Reflecting on Ramadan, Eid, etc…

So, I’ve been a bit busy over the last few days.  Nothing seems to ever go as planned.  Alhumdullah, everything worked out just fine.   Ramadan ended alhumdullah it was a beautiful month.  I have to admit I didn’t get to do half of what I would have wanted. My focus was on my family and making the best effort to worship Allah (swt).

One thing I had planned to do was to follow The Fasting and the Fit program from Productive Muslim website.  I think for next year if I want to accomplish something like this I will have to begin planning much earlier.

The day of Eid we all were dressed in our best and were able to celebrate and pray with our friends in the mosque.

We were suppose to have people over the day of Eid but, that didn’t happen.  Instead we all traveled to Canobie Lake Amusement park for a discounted group rate.  This was my first trip there; I had been told numerous times that there was not a lot for the little ones to do, so I was a little hesitant to go.  It ended up being a great day, and I can’t wait to go back.  We didn’t even have enough time to do everything because we went later in the day and well things happen.  My little two-year old daughter slept so well after the day had ended.  There is a little area for small children with several rides and she is now old enough to even ride herself, she had a great time.   There is a water park that they can splash around in, and I wish I had brought my burqini, or halal swimsuit in with me.  I ended up going on one of the splash rides while my husband watched our daughter and got completely drenched, a wonderful family and friends day.

Canobie Lake Park

Msemmen – (Moroccan Pancake)

Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim (In the name of Allah)

EID Mubarak (Blessed Eid)

The last day of Ramadan, Inshallah we will celebrate the end of fasting in a few short hours. The holiday of Eid Al Fitr (the Festival of Fast-Breaking) will begin early this morning in the Masjid.

Yesterday,  I attempted to make a Moroccan dish I’ve always wanted to try to cook.  I went to the Cooking with Alia because she has easy to follow recipes and videos.  I found her recipe for Msemmen- the Moroccan Pancake).  I had small pieces Alhumdullah when I was at the mosque for Iftar on two of the Fridays during Ramadan.  But, I guess I was really missing it so I thought I would give it a try.

I am the type of person that has to follow a recipe exactly and usually can not figure out what to do if something goes wrong.  Luckily my husband although he is not currently working as one, he is a trained chef.  While I was making the dish he even told me it was very difficult to make.  Alhumdullah I completed the recipe and we ate the Msemmen during Iftar time with honey, or cheese, or Moroccan sausage.

Preparing for Eid

Tomorrow should be the last full day of Ramadan for us inshallah (“God Willing”).  Today I did Henna for the first time myself.  I started to dabble a bit in drawing with no training this past December.  I used a doodle technique called Zentangle,  I’ve been hooked on how relaxing it is when I draw different patterns.  I’ve already added some of the work I’ve done to this blog, including the cover photo.

I just received “Teach Yourself Henna Tattoo: Making Mehndi Art with Easy-to-Follow Instructions, patterns, and projects.”  by Brenda Abdoyan in the mail.  I was able to purchase henna paste from the local Halal store and I drew the first beginner pattern and mixed a few other styles from the book.


I
 wasn’t able to sleep after Isha prayer (the last of our required five prayers for the day), I started making a few decorations.  I found a pdf template of some suncatcher lanterns the other days. The original design for these was on another blog called Sweet Fajr.  This sister has a ton of great crafts I hope to try inshallah.   I stayed up making a few as you can see in the photo:  suncatcher laterns

I also started to wrap and put together a few eid gifts which I will finish up tomorrow night inshallah.

In Search of Laylatul Qadr

Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim (In the name of Allah)

Ramadan is coming to close very quickly, it is always so sad to see the month go by so fast,  Alhumdullah it is such an amazing blessed month.  In the last ten odd nights there is a night called Laylatul Qadr or the Night of Power, the most holiest of night in Ramadan.  Many muslims spend their whole night in prayer searching for this night.  I did not go go to the Masjid because it is a little difficult with a two year old.  But, my husband spent the entire night on Monday, which was the day many of the local mosques as a group of muslims focussed on prayer for this magical night.

This is a great info-graph explaining this special night:

Greater Boston Muslim Sisters Meetup Group

Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim (In the name of Allah)

A few years ago, I was attending Boston University to complete the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Education, Media, and Technology. The semester I started the program I had the opportunity to meet an amazing sister who was studying abroad. I am not sure if she would want me to mention her name so I won’t. We became fast friends and I learned so much from her in the short time she was here in the US.
We traveled together to the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) conference in Hartford, CT. It has since moved venues to Baltimore, Maryland. While we were there we discussed how it would great to have a group of sisters that would like to “meetup” and have dinner or do different events. This was before I had my daughter so I had a bit more time to put together events. I was also living closer to Boston, hence commuting in to complete the degree.
The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center(ISBCC) had at the time recently been built and I was their most Friday evenings for the Halaqa (A religious gathering or meeting with the primary purpose of learning the theology, usually Islamic). Sometimes I was also their on the first Sunday of the month for a revert (those who are new or return to Islam) meeting organized by ISBCC and Suhaib Webb, an American Muslim Iman.
I created an online group using Meetup.com , it was a bit of an expense. I am a very quiet person and keep to myself most of the time so this was a way I thought I could reach out to people. I added my friend on as admin to the group and we both worked on spreading the word to people. The group also came up in a search if sisters were able to stumble upon it themselves. We found a great group of sisters some reverts/ converts, sisters studying abroad in the US, and other Muslimahs interested in a similar group.
To start we held several small meetup programs in the ISBCC cafe to start to get to know sisters as a central location. I remember we even had a potluck Iftar during Ramadan the first year.
The price tag for paying for meetup was too much for me so I moved the group to a private Facebook group. Also, because I had become pregnant with my daughter and moved a bit further away from Boston it became difficult to organize events. I hope that anyone who finds the Facebook group will share information and any events that know about or offer to create an event. Alhumdullah (“thanks be to God”) it was great to meet so many wonderful sisters and I hope the Facebook group will continue to grow. If you are a Muslim sister in the Boston or surrounding areas and interested in joining post a comment and I will message you with a link to the group Inshallah (“God- willing”).  

Lectures- Ramadan

Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim (In the name of Allah)

This Ramadan I made the intention that I would focus on reading Quran, memorizing surah/ chapter in the Quran, and spend time in prayer.  Inshallah I try to strive to focus on Allah and becoming a better Muslim.  There are times when I need to go cook in the kitchen or clean.  This year and most recently in the last few days I want to gain as much knowledge and reminders in this most holy of months.  While I clean, cook, etc… I have been listening to Islamic lectures.

The first my husband introduced me too is a series of lectures from scholar Tariq Ramadan, the Chronicles of Ramadan 1436-2005 Values.  They are very short segments on the values that we should hold dear and practice.

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Another is Ramadan 2015 Action Plan- Full Lecture- Nouman Ali Khan, this was given as a preparation as he focuses on the Ayat of the Quran that focuses on Ramadan and to strive to have a perfect month.  This can also be listened to as a podcast via itunes  if you prefer in the car or other activities on your digital device.

Right now we are in the last 10 nights and it is most important to focus on Allah with dua (prayer), Dhikr (remembrance). The following lecture: Last 10 nights of Ramadan and Laylatul Qadr – How to take advantage! – Yasir Qadhi, discusses the importance of attention to the last few days in Ramadan.   

Sheikh Yusef Estes does a series of lectures called Ramadan Reminders

Last this sister made a cute video on the Two Best Times to make Duaa on Ramadan

Inshallah I hope you receive benefit from these lectures and if you have great programs you listen too please let me know in the comments.

Ramadan

The Islamic Calendar is on a lunar cycle and has twelve months.  This month is Ramadan, it is the most holiest of months for Muslims.  The entire month is spent fasting from the break of dawn to sunset.  There is a concentrated focus on spiritual devotion to Allah (swt), without the distraction of food you can spend more time in prayer, reading Quran, and other acts of worship.

During the summer months as it is right now the days are longer and it becomes a bit more challenging.  May Allah (swt) make it easier for those fasting during this month.  With the suggestion of my husband to help me find a focus for the month, I finally started this blog.  I’ve been talking about it for a while but,  just hadn’t gotten to it.  I often have people ask me questions, and I know there are several others that do not ask but, our curious about my story.  So I thought the perfect time to do this would to share my story of becoming Muslim during the month Ramadan in hope that I can help others and give a better image of Islam than what is in the media, inshallah (God Willing).

I am not perfect and I will continue my education in Islam as I do not know everything.  May Allah (swt) forgive me for my faults.

the last 10 days