A Quiz on Islamic Knowledge

A quiz on Islamic Knowledge

I have been wanting to do this for a long time, and Alhamdulillah, with Allah’s will, I have some spare time now to get it rolling.

I see this as a necessity for us, because most of us are taking our religious knowledge for granted, just because we don’t need this in our CV. But remember that we are the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad SAW and before his last breath, he said: “Ummati”, calling out to his Ummah – his followers. This man who sacrificed his life to bring Islam to us, and here we are.. not reading up or bothering to learn about him, his life, his family, his battles and his companions.

So let’s do something today that reminds us of the Prophet SAW. Teach our kids about this man.

Why a quiz? Because a quiz is a mini-test, and for us to remember facts, we need to be tested, so that our brain can make the connections between the firing neurons, and voila… a better memory!

May Allah give us the guidance and a pure heart to accept this knowledge.

Singapore Cancer Society Door to Door Recruitment

A Reality Check – A Pledge for Singapore Cancer Society

A surprise greeted me as I was playing with my kids this evening. There were a group of well-dressed people who came to my doorstep to introduce a donation pledge for the cancer patients and their families.

I felt a little lost when they asked, “Have you heard about the Singapore Cancer Society?” Oh, dear, I went totally blank before trying to retrieve a few traces of memory left of seeing the logo somewhere.

“Yes,” I said. “Heard about it from the donations people”. I was referring to the team of students carrying the donation cans bearing the Singapore Cancer Society logo.

The lady explained about the Society needing continuous donations – funds that will be deducted automatically from your credit cards every month, half yearly or annually. I agree that this is necessary because the expenses for cancer treatment can get pretty high, and the one-off donations are not sufficient to sustain the long term treatment, especially for those not covered by medical insurance plan.

The monthly donation options range from $38 to $58. Pretty affordable – this is like taking out your excess phone bills or water bills and putting it to better cause.

I remembered about the Islamic teaching – that one should not refuse someone who asks for help. To me, this is a gift from Allah – the ability to be able to donate and help someone. No, we should never expect anything in return. As I always believe, we should take care of our society, just like how Islam has encouraged us to do. To find someone who needs help and render the help required – how many of us are doing this?

And what affected me a little is the fact that the three fundraiser people are all non-Muslim, but have sacrificed their time and effort for this purpose. I can see that they are not driven by the money they earn from their job as professional fundraisers. Although they were drenched in sweat, they were still persistent to ensure that I have understood the purpose of their visit, which is to create awareness about the financial needs of the cancer patients and their families.

To be doing such door-to-door job, and forgo the comfort of sitting comfortably in an air-conditioned office is something not many young people will want.

But for these three individuals…I would say, “You guys are so lucky and are really blessed to land this job.”

FOBT, colorectal cancer pamphlet

Pamphlet containing information on Faecal Occult Blood Test for people above 50 years

Know Allah: State of the Heart In Our Prayer

If we are serious about wanting to achieve tranquility of the heart, we need to start with prayer. A righteous man called Hatim Al-Asamm recognized how crucial prayer is to the state of our hearts. He said, “When the time for prayer is at hand, I make a proper ablution, go to the spot where I intend to pray, sit there until all my limbs and organs are in a collected state. Then I stand up to perform my prayer, placing the Kabah between my brows, the Bridge over Hell (sirat) beneath my feet, Paradise to my right and Hell to my left, and the Angel of Death behind me, thinking all the while that this is my last prayer. Then I stand between hope and fear. I carefully pronounce ‘Allahu Akbar!’ Then I recite the Qur’an harmoniously, bow in humility, and prostrate myself submissively. I then sit back on my left haunch, spreading out the top of my left foot and raising my right foot on the toes. I follow this with sincerity. Then I wonder whether or not my prayer has been accepted.”Subhan’Allah, can we imagine the state of the heart of a person who prays like this?

Source: How to Achieve Tranquility of the Heart

Stylishta: Uber Modest Muslimah Fashion

Oh not again… Another fashion that is wrongly depicted and carelessly recommended to fellow Muslimahs!

That thought rushed through my mind when I saw pictures of ladies wearing hijab but with skinny jeans and exposed neck (turban-styled hijab was worn without inner) on the pages of a prominent Muslimah magazine.

We should not let ourselves be engulfed in the fashion storm. So what if we skip the skinny jeans, and wear the flowy pants or a loose straight-cut jeans. Something that does not reveal the shape of our legs.

Do not think that it is ok to dress like the models in the magazine just because many of your friends and family members are doing that. When the trend is sinful, it is definitely nothing that can be excused.

The aim of a Muslimah fashion magazine is to lead Muslimahs to modest styles and not the opposite. The editor of the magazine should exercise greater caution and be more firm when deciding the contents to be published, as he or she will be accountable for the consequences – how the readers use the knowledge gained from the magazine, e.g. if they decide to follow a style that has unIslamic attributes.

If you see such mistake being done, do talk about it and send a feedback to the owner. This is one way we can contribute to pass the right message about Islam. Allah knows when you have a good intention and insyaAllah may our efforts last.

Things to Note on Uber Modest Style:

1. Hijab/Shawls should fall below the chest, not above as this gives better cover over the shape of the breasts.

2. Blouses and tops should not be fitting and look like they cling tightly to the body. Think baggy always!

3. Save the skinny jeans and pencil pants as inner wear below a long dress.

4. Blouses/tops worn over pants should fall below your butt, to provide coverage from people glancing at your butt shape.

5. The whole arm must be covered right up to the wrist. So wearing of short sleeved T-shirt, with bare lower arms, is completely unacceptable in Islam. But…if you are a domestic helper, who needs to bring up the sleeves, so your sleeves won’t get wet when you clean the kitchen utensils, by all means you can. Just remember to lower the sleeves again when you are done with the cleaning job.

Cool Family Activities for the Muslim Families in Singapore

What do we do when we get together as a family? How do we make sure these activities are Muslim and will Allah be pleased with us? There are plenty of great activities that we can do.

Among the favourites of many families are eating out at popular food oulets and restaurants, having barbecues and staying at chalets, and singing karaoke at home or at KTV lounges. There’s also the weekend bowling fun and catching up on the latest movie release at the theatres.

But on closer observation, are we really having fun? And what do we learn from these gatherings. I mean learning about life and how do we improve ourselves as grateful human beings?

Celebrity Gossip VS Prophet’s Stories

It’s inevitable sometimes that during a meeting or gathering, we will tend to talk about other people – in short, gossiping. About celebrities, etc…As we sit in front of the TV set, and watch whatever that is presented to us, and someone starts to talk about the celebrity that appears on the screen, others will be eager to join the dicussion.

What benefit do we get from this? Maybe we can argue that we can learn from the experience of others. But wait… Why learn from celebrities who have no concern about us, when Allah has already given us exemplary people to learn from – people who were willing to die to make us be good Muslims?

The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) is the most complete example to learn and “copy” from. If there is any one personality whose character and actions can followed for a long time and will never be out of trend, it will be this man, the Prophet himself.

So instead of the empty hours of gossiping, what better use of time will it be if we use it for sharing stories and knowledge about the Prophet and his companions. What better use of time will it be if we integrate life lessons related to Islam into all the family events we have.

Is Life Created to Have Fun?

Yes, you might think that the purpose of the family activity is to have fun. Ask yourself, are we created to have fun? Are we created to be spending hours stuck to the TV sets, to the games on the smart phones, to be singing love songs and keeping updates on celebrity lives, even the low morale ones?

Allah has reminded us through His Words in the Quran that a person will experience fun and peace when he or she has constant interaction with Allah – via the remembrance of Allah, via reading the Quran, via learning about Islam and the Prophet’s advice. The term fun refers to the feeling of joy that Allah rewards those who want to seek Him.

So there is no point seeking fun in supposedly “fun” activities. Remember Allah and share the knowledge about Allah with your family members, and fun will come naturally.

To wrap up my thoughts, here are my suggestions for cool family activities for the Muslim family:

1. Organising quiz on Islam, Prophet’s stories, Hadith. (Click here to attempt a quiz.) 

2. Participating in sports activities to encourage fitness (click here for a workout video), as a fit body will allow us to contribute more to our family and society

3. Watching movies that teach us and inspire us to better Muslims, e.g. The Message and documentaries that unravel the beauty and massive force of Allah’s Creations e.g. On the natural world, natural disasters, and on the planets and stars

4. Attending sessions of zikr that encourage us to recite supplications and selawat, and to always thank Allah. Remember that the souls of the Prophets and saints are still alive, and they are listening to our prayers and supplications. Thanks to their sacrifices, we get the knowledge about Islam.

5. Learning and sharing a beneficial skill e.g. Cooking lessons, language lessons especially Arabic (so we can better appreciate the Quran), first aid, parenting lessons, elderly care lessons, massage techniques classes, IT classes. Anything that we can use to help our family and others who are in need.

Islam Loves Green Living: Saving Electricity Is Everyone’s Duty

We are accountable for our actions. So start saving electricity and don’t waste it.

I have been a freak when it comes to switching off appliances when they are not in use. Got this habit from Dear Mom.

But Dear Dad who came from the Technical/Electrical background said that sometimes, things are better left turned on, especially the lights, if you are going to use it frequently. What he means is that switches and appliances will get damaged if you keep turning them on and off.

So, I try my best to strike a good balance here. Usually I will leave the room lights on within an hour at night, when the family will be in and out of the room getting ready to pray. Then when everyone is watching TV in the living room, I will turn off the room lights.

We do not have an air conditioner, because we can’t afford the hefty bills and maintenance. But it’s a blessing in disguise, as we can save more electricity by using just the fan.

I would also hope that others who can afford air conditioners be using less of them. Yes, you may have the money to pay for your bills, but remember that if you can use less air-conditioning, you are also leaving less carbon footprints. Less electricity, less power generation, less air pollution..

Result: An action that pleases Allah.

I used to have a live-in maid, who used to work for a wealthy family. When she started working in my house, she was practically leaving all the lights on. She didn’t switch off the bathroom lights after use, and even slept with her room lights on. So I wonder if this was what the wealthy family she used to be living with had practised.

It has become part of her habit, and she took three days to get used to switching of the lights after use. The maid might have thought that since she is not paying for the bills, and it’s not her house, she does not have to worry about how much electricity she is wasting.

I wished I could have also told her that saving electricity is part of the Muslim lifestyle. I think she is not alone. There are many people who have the same mentality.

People tend to associate their actions with money. But very few remember to associate their actions with pleasing Allah.

Are we all not guilty at one point of time?

It’s not too late to start: Here are some things to do today – Energy Saving Practices At Home. We start right at home, and then we can carry on the good habits to anywhere else we go.

Today’s wastage is tomorrow’s shortage. At the rate we are consuming the Earth’s resources, what kind of Earth are we leaving behind for our kids and their children?

Recycle Your Hijab Into Cushion Covers

I have lots of square hijabs which I didn’t use often. So rather than letting them sit unused in the cabinet, I’ve decided to turn them into cushion covers.

Best thing about this is that the cushion feels extra comfy as the material is actually wearable.

No sewing needed, because I’m using Furoshiki: only knots and folds. Furochic Cushion Wrap

This is the result of my trial today:

image

image

The more stiff the fabric, the better the cushion looks. And prints will look better too.

Besides cushion covers, you can even use this technique for gift wrapping.

Link

Organic Living: Learning from The Eco Muslim

Allah has given us the trust to look after this Earth, besides looking after ourselves. Therefore, inculcating habits like eating organic foods vs junk foods, using less plastics, preserving the environment by not littering are all part of being a Muslim. In fact, Muslims should lead the way in this cause and not just be an observer or worse, the culprit for the damage.

I once felt guilty of using too many baby diapers (for my two active tots), these made up the bulk of my daily rubbish. So while searching the Internet for an opinion on this problem, I came across Sister Zaufishan’s article on why using plastics is not encouraged. Yes, it was a slap in the face for me. And I received another slap in the face yesterday while hearing Shaykh Hamza Yusuf speaking about how we should learn to lead an organic lifestyle. That it is part of being Muslims.

Let’s take simple baby steps from today to do what we can, based on our own capacities to save the Earth that God has entrusted us with. Here are some really relevant reasons why – bring it on Sister Zaufishan!

 

Fab Fitness: Viral Dance Zumba VS Great Singapore Workout

Hey hey hey… guess what? As I was searching for the Great Singapore Workout Video that my 4 year old daughter wanted to watch (her school uses this video for their exercise session), I stumbled upon the Zumba.

It wasn’t my first time hearing the name. I had read about many places offering Zumba sessions. But watching the Zumba was the first for me.

All the while, I thought it will be some Capoeira-like moves, or something too fast for me. Obviously I don’t have the stamina for Tae Bo moves.

But no…it was pretty do-able. There was also the belly dance bit in the middle. If any guy is reading this post, well, stop dreaming. I think Zumba is more suitable for ladies. Yes, an enthusiastic aerobics-loving Muslimah like me.

And the Great Singapore Workout video, I watched it too, and dear daughter was jumping and swinging her arms wildly. The new version was a little different (more dance moves but I preferred the older music),  than what I used to do in school 18 years ago .

Oh, did I just say 18 years? How time flies ya? I remembered then, back at Cedar Girls’ Secondary School. The old grandstand, the memorable place where I used to watch the school band members having their practices, while revising my notes. It was also where our morning assemblies were held and on certain days of the week, right after the national anthem and school song, the student leaders would be on the grandstand to guide us through the Singapore Workout.

I never regret going to that school. Not only were the teachers great. The environment was right for studying and also for keeping fit – brains and brawns.  The school put a lot of emphasis on high fitness levels, and hence, the regular morning jogs and workouts. The school was also rated the top in sports on the national level.

So, I must now go back to that fitness level. Time to switch on the power moves, do the Zumba! Plus the Great Singapore Workout with your kids.