship and dealings with others, in what true friendship really is, what living for a purpose is like, what spreading love and hope means, what working in the way of Allah is, what absolutely loving your work means, how without dawah we can lead empty lives…
…a big thank you to the amazing people of Youth Club, may you always remain this amazing and be rewarded amazingly”.

Mohammad Ali, President of YCL, said:
“…Despite all the difficulties …Youth Club Lahore stood up, adopted wisdom and kept the da’wah work alive in Lahore. Youth Club Lahore inspired hundreds of youth towards the deen, through its regular workshops, courses and street da’wah.
…YCL is looked upon as a source of guidance for the educated youth as to how to be a Muslim in the 21st century. We were approached by several institutes, to name some: University of Punjab, LUMS, UET, AIMS, SIMS, as well as Akhuwat – the biggest microfinancing organisation – to conduct sessions and workshops. Hundreds of students and professionals got inspired and expressed desire to become part of Youth Club.”

Sana Taha, an amazing new addition to the YC team, shared the following:
“I just joined YC this year and it has been amazing. I’ve always wondered what it’s like to work with a motivated group of people who don’t get competitive against each other. YC showed me that it’s possible to be positive, upbeat and still give your best to your work…
… I am honored to have worked at YC and I am grateful to everyone at YC for showing me a better side of work ethics.”

Mohsin Cheema, an active and loyal member of YC, had to say:
“For me YC is not just an organisation, YC is a lifestyle! Every year we make new trends, set new records and achieve new milestones. We don’t settle for ordinary, we aim for excellence.
YC has touched many lives, including mine, and I am forever indebted to it. 2016 has been a phenomenal year for YC. We produced top-notch workshops, trainings, fun-filled activities, pizza parties, soccer camps, nights-out for boys and much more.
One thing that inspires me the most about YC, and that keeps me motivated, is the brotherhood that we share, it is beyond words. Simply the best company in town!”

Fiza Khan, the President of Youth Club Islamabad, shared her feelings with us:
“YC started as a dream, an aspiration for me. I remember making silly plans with friends to get our way into YC, after chasing around all their events around the city… YC was a motivation, a driving force for me when I was coming to the deen, a platform for me to channel my energies when I was trying to keep myself from channelling them for the negative… If I believed in their mission, I wanted to take it up as a personal responsibility and make my own little path. Never could I imagine, so soon will I get to be the one laden with the responsibility to manage the platform in such a capacity.
Youth Club has always been my happy place. It’s my go-to spot when I feel down, to work and feel that perhaps I’ve helped inspire a little positive change in the world… It’s where work feels rewarding, work feels fun, work always has room for creativity and experiment – and where work meetings feel like happy get-togethers because of the YC sisterhood.”

Zuha Bari, Social Media Manager of YC, said:
“The day I joined it, my life has never been the same!
Sometimes, I really wonder what would I’ve been doing with my life if YC wasn’t there!
…. YC has motivated me at every step. For me, YC is every thing…
My best moment of YC in 2016… when we gave a surprise to the world’s best ameer, And secondly (though it’s a bit sad too), we gave a surprise farewell party to our friend, sister and ex ameerah,… our hearts are always tied with the love of Allah, no matter how far we go from each other!”

Nadeem Ashraf, Ex-Operations Manager of YC who shifted to the UK in February, said:
“For me, the growth of YC in 2016 means the growth of dynamic style da’wah. In an increasingly doom and gloom world for the ummah around the world,the da’wah of YC comes as an increasingly breath of fresh air. As someone who is honoured to be in touch with many da’wah teams around the world, I receive glowing tributes from du’aat about YC’s unique style in the world of da’wah. 2016 has been a very positive year for team YC and as long as we are sincere, we can only go from strength to strength”.

Wrapping up YC’s 2016, in the words of the esteemed CEO, Raja Zia ul Haq:
“By the immense mercy of Allah, it is a matter of great satisfaction and joy to watch Youth Club, like a bright young child, growing bigger and stronger each year. I feel truly privileged to be a part of this wonderful organization; to be one of those who have dedicated their lives to bring about a positive change in society. Alhamdulillah, in the year 2016, we have visited hundreds of institutes, delivered over a thousand lectures, talks and workshops, and inspired countless individuals to transform their lives for the better.
May Allah accept from us and may He grant us the ability to continue on stronger.
In short; It’s been emotional!

I request you all to remember us in your duas. For indeed, some of our greatest achievements never make it to the internet.”

 

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This is not the whole story, it is only the first page. But it is the beginning of a beautiful journey, amid hopes and prayers, leading to what’s best out there inshaAllah :’)

Youth Club inspiring positive change!

 

 

 

Disappointment

Disappointment

By Sana Taha

 

Some things become such an ingrained part of our lives that they tend to feel like the very air we breath. No one escapes these tangent realities, not even the most wise or the most wealthy. Disappointments are one of those realities, and we never get used to them. 

Every single time we are disappointed by someone or something, our first reaction is to turn to someone we love and trust, and to tell them how hurt we are. For a Muslim for the lucky few who truly love and rely on God, their immediate  reaction is to turn to Allah. For the rest of us, we also eventually turn to God once we realize how helpless we are- albeit after we complain and cry to anyone who will hear us out. It’s as if the strong blow that hit the heart caused an unintentional cry out to God, the Almighty. It’s like saying “you handle this situation. I am broken. I am down. Pick me up again. Only You can, and only You will.”

Why this sudden return to the Most Merciful when we haven’t consciously remembered Him in days, perhaps months? The adh’an didn’t affect our hearts this strongly, claiming He was the Only God five times a day- the Quran didn’t soften our hearts, with the words “Ar-rahman”, “Ar-raheem” repeating themselves over and over again. Then why did this internal siren start screaming so loud for Him to come to help when we were down and broken?

Perhaps it’s because we all know, we all acknowledge, we all understand deep down that He is the Master, the One, the Only with Might and Power and with solutions to our problems. Everyone else will listen, some will agree, some might console, if they can. Most people will not even be interested in our sob stories. But He will listen, and He will respond.  Not once, not twice, but every single time.

Allah says in Surah An-Naml, Verse 62:

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It is truly a beautiful phenomena to have someone respond to our calls, to take away our pain and to restore us fully with peace in our hearts and calm in our souls. What’s lacking then, in this situation, that keeps bothering us when we go back to our old routine? Perhaps accountability and loyalty are lacking. He fixed our broken heart, and we went out and got it broken again, then came back to get it fixed, and then went out to repeat this never-ending pattern. But in the middle-process, many of us forget how He was the one who picked up our pieces and made us whole again…

There is a consciousness of self that develops in some people who constantly return to Allah. They are the tawwabeen. The ones loved by Allah.

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However, there are also those of us who become so immune to this routine, and so used to this pattern, that we stop questioning ourselves.  We no longer wonder if worldly attachments are harming our relationship with Allah, if eventually the returning to the prayer mat only in times of need will harden our heart and stop our tears from flowing- or if the connection that we sometimes claim to be so important to us, and at other times discarded so carelessly, will indeed be broken off the by the One who built it in the first place. It was never us that went willingly to Him, it was Him that had mercy on us and allowed us to call on Him.

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Then with a hard heart and dry eyes, we wonder where things went wrong. The religion is yet apparent and seeming, the praises for piety are still there, but the heart is dead. The disappointment that was once with another, is now with the self. 

Then At last, the time to repent comes again, the problem surfaces once again, and the caller calls upon God with a pure heart and the utmost sincerity, once again. This time, the cry is not against another, but against oneself. The forgiveness is not sought for attaching to another by mistake or forgetfulness, but for forming worldly attachments by will, knowing that they are not important, having the constant reinforcements of the soul die out little by little with each ignored voice of the heart. 

Is it possible to live in this world and not be attached to it? Maybe it’s not. Maybe some form of attachment and love for this dunya is inevitable. But is it possible to remember Allah more, and give preference to Him more over everything else? If the tawwabeen can do it, if the muttaqin can do it, and if the muttahireen can do it, then so can we. These are not names of certain people, these are characteristics of human beings like you and me. We can adopt these characteristics and become the best version of our struggling selves, if only we struggle with sincerity. 

Abu Hurayrah (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:  “There is no one among you who does not have two positions, one in Paradise and one in Hell…

[Sunan Ibn Majah: 4485]

If Allah created a house in jannah for every single human being, then He knew for all of us to have the potential to get to that highest level of jannah.  (insert reference to the particular hadith here). We can break this loop and become sincerely repentant to Him, if we only try, and if we direct our emotions and feelings to Him. Let Allah take care of your heart- turn to Him and save yourself from the disappointments of the dunya…

Winter bells are ringing!

Winter bells are ringing!

by Mahnoor Fatima & Fatima Shakir

Its finally happening. The nights are getting colder, air conditioners have been bid farewell, fans are slowly losing speed and the warm clothes are on their way. There’s much to prepare for, whether it be looking for new recipes for all the winter vegetables and fruits, or getting the new clothes sewn and brought. So, this winter, we hope that you will let us share a few facts and tips for a smooth winter, the Sunnah way!
Come winter, come the joy of dry fruits. As the cold approaches, nut cracking around the heater turns into a good excuse to spend time with the family. We know you all treasure those moments and now we’ll give you reason to cherish them even more. According to the National Nutrient Database of the U.S Department of Agriculture, the ideal nuts serving size for a healthy person is 1oz per day, which conveniently comes to about a handful. Nuts, be it walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or peanuts, are rich in vitamins E and B and unsaturated fats, which are good for your skin, nervous and digestive system and are often termed as ‘heart friendly’ fats.

There are several food items which come as winter guests, which are proven to be very beneficial, through the Prophet’s(s) ahadith. These include dates, figs, honey and olives. He said, “Eat olives, and use it on your hair and skin, for it comes from a blessed tree.”(Trimidhi)

He also said, “Make use of two remedies, honey and Quran. ” (Trimidhi)

Also, don’t we all enjoy devouring the delicious, melt-in-your-mouth dates? Regarding them, the Prophet(s) said “Indeed in dates there is a cure. ” (Muslim)

Now, coming to some beverage talk. As soon as we think of the cold long nights of winter, we think of our beloved coffee and tea. We find reason to brew our cuppas one after the other, and let their warmth soothe our insides. A cup, about 124 ml, of plain black coffee contains 250 mg of caffeine, which drops to about 45 mg in a cup of black tea. Now, we’ll tell you this; caffeine is good for the prevention of cancer, asthma attacks and Diabetes type 2. But, but, but! Hold it right there, coffee lovers! We have some bad news too, because an excess of caffeine can cause hypertension, and cancers in the reproductive system. So our recommendation would be to stick to the safe limit, which is 400ml per day of caffeine.

Just in case you are looking for an alternative, our best pick is warm milk and honey. This is good for your heart, digestive system and is also known to cure insomnia.

If, however, you are reluctant to leave the coffee ship, we have a few more suggestions. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it can cause excess urination. This, in turn, causes dry skin, itch, dehydration and fatigue. To cope with this, it is essential that you take 8-9 glasses of water per day, which is the body requirement of a normal adult. If you are one of those people who, despite exercising seem to put on all those extra pounds, particularly around winter, let us be your guide. When we feel thirst, we often fail to differentiate between it and hunger and end up gobbling something instead. This leads to obesity, along with deficiency of water. In short, increase the water intake!

A little bit about wintery fruits and vegetables, because really, they are the ones which make up a season! Carrots are rich in Vitamin A, which is required for good eye sight. Turnips contain Vitamin C which serves as a good anti-oxidant. Peas are rich in Vitamin C and K, which help to maintain a healthy digestive system. Spinach is filled with iron which increases immunity & keeps the heart in good shape.

And lastly, all the little delicacies which make winter worth waiting for, which not only delight the taste buds but also ensure that we are comfortably warm and in best shape throughout the season. Yes, we are talking about gajjar halwa, aalsi halwa, Makaai rotti, choori and date biscuits! And of course, we know we don’t need to say this, we are sure you’ll be maximising on soup and fish!

We hope your winter is happy and healthy, all round, inshaAllah!
 The co-author, Fatima Shakir is a Nutritionist at Nahl Health Club. You can find out more about her work by visiting the following link: 

https://www.facebook.com/Nahl-HealthClub-224711914592463/?fref=ts



Bari Eid: Bakray, BBQ & Keeping Yourself Healthy! 

Bari Eid: Bakray, BBQ & Keeping Yourself Healthy! 

by Mahnoor Fatima and Fatima Shakir 
There are only a couple of days left for one of the most awaited days of the year. Houses are flooded with new guests who keep everyone entertained and irritated, by turns, with their bleating and mooing. They hang out in the market places and are the new companions for anyone who is going out for a walk, because how dare you leave them all alone? Yes, folks! Eid ul Adha is right around the corner! And we are just as excited as you are. As your faithful correspondents, we would like to take this moment toperformthe humble duty of sharing a few facts, to ensure that your Eid is as wonderful as you plan it to be!

Every year as Eid approaches, we almost abandon the chicken ship and climb on to the bakra ship (or the cows, camels, sheep ships because hey, this is not the time for showing bias). This leads to a major change in our usual white meat diets and hence, in our bodies. Red meat, or mutton and beef, is nutritionally different from chicken and fish due to its high fat content and the presence of mineral complexes A and B. All of these are essential for a healthy body, brain, skin and eyes. As a result of its consumption, our blood also undergoes a boost with the iron present in it. To top it all off, eating red meat is also a Sunnah

It was narrated that ‘Aishah (R.A) said: “We used to store trotters and the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would eat them fifteen days after the sacrifice.” (Sahih, Sunan Ibn Majah)

 Also, Abdullah bin Jafar told Ibn Zubair, that he heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say, “The best meat is meat of the back.” (Hasan,  Ibn Majah) 

Come Bari Eid, come barbeque- you have the meat at your disposal now, but how will you cook it? It has been observed that if you don’t take one Eid night of the three and dedicate it solely to the grills, complete with smoking coals- making the mouths water of everyone living in a 1 km radius- you’re not really living! And we are here to tell you this: enjoy the barbeque, but don’t forget that the smoke and flames do contaminate your food and contain many cancer causing agents. So our advice would be to strike a good balance; eat but don’t go overboard. Or stick to alternatives like shawarmas, for which the meat does not have to be directly grilled over the fire.

Now, moving on to some nutritional myth busting. It is commonly thought that red meat is inappropriate for anyone on a strict diet, it leads to a higher blood pressure and takes much longer to digest than all else. However, nutritional studies confirm that lean red meat can be included in a cholesterol lowering diet. In addition, patients with heart problems, with high blood pressure and those looking to reduce their weight may safely consume red meat, as long as it stays under the recommended value. According to Nutrition Australia, this comes to about 455g of meat, per week; spread over three to four appropriate serving sizes. Meat is easily digested, taking approximately 2-4 hours to leave the stomach. And yes, this means that sipping on a carbonated drink after every bite to ‘ensure digestion’ can safely leave your list of Eid rituals!  

Lastly, don’t forget to share the happiness, and the meat, of course. There are so many people who can’t afford meat of any kind, which leads to a prevalent fraction of the population suffering from nutritional deficiencies. In fact, it is estimated that 17% of developing countries are currently registered as being malnourished. Eid is one of the occasions where everyone, everywhere, gets a chance to taste and enjoy meat as much as anyone else. So embrace this Eid and remember to share the meat, rather than simply giving out money to those in need, because it is Bakra Eid after all. A happy Eid Mubarak to you all!

The co-author, Fatima Shakir is a Nutritionist at Nahl Health Club. You can find out more about her work by visiting the following link: 

https://www.facebook.com/Nahl-HealthClub-224711914592463/?fref=ts

 

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