Soup Kitchen

What We Have Been Doing

We almost finished the Pizza activity pack I had gotten from Umm Nu’maan’s blog.

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We also did several of the file folder games

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I did the word families file folder game with Z, and it has some extra empty cards, so I had him write words that fit in some word families.

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Person, Place …

 

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Where I keep his daily ‘Do’s’ (calendar Notebook, certain file folder games (rotated depending on what I feel he needs to work on), worksheets. So everyday we just take this and start his ‘school;.

His math manipulatives. We alternate (depending on his preferences) between this (easier to take down and put back) and the MATH U SEE math manipulatives (harder to take down, and put back). There is also another magazine folder thingy containing other file folder games and past lapbooks that he can take on his own.

His math manipulatives. We alternate (depending on his preferences) between this (easier to take down and put back) and the MATH U SEE math manipulatives (harder to take down, and put back). There is also another magazine folder thingy containing other file folder games and past lapbooks that he can take on his own.

 

N’s study desk. I’ve been nagging her about the tidiness of her study desk and alhamdulillah it’s finally looking productive! She is also using her mini whiteboard for her daily to do lists and I see that it has helped her complete her work on time.

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And her stack of library books. She has started to read these books which when I asked S, she said, “I guess it’s slightly of a higher level than what she usually reads,” which is good news alhamdulillah!

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However, I have been noticing that she has been obsessed with these books and some of her school work is not done. I just asked her if she’s finished her work for today. I heard something that I don’t like to hear. Sigh…

We have been having abundant rain alhamdulilah. With that came weed. A lot of them in our backyard especially. I told H we’ll pay him if he gets rid of them. So he’s been working on them, but I think we may have underestimated the amount of work it requires.

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H and N seem to be doing very well with Home2Teach alhamdulillah, so I may just continue signing them up for Home2Teach classes. Compared to Write Guide, Home2Teach seems to give them more structure and direction. S is supposed to and still doing her English 11 using the Bedford Reader. We recently visited the horse lady which I had contacted last year but never followed up with. She gave us some resources for S to volunteer with horses. One of them was on campus, and today, I just got her email saying that even though S is underage for their volunteer program, if it’s to do with volunteer hours for school/homeschool, maybe something can be worked out. So I replied to her and am waiting to see what she will say.

I’ve been discussing with S the possibility of her majoring in Psychology (since she still wants to) and also Animal Science but maybe specified to horse therapy since she loves horses. The emergence of horse therapy in the past 10 years (according to the horse lady) also brings more possibility to combine Psychology and Horse Therapy. She seems to like this idea. I told her to research and look into it on her own. I don’t feel like she is though. Subhanallah…it’s so hard being a parent of teens. You don’t want them to waste their youth, and even though I lived it, I really don’t like this culture of teens wasting their time entertaining themselves when teens before there was even a term ‘teen’ used to be considered as adults and worked to earn a living and actually made good use of their times. I don’t like that the kids have these electronics even though I agreed to getting them when hubs asked me (S has an Iphone and H has an Ipod). It’s hard balancing things for me. Subhanallah. I hate to see the older kids wasting their time because they have so much potential. Alhamdulillah they like to go volunteer at the soup kitchen and are not really wasting their time in ways that would turn parents hair grey. Alhamdulillah. But I (like any other parents I’m sure) have high aspirations for my children and I’m trying very hard not be a Tiger Mom. On one hand I understand the drive to be a Tiger Mom, but I also understand the wisdom in not being one. Sigh. If I’m having middle age crisis, this might be why.

Categories: College, Homeschooling, Organization, Productivity, Soup Kitchen, Time Management | Tags: | Leave a comment

Ramadan 1434

Subhanallah…my last post was in June and now it’s already August. I have been abandoning this blog. Am just struggling with responsibilities and commitments on my plate.  This Ramadan is different. To start with, in the month approaching it, I wasn’t really prepared for it in the sense that I had plunged into a project that took me out of the house 3 days a week, lugging the kids with me some of the times and rushing too. It was hectic.

However alhamdulillah, I did get a repriece about a week or so before Ramadan to do my usual pre-Ramadan planning. But I think maybe that my frame of mind wasn’t prepped up and so when Ramadan did roll around, I was out of sort. Really out of sort.

S continued with her Taleem all the way till the last 10 days. So she basically still had class in the mornings till 1:30 pm Mon-Thur. I pleaded with hubs ti enroll N and H in Wisam’s Revved for Ramadan, because I was really overwhelmed and didn’t think I could do anything with them this Ramadan like I have been doing for the past 13+ years. I’m getting old. Even for Z, it was a last minute set up Ramadan activity prep. I decided to do the names of Allah with him and the Quran Prophet stories mazes. But even then, I didn’t really manage to do it consistently with him. Subhanallah…I think….having kids that far apart, is challenging for me. The 3 older kids have different needs and Z has different needs. I’m finding myself really exhausted having to repeat what I did with the older kids when they’re at Z’s age right now. I know that sounds like a cop out, but to be honest, I’m also ready to move on subhanallah. So I think you can kind of guess what my Ramadan dua is centered around based on that.

The girls helped make the set up for Z’s Ramadan prep. S wrote the names of Allah in Arabic, 30 of them, 1 for each day, and N wrote it in English, then they rolled up the papers tightly into tiny scrolls and inserted them into a balloon and blew them up. Hubs insisted on buying balloons at the Dollar store, so as the girls blew up the balloons and hung them at our staircase, we heard them popping one by one. If they didn’t pop, they would shrink. Hmpph..cheap balloons! What a waste of $1!

So we went and bought balloons at Wal Mart, supposedly better quality. I don’t know, and it’s saddening (for Z’s sake) but they all shrunk. Some popped (not as much as the Dollar store balloons) but all of them shrunk. So they all look like colorful hanging cow udders in our living room. Sigh. Poor Z. Last year, I did the Ramadan chain for him in Ramadan. This year, it’s the balloons, but it turned out this way. I think maybe it’s the New Mexico dry desert heat or something? It’s just weird. We did this in Ohio and none of the balloons shrunk or even popped !

So I have been doing the names of Allah with Z, everyday till recently when he got sick and N also got sick and we forgot to take down the balloons. As for the maze, oh forget it, I keep forgetting to do it with him too.  I think maybe I have trouble managing my personal schedule and the kids’. Subhanallah….maybe I set too high of goals for myself this Ramadan that I actually grew depressed when I couldn’t meet them in the middle. Alhamdulillah Allah granted me the tawfeeq for hope and bounced back towards the end alhamdulillah. All those lectures helped alhamdulillah.

Z did finish memorizing surah al Maun though, and we also resumed his Calendar notebook. I just feel lousy with his schedule really. I feel like such a bad homeschooling mom. The older kids will all be doing high school work this fall inshaaAllah. Just yesterday, we were going over their weekly schedule next semester. i really pray they all are trustworthy and responsible enough to stick to their schedule without needing me to hover over their shoulders and nag them. I am really really tired of doing that subhanallah. It’s my highest source of stress on a daily basis. There were days when I feel like just leaving them on their own and letting them suffer the consequences, but then I think,

“Oh great, if they suffer, what’s going to also suffer is our finances since we paid for those classes, and it doesn’t just involve them, but also the teachers they are working with!”

This is why I feel that if I send them to school, it will be even MORE stressful! I can just imagine the teacher calling me for one of them in particular,

“Mrs. H, we need to talk. __ hasn’t been sending in his/her assignments on time. …”

and I’m pretty sure I’ll still need to either do the assignment with that child or make sure the child does it and I’m just going to be even more irritated because it’s under the jurisdiction of another authority figure. So, never mind. You’d think that sending them to school would make it easier for me. No. It won’t. On the contrary.

N and H went for therapy throughout the summer and alhamdulillah both have made good progress with their individual problems. N is to continue in fall inshaaAllah. I’m amending our weekly schedule. Library day will no longer be Tuesdays but will change to either Friday or Thursday. N and H’s Tuesdays will be tight tight tight.

This fall, this is their schedule: All classes are online.

S :

  • Mon- Thur : 6:30 am – 1:30 pm – Live class Taleem Quran
  • Wed : 11 am – Live class Ancient Egypt
  • Will continue English 11 using the Bedford Reader

N & H

Mon : Home2Teach class –

  • Descriptive Writing (H) 10 am,
  • Narrative Writing (N) 9 am

Tue :

  • 8-9:30 am Live class Biology
  • 10:30-11:30 am Live class 20th Century History
  • 12-12:45 pm Live class HomeBookStudy Literature

Wed:

  • 9:15 -10:15 am Live class Interior Design
  • 11 am -12 pm Live class Ancient Egypt

Thur:

  • 3-4 pm: N’s Therapy on campus

Fri:

  • 8:50 – 9:10 am N’s Hifdh on Skype

 

I have yet to schedule in our post fajr tafseer and Arabic with Husna sessions.

For Z, my rough plan is to focus on handwriting Roman letters, Arabic, Math, Reading comprehension, hifdh, IQRA Quranic reading. He’s no longer going for speech therapy because hubs doesn’t want to pay the co pay after we no longer have one of his insurances. I also would like for him to be a part of a soccer team just so he gets that kind of social interaction, but hubs is not willing to spend the week taking him to practice and games. I told him we’re too old for this. Sigh. Subhanallah. If hubs doesn’t want to do that, I’m going to have to enroll Z in the Gym magic Gym program then. He needs something like that. It’s his rights on us parents.

We will continue using the calendar notebook since I feel that doing it daily helps reinforce some concepts in math for him, like telling time (to the minute), skip counting by 5s, number equations, odd, even, place values, greater than, lesser than, money. So it’s pretty good and comprehensive alhamdulillah. In fact, I feel he’s pretty good at math so far. I’m worried about his reading comprehension, even though he can read, I don’t think his comprehension is that high. The therapists keep telling me that he’s advanced for his age, but I don’t really buy it because New Mexico has literacy problems, so I’m not going to base my standard on that. He’s also been taking the older kids’ poster boards that they made in the past years and he’s been asking me,

“I want to do this too!”

I just feel somewhat depressed that I no longer have the energy nor will to do these kind of things with him like I did with the older kids subhanallah. May Allah give me the tawfeeq. Ameen.

I used to do things from scratch with the older kids, but with Z now, I’m looking for pre-made templates that others have prepared. What a change subhanallah. The good thing is though….there are a LOT of resources out there made by wonderful amazing energetic homeschooling moms! I do feel ancient subhanallah! My prime years have gone by.  I keep asking Allah to make it easy for me with all other things I’m doing, that Z becomes quick learner. So far, so good alhamdulillah. I also remember Sr Taimiyyah Zubayr saying that at times, we mothers are haunted by the thought that if we don’t stay with our child all day every day, tending to him dilligently, the child won’t learn. But in truth, it’s Allah who nurtures this child, Allah is the rabb, and He is the One who gives this child the knowledge, and the means for that knowledge etc. We mothers should do what we can do, and if we are also serving the community, we shouldn’t let this thought stop us from contributing to the community. So there are times when I’m stuck in a rut, in a dilemma and turning to Allah for guidance. At the end of it, it really is a matter of better time management on my part and sacrificing some things. For sure, some things that have been sacrificed is food. I haven’t been enthusiastic in cooking and I haven’t baked for ages. The older kids are doing most of cooking and even chicken cleaning and cutting. Alhamdulillah. They do somewhat complain that I haven’t been providing elaborate meals. Some of the things they mention, they don’t even remember that I have made them before when they were younger. They do blame it on Z though. it is part of the reason, due to his allergies, I figure it’s too stressful to cook/bake some things that has stuff he can’t eat because then I’d be cooking/baking 2 separate things. It has really taken a toll on me so I now cook anything that is edible. What can I do? I’m only one person.  The thing that does hurt me a bit is that there is a kind of ingratitude in the older kids in this. They forgot what I have done in the past, and they focus on what I don’t do. Then they take on the task themselves, and deem me as not doing anything. May Allah guide them to gratitude. May Allah guide ME to gratitude! Ameen.

May Allah help me achieve a good and proper balance in fulfilling others’ rights upon me. Ameen. There are days when I feel so depressed and stressed out, and the only thing that consoles me is the Quran and Allah. Parenthood…is really…something. Different when the kids are young and equally different and unique when the kids are teens. Indeed. I’ve even relegated each set of 2 taraweeh rakaat for each child in an 8 rakaat taraweeh.

H has been leading the tahajud qiyaam during these last 10 nights, and we realize that subhaanallah…he really needs a good stable teacher…and appropriate supportive company. No one else here is doing what he is doing and so he’s been doing this for years on his own. I’m guessing it takes a toll somewhat one way or another. Even though in the home, we also do it, there needs to be outside support from the community too.

May Allah forgive us. Ameen.

Alhamdulillah the girls went to the soup kitchen during Ramadan and S said lady remarked to her,

“Oh you don’t have to come all the way from another country to serve us here!”

S replied, “I was born here.”

The lady then said, “In my religion, we don’t cover our hair unless we’re really good.”

LOL

These last few nights of Ramadan, the girls have been sleeping at the masjid for semi-i’tikaaf, and they have been going to the masjid for the qiyaam at the masjid too. In the beginning of Ramadan, my schedule with the older kids are as such:

Post Fajr :- S recites her memorization of kahf to H while I listen to N’s tajweed as she recites for 10 min to me. Then, once H is done listening and checking S, he recites to me and N goes to recite on her own.

Post Zuhr :- I recite to H my revised portion for that day

Post Asr :-

  • H recites his revised portions to me for that day
  • N recites her revised portions to S for that day

But there were days when we fell short of sticking to this schedule and since the kids go to the masjid for qiyaam in the last 10nights, we have dropped the post fajr routine. It’s hard (in some ways) when the kids are older and more independent (can’t believe I’m saying this) because it’s harder for me to keep them together and stick to a schedule and herd them as one flock. Subhanallah….and that throws me off. it really does. I just need to learn how to manage this reality.  It reminds me of the word zhurriyah which can be translated as progeny. It comes from a root that has the meaning of ‘to scatter’ and true indeed, our children scatter. They scatter when they’re young and when they’re grown. In different ways. But yes, they scatter. This is just another stage of parenthood I’m entering and I guess it feels like being hit by a high-speed train sometimes. I’m left reeling and dazed, and I lose my bearings, and walk trying to find my way back like a blind person. When I finally find my way, I get hit again. At the same time, I’m barely holding on to this tiny lone hand by my side who still needs me to lead him step by step, but as the train hits me again and again in intervals, I lose his grip. That’s what it feels like. May Allah make it easy. Ameen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Activities - Ages 5-8, Community, Cooking, Course Planning, Family, High School, Homeschooling, Juggling Multiple Kids, Memorizing, Outsourcing, Quran, Ramadan, Soup Kitchen, Teaching Challenges, Thoughts, Time Management, Z's learning | 4 Comments

Tucson, AZ & Productivity

008 We went to Tucson last week, tagging along with hubs for his conference. This time, for Z’s food, I asked hubs to just ask for a fridge in the room and so I just cooked food as I would if we were eating at home, froze them in small ziplocs and we brought our cooler and I put them in insulated lunch bags. By the time we reached the hotel room, they were still frozen so I just transferred them to the fridge. The ones in the insulated lunch bag stayed frozen the longest (since the fridge doesn’t have a freezer section). Hubs even asked for a microwave, which we used to heat up leftovers of Chef Alisah’s delicious food!172

We drove there Monday after S is done with her TQ class, and dropped by Whole Food for greens before going to the hotel. On Tuesday, all of us except the girls went to the pool, and they slid on the 180 feet water slide. S had her TQ and N didn’t want to come. That evening, we all went to this Bosnian restaurant, and it was our first time (not hubs) eating Bosnian food. It was a LOT of meat for us. It was supposed to be for 4, but for us carb-eating Malays, that was too much meat, so we took them home and put them in the fridge and they lasted us for the rest of our meals till we left on Thursday! Alhamdulillah. It was delicious though, the chicken was moist and flavorful and the meat, delish! For Z, we heated up his pasta and brought it with us and he ate it before our food reached the table.

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S in her TQ class. It was nice to hear her class even while we’re traveling. And mine too! And this time, Nouman too!

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I had brought along Z’s calendar notebook but only did it with him on one of the days, because by sticking to our regular schedule and taking them swimming and I had to make up my missed class on Thursday, it left little time for me to work with him. But at least we got something done, alhamdulillah. I foresaw January as being very tight for me, so whatever I am able to get done, I am grateful for, alhamdulillah.

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Z loved getting on this golf cart. We were transported by it the night we arrived and the day we were checking out(since it was raining then).

On Wednesday, because I had class, hubs took the kids hiking in the late afternoon. I was left alone in the room attending my class. That morning, all the kids had classes, for N, throughout the morning, from 7 – 11 am. We still stuck with our Tafseer and Arabic With Husna routine throughout the stay in Tucson alhamdulillah. Though on Wednesday we weren’t able to finish watching CNNStudentNews.

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We don’t have any saguaros in New Mexico, so you will only see these in Arizona.

On Wednesday and Thursdays, I took H and Z swimming and alhamdulillah, using the noodles, 3 of them wrapped around him front and back, Z used his feet and arms and swam a lot with H. H is able to swim pretty well from what I am able to assess, alhamdulillah. Z is still a little scared, though he could stand in the pool with his head above water, he refused and relied completely on the noodles keeping him afloat. But at least he swam a lot, and I hope it helps in making his upper body stronger as that is the focus in his occupational therapy.

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On Thursday, before we left, we dropped by the Asian grocery store to shop and of course, where there are Asian grocery stores, there are Bubble Tea! I’ve been looking for tapioca balls and we finally found them at the Asian grocery store. So hopefully we can make our own bubble tea soon. When we arrived home Thursday night, Z kept saying he wanted to go back to Tucson and he kept asking for it the next day too and the next day. He loved watching the video clips I took of them swimming. We all enjoyed our time there alhamdulillah.

Now it’s back to work. Last night, the girls were asked to fill in for a sick teacher for Sunday school and today, both S and N went to the masjid to fill in as Islamic studies teachers. While S was preparing for it last night, she showed be the book they are using, and in it, it says that the fruits that Zakariya a.s. found with Maryam a.s. were brought in by the people and that when she said, “This is from Allah,” she meant that it was a blessing of Allah that those people brought her those fruits. This is the first time we heard of this interpretation, so it became a bit of an issue, and eventually we decided that it is best that when she does this passage with the students, that she inform them that based on what she is aware of, this is not the case. So on Saturday, all 3 kids went to volunteer at the soup kitchen, and today, the girls went to teach at Sunday school. They said the students were pretty well behaved alhamdulillah and listened to them! One of our concerns of having S teach was that they might not listen to her because some of the older ones would be close to her in age, but alhamdulillah they listened. And in Tajweed class, where an older Saudi sister is teaching, S was suddenly asked to translate ayatul kursi in English to the students, and alhamdulillah, as S had already done it in TQ, she was able to do that. Subhanallah, a blessing from Allah. To be able to read from the mushaf and translate it. Alhamdulilah, Allahu Akbar! It’s an indescribable feeling! Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah!

So alhamdulillah, it’s a productive weekend for the kids. H spent time playing basketball tonight with a boy, which is part of an effort to have my friend’s kids to like coming to the masjid inshaaAllah. May Allah bless the effort and give the taufeeq for our youth to be attached to the masjid. Ameen.

 

 

 

Categories: Al Huda Institute, Allergies, Community, Family, Homeschooling, HotelSchooling, Living Islam, Outdoor, Productivity, Soup Kitchen, Travel, Volunteer Masjid | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Soup Kitchen on Yaum at-Tashreek

We had people over for Eid on Eid day, went to Chuck E. Cheeses on Saturday, because Z has been promised it, and on Sunday, I figured we could do some sadaqah by volunteering at the soup kitchen. We would just be home otherwise anyway. We played tennis for maybe like half an hour and then hubs dropped us off at the soup kitchen and picked us up after about 1.5 hours.

Of course, I always get looks because of my niqab. People don’t necessarily ask me about it, though I did get some. But most of the time people are just curious, a little taken aback maybe, but overall, quite respectful, polite, and nice. The kids haven’t screamed yet when they see me. In fact, I’ve helped a few of their moms with their trays and the kids have been fine with me even actually spoon-feeding them (like today).

But something amusing happened today. N and S were serving, and there was a man who was holding a red carnation, an old man. He suddenly gave it to N, saying N’s face is as pretty as the flower. We had a good laugh about it later on, and after we left, I asked her where the flower was. S said she had hid it somewhere at the soup kitchen and left it there, out of embarrassment. *Chuckle*

We still have the ram’s head in our front yard right now. Hubs had brought it home after the slaughtering. I think it can scare potential burglars. But we need to get rid of it soon.

Z suddenly told me yesterday,

“I want hajj.”

I do too. InshaaAllah, we will go to hajj when He decrees it is best.

Tomorrow is still the day of tashreek, but we inshaaAllah start school tomorrow. I have to get started planning out activities for Z. Next week, my  break is over, and my schedule is probably going to resume its hecticness.

Categories: Amusing, Community, Eid, Family, Soup Kitchen | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Feeding the Needy

We continued our Tafseer session this morning. And subhanallah it was so relevant to what we did yesterday. We did Ayah 3 today.

107:3
Sahih International

And does not encourage the feeding of the poor.


Wa laa yahuddu ‘alaa taAAami almiskeen

To make this post easier to write for me, this is an excerpt of notes from Linguistic Miracles :

The previous aayaat was in regard to their personal lives.

But this ayah is directly affecting their public reputation that they’ve took so long to build up.

These people who are being criticized – are the leaders of the Quraysh (i.e. Abu Lahab who is the treasurer) – who have the duty and role of feeding and supporting the weak (atleast at an official level). However, they do not fulfill this role.


Leaders should be at the forefront of feeding the poor
, serving the public, and helping the weak. But instead, these leaders are wasting the money they are entrusted with to the other rich men in society, whereas this money is public money. Thus showing their corruption and lack of responsibility in their role as leader.

They had the mentality that they needed to protect the agenda of the rich instead of protecting the weak. Because the rich support their high position, and keep their support in place. If they helped the poor – they would not get such benefits.
So they didn’t help the poor, neither enjoin people to help them – so that they would keep their power and position in society.

Why doesn’t he encourage people to give to the poor?

If he encourages people to feed the poor – people will ask him why he doesn’t feed the orphan and poor himself?
Allah is exposing this corrupt rich persons psyche – you don’t want to encourage people to spend on the poor, otherwise you won’t be able to use this money in corruption and dealings with other rich people.

This is all over the world. The leaders trample over the rights of the weak.

Yesterday we volunteered at the local soup kitchen, all 3 older kids and I. The kids love volunteering at the soup kitchen and for this I am very grateful to Allah for giving them this taufeeq, because that makes it that much easier for me. Alhamdulillah. Last weekend was actually hectic. The girls went to the Animal Shelter open house right after the soup kitchen, and S even forgoed Tennis that morning so she wouldn’t be too overwhelmed with the back to back activities.

So while we were discussing after the tafseer session, I brought up our volunteering at the soup kitchen.

“What is the significance of Allah using the word Ta’aam versus It’aam?”

Ta’aam = Food, It’aam = Feeding. In the ayah, it says Ta’aamul miskeen (Food of the needy) not It’aamul miskeen (feeding of the needy) though in translation of course they put it as the latter to make for an easier read. But the significance here is that it points out that the food is the right of the needy in the first place. When you feed someone, it can be your food or someone else’s, but when you say food of the needy, it means it’s THEIR food in the first place.

I also asked them, “So, whose rights are upon us? Two big categories.”

They weren’t able to come up with the second. They came up with the first (Allah).

“The first is Allah, the second is His creations, which includes, ourselves, parents, orphans, people, animals, plants, the earth.”

“What is our body’s right upon us?”

N: “To take care of it because Allah already gave it to us and everything.”

“What can’t we do if we don’t take care of our body?”

H: “We can’t worship Him.”

It’ll be hard to engage in acts of worship with health problems though that is not an excuse to slacken in them.

I asked them,

“Did you hear yesterday this man was asking this girl next to me, ‘Are you here on a voluntary basis? Or serving community service hours ? Got in trouble?'”

H: “He was joking wasn’t he?”

Me : “Yeah he was, but let’s talk about this. So, what does this tell you? How easy is it to get people to volunteer?”

H : “Hard.”

“What else does it tell you?”

H: “Community service helps people.”

Me: “So, if people ask you, what does your Koran teach you, what is one of the things you can say?”

H: “Feeding the needy.”

Me: “So is volunteering at soup kitchens part of Islam then?”

Yes. If you notice, it’s part of almost every religion, mainly Christianity, Judaism, Islam, though there are some misconceptions about participating in it among Muslims living in the west.

Me:”They have a right upon us, those needy, they have a right upon us. Islam doesn’t teach us to just mind our own business and do our thing, but it teaches us balance. We fulfill rights of Allah, and we fulfill rights of others too.”

Then I started talking about GMO food and the arsenic in rice. I had just watched Genetic Roulette, and so I relayed to them some of what struck me in that documentary.

Me: “Being Muslims, having Islam, is a beautiful thing, because we have a ‘weapon’ against these corruptions done by human beings that go into our food. What is that weapon?”

N: “Bismillah.”

Me: “When we eat, if we say Bismillah each time, and Allah blesses the food, inshaAllah, we’ll be okay. Because not everyone can buy organic or GMO-free. Instead of being stressed out and despairing, Allah makes life simpler for us, but this is not a ticket to just sit back and not put effort in choosing good food. We still have that responsibility.”

And H apparently drew this ‘weapon’ which I find worth including in this post, mashaAllah. On second thought, it’s more of a protective shield than a weapon.

On our time yesterday at the soup kitchen: N ws given the task of serving corn, but when serving time came, she was assigned to help the handicapped with their trays, and I was serving sandwiches. I noticed that she wasn’t doing her job as a couple of people on wheelchairs passed through me. She had this expression on her face that conveyed she didn’t like her assigned task, so I quickly switched with her.

I have to admit that I feel slight apprehension even with serving, because once, a man actually touched my niqab saying,

“So what’s this?”

and I was even then more apprehensive about helping them at the tables because of what they may say or do, but alhamdulillah, they were mostly just grateful. Even though I looked very different from what they’re used to seeing or even from the rest of the Muslim women who have served them at the soup kitchen, they didn’t say or do anything that violated my physical or emotional well-being. Alhamdulillah.

Later, N asked me, “So was it fun helping people with their trays?”

“Of course!”

It actually feels good. It’s more direct interaction with the people and I really felt the humanity from them too. There was a man who probably has Parkinson’s and he needed help with carrying his tray and getting his cup of water. Then there was a woman who was shaking so much, she dropped her watermelon and she even slightly stumbled upon sitting on her chair. We had actually seen her walking towards the soup kitchen. Nt even talked to her at length about the Hijab and niqab, so when she saw me, she said,

“Niqab, Hijab, I remember those words! I love those outfits!”

For now, the kids are in love with serving the food. They don’t really want tasks where they have to interact with the people as much. I was watching them yesterday and I asked that Allah correct and purify our intentions in doing this. For them, even if it’s just the fun of serving food for now, it’s good. I do hope that they also realize the deeper significance of this deed and may Allah bless it such that it makes them into giving, loving, and helpful people to any and everyone who needs it, Muslim or not. May Allah bless it, for if He doesn’t, no matter how much effort we put into it, it will all be for naught, if not in this world, then in the hereafter.

Right after we were done, hubs picked H and I up, while the girls waited for Jn to pick them up for the Animal Shelter’s open house event. We had told them to make sure they pray Zuhr, and find a place. When they got back home, I asked them if they prayed Zuhr. Alhamdulillah, they did. Again here, balance. Fulfilling Allah’s rights and the rights of His creations. You can do all the volunteering jobs you can do, but if you don’t worship Allah as He has ordained, you’re going off balance. And you can worship Allah all you want in terms of rituals, but if you don’t fulfill the rights of His creations, you’re going off balance. You’re being an extremist.

Praying in awkward circumstances is one of the challenges of living in a majority non Muslim country. Ever since they were young, we’ve struggled with this and we kept training them to excuse themselves or just take a few minutes from class, soccer practice, games etc, to pray when the time comes, whether it be in a secluded corner, on the soccer field, in a hallway, behind the staircase, etc. But they have to pray. This is one experience they have that Muslims living in Muslims countries are probably not familiar with as Musallah are easily found in Muslim majority countries. It makes it easier to just go to a masjid or musallah and do your prayer when the time for that prayer comes in, but here, you have to be creative while also keeping in mind the Islamophobia that is going on. They might think we are warming up for a ‘terrorist’ attack of some sort when they see us in bowing and prostrating positions in a weird place like a parking lot. You never know. People think all sorts of things, and so this is the challenge we have to face in practicing our religion where Islam is seen in a horribly bad light. But alhamdulillah, I hope the kids are pretty established in their prayers so far, that they know what to do even when we’re not with them. Prayer is non negotiable. They know that.

Rabbij ‘alnee muqeema salaati wa min zhurriyati Rabbana taqabbal du’aa. Ameen!

Oh my Rabb, make me of those who establishes prayer and from my progeny too, Oh our Rabb, You are the acceptor of supplications. Ameen!

Categories: Community, Family, Living Islam, Quran, Soup Kitchen, Tafseer, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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