Category Archives: Islam

Learning about Hajj, Mama and Daughter

Every few months I get a Hajj advert through my door.The high prices plus the thought of being in the
same place as millions of people really freaked me out and made me avoid learning about Hajj.

Then one day something, I can’t remember what sparked a change in me. I think it was the thought that I needed to teach Noori the Five pillars of Islam in more detail. But I had never taught her about Hajj as it was one big mystery to me.

What better way to learn than together. I searched for the best book to teach about Hajj from a child’s level. There are lots of lovely books but from a Montessori point of view the ones with real life photos are the best. So I went to the bookshop and bought Goodwords, Tell Me About Hajj.

tell me about hajj1293214389339157591..jpg

This book is aimed at older children 7 years and up as it contains lots of detailed information. For a beginner like me there is a bit too much information and Arabic names to learn all at once. If your child doesn’t understand much you can easily pick out the main points and leave a few things out.

The book covers the history of Hajj which I found very interesting and about what happens today.

We started by reading a page a day together. I wanted Noori to pick out the important parts of the story and write them out for comprehension and spelling practise. Afterwards illustrating it. After a few days this got a bit boring so we carried on just reading the book.

Aswell as reading the book we learnt the Dua.

hajj dua8616456223911213429..jpg

As a fun activity to revise what we had learnt we made a small world Hajj scene with some blocks and toys.

The Man on Hajj got on the plane in his Irham.

He did Tawaaf around the Kaaba.

Prayed at the Maqaam Ibrahim

Did all the other rituals then left. (I don’t want to bore you with all the photos).

I’ve seen people make a big cardboard Kaaba and the kids dress up and walk around acting everything out. We didn’t have any of these things so using the small toys was just right for us.

We also read the book Yans Hajj. Afterwards I decided to make a Hajj jar for the kids. (you can find out all about Yans Hajj here).

Imagine saving up all your life for Hajj like Yan and being able to do it before getting in debt to a car, university or mortgage. I have started my kids savings now so they can do it before life overtakes Inshallah.

We did this project before Ramadan. Now it is Hajj time it really nice to go over what we have learnt and be reminded.

How do you teach about Hajj or learn about it as an adult?

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My 1st Quran with Pictures

In my point of view the most important things we should teach our children is Tawheed and a love for The Quran. Not just a respect for The Quran but a love that can only be gained by learning the meaning and understanding it. For an adult this could take many years of in depth study.

Kids have many more things going on in their lives, school, Madrassah, clubs,events and just chilling out relaxing to take on such a mammoth task. Luckily we have amazing books like My 1st Quran with pictures to help us.

When I first saw this book on Instagram I was so excitied to see it was being published. I was lucky enough to be sent a copy too review from Faith Books. My aim is to help my children connect with and learn the Quran in as much of a fun way as possible. Books like this are essential in achieving this goal.

About the book

My first Quran with pictures by Shireen Sherief is a fully illustrated version of Juz Amma. Checked and authenticated by Sheikh Dr Abdullah Ibn Yusuf AlJudai.

At the moment Noori is starting to enjoy comics. Though not a comic the book is very similar in style.

Illustrated by Nichola Anderson every page has small pictures that sum up what the Ayat is telling us making it really easy for children to understand what it means. Many of the illustrations are of the modern world helping the child really understand and relate to the Surah.

Often the Wording used in the translation of The Quran can be very complicated and alot of children will not under stand these meanings. So having a small straight to the point colourful picture is very effective. Just reading it is fun.

How we Use the book

I waited a while to use this book properly until Noori started to learn Surah Al Tin. I saw a great opportunity to add a sensorioal element to our learning. I got an Olive and a dried Fig as they are mentioned in the first verse. I told Noori how we say fig and olive in Arabic, then she ate them. We then read one Ayat in Arabic then the translation and looked at how the pictures described it.

We then listened to the Surah on our phone app for the next few days to memorize it. I took the book out every few days to go over it and reinforce the meaning.

To help Noori understand the meaning of the Surahs she was learning I used to write the Ayat out and draw little pictures next to it to make it more visual. This would take a long time researching and writing ect.

But now its all there for me in full Colour saving alot of time and effort.

When we got to the fourth verse we looked at the pictures of the bodies and how the verse say humans were made in the perfect form. We discussed the parts of the body they are showing and how Allah has made us all different. Some of us are short , some are tall, some are big, some are skinny. Ine person may like writing stories, whilst another like scuba diving. We are all different but perfect to Allah. Imagine just memorizing this verse without ever knowing the meaning. How many lessons would we miss out on?

This really is a unique book. And I look forward to reading it all in depth.

You can purchase the book here at

Faithbooks

and keep your eyes open for the next edition.

You can read my other book reviews here :

Zak and His Little Lies

Nanni’s Hijab

Yan’s Hajj

How We Learn Quran

My Top Books 2017

Here’s how I teach a love of Quran to my 8 year old In our Amazing Ayats series :

Az Zukruf

Al Anam

Al Hijar

Al Kahf

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Amazing Ayats : Al Hijar 15:16

We’ve not done an Amazing Ayat for a long time so this one is long overdue. Over Ramadan I discovered a brilliant app …..

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.karim.khatma

….. When you open your phone the Quran appears and you have to read it before you can do anything else. This is when I came across this beautiful Ayah: Al Hijar

15:16 وَلَقَدْ جَعَلْنَا فِي السَّمَاءِ بُرُوجًا وَزَيَّنَّاهَا لِلنَّاظِرِينَ – 15:16

And we have placed within the heaven great stars ( constellations ) and have beautified it for the observers.

So many images came into my mind. I knew I could use this to inspire Noori and make a little star project out of it.

I got planning and took out this book from the Library Stars, Galaxies and the Milky Way It looks fun with lots of amazing images but it contains alot of in depth information about stars. For this reason I’d recommended it for 10+ years. We looked at the amazing pictures and I picked out some interesting facts that Noori could easily understand as I didn’t want her to switch off.

stars galaxy and the milky way

Reading about our galaxy, nebulae and stars really makes you think Subhanallah! There is a vast space out there and we are all just small and insignificant in reality.

We read the Ayat in English and Arabic then went through the star book and picked out a few things to discuss.

Noori then painted a galaxy picture using acrylic paints, glitter and white nail varnish as we didnt have white paint for the stars.

She then wrote the Ayah out on a piece of paper and we glued it onto the painting. We will keep this in our Amazing Ayats book where we can look back at all the images she has created .

Next we did a fun experiment to show how stars are formed.

stars galaxy and the milky way

We used

  • Baking Powder/Bicarbonate of Soda
  • vinegar
  • pipette or spoon
  • eco glitter (optional)
  • Star shaped cookie cutters

I took the cookie cutters and placed them on the table saying, “Allah placed within the heavens great stars.”

Noori then spooned the baking powder into the stars and squashed it down. This represents the dust and gas being pulled together by gravity.

star science

Then she took some vinegar with the pipette and dropped it into the star and watched as the mixture exploded . The vinegar can represent the heat and chemical reactions that happen when a star is born.

star science pipette

Our pipette had lots of glitter in for some reason. If you would like to add glitter try and use eco-friendly glitter that isn’t made from tiny bits of plastic. This went into the mixture and combined with the movement from the reaction looked like a twinkling star.

We discussed that stars dont really twinkle its the movement from the Earths atmosphere that makes it look like twinkling.

See what happens if you add more and more vinegar.

After our experiment it was time for a snack. To carry on our theme we made shooting star kebabs.

fruit platter

Super duper easy. Get your child to chop whatever fruit they can manage. Pineapple can be quite hard to cut so I would advise an adult to chop that. We chopped the fruit into slices to make it easier to cut out the star shape and the grapes in half

Get your child to cut the fruit into star shapes. Thread the grapes onto the kebab stick to make the tail of the shooting star, then add your stars on top.

Fruit kebab

For a bit of vocabulary we looked in the book, ‘We’re going on a bear hunt , My Adventure field guide‘. This book is so lovely. A calming easy to understand nature guide. The beautiful illustrations encourage our children to explore the nature around them, wherever they live.

In the Ayah the word used is buroojan meaning constellations rather than stars. This page explains constellations in a detailed but easy to understand way. And any fan of the storybook will enjoy relating the familiar bear in the story to the stars in our sky.

we're going on a bear hunt

Its so fun finding ways to bring the Quran to life and help our children and ourselves really connect with it.

Will you try any of these at home?

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More Amazing Ayats:

We have also had fun learning about Surah Az-Zukruhf, Surah Al kahf and Surah Al-Anam.

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My 1st Ramadan -Advice for Sisters

As Ramadan aproaches as Muslims we all feel a mixture of excitement and worry. We all worry for valid and various reasons. You may be feeling that right now. I sure am. For me the worry comes from different reasons each year.

This year it’s,”will I find it hard to fast and breastfeed under the hot summer sun?”

A few reverts have told me their worries about fasting for the first time and their reasons. As a revert of 5 years this will be my 5th Ramadan. Through my experience I know how worrying the whole thing can be.

How do I explain to my family?

How do I explain to my friends and work collegues?

After all, if they didn’t know you were Muslim before they certainly will now. Food is such a big part of life and people usually notice if your not eating.

So I planned on writing my 1st Ramadan story for new reverts to read and reasure them its not that bad.

The thing is I can’t remember it in any detail. What kind of story will this be? I went online and started reading other peoples stories. Some of them are awful and its all because of their bad diets. As a bit of a health freak and part vegetarian that doesn’t eat processed food and drinks mainly water I’ve not had these problems.

So here goes. Lets see what I can remember.

I know we woke up for Suhoor and prayed Fajr. Then I went back to sleep. That day I went to a kids party.

What a party. It was on a far away industrial estate that took 2 buses to reach. It was a typical kids party i.e a themed room with kids food. Not my kinda thing. What about the adults? We get hungry too!

So it was pretty easy to get away with not eating because no-one else was. At this point I wasn’t a full time hijabi either so nobody knew I was a Muslim. The party came to an end and everyone left. We walked outside and waited for the bus..and waited… and waited… none turned up.

It was a beautiful sunny day. I was lost and the sun was beating down on me. After 30 minutes or so I decided we should walk up the road and find another bus stop. We walked and walked and walked. There were none to be seen. I was getting worried about becoming dehydrated. The road had no trees, no buildings, no shelter. Just a wide open sunny landscape on the hottest day of the year and I was getting sunburn.

Eventually we found our bus after 40 minutes of waiting and wandering around . And you know what apart from that dry lip feeling I didnt feel too bad.

When Iftar came I can’t tell you the joy of that first glass of water. I wanted no food, my hunger had gone by then after 17 hours of nothing. I didn’t want anything fancy . I just wanted that first glass of beautiful refreshing tap water.

I don’t know why Allah put me in that situation on my first fast. But believe me it made me realise how amazing and resilient our bodies are. If I could get through that on the first day I could get through just about anything.

The rest of that Ramadan was pretty uneventful.

Even though I knew and had that brilliant experience the next few Ramadans were still worrying for me. The first two Ramadans my parents were on holiday for most of the month so I didn’t have the worry of telling them I was Muslim. The 3rd Ramadan I told them I was fasting. They were a bit surprised at first but Alhamdulillah they seemed to accept it with ease.

I work in a BIG cafe which involves alot of physical and dirty work. The kitchen is boiling and has no adequate air conditioning so you can just imagine how the sweat drips off you on a summers day. After 4 hours of none stop working in those conditions wearing hot clothing you can imagine how it must feel. But Subhanallah I could do a 17 hour fast and keep up with the busy pace. My work colleagues were shocked that I could work in those conditions without at least a glass of water. This just goes to show how amazing our bodies are.

I think the key is down to our intentions and our diets. I try and eat as clean as possible and drink only water and juice at home. (I wrote more in detail about that in “Ramadan Made Easy“.)

I posed the question in a Facebook group to some sisters.

“If you had one piece of advice to give to a new sister what would it be?”

Here are their responses:

“Its hard especially if your not normally a breakfast person but it really does help to wake up for sehri and eat even a little. It helps the stomach and you hopefully wont get the hunger pains too early in the day”.

💜

“Take each minute at a time I found the whole day was too daunting at first (last year was my official first). Allah knows your intentions don’t beat yourself up if you don’t complete a whole day.

Know when you do get into a rhythm your period will come an disturb your rythm it’s not your fault it’s a mercy from Allah.

Make sure you wake up for breakfast because honestly it will make it ten times worse. Get up an eat!! This is a mercy from Allah an one which will help big time.Don’t go out getting no big shopping, I promise you won’t eat it an then it will waste especially if you’ve brought the whole fresh fruit isle.

Make sure you drink loads before you start fasting an after ilftar. Dehydration causes the headaches.”

💜

“Cut out all stimulants a week before hand this will make fasting much easier. So things like coffee, coke, sugar etc. When we start fasting and cut these foods out – the detox symptoms can be horrendous!

Yes and be mindful of what you eat at iftar. Nutritious foods, fruits, nuts, soups, grilled meats/fish.

Lots of people fast all day then eat dirty foods at iftar, defeats the point of Ramadan and doesn’t help your body one bit.”

💜

“DRINK like your life depends on it at suhoor!”

💜

and one I wished I had done,

“Journal every moment”.

Journaling you thoughts and feelings on such a special occasion could help you in so many ways and would be nice to look back on in the future. Have you every done this?

💜

So the main points are eat and drink healthily before Ramadan in preparation. Eat and drink healthily during Ramadan.

If you want to practise before the big day you could try fasting ‘The White Days’ i.e every Monday and Thursday as this is Sunnah. Don’t overthink or worry too much. Allah is the best of planners and remember.

“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can handle.”

Surah Baqarah 286

This year I do wonder how I will fast. My baby is 11 months old and still has milk 4-5 times during the day not to mention at night. When I feed him I need to have a drink and small meal after! It will be interesting to see if my body really does need all this food and drink or its just in my head. I seem to have no OFF switch anymore. I also won’t be working this year so I hope my days will still be full and out of the house to give me a distraction.

I am looking forward to seeing how my body reacts and changes whilst fasting. We always learn a lot about ourselves during this time. I am most looking forward to that community feeling that comes at this time of year. The fact that all the Muslims around me and all the Muslims around the world are in the same boat is an amazing feeling to be a part of.

I am also lucky to live around brilliant Muslim neighbours that support and feed each other. We also have a local masjid that provides Iftar every night so if you don’t want to cook you know where to go. The atmosphere there is something special.

But if you have none of these it really doesn’t matter as it will leave more space in your life to get closer to Allah.

This year I have two children instead of one so I have so much planned to make it an extra special time, which I haven’t really done before. I feel it is important for them have something Islamic to feel excited about and look forward to and having each other makes it all the more fun.

I hope this year we can all have a fun,relaxed and spiritual time, Inshallah.

Do you remember the first time you fasted?

What would your advice be to someone fasting for the first time?

If you think this post could be benieficial for someone please share it with them❤

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Ramadan Made Easy

Three to four months before Ramadan starts people around me start going into panick mode and make hundreds of fried snacks to go in the freezer. Samosas, chicken strips, cheese balls the list is endless.

I do admire the fact they are so prepared and impressed they can make their own samosas. But all that fried food cannot be good.

I usually go the Masjid for Iftar at a weekend where there are Samosas , biryani and fizzy drinks galore. None of which can be avoided.

As we are rewarded for feeding a fasting person most nights a neighbour will bring around some food. Usually fried goods, dates and sweets.

I believe Ramadan should be a spiritual and community minded time. Not a Iftar: When,What and Where.

It is a big chance to be healthy and get rid of those bad eating habits and gain self control.

This is why I am a total health freak within my own four walls. I fear getting dehydrated during the days so drink as much water as my body will allow and eat lots of hydrating food.

In Ramadan we have a small capacity for food. We should try our bests to fill up on healthy foods to nourish our bodies, instead of eating heavy fried foods that fill us up quickly and have hardly an nutritional value.

Half an hour before Iftar I make a Greek salad. Lots of healthy vege, feta cheese and glugs of olive oil and lemon.

A fruit salad is an essential. Those juicy fruits contain lots of energy and slow releasing water that keeps you hydrated throughout the day. Its better to chop the fruits as near to eating as possible as the longer you leave them the more sugar they produce .

I find during Ramadan the fruit in the supermarkets go down in price. Meaning we can buy lots of lovely fruits and make juices everyday. A quick way of getting those vitamins into your body.

My favourite juice combo is:

  • 3 apples
  • 5 carrots
  • 2 oranges
  • A small piece of fresh ginger

I put them all together in the juicer adding the ginger for its many health benefits. The leftover pulp can be added to sweets bakes or made into jams and sauces.

Breaking The Fast

To break our fast we eat 3 dates each, drink a glass of water and eat some fruit salad. Later on in Ramadan the water changes to Rooh Afza in milk as our healthy intentions go downhill . Then we pray Magrib.

Mains

After Magrib we move on to our main which is usually a curry with rice or roti and our salad.

My Husband makes a big pot of curry that lasts 3 or 4 days meaning I only need to make the rice or roti and salads. If the neighbours have brought us fried food we eat that with it aswell. After that there isn’t room for anything else so we drink our fresh juice. As Magrib in the UK is pretty late we go to sleep half an hour after eating.

Suhoor

Suhoor is around 4 hours later so we aren’t that hungry meaning we don’t eat too much. I usually have some fruit with cereal or egg and toast. With lots of water.

As Ramadan goes on our eating starts to get more unhealthy adding things like biscuits, Rooh Afza and last year my neighbour brought me Desi Chai which turned my tea habit back on. Usually we are caffine free all Ramadan.

This year I won’t be working. Things may become very different as I won’t have work as a distraction. Every year UK summer comes in Ramadan and Ramadan only. Combine this with breastfeeding and who knows what will happen.

How was breastfeeding for you whilst fasting?

Have you prepared for Ramadan or taking it easy like me?

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Zaks and His Little Lies – Book Review

Zak and his little lies  Islamic kids book

Zak and His Little Lies-J.Samia Mair

A while a go I read that little kids can’t tell the difference between a lie or making up a story, so don’t understand that they are lying. Everytime I caught my daughter lying I would look at her and try and figure out if she was lying or just making a story up in her mind. It wasn’t too difficult. After all we all lie in one way or another. One study showed that we lie to ourselves everyday without even noticing. So how do we distinguish between good lies and bad lies.

The title of this storybook Zak and His Little Lies gives us a clue to his lies. They are small little lies not big bad ones.

This is exactly Zaks problem. He knows that if he is caught lying again he won’t be able to go on a trip to the skate park with his family. However he is thrown into certain situations throughout the day.

The story seems to be set in a very friendly neighbourhood in the American Suburbs. Zak and his family are Muslim and have no problem with their neighbours which is nice to see in a book. The challenge for the Zak and his Sister is to deliver Baklava to all their neighbours. But will it all run smoothly? You will have to read the book to find out!

zak and his little lies Islamic kids book

Noori is 8 years old but there were a few words in this book she couldn’t work out. The main one being Dwayne the name of Zaks pet. Dwayne makes an appearance on every page of this beautifully illustrated book so look out for him.

zak and his little lies Islamic kids book

Many of Zaks lies come from how he will look to other people and lack of confidence. Here he is having a race with his sister though he never wins. Even Dwayne looks worried!

After all Zaks little lies he goes home to find his Dad excitied and ready to go to the skate park. Zak feels so guilty from all his lying when he sees the Quran on the shelf remembering the Ayah,

“And nothing in the Heavens and Earth is hidden from Allah.”

This is a very important lesson for all of us and something even young children can understand. Even if we are all alone Allah can see what we are doing.

Zak admitted his mistakes too his Dad the person he could confide in. What an important relationship. The majority of stories show male figures in a bad light and the Mums as the caregivers and confidants. So this Father and Son bond is a refreshing perspective

At first I didn’t connect with this book and I think it is because I’m very girly. Unconsciously the majority of Noori’s books have strong female characters with the only males being animals. I wondered how this would change now I have a son.

This book is my first step into being a mother of a boy. And what a fantastic introduction. I imagine having an Islamic book with a young boy as the lead character could be very empowering for any young boy. Zak is a great example for anyone.

Noori’s Verdict

Did you like the book?
Yes . It was Good.
Who was your favourite character?
I like Zak but I liked Hana better. I didn’t like the brothers because they are mean.

At the end of the book are a set of questions. I don’t usually ask the questions in books but this time I did. It was nice to hear Noori’s answers and take on the story.

The type of books I like best are the ones based on the Quran or Hadith. This book has both and they are quoted in the back.

Quran Hadith Islamic kids book

This book teaches some important and valuable lessons to both boys and girls. The most important aspect being that it teaches our children to live our lives following Quran and Hadith.

You can buy this book on Amazon.

You can also meet Zak again in:

Zak and His Good Intentions

Here are some other Islamic children’s books I have reviewed.

Yan’s Hajj

Nanni’s Hijab

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***This post contains affiliate links to companies that I recommend. This book was kindly given to me to review. All opinions are my own***

When You’re Smiling -Learning the Smiling Dua

Last week we had so much fun learning the Dua for when it rains, I had to find another small Dua to learn.

A few years ago I came across the Dua for when we see someone smiling and made this little frame. As I am a perfectionist I dumped it in the back of a cupboard never to be seen again because I don’t like the writing.

I went back in the cupboard, took it out and displayed it on the fireplace

Smiling Dua

What a beautiful Dua to make for someone you see smiling whether you know them or not. It leaves you feeling all happy and warm inside.

This Dua was made for the Prophet Muhammed (SAW).

Hadith
Sunnah.com

I showed the frame to Noori and we discussed the Hadith, the Dua and how smiling is form of charity. If we give someone a beautiful smile they will feel happy and that could be the first time they smiled today. Also you will be rewarded from Allah and maybe rewarded with a smile back from that person.

Then we learned the Dua. I said the Dua over the day and got Noori too repeat it after me.

The next day we made some smiley face Emoji biscuits. I had bought some really boring rich tea style biscuits the day before. So we gave them a much-needed make over. With yellow icing, raisins for eyes and smiley mouths. Whilst doing this activity we kept repeating the Dua over and over.

Emoji Cookie

A few days later we went to the park after school and had one of our biscuits as a snack. Again we repeated the Dua.

Emoji bitten

When we got home we did some smiley face emoji maths.

This time Noori is learning her 7 times tables so I took the opportunity to incorporate maths and Duas with physical activity.

I put her Smiley Emoji cushion in the middle of the floor. On her Emoji notepaper I wrote the 7 times table. I got Noori to put them in the correct order around the Emoji face.

Emoji Maths

As they were too close to the cushion she spread them around the room. I asked her a question about the 7 times tables. She jumped on the answer and then on to the Emoji. When she landed on the Emoji she had to say the Dua.

I find this method a really effective way of memorizing Duas and times tables.

I’m hoping after reading this next time you see a smiley face Emoji you will connect it to this short but sweet Dua. And everytime you see someone smiling you will make this Dua for them and spread a bit of happiness around 😁😊☺🙂

Read how we learned the Dua for when its Raining here.

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Yan’s Hajj- Book review

I’ll admit it, I’m a judge a book by its cover type. This book from Kube publishing drew me in straight away. The cover is bright, with soft watercolour style illustrations letting you know it will be a nice, smiley, warm read with nothing bad happening.

The Book

At first glance there looks nothing Islamic about this book , which to me is a bonus. All too often we see the same view of Islam and its time for something different to make our children really connect.

This book is from a different prospective. A man who could be of any race or religion who looks like a farmer. Coming from a city and not well-travelled in Muslim countries its is not what I would expect a Muslim to look like. And I would never associate any Muslims I know with the countryside.

It is very important to show children that Islam is for everyone not one race. And Islam is about a lifestyle not just about going to madrassah and forgetting about it at home.

Most kids books involve farm animals in one way or the other. So it is nice to see an Islamic book sharing this theme.

Look at the smiley faces and bright sunflowers.

When we look closely we can see the Kaaba giving us a clue about the storyline.

Then of course we have the title ‘Yans Hajj’ telling us what it’s about.

The Author could have chosen a more commonly used Muslim name but chose Yan. To me that name could be from anywhere but it sounds very Chinese. After thinking bout this my curious mind went into overdrive and I emailed a few questions to the Author. Her answers are beautiful and in a way unexpected.

I asked the Author Fawzia Gilani why she chose the name Yan?

Two reasons –

One – it was a way to give visibility to converts to Islam. We rarely have children’s stories that show westerners coming to Islam and so by naming this particular character Yan it was a way to project inclusiveness.
Two – my father would tell us the stories of the prophets of God when we were young as bedtime stories. He told the stories in such a vivid and grand way that the prophets became my childhood heroes. I thought they were magnificent.and I loved them so much.One of my favourite messengers was John peace be upon him. For me Yan is just another way of saying John or Yahya.I named this character after John peace be upon him because like John, Yan is kind and tender hearted.

What country is the book set in?

Yan is a Bulgarian variant of John – in Arabic Yahya. So the story is set in Europe where this name is used.

As a revert I find this wonderful. The majority of reverts I know are from all over Europe.

At my daughters school the white Muslims are seen to be non muslim and have a hard time proving their religion . Showing European Muslims in books is something we all need to see more of for both children and adults.

The story is about Yan’s strive to complete Hajj.

Everyday Yan works hard on his farm to make money to survive and save for Hajj. When he sets off he always comes across a people who could use the money more than him. He comes across some children with no school and builds it up for them again.

The next time he has saved enough he comes across some people with no Masjid. So with his own sweat and tears he builds them a beautiful clean white Masjid.

Imagine the Barakah in this action reported in this Hadith.

Uthman ibn Affan reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever builds a mosque for Allah, then Allah will build for him a house like it in Paradise.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 439, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 533

Yan lived in a simple small house, by building this Masjid imagine what his house in Jannah will look like.

After saving up and attempting Hajj he always found a people more in need including a slave boy which he freed. He took care of him and brought him up in a good way.

Eventually with a little kindness from those he helped , his wish to do Hajj was met.

Lessons From the Book

Yan teaches us patience and perseverance by working hard and saving up for Hajj.

Yan lives a simple , honest ,happy life with his only wish to complete Hajj. How many of us think like this?

We go to work to keep a nice house, drive a nice car, have nice clothes and keep up appearances. Will we ever be able to save enough for Hajj? Or will we only go when we are old , retired and have spare time?

This book can teach children to have this aim in life. It is important we don’t just say Yan did this Yan did that. We need to make our kids relate it to themselves.

Therefore we did a little activity. I re-read the book again and Noori insisted on telling it me in her own words. I was impressed that she understood the little boy was a servant ( slave). I like the way the book addresses such a dark, serious subject in a child friendly way , letting you skim over it or turn it into a big conversation

We went through the book looking at the pictures. She decided that Yan was poor , he had a small house, simple clothes, no watch or mobile. The first time he walked to Hajj and the second he went by horse. I pointed out that Yan could have used his Hajj money to buy a big house or a nice car but then He would have no money for Hajj. I told her that Yan lives in Bulgaria and showed it her on the map. We looked how long it would take for him to walk to Hajj 35 days!

He may not have had all these material things but Allah had blessed him with so many opportunities to do good deeds. Even small things that aren’t mentioned in the the story but shown in the pictures. Can you guess which Hadith this picture relates to?

I am in awe of Yans persistence on going to Hajj and think we should learn a lesson from it and encourage our children to do the same. So Noori made a savings jar for her Brother and herself. We will put one pound every month for both of them in the jar and when they are old enough and before they start saving for a car or getting in debt to a mortgage they can do Hajj Inshallah.

We got a big jar and Noori decorated it with her colourful cellotapes.

My Thoughts on the Book

I would like to know why Yan has no wife or why she isn’t mentioned?

I usually don’t read Questions at the end of books but I think they are important in Islamic books. They are a great way of discussing the important and answering any questions your child may have. So I would like to see them in this book.

Where can I Buy This Book!!!

If you would like to add this wonderful book to your collection you can buy it online from:

Kube Publishing

Amazon

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***This book was give to me for free in exchange for an honest review expressing all my own opinions. This review also contains affiliate links. For more info read my About page***

It’s Raining,It’s Pouring: Learning the Rain Dua.

Learning and teaching Duas is for me a laborious task and is not something I enjoy. We have learned the essential everyday Duas. I have stuck them all around my house in the appropriate places and we learn them as we go along our everyday lives as I find this the easiest way to teach them and I feel the most relevant.

(If you would like to print a lovely set of Dua cards you can get them free at And Then She Said)

Last night I was reading the book Let’s remember Allah’s daily blessings when I came across the Dua for when it is raining.

Dua for when its raining

For those of you that follow us on Instagram and Facebook you will know how excited I was that I memorized it in 5 minutes. I love how it is like a short rhyme and easy for just about anyone to remember. In this part of the UK we can use this Dua frequently and use it to remember Allah.

I knew this would be super easy for Noori to learn and we may spark some enthusiasm about learning Duas again.

This spurred me on and I came up with a few rainy ideas to make learning the dua fun, and learning a bit of science and maths at the same time.

The first thing we did is read the Dua, its meaning in English and that we should say it when it rains.

Splish Splash Splosh front cover

We then read a book about water called Splish Splash Splosh by Wonderwise. This comes in a set of books on various subjects. They are set out in a fun style with charming, friendly illustrations. The child will learn so much information about the world without realising. Each book has a page of experiments at the back. I can’t recommend them enough.

I chose this book as I knew it talked about rain, so we read it and everytime the word rain was mentioned I got her to repeat the Dua.

Splish Splash Splosh

This page explains about how rain is formed in rainclouds and I knew the perfect raincloud experiment.

You will need:

  • A clear glass of water
  • Blue food colouring mixed in a separate glass of water
  • A thin sponge (I cut up an old one)
  • A pippet or teaspoon
  1. Put your glass of clear water, glass of blue (or in my case green) water on a surface you don’t mind getting dirty.
  2. Get your Cloud (sponge) and make it fly through the air from the sea where it was formed , inland onto the top of your glass of clear water.
  3. Now using your pippet or spoon start adding drops of your blue water. Eventually your raincloud (sponge) will become so full of water it will Burst open and all the rain (blue food colouring) will start to fall .
  4. As the rain starts to fall say your Rain Dua.

rain experiment

This is a great visual way to show how rainclouds produce rain and keeps the kids quiet as they do the experiment observing the colours moving around in the water.

After that we played a fun maths game which Noori loved.

In keeping with the rain theme I found some unreusable old wrapping paper and made it into puddle shapes. I then got some scrap paper , wrote random numbers and spread them out on the floor. I didn’t stick the numbers on because in the future I can use the numbers and puddles for different things.

Puddle maths

The challenge was to ask Noori multiplication sums and she had to jump on the correct answer. Each time she said the answer she then had to repeat the Dua. I made sure some of the answers were far apart meaning she had to jump further making it more challenging and fun.

At one point I asked her how rain can be beneficial? She told me we need rain for drinking, then listed a bunch of animals and plants that drink water. Then everytime she jumped on a new puddle she decided to tell me the maths answer, the Dua and something that can benefit from the rain, showing an understanding of what the Dua means.

Puddle maths

When I could think of no more multiplications, I asked some addition and subtraction.

This activity can easily be adapted for all ages. For children who are learning numbers , you can shout out a number for them too jump on. Making sure they repeat the Dua each time.

I hope by learning in this style that Noori will always remember having fun whilst learning about her Deen rather than it being a task or chore.

For more Duas to learn pop over to Muslim Mother Source where she has written 5 duas that are really easy to learn if you are not able to read Arabic. There is also a link to a book Hisnul Muslim which contains many Duas for many occasions.

Jeddah Momhas written a great piece explaining the importance of teaching our kids Duas and why we should. She has included some easy ways to do this.

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Raining Dua

Allah’s Names- Al- Ali , Al-Al’aa

Rand4design
Al Ali by Rand4Design

Using our AllahsNames.net book we looked at the names Al-Ali, and Al-Al’aa. We learnt the meanings of the names and found them in the Quran. Both in English and Arabic.

We discussed the meanings and I then wrote them out in Noori’s flowers colouring book. I usually let her do it but for some reason that I can’t remember I did it. Baby brain is real.

Using our Thinkernation Arabic spell and learn Noori tried spelling out and forming the words , for a bit of Arabic practise.

As both the names translate as high we moved on to some height activites to reinforce the memorization of the word.

Firstly we did a building challenge using stones. We could have used a number of objects but stones are more of a challenge. Each stone has a unique shape meaning they have to be carefully balanced.

Stones

Stones are a great Montessori resource as they are natural sensory objects . Each stone has a different shape, weight and texture. They make different sounds and come in different colours and shades.

The challenge was to see who could make a high pile of stones and the highest pile of stones.

Here is Noori’s. We measured against a toy truck. Hers was high. Like Allahs name Al-Ali the High.

Here is mine the highest like Al Al’aa Allahs name the highest.

I have found this word association works. For Allahs name Al Awal Al Akhir we did an ice experiment. Now everytime we see ice I remind her of the experiment and the name of Allah we were learning about.

Everytime she see stones I can remind her of our height challenge and mention Al Ali , Al Ala.

The next day we made a height chart. I thought it would be interesting to compare the height of animals. I had made some Arabic flashcards earlier about animals.

There was a deer , a young boy ,frog, butterfly, mouse and spider. I googled the heights of these animals and we measured them using a tape measure. Surprisingly a deer was 150cm. We stuck the deer on the door frame at 150cm. We then stuck all the other animals at their heights. And Nooris for comparison (hers is the blue tack).It was nice for her to compare her height to different animals.

Animal heights

This is the best photo I could take but you get the idea.

We said that Noori is High like Allah’s name Al-Ali means high. A deer is Highest like Allahs name Al-Ala means Highest.

We went on a park walk some days later and saw some birds making a nest. I said that bird is really high. And then asked her the name of Allah that means high and the name that means highest.

As it says in the Quran:

And it is He who spread the earth and placed therein firmly set mountains and rivers; and from all of the fruits He made therein two mates; He causes the night to cover the day. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.

Quran 13:3

We can notice all these things around us and connect them back to the activities and remember the names of Allah.

I hope you enjoyed this read and if you want more you can read how we learned the names:

Allah- The Greatest Name

As-Sami

Al-Awaal , Al Akhir

Ar-Rab

As-Salaam

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