Category Archives: children and family

The Children Inspire Project

About.

The Children Inspire Project started in February 2014. It is based on an idea by a mother and her young son.  The project is a Children’s Research and Creativity Project which aims to increase awareness and understanding of Islam in a way that is fun, creative and inspiring for children. Each month we aim to set a project theme or topic on Islam.   We hope children will participate in the project by working with their family and friends on a project theme or topic.  We want the children who take part to learn more about Islam whilst interacting with their family and friends. We hope the learning experience is fun, creative and inspiring! Once the project is completed, the children with their parent’s help can submit their project work to be judged by a panel of judges.  Winners get a prize and the opportunity to share their work here. Wishing all of the children a good, learning experience with their family and friends.

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Exam Factories

This is an article I was sent and asked to comment on, I thought I’d share my thoughts with you!
Exam Factories
education-system
Almost all children now believe they go to school to pass exams. The idea that they may be there for an education is irrelevant. Leading companies are struggling to recruit teenagers with basic skills because schools have been turned into “exam factories”, business leaders have warned. Many employers had been left “disheartened and downright frustrated” by poor levels of literacy, numeracy, communication and timekeeping among school leavers and graduates. Overemphasis on sitting exams and hitting targets throughout compulsory education had robbed children of the chance to develop the “soft” skills needed in the work place. Business leaders believed the emphasis on passing exams at school meant children failed to develop other skills, including the ability to hold a conversation, display good work ethic, turn upon time and apply basic literacy and numeracy.
How can you pass exams with poor literacy and numeracy?
I think that good schools teach these things, and they are embedded in to the ethos. You learn through conversations.
State, independent and faith schools have become exam factories and are only interested in A to C Grades. They do not educate children. The result is that anti-social behaviour, gun and knife culture, racism, drug addiction. binge drinking, high rate of teenage pregnancies and abortions, high divorce rate are common in society. Exam results do not reflect a candidate’s innate ability. Employers have moaned for years that too many employees cannot read or write properly. According to a survey, school-leavers and even graduates lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. More and more companies are having to provide remedial training to new staff, who can’t write clear instructions, do simple maths, or solve problems. Both graduates and school-leavers were also criticised for their sloppy time-keeping, ignorance of basic customer service and lack of self-discipline.
Education begins in the home. What is the role of the schools? Is it down to schools to teach morals and manners, or to uphold what has already been taught at home? If parents don’t care how can schools have an effect? Customer Service is a skill which is taught at work? why would it be taught at school? it takes self discipline to pass exams?
Can I also say these skills like I am using now, critiquing articles, and evaluating sources like WHU video, where did I learn them? I learnt them at school, year 7, comprehension on fox hunting, influence of media etc, I learnt them in GCSE History and Geography, in English, these things are all in the syllabus.’One thing my school wasn’t hot on was IT which is why I am so bad at using Excel etc! But I taught myself html and stuff.
 
As well as exams we were expected to do one term community service (which i didn’t do because i was a rebel) in 6th form, we were expected to run activities for younger kids, and so on.

Even Muslim schools have also become Exam Factories, only interested in A to C grades just like state schools.There is a positive co-relation between faith, culture and language. Faith needs culture and languages to flourish. According to a research, children who study the language and culture of their parents may achieve more and become more involved citizens

Yes I agree in part. Faith doesn’t need language, the language of our faith is Arabic. However I understand studying parents language may be beneficial.

. Migrant Muslims speak variety of languages.

Are the majority of Muslim Children currently in school migrant Muslims, or are they the grand kids of migrant Muslims? What does the study say about the effect of your grandparents 1st language? Children need to be fluent in one language at least so they are able to communicate and understand the technicalities, grammar etc of language. It doesn’t matter what language that is. Learning it creates certain brain patterns which expands the childs development and thinking. It is better to speak one language fluently then 2 broken. Therefore parents are taught to speak to their children in their first language. 
For many parents in their 20
s 30’s and 40’s English is our first language. It is the language we are most confident in and spend the most time speaking.
However if a parents first language is something else they should speak to the child in that language. This does not disadvantage the child as it is not important which language they learn first, as long as they learn one language fluently to teach them the beneficial development skills, and they meet they skills by the right ages.
In the Children’s Centre we measure these developmental targets in the child’s home language. and we encourage parents to talk the home language. Once the skills involved in language are developed then it is easy for kids to pick up English later.
Although these children are behind in KS1, the skills involved in learning two sets of grammar, two languages, ,mean that by age 11 the outcomes for bilingual children are better then for those with only one language. 
 

State schools as well as Muslim schools give lip service to the community languages but majority of Muslim schools completely ignore or discourage community languages. The ex- chairman of the Association of Muslim Schools Mr.Idrees Mears, a native revert totally rejects the teaching of Urdu and other languages. The same opinion was expressed by the head of state funded Islamia School as well as by the ex- Chairman of the Nida Trust. They are not in a position to understand the needs and demands of the bilingual children because they are themselves monolinguals. It is a well known fact that social and emotional education comes with ones own language, literature and poetry.

You are not born with culture and identity, it is something you develop. English may become ones own language, Children may identify more with peers and predecessors in the country of residence rather then the country of their parents or grandparents origin.

Pakistani children suffer more than other children. They speak different languages at home and when they go to the Masajid they are exposed to Urdu and Arabic. At schools they are exposed to English and at the age of 11 are exposed to European languages. Now European languages are introduced at Primary level, but Urdu is totally ignored and discouraged by the state as well as by the Muslim schools. English, Arabic and Urdu must be introduced at nursery level so that the children can grow up with three languages. We have already lost three generation and the fourth one is in the process of losing its linguistic and cultural identity by not learning Urdu. The Muslim community is suffering because of social and cultural problems of high rate of divorce, run away young girls, low academic achievements, drug addiction, drinking, teenage pregnancies, disrespect for their parents and elders, forced marriages and honour killings. It is all because our youth are cut off from their cultural roots and languages. I blame state schools because they have never been serious in the teaching of Urdu, Arabic and other community languages.   

Basically Pakistanis should have their own schools?
What is the correlation between loss of language and these problems? It is cultural or is it lack of understanding of Islam? Is part of the issues not that parents were disconnected from the reality children were growing up in? and the need for the second generation diaspora to create their own identity and culture, and for the culture to adapt to its new environment?

An American research reveals in 2005 that bilingual learners with no education in their first language take longer to learn English and a bilingual learner with a good education in their own language do best of all.

This sentence doesn’t even make sense, longer then what? Why is it bad they take longer to learn English? After they take longer to learn English what is the outcomes at older age? How long do they remain disadvantaged for? Bi lingual learner with what level of education in their own language? best in what? in comparison to?
(and yes I learnt these evaluating sources skills at school)

Muslim schools are committing the same mistake by ignoring community languages. Even OFSTED is not serious about the importance of bilingualism and bilingual education. Their priority is the teaching of English language. No body is denying the importance of English as an economic language but equally important is the first languages of the children for social and emotional literacy.

Again what is the role of the school? Is it the same as the role of the home?
The Muslim community has been passing through a phase of fourth Crusades. The battleground is the field of education, where the young generation will be educated properly with the Holly Quran in one hand and Sciences in other hand to serve the British society and the world at large. A true Muslim is a citizen of the world, which has become a small global village. We are going to prepare our youth to achieve that objective in the long run.
By educating Pakistani kids separately in Urdu? again this makes no sense.
A true Muslim believes in Prophet Moses and the Prophet Jesus and without them one cannot be a Muslim. My suggestion is that in all state, independent and Christian based school special attention should be given to the teaching of Comparative Religion and Islam should be taught by qualified Muslim Teachers to make the children aware the closeness of Islam to Christianity and Judaism which will help them to think about Islam, as “A Pragmatic and Modern Way of Life,” during their life time.
 Secular schools do teach the basics of religion. However again what is role of school? The things mentioned here should be taught in madrassah. In Islamic schools there is a place for them. However it is not up to the schools to teach each child their culture and religion.
 
I will give you an example. When I was in reception there was a school play, and there were some princesses in the play. I came home and told my mum something about I am a doll not a princess, but of course I couldn’t be a princess as there was no such thing as a brown princess. Now why did I think this? because of Disney probably. Anyway my mum got mad and took me out of the school. But was it the schools responsibility to teach me my own culture, about Indian princesses and stuff? I was 4! Obviously what I saw in the home influenced me, and I saw Disney movies etc! 
British schooling and the British society is the home of institutional racism.
Why? Another unfounded statement.
The result is that Muslim children are unable to develop self-confidence and self-esteem, therefore, majority of them leave schools with low grades.
Again is it the role of schools to teach esteem and confidence? What research has been done on the differences between those who do well and do badly? Particularly within the same school? It May be likely that the differences is from the home emphasis on education, building esteem, and giving confidence.
 
Racism is deeply rooted in British society. Every native child is born with a gene or virus of racism, therefore, no law could change the attitudes of racism towards those who are different.
Are they actually serious? Like Pakistanis aren’t racist? This statement in itself is racist and shows the mentality of whoever wrote this article.
It is not only the common man, even member of the royal family is involved in racism. The father of a Pakistani office cadet who was called a “***” by Prince Harry has profoundly condemned his actions. He had felt proud when he met the Queen and the Prince of Wales at his son’s passing out parade at Sandhurst in 2006 but now felt upset after learning about the Prince’s comments.
Now this article has just descended in to an incoherent rant, there is so much wrong with this statement.
1) Judge a whole race/nation by actions of one person?
2)How many citizens would say that the royal family represent them
Queen Victoria invited an Imam from India to teach her Urdu language. He was highly respected by the Queen but other members of the royal family had no respect for him. He was forced to go back to India. His portrait is still in one of the royal places.
relevance? we are talking about hundreds of years ago now? Shall we talk about partition and say Muslims are racist?
Children should be taught about the contribution Muslims have made to civilisation in order to combat threats of extremism and discrimination. It will help native children to develop positive attitudes towards Muslims. It will bring divided communities closer together, by teaching children about debt west owe to Muslims – coffee and pinhole camera to the three – course dinner and advancement in maths. The teaching will bring together science, history,RE, citizenship and community cohesion – some of the most pressing problems for the minister responsible for the curriculum.One of the major reasons for the alienation of British Muslims is a lack of clear identity. It is crucial for the British society to understand the hugely positive impact that Islamic inventors have had upon the world, and for Muslims to take pride in it. At present there is a widespread mis-conception among many people worldwide that the state of science and technology during the period known as “The Dark Ages” was that of stagnation and decline. The Muslim civilisation flourished and contributed to thousands of essential inventions that still affect western life style. The open recognition of the contribution of the Muslims should be reflected in the National Curriculum. The mainstream history of scientific ideas has failed to acknowledge numerous Islamic scientists and their great efforts and achievements throughout the centuries.
This is integrated curriculum that we are working on.
A report by the Institute for Community Cohesion found that native parents were deserting some schools after finding their children out numbered by pupils from ethnic minorities. Schools in parts of England are becoming increasingly segregated. The study focused on 13 local authorities. Many of the schools and colleges are segregated and this was generally worsening over recent years. This is RACISM because British society is the home of institutional racism. My statement regarding Muslim schools where there is no place for non-Muslim child or a teacher is based on educational process and not on racism. Muslim children need Muslim teachers during their developmental periods. For higher studies and research, Muslim teacher is not a priority.
Or maybe it is because of scare mongering, like in this article, which makes people think that children whose first language is not English will do worse and make the school worse, and there is lack of knowledge or emphasis on outcomes at age 11 for bilingual children. This article is actually also promoting segregation? Schools in which Urdu is taught? This article totally lacks coherent thought, it is full of contradictions.

I have been campaigning for Muslim schools since early 70s because there is no place for foreign cultures, languages and faiths in state schools. Muslim children are victim of racial abuse and discrimination. Neither Muslim community nor the DFE paid any attention to my proposal. Muslim community kept on setting up Masajid for worshiping and for the education of their children. Masajid help Muslim children to recite the Holy Quran without understanding and teach them how to perform their prayers. DFE introduced Multicultural education for the integration and assimilation of the Muslims.

I regard Muslim schools not just Faith schools but more or less bilingual schools. I set up the first Muslim school in Forest Gate London in 1981. Special attention was given to Standard English, Arabic and Urdu languages along with National Curriculum. But due to its closure, it could not become a model school for others to follow. Islamia School, founded by Yusuf Islam became the model school where there is no place for the teaching of Urdu and other community languages and only Arabic is taught.

The sound knowledge of ones owns language would appear to help – not hinder the acquisition of a second language and bilingual children may even have cognitive advantages and that the ability to speak more than one language is going to be increasingly important for the world of the future. Therefore, Muslim children and young Muslims have potentially a major educational advantage, although sadly this is not being developed well at present. British policy makers now recognise bilingualism as an educational asset rather than a problem. Education plays a central role in the transmission of languages from one generation to the next. The teaching of mother tongues is essential in terms of culture and identity. Arabic is a religious language for the Muslims but for Pakistanis, Urdu is also essential for culture and identity. Blind Muslim children in Bradford are learning to read Arabic and Urdu Braille, by a blind teacher who travelled from Pakistan. Now blind Muslim children are not going to miss out on culture, religion, language and the social aspects and integration into their own community and identity.

Majority of Muslim children are from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India They need to learn Arabic and Urdu to keep in touch with their cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. Urdu is a lingua frankua of the Muslim communities from the sub-continent.

What about Bengali? Tamil? Telagu? Malayalam? Punjabi? why pick on Urdu? It is just nationalism.

The young generation learn Urdu from Indian/Pakistani films, more than two dozens TV Channels and couple of radio stations broadcasting round the clock in Urdu/Hindi.

learning language and culture from Bollywood Films?…… no comment.

They can speak and understand but are unable to read and write Urdu literature and poetry. Bilingualism and bilingual education should be part and parcel of each and every Muslim school. The problem is that most of Muslim schools are running by British educated Muslims who are made monolinguals by state schools. They do not feel the charm of bilingualism. They have never been given the chance to learn Arabic and Urdu along with English. An English man is proud of his language, culture and faith or no faith. In the same way a Muslim should be proud of his faith, languages and cultures.

Again makes no sense, we should be proud of ourselves by copying what another person is proud of about their selves? It is still putting the “British native” (as if there is such thing) as a yard stick to be emulated.

In my opinion at least three hours a day must be given for the teaching of English, Arabic, Urdu and other community languages from nursery level. The teaching of Standard English will help them to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity.

If you talk to your child in these languages then that is the teaching done.
According to a recent report, Muslim schools performed best overall, although they constitute only a fraction of the country’s 7000 schools. Muslim schools do well because of their Islamic ethos and a focus on traditional discipline and teaching methods. They teach children what is right and what is wrong, because young children need structured guidance.
So lets quote some random American studies incorrectly, but ignore all the studies on learning through play in the Early Years, and child led learning? 
This article has no credibility. The amount of nonsense in it obscures any valid points and devalues its argument.

Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.The British Government is planning to make it easier to schools to “opt out” from the Local Authorities. Muslim children in state schools feel isolated and confused about who they are.

How do Muslim children in Islamic schools feel? Don’t the majority of teens feel this way?

This can cause dissatisfaction and lead them into criminality, and the lack of a true understanding of Islam can ultimately make them more susceptible to the teachings of fundamentalists like Christians during the middle ages and Jews in recent times in Palestine. Fundamentalism is nothing to do with Islam and Muslim; you are either a Muslim or a non-Muslim. Muslim children suffer from identity crises because their parents teach them Islam and their schools teach them something else. There must be a positive co-relation between school and home, otherwise, children will suffer academically, spiritually , socially and emotionally. They are also unable to develop self-confidence and self-esteem.

Or maybe their Islamic schools teach Islam and their cultural homes teach something else.

You better teach your children in your own schools and let migrant communities teach their children according to their needs and demands.

So advocating segregation according to nationality in schools, while condemning “natives” for doing this?

British Establishment and society should concentrate on the evils of their own society and stop trying to change the way of life of Muslims.

HOLD UP. NOW I AM REALLY MAD. “THEIR OWN SOCIETY?” WE LIVE IN BRITAIN, WE ARE INVOLVED IN BRITISH LIFE, HOW CAN WE BE SEPERATE FROM THIS SOCIETY? THIS IS OUR OWN SOCIETY!!!!!!!!!! REMEMBER IF THE SHIP SINKS WE ALL DROWN!!!

Muslim community does not want to integrate with the British society,

WHO THE HELL R U TO TALK FOR THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY? 
ok *deep breath* what do you mean by integrate? anyway another nonsensical, groundless, therefore meaningless sentence

indulging in incivility, anti-social behaviour, drug and knife culture, binge drinking, teenage pregnancies and abortion. 

This is another racist statement. the majority of British people do not do these things. those who shout the loudest and make biggest headlines are not the majority. Muslims should know this.

Prince Charles, while visiting the first grant maintained Muslim school in north London, said that the pupils would be the future ambassadors of Islam. But what about thousands of others, who attend state schools deemed to be “sink schools”? In education, there should be a choice and at present it is denied to the Muslim community. In the late 80s and early 90s, when I floated the idea of Muslim community schools, I was declared a “school hijacker” by an editorial in the Newham Recorder newspaper in east London. This clearly shows that the British media does not believe in choice and diversity in the field of education and has no respect for those who are different. Muslim schools, in spite of meager resources, have excelled to a further extent this year, with couple of schools achieving 100% A-C grades for five or more GCSEs. They beat well resourced state and independent schools in Birmingham and Hackney.  Muslim schools are doing better because a majority of the teachers are Muslim. The pupils are not exposed to the pressures of racism, multiculturalism and bullying.

A couple of schools out of how many Muslim schools?
Not exposed to the pressures of multiculturalism????????????????????? R u serious? this person is a loony. BEING MUSLIM DOESNT MAKE YOU A PAKISTANI YOU IDIOT
 
Bullying, there is no Bullying in Muslim schools? Prove it.

There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.

Iftikhar Ahmad

London School of Islamics Trust

63 Margery Park Road London E7 9LD

http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk


HALF TERM @ NILC

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Creative Deen 2

Creative Deen 2, Summer activities club  was run from  19th to 22nd and 26th to 29th August.

We believe Children learn best through being actively involved, through doing and experiences that will InshaAllah be entrenched on their memory. “Learning through play” is a well documented and researched teaching philosophy which we aim to utilise to benefit our children’s Islamic upbringing. As well as Islamic activities, this holidays we aimed to step up a gear, introducing an integrated curriculum which spanned “Islamic” and “secular” learning. As we know all knowledge comes from Allah. Islam is not separate from the every day world, and we aimed to demonstrate this to the children we teach and help them develop their natural curiosity for learning, and critical thinking, by showing them that subjects do not always have to be compartmentalised in to “deen “ and “dunya”. Here are some of the things we did over the past two weeks:

We learnt about Angels, their names and duties. As we know angels control the weather, we then made kites, talked about how to measure the weather and learnt the dua for strong winds.

 

We learnt about Allah as Al Khaliq, and the signs of Allah being all around us. We then made collages of the beauty in Creation. After this we learnt about the life cycle and plants of a part as a demonstration of the perfection of Allah’s creation.

We learnt about how animals also worship Allah. We studied spiders and made spider’s webs, told the story of the elephants, and the spider from The Seerah, and we practiced Surah Fil.

We learnt about the status of parents in Islam,  and we made cards for our mums. We also talked about rhyming words and poetic devices, and wrote poetry about our mothers.

 

The children learnt about tawheed, and how Allah is without need, and they made posters, to let others know about this!

 

We learnt about the first revelation, and how the first command sent in the Quran was “iqra”. We then used stencils to make Iqra artwork

And learnt how tom make tissue paper flowers.

InshaAllah we will be continuing Creative Deen workshops in the half term, and also have plans to offer workshops for home-schooling children.

 

GUEST BLOGGER UMM RAYYANA

Umm Rayyana, from Ilm adventures  http://ilmadventures.com/ accompanied us on our NILC Family Eid outing to the beach! This is what she had to say:

 

 

Days Out With The Kids: Trip to Shoeburyness

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Asalamualaykum/ peace be upon you,

Yesterday the kids and I, as well went on a much-needed day trip to Shoeburyness which is on the coast of Essex, not too far away from Southend.

While Southend beach is typically touristy with arcades, a fun fair and a pier, Shoeburyness is slightly more picturesque, quiet and more relaxed. There isn’t an arcade or bucket and spade shop in sight!

We set off from Barking Station and with 45 minutes to an hour we were at Shoeburyness.

While the clouds looked moody the weather held up and the temperature was pleasant all day. We did have periods of glorious sunshine which glistened beautifully across the ripples of water that had remained on the beach. The tide was far out to sea.

The children enjoyed playing on the climbing frame near the picnic area more than they enjoyed the beach. A cut his foot on the stones and shells and I think the cold sea water and sludgy sand were a little too much for R and A to bear lol.

Here are some snaps of our trip.

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We had been sitting by the picnic area up on the promenade all day but it was only untill the end of the day i spotted this…..

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” In Loving Memory of Jim Abdulla….and Ena Helen Abdulla…”

Were they a Muslim couple who had lived in Shoeburyness? It was quite something to find a park bench in memorial to an assumed Muslim couple in Shoeburyness!

Soon after discovering the bench we ended our trip and completed the children’s first visit to a beach. The children enjoyed spotting the animals out of the window on the journey back but just as quickly as we arrived, we were back in no time to the hustle and bustle of London town.

What day trips and visits have you been on lately with the children? Where do you recommend to go? Whats been your most memorable moment out with your children or family?

Feel free to share with us!

Until next time,

Asalamualaykum, peace!

Productive Ramadan for Busy Mums!

Productive Ramadan for Busy Mums!

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Plan Meals

Preparing suhoor and iftar may not be a struggle if you organise yourself efficiently. It may be helpful to make a plan of what you are going to cook for the day to ensure that not all your time is spent on the cooking and there is ample time for other important duties such as nafl (voluntary, extra) prayers, Quran recitation, dhikr, and attending taraweeh (night) prayers.

Build A Support Network

—Get the family involved in Ramadan activities, such as going to taraweeh or attending events.
—Ask relatives to baby sit the kids now and again.
—Get together with other mums, so that you are able to take turns in taking children to school and other activities
—Make a babysitting club where every week one mum takes their turn to look after the kids!
Schedule Me Time
—Use your support network
—Identify a specific time when you can be away from the demands of the home so that you can strengthen spiritually. This could be at night before you sleep, or in the morning before everyone is awake

it is important to ensure you don’t ‘burn out’ and ask your husband/family/friends for support – they can also be informed about this time  that you need with your Lord and will respect that if you tell them.

Create Mini Rotas
—Create a rota for tidying and cleaning up after iftar, encouraging your children to take turns to earn more reward this month!
—For mothers who have young babies, maybe work out a rota where your husband does the ‘night shifts’ in tending to the baby if he’s not working weekends for example.
Power Nap!
—Remember the advice when your kids were small to sleep while they slept, or whenever you can get the chance? Now is the time to reimplement that method!
Mini Halaqahs
—Sit down with your children and teach them about Islam
—Use this time to learn yourself. You can learn duas or Allah’s names, the stories of the prophets, or practice tajweed together with your children!

All that glitters is not gold!

My latest Project, a collaboration of writers, working on an online blogzine aimed at 11-15 year olds, the first issue is on friendship!

Check it out!

Deen Directions

One of the themes of Surah Kahf is the importance of good company, here is a verse which sums it up quite well:

“Keep yourself constantly in the company of those who remember their Lord in the morning and afternoons, seeking His Pleasure. Do not turn your eyes away from them to chase after the glitter of the worldly life, and do not follow the one whom I have made his heart heedless of our remembrance, the one who follows his desires and whose deeds have been lost,” (Surah Kahf 18:28)

And keep yourself patiently with those who call on their Lord morning and afternoon, seeking His Face;
meaning, sit with those who remember Allah, who say “La Ilaha Illallah”,who praise Him, glorify
Him, declare His greatness and call on Him, morning and evening, all the servants of Allah,
whether rich or poor, strong or weak.

[This…

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Creative Deen

Creative Deen

COntact MuslimahDIrections@gmail.com for more info

Convert for Marriage? – Reverts’ identity.

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In May’s edition of Sisters Mag, Anisah Jameel-Hardy talks about turning to Allah for the first time, and having her duas answered in her article “Guidance through the stable door“. The imagery of a sister at rock bottom looking to the stars and realising the proof of the Creator, seeing the signs all around, is a profound one, reminiscent of the story of Ibrahim alayhi salaam as a child (this is one of my children’s favourite bed time stories). As such it has a deeper significance to Muslims.

However what really touched me about her article, is the involvement of her husband in her reversion story.

So many of us reverts knew our husbands before marriage, and feel our husbands were instrumental in leading us to the deen. We feel that we learnt and grew in our Islam together, and both came to an understanding that for the sake of akhirah and to please Allah nikkah was the best way.

But we are also ashamed.

Sometimes we can feel as if our reversion is somehow seen as fake by others, and our reasons for coming to Islam doubted. People often just ask if you knew your husband before marriage. They are not interested in the intricacies, they are not interested in the time you were apart as you knew zina was haram. They just make assumptions, judgments  based on a person that you no longer are.

Then we sometimes stop telling our reversion story. Or leave out and gloss over our husbands’ involvement in it, emphasize the break in our relationships. It is almost as we feel the need to defend or justify ourselves.

Comments such as “what sort of reverts did they show on that tv programme, they all reverted for marriage, not proper reverts, I reverted not having met a single Muslim” are thrown about on facebook and on forums.

Well that’s great for you. However Allah guides who He wills in the ways which He wills. Sometimes haram relationships are the cause of both parties coming to Islam.

Of course you cannot make the halal haram. But there is a difference between trying to do this, and repenting, renewing your intention, and nikkah for the sake of Allah.

So my feelings are that sister Anisah was very brave in telling the world her story. In admitting she wasn’t a saint in jahiliyya. In letting people know she did wrong, and understands she did wrong, but Allah was on her side and answered her duas, and showed her undeniable proof of Islam.

I went through stages in my reversion. First I would tell everyone everything about me, as that was the only identity I knew, and so much of my self was based on jahil things. Then I denied everything about before I was Muslim, pretended it didn’t exist. Alhamdulillah, know I have come to the realisation that although I cannot understand or identify with the girl I was before, although I do not recognise her, she is still me, her experiences still shaped the person who I am now. I will not pretend I was an angel, but I will not rely on her for my identity either.

I guess after 8 years, I have finally found my own identity. Not as a mother or wife, but as me. After not knowing who me was for so long now I know who I am and what I stand for. Alhamdulillah.

InshaAllah due to sister Anisah sharing her story, others will feel more comfortable with their own.

May Allah unite the Ummah and keep us all on the straight path.

Motivated mindset in marriage

Sayeda Habib’s article on Synergistic living in the April edition of Sisters Mag really got me thinking. She asked readers to consider four questions;

How do I view human beings and the world in general?

Do I go out of my way to ensure I have a positive effect of others?

How much do I notice the effect I have on others?

And

What are three things I can do right now to have a better relationship with people and the world?

lately I have been thinking about motivated mindsets mainly due to a Facebook page called Adnan Inspired. At first I didn’t get it. I even commented on one of his status
“just saying it doesn’t make it true”.
Alhamdulillah he didn’t get offended but replied with hikmah
“these quotes are meant to create a motivated mindset”.
So what is a motivated mindset? how can it effect our lives? And what has it got to do with synergystic living?

Sometimes we let our thoughts run away from us. We let our minds be cloudy or unsettled. We react irrationally or emotionally to things we shouldn’t. But our minds are not us. Our minds are not our essence, they are another part of us, like a limb. Our minds don’t control us, we can control our minds. We can create new synapses and pathways in our brain. Programme it to respond in different ways to events and experiences.

This is the essence of a positive mindset. Basically “fake it ’till you make it!”

When it comes to our relationships, with our spouses, our parents, our children, our in laws, we tend to already have preset reactions to differing types of situation. If our husbands are grumpy, you will deal with it based on your knowledge and experiences of the past times he was grumpy. If your children are upset you will react the way you have learnt calms them down the quickest. But sometimes this may be doing our relationships a disfavour. By being reliant on the past we may make it difficult to move on. Obviously we learn from experience and have to keep that in mind. But we also have to recognise and acknowledge change and effort.

Sometimes children change. For example they become practicing, yet parents still treat them and think of them the same way they did a year ago. In doing so they make the journey their child is going through harder. Instead of supporting them, it may seem like they feel it is only a phase and are just waiting for them to fail and go back to their old lifestyle.

Of course some of this reaction is a safety mechanism. Some of it is a preset reaction to situations based on the person you were before, instead of the person you are trying to be now. To the child it just seems like their parents are against them and don’t believe In them or support them.

We can also do the same thing to our spouses. We know they have good intentions, and are trying to change, but we are on autopilot and just fall in to learnt responses and reactions. As busy mothers and wives there is hardly time for more in depth consideration of our behaviour. But maybe sometimes we are acting on what we think we know, and not what is really happening.

So how can we prevent this?

By going back to the four questions.

How do I view my husband and my life in general?

Take a moment to consider this. Then consider if it is fair. If the actions he has done lately match up to the way you consider him, or if maybe you are viewing him based on the way he acted last year, last month, or when you were newly weds!

Also think of your life. Do you feel generally positive or negative? Can you pinpoint what makes you feel down? What would you like to be different, in your homelife, your worship, your work? Are you proud of your achievements? Do you take enough credit? How often do you allow yourself a pat on the back, and tell yourself you have done well? All these things will help create a healthy positive mindset and a healthy relationship. Never berate yourself too harshly or beat yourself up.

Do I go out of my way to have a positive effect on my husband?

Do you motivate him? Are you appreciative enough of what he tries to do? Could your reactions and behaviour towards him be more positive? Again think of small things you could do. Maybe make more cups of tea! Notice when he is trying, even if he is making a big deal,out of it or breaking the dishes while washing them, or burning a boiled egg, you can still try and have a positive effect on him. Acknowledge his intentions. Encourage him.

How much do I notice the effect I have on my husband?

You are not in control of others behaviour. But you are in control of your own mind and your own behaviour. You can change the way you act, and it is likely if you change the way you act that will have an effect on your interactions with those around you. They may change their responses. So try and notice if you can see any patterns. If you act in a certain way what effect does that have on your husband? If you change that action does it have a better outcome? My dad used to tell me “smile and the whole world will smile with you”. Try it! It is scientifically proven if you are sad and you force yourself to smile your mood improves! When the sun shines it brightens up the day of everyone it shines on! Cheesy I know, but aim to be the sun!

What three things can I do to have a better relationship?

Now you have thought about quite a lot in the first three questions, it may have taken some time. Maybe a few days to learn to notice the effect you have, and to fully contemplate and reflect on your behaviours and mindset. Now it is time to make a change. Now don’t give yourself too much. Think of three small simple things that you could do. Maybe force yourself to smile In the mornings! Maybe put on make up once a week. Maybe count to ten before you speak whe. You are feeling emotional, or saying thank you and jazakallah khayr to your husband more often. And remember don’t beat yourself up. If you find it hard and slip up, it only natural, you are human not superwoman! And old habits die hard! So just tell yourself you will try and do better next time. Focus on successes, not failures, and Inshallah you will soon see your positive mindset Make a difference!

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