Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Taking A Step Back



As a Muslim woman born and raised in the west why is it that certain topics are untouchable for us? If we should not have the same values or ideals as our western counterparts why are we vilified for being different or simply seeing things differently?

Islam teaches us by the Prophet (saw) last sermon that no Arab is more superior than a non-Arab and vise-versa and no black is superior over a white and vise-versa accept by their actions and deeds. Yet we tend to ignore that last bit a lot. The actions and the deeds of a person seem to go unnoticed nowadays, and everything is about what is on the outside; what a person practices, what they look like, where they come from - that's all that matters to people - the cover of the book.

Is it a wonder that no one reads nowadays because we are all so obsessed with mainstream and social media? We only follow what we are being told by complete strangers and not being able to see the real or complete picture of any situation.

So as the world turns more and more towards the actions and deeds of others faults why have we stopped trying to correct ourselves? Are our lives really that bleak and mundane that we can't see past our phone screens?

Anyhow this is probably why I haven't been able to focus on my posts for a while. Sometimes I really don't want to deal with the materialistic world we've become. Sometimes the simple things matter like making a nice meal for my family or focusing on my health and myself for a little while. I've been enjoying baking for a while too, but then that kind of contradicts the focusing on my health part lol.

Sometimes there is just so much hatred in the world we all need to take a step back and focus on what is really important. Ignore the bad vibes and breath in some fresh air.

So that's what I've been doing lately, how are you all doing? Lol.

Masalamah


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Duas' Really Do Come True




There comes a time in ones life where we have a serious wish or a dream, and we are told by our parents that making dua (praying) will make all our dreams come true. Either you are the person that will spend countless hours praying for it or you are not; in any case Allah (swt) knows what is truly in your heart. I can tell you though that duas' really do come true.

My biggest dua was very simple some may say, but considering how difficult my situation was when I was younger - if you knew me - you could never say that to me. I wanted to have a family. I wanted to be married to someone who I could see spending my life with and have children with. That was it.

My background is of South Asian origin, and we all know that most Muslim families are keen to get their daughters and sons married into arranged marriages as soon as they can. At first I dreaded the idea of an arranged marriage, to be stuck with someone I didn't know anything about - what if they ended up being my worst nightmare? What would I do? Who would help me? But as time moved forward I started to warm up to the idea of it. Simply because watching people around me with arranged marriages seemed to work out well. I also wanted to move on with my life and certain people were preventing me from living it.
Anyhow I spent much of my years worrying over marriage and praying that I'd be married to 'the right person'. In actuality because of the difficulties in my life I really just wanted to get out. My closest friend was my only connection to a world that I longed to be part of. I think the only reason why I got through what I did was because of her reminders, my mother's love and Allah (swt). My friend reminded me of the story of Prophet Yusuf (pbuh). He was a man who was wrongfully accused of a crime he did not commit and imprisoned in jail for years for it. All the amazing stories of the Prophets of Islam have taught us about patience, perseverance and trust in Allah (swt).

So how can we, as mere followers of the faith think that Allah (swt) doesn't watch over us or care for us when we are from the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)? We have been favoured and entrusted with Islam as our religion and the Quran as our guide. How can we doubt a God who has favoured us and given us so much?

My duas took years to come true. There were times where I thought that I could take it no longer and would leave everything behind. Everything being my religion, my family and myself as I knew it. It was taking a toll on my mental and physical well being. My mother was constantly worrying over me especially since I was getting older.
I have to explain that my father was the reason why I wanted to get married and the reason why I wasn't getting married. He seemed to not want to participate in any conversation about what was best for me or what I wanted for that matter. My mother was the reason why I did not what to get married as I didn't want to leave her behind, but unfortunately she was the only one routing for me to get married.

Eventually I realized that I would have to take matters into my own hands, and those hands could only turn towards Allah (swt). Prayer was my only power, I had no other way. I was under constant supervision, I wasn't even allowed to leave the house for a time, but instead of making me lash out - it made me turn towards Allah even more.

One day I decided to start memorizing parts of the Quran, and started with Surah Yasin. Every morning I would get up and pray my fajr salat (morning prayers) and try to remember that part of the Quran. Miraculously, my life started to change. I'm not talking about having an awakening, I'm talking about actual change. I was suddenly no longer imprisoned in my home and was allowed to go back to school. I ended up doing well enough to receive an honours and miraculously after that I got a job. I say miraculously because I never had a job before and to be employed in your field after no life experience is a pretty cool thing!

For the first time in my life I had a bank account, I had money, I had a career and I had some freedom, and eventually, I had a marriage and children. From the time I decided I wanted to get married to the time where my prayer actually came true - 13 years had passed, and a lot of life lessons were learned.

Some of you may be at a point where you can't hold on any longer. Whatever trials you may be going through - you may think that you are at breaking point. However remember that this life is a test. We will all be judged for our actions and the paths we follow. There have been countless people before us who have suffered worse situations, but everyone gets past it as long as we remember to have faith in Allah (swt) as he knows what's best for us and when. It may not be your time yet to succeed, or to have your prayers answered, but if you pray for something with a good intention - Remember there is no one more powerful than Allah (swt) to make it come true.

When I think about how impossible my life was back then to what it's like now, I am so thankful to Allah (swt) for helping me through those difficult years, for guiding me onto the right path and for giving me the strength to hang on.

I once had a life where I was stuck within four walls, never to see daylight, simply because I existed, I now have a life to enjoy the sun and endless possibilities because I resisted.

And there is no one greater than Him!

Masalamah

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Muslimahs - Empower Yourself

I've always been fond of learning about Islam from a young age. The first time I started understanding my religion is when my father brought home a book of stories from the Quran. I wish I had remembered what it was called or who the author was now as my little girl has shown some eagerness to gain knowledge about our religion. It was a very plain book. It had very basic drawn out pictures with no colours or details. The stories were about the prophets (pbut) in Islam as depicted from the Quran.

As I got older and got distracted with regular teenage issues I met a friend who got me interested about learning about Islam again. I am so thankful to her, because as things became more difficult at home turning to Allah (swt) was the best thing I could have done for myself and my future.
The great thing about having faith in God is knowing that there are consequences for your actions and they will affect your future. You must consider every action and the consequence it could bring about, who it will effect and inevitably, will it make Allah (swt) happy with you or not.

I started to study a lot about Islam on my own because I didn't have a mentor nor any way of learning from a knowledgeable person. Perhaps in a way that was a good thing. As a lot of teachers tend to teach Islam by lecturing without allowing students to question what they are learning. Perhaps this was the path that Allah (swt) wanted for me.

I have been a certain cast for 30 years. Simply because my parents taught me or lectured me about believing in that cast in all those years. It was when I was in my mid 20's that I learned that my mother was originally from a different cast/sect of Islam and that my father had forbidden her from revealing her true identity to her own children.

I spent my years praying to Allah (swt) that he would show me the right path whenever I was in trouble, or guide me on the right path when I didn't know if what I was doing was good enough to please Allah (swt). In the end I ended up changing my cast/sect. I simply found ground in other ideas and I believe that this was my fate.

I also learned that when it comes the culture and religion, the two often get mixed up and children are taught to live their culture as if it was their religion. Often an issue with Pakistani families I can tell you that! As a mother and a woman who has gone through quite a bit of a strange life I can give you one valuable piece of advice that I had to learn the hard way: If you learn something about your religion that you don't understand then question it, question the person who's telling you and if they can't tell you then research them on your own. There is nothing more powerful for a woman and her future then knowledge, and Islamic knowledge is just as important as earning a degree or diploma, because one day or another someone will try to control you with the wrong kind of so called "Islamic" knowledge, and you don't want to be left believing you are pleasing Allah (swt) when in actuality you are just being oppressed.

Knowledge, especially for women, is the only key to your success in this world and the next.

Masalamah









Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Biryani Fried Rice Recipe



If anyone knows me they know that I don't like to waste food. My mother would eat all of our leftovers for days if she had to just so we wouldn't waste food. I'm thankful that my mother instilled all these values in me. I'm also thankful that my hubby doesn't mind eating leftovers either! Anyhow as I don't like to throw things away I've had to be a bit creative when it comes to left over food. Biryani is a typical spicy rice dish in Pakistan and India mixed with a variety of spices, typically made with meat and sometimes vegetables too. In my house my kids are still small and they mostly just eat the meat out of the biryani, in which case the rice is always left over. So I decided to use up the cooked rice in making a fried rice out of it. Hope you enjoy it like I did!

Ingredients:

Chicken/Beef/Mutton boneless - 250 grams (or one chicken breast)
Bell Peppers - 1 cup
Onions - medium half chopped
Black Pepper
Salt
Green Chillies - 1 or 2 chopped
Vegetable oil - 1 tbsp
2 cups cooked biryani leftover rice


Method:

Take your meat whether its chicken or beef and slice it in thin strips. Season with salt and pepper as you like making sure it's covered all over. Leave it aside for 10 mins. Using a wok or a frying pan on medium heat, add the oil and the meat and let it cook for five minutes on each side. Add in your onions, bell peppers and green chillies while the meat is still cooking in its juices. When the meat is cooked through you can add the cooked rice. Keep the stove on medium-low and let it cook for about 5 - 10 minutes mixing thoroughly. Biyani rice is usually really spicy and flavorful so you don't need to add much more to the rice, however if your rice is a bit plain and dry add some soya sauce, about a tbsp full, as it's cooking with the rest of the ingredients.

Hope you like my invention and please be sure to leave us some comments/pictures if you tried it out yourself.

Masalamah


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Double Chocolate Muffins



Believe it or not although the muffins in the UK are delicious they are not the same as the ones in Canada. The biggest difference is that they don't have that lovely crusty top like they do back home. So if you want a proper Canadian muffin you gotta bake-em yourself. Which is fine because I love baking...well sometimes - as long as I can get someone to wash the dishes or I got a dishwasher 😄.

So here's my recipe, hope it turns out right!

Preheat oven to 350 fahrenheit or 180 degrees.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of plain flour (or all purpose in North America)
1/2 cup self-raising flour (or just put in more all purpose really!)
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup of sugar - (not a sugar fanatic so if you like it sweeter add half a cup more)
1/3 coconut oil or vegetable oil (or mix it so it's half and half)
1 - 2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
1 - 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Method:

In a large bowl add in your eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla and whip it up, in a separate bowl add your dry ingredients - flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add a 1/3 portion of your dry ingredients into your liquid ingredients, mix and rotate with 1/3 of the milk until you're done.  Add your sour cream in the end. I put sour cream as an optional ingredient because I found that it really makes a baked good really soft and helps it stay moist. You don't need to add it if you don't have it it's not a significant amount. In the end spoon in your chocolate chips and mix with a spatula.
Stick it in the oven and it should be done in 30 - 35 minutes.

Yield approx 12 muffins.

Baking is having a lot of fun. When I was young I used to be crazy about baking especially since my mother couldn't bake a single thing! How I longed to figure out how to make a chocolate chip cookie! Eventually we started baking together and it's one of my favourite memories as a child. Now when my mother bakes I wish I was their to enjoy - she bakes with so much love and that's what makes a treat even more delicious and special. Don't forget to share your muffins, and I know they are good because my 5 year old and almost 2 year old heartily approve - and that says a lot!

Enjoy! 😉










Monday, 9 October 2017

How to Make Hijab Pins

Hijab pins started off as a crafting hobby for me. Everywhere I looked hijab pins were over priced and hard to find back in Toronto. I can't imagine what it's like now, but I have seen a few new business take aim at this market.

If you're still having a hard time finding ideal hijab pins in your area you can always start creating your own version. The best place to start is with the sewing pins or corsage pins in the tear drop shape which you can find in hijab shops, Islamic shops or even in floral or fabric shops.

The Tear Drop Pin:


Some Nail Polish and Creativity:

Grab your favourite colour nail polishes and a tooth pick and lets get started. 

The first thing you want to do is give your pins a base coat. I purchased a few colours because I don't normally wear nail polish. Cannot be bothered with the remover really! Just take the pin and dip it straight into the bottle. Your pin should have a distinct colour now so set it to dry. It should look something like this:


Grab a toothpick or nail decorating tools:

Once that's complete - get creative! I decided to give my pins a floral print since there's just so little space to draw on. Take a tooth pick or a pointy nail decorating tool, a different colour nail polish and add five dots in a circle to imitate a flower. Then take the clean side of the toothpick or a pin and strike towards the centre of each dot towards the centre of the flower creating the impression of a petal. Add a different colour dot in the centre to give the distinction of a flower. Continue the same flower all over the pin and you should come up with something like this:


Now tell me this isn't cute! :) Here are some of my other designs, mind you it's quite hard to think of anything if you only have three colours!




Rhinestones and Glue:

Make sure to grab a glue specific to adding rhinestones. If you add a base nail polish colour similar to the colour of the rhinestones you are using the results will come out much nicer. You will need very tiny rhinestones so look for a 2 or 3mm size. Add glue by a toothpick or again a nail decor tool and add the rhinestones one by one. Go Swarovski if you want, but be sure to try it out with regular rhinestones first just to check that your glue is durable. Here are a few I did in different colours:



If you add nail polish be sure to find a good brand that won't peel off too easily. Although even if the polish does wear off you can always repaint them again. If you make a mistake then just use the nail polish remover or just dip it in the bottle and paint again. If you need ideas for design you can always look up nail polish designs and make your own. 

Share your pictures of the pins your created with me and I'll put them up on my insta! Have fun and lets see your creativity!

You can also purchase a Make Your Own Hijab Pins Pack in my shop if you want to create fashionable pins using beads and findings.

Make Your Own Hijab Pin Pack


Masalamah

:)

Monday, 4 September 2017

Being an Entrepreneur Mom



I have two little ones. For now that's as far as our plan has come in the roller coaster ride that is my marriage. My eldest child has only just started her first year of school and although she enjoyed it at first, she doesn't seem to be enjoying the idea of going every day. As the first few weeks she's only had half days, today is her first full day.
So naturally I've been sitting here with my phone next to me with ringer on high making sure I don't miss anything while my other little one is Netflixing and chilling. She can't say it but she is missing her elder sibling like anything. As soon as she gets home the first thing my little one does is give her a great big hug and a kiss.
I'm so glad I have two little girls. I know what it's like to grow up without a sister, someone to share with and to learn from. I never learned much from my brothers, except how to save money and fight back! I suppose those are useful things to have in your life, but having a sister is something quite different.  My brothers weren't much for being emotional or sensitive to my needs or aspirations. But then again all boys are different. My brothers were raised to be tough, so naturally I followed in line.  I admire those sister brother siblings where they are totally in sync with each other. Anyhow I hope my little girls will be close in the future because I don't want to have to bring in a third to referee!

So as my life has been a bit busy with new schools and teething toddlers I've been trying to keep my shop going here and there. Posting on Instagram has helped a lot, however keeping up with the posts has been quite difficult. Still I'm learning from the Muslimah entrepreneurs around me. Most of my inspiration is coming from sisters from back home in Canada. Or perhaps I'm following them because they remind me of home, I can't tell, but I'm grateful to them!
There are a lot of inspiring sisters making themselves seen and heard now. I wish we had all this growing up, I had a lot of tenacity and time to work on my craft back then. Now I'm working at a snails pace. Still alhamdolilah at least I got something going.
I cannot stress this enough to all my married sisters out there; while you're busy raising your kids and keeping your marriage going, don't forget to take care of yourself! I don't mean go out and get your hair cut or your nails done! I'm talking about doing something that fills your heart and mind with happiness. Do something that you can look back on years from now and say you achieved that or you completed something that you dreamed of doing. It's never too late to work on your dreams or ambitions. It may be that raising your kids to be great achievers is enough, but when they leave the nest and move into their own lives where will you be? You might find that you could be alone in a big empty house with nothing to do! But just imagine if you were an amazing gardener, or a painter, or even a closet fashion designer - this would be your time to take it to the next level!
My mother is my inspiration for my work, as she's always had crafting skills that keep her going even now. Except that now everyone knows her skills and she's made a business out of it.

It's never ever too late to learn something new. Don't limit yourself from your own potential!

Masalamah.