ramadan finale

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We’re in the final week of Ramadan, time flies! By this time next week, Muslims across the world will be celebrating Eidul Fitr (Monday or Tuesday, dependent on the moon sighting). This is a festival in celebration of our month’s fast in Ramadan. It is an auspicious, happy and joyous day, where we thank God the Almighty for His many bounties. I look forward to Eid, but I cannot help but feel for those who are currently suffering. There’s always people suffering everywhere, but my thoughts now rest with the people of Gaza and those who perished on Malaysia Airlines MH17. I’m certain you’ve all heard of the latest atrocities concerning them. At the end of the day, it’s always the innocent people (men, women, many children, i.e. families) who have lost their lives in the most tragic way. My heart goes out to their loved ones, who would have to carry on with their lives broken-hearted. They will never be the same, it would be very hard to smile again. We know death is for certain, no one escapes it. We feel sad when someone we love dies, even in the most natural circumstances. But like in the case of MH17, or MH370 (which disappeared in March) or the ongoing wars, we can only imagine what their loved ones must be going through. The trauma would stay for a very long time. I find it hard to be happy when I think of their suffering. I find comfort in knowing their souls will all be in Heaven, given the circumstances of their death. As for the rest of us (a reminder to myself), let us make a pledge to treasure all those around us. This worldly life is too short and very fragile, it’s only temporary after all. It’s not meant to last. Let’s stop the bickering and hard feelings towards each other. Let’s be kind and respectful, regardless of our differences. We don’t know how long that person will be in our lives, we’ll only be left with memories when he/she is gone. Let’s make the memories sweet, let’s remember the good times. Everyone has to go someday; some may have the chance to say goodbye, others may end tragically like the ones mentioned above. We have no power over death, but we have the power to shape the memories we share whilst we’re alive. Let’s work on that, make them good ones! Pray for all this blessed Ramadan end!!!

my late beloved father with my dearest mother and my son at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, our happy memory

my late beloved father/dearest mother with my son at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, one happy memory

My heart is with those who have lost their loved ones…to God we belong, to Him we return.

 

ramadan memories

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Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.

Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us.

To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward.

Ramadan brings back many old memories for me; I treasure the ones with my family most of all. It makes me pine away for my growing up years, of being one of my parents’ beloved daughters. As the first-born, I took the first steps in trudging through all of life’s milestones. I am supposed to be the ideal role model for both my younger sisters, it isn’t easy sometimes. The photo below is truly special, it was taken just before my family and I flew to London for my wedding. My late father insisted on it, as it was a tradition for us to have a family photo taken every couple of years or so. Little did we know then that it was to be our last formal family photo with our beloved dad in it. I miss him tremendously, especially when I feel down. Doesn’t have to be anything major, it could just be a particularly bad day. I recall one of my cousins saying that I will always find my way to Ipoh, Malaysia, no matter how far I am. Simply because my dad is buried there, therefore I shall always return to visit his grave. I don’t like to be too sad when I think of my dad these days though, like I used to be in the beginning. For I know he wouldn’t want to see me miserable, he would want me to carry on with my life and focus on those around me. Even though my dad was a bit broken-hearted that I was thousands of miles away after I got married, he knew that I was happy. He could see that he had passed his eldest daughter into the loving care of a very good man, who would InshaAllah (God Willing) love me forever more. I am also thankful to God the Almighty that my beloved dad managed to see his eldest grandchild before he left this world. In fact, he was there in the early days when my son was born, and he played the doting grandpa for 2 years, as I flew home quite often back then. Sadly, he never saw any of his 3 granddaughters, I know he would have loved them. I talk to my girls (and my son) about him from time to time and pray that we will all be reunited in Heaven, InshaAllah. I was inspired to blog this post by a Malay drama I watched online, entitled Ijab & Qabul. This literarily means Offer & Acceptance, which forms the Islamic Marriage Contract. When a Muslim couple agrees to tie the knot, the bride’s father (or guardian) will recite the offer to hand over the care of his daughter to the man who wishes to marry her. This should be done in front of reliable witnesses. The groom will then recite the acceptance of the offer. When the religious official along with the guardian and witnesses are satisfied, a prayer will be recited and the bride is then officially under her husband’s care. A woman’s status is very high indeed in true Islam, they are supposed to be cared for and loved like gems, no loving father wants anything less for his precious daughter. When my late father closed his eyes forever I knew that he didn’t have any major worries regarding me, I left his house to get married, and I shall remain in my husband’s house till the day I die. Thank you papa for handing me over to one as wonderful as you. I truly miss you, you’re forever in my prayers. Ramadan and Eid not the same without you here, but we shall carry on, you would want us to be happy. You always loved the blessed months of Ramadan and Shawwal…

nfadm

my beloved family and I

ijab&qabul

ijab & qabul over me

Theme song from the Malay drama, Ijab & Qabul, very touching! It’s about the eternal love a husband has for his wife, regardless of her shortcomings. He’ll uphold the Ijab & Qabul he contracted, he will honour his promise to her guardian…

 

 

 

ramadan ramblings 3

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Honour the past. Live in the present. Create the future.

Greetings again everyone! More ramblings from me! ;) Ramadan seems to inspire me in more ways than one, my blogging ideas certainly materialise with such ease too! My mind and heart are filled with many sweet memories; of past Ramadans, of the wonderful people I’ve met throughout my 45 years of living, who’s touched my life in different ways. I feel very blessed indeed to have many warm memories to carry with me throughout my brief worldly existence. I want the same for my children, I hope when they get to my age (God Willing), they can also look back and smile at the beautiful memories they have, at the lovely people they’ve met. I can certainly speak for my first born. My son grew up with these 3 charming brothers, they’ve known each other since they were little. But just under a decade ago, their parents (our good friends) decided to migrate to the UAE. My son was devastated, he really loves the boys like his own brothers, especially since he hasn’t got any! But life goes on as they say, people move on. Nonetheless, these friends of his return to England almost every year to see him, much to his joy and happiness. He remains very dear to their hearts! When I shared the video clip by Native Deen in my previous post, I was reminded of my son’s friends, I always treat them like my own. I’ve known them since they were in their nappies! They are almost as tall as their dad now (6 footer), but they are such gentle giants in character and personality just like their dad too. Their mom, one of my dearest friends in the West, will always have a special place in my heart. She is one amazing lady! Today of all days (when I was thinking of them all) she contacted me to wish me Ramadan Mubarak, they are all in America at the moment for a month’s visit. She also mentioned they will be visiting England before the end of the year! I know my son will be over the moon when I announce it to him after he returns from school. Ramadan is about strengthening those special bonds again, don’t let it be a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind!’ To all my friends, family, relatives and acquaintances out there, I hope you know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers especially in this blessed month. I wish you peace, blessings and every happiness with your loved ones. We’re almost half-way through Ramadan now, time does fly! Till next time, take very good care everyone! ❤

my son

my son with his 3 special friends; yes, they’ve now got 2 other younger brothers, and 3 sweet sisters (just like my son), boys need sisters to keep them in check!

another of my simple Iftar

another of my simple Iftar; dates, samosas, fruits, kebabs with salad and mint chutney, and trifle for dessert

My current favourite song! Alhamdulillah for the all beautiful memories and people in my life. Beauty is peace, peace is my faith!

ramadan ramblings 2

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Greetings all! I noticed many searches for ‘Ramadan Iftar Food’ on my blog, well, I’ve compiled them here for you! I cook very simple meals, nothing too complicated! I mentioned in my previous post how we can’t really eat much during this year’s 19 hour fast here in the UK, well it’s true! By the time we break our fast at dusk (around 9.30pm), pray Maghrib and eat the main meal, it’s already 10.30pm. Which means we only have 4 hours left before we resume fasting, Suhoor (the morning meal) ends around 2.45am! We’re still kind of full from Iftar but it’s encouraged to eat a bit more to get us going for the next day! Suhoor is like breakfast time for us; cereals, toasts and buns usually. This Ramadan has proven to be the most challenging one so far, I pray God make it easier for me in the days to come! I’ve included 2 more Ramadan songs below; one melodious and calm, the other very upbeat and will wake you up for sure! Someone like me needs to be woken up big time this Ramadan! I wish all of you peace and blessings in this holy month, remember us in your prayers…

Note : My food photos not intended to entice you whilst fasting in Ramadan, nor is it to show off my moderate cooking skills. They are for those looking for simple dishes to prepare in this blessed month. Thank you.

Don’t miss out on my previous Ramadan posts! 

my simple Ramadan dishes for iftar

my simple Ramadan dishes for Iftar

The upbeat one!

The calm melodious one!

ramadan ramblings

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Greetings everyone! I finally had a proper chance to sit down and blog this entry, what a bliss! Hubby’s at work, son’s at school, big daughter’s attending ‘taster day’ at her future secondary school (she officially starts in September) and my youngest two are at their weekly art class. I don’t like to blog when they’re around as I feel my focus then should be on them. I normally go about grocery/food shopping at this time, but my routine’s changed a bit now that it’s our fasting month, Ramadan. How has it been so far? Well, fasting for 19 hours here in the UK is rather long to be honest. I started fasting since 7 years old back in my homeland, over there it’s the standard 13 hour fast every year. Since we’re close to the Equator, we do not have the 4 seasons. We have summer all year round, hot tropical 30c! Even though it’s not compulsory for children to fast (nor the infirm, elderly, women in their menses/pregnancy/breastfeeding, travellers etc), the atmosphere in an Islamic country like Malaysia makes it easier for young ones to practise this once a year obligatory act. Here in England, however, it’s a different story. It’s more of an effort, shall I say. It has to come from within you. That’s why they have the term practising Muslim and non-practising Muslim here in England. There are many who are Muslims by name only! Practising Islam can be a struggle when you are in the minority. On the other side of the coin, you hear of Muslims who are extremists and terrorists, they give Islam a bad name! They always make me boil inside. But Alhamdulillah the world is filled with regular Muslims like myself, I’m sure you know by now what I’m like after reading my blog chattering for a while! We only want peace in this world and paradise in the Hereafter, Ameen. We try our best to uphold our faith and treat everyone/everything else in the planet with love and respect. Anyway, I am quite fortunate actually as I live within a small Muslim community whereby there are 4 mosques, several ‘halal’ butchers and madrasas (Quran schools). Practising my faith isn’t that difficult, as long as the effort comes from within me. When I first got married, the fasting month here fell in Winter (the Islamic months are based on the lunar calendar). Fasting was a breeze, around 8 hours! But now after almost 17 years, the fasting month falls in mid-Summer where the daylight is very long, we’re in total darkness for only 6 hours! I have no complaints of hunger and thirst from my fast this year, but I suffer from a bit of headache several hours before breaking fast time at dusk. This is mainly due to the lack of sleep, which will adjust itself once our bodies are familiar with new routine. Apart from that, I also find that we can’t eat much at all at iftar (breaking fast) time. It’s just so late by the time we finish our meal (10.30pm), we feel very tired from the long day! That’s why I cook very simple dishes for iftar this year, alongside our usual dates, fruit salad and samosas. I suppose it helps if you sleep for a bit during the day but that’s almost impossible as it’s just so bright out there! My older two are fasting properly this year as they have both hit puberty. They are doing rather well, as they have had practice (do half-days, every few days etc, whatever they could manage) since they were 7. My older two love competing with each other, I remember how they tried to outdo each other in the number of hours and days they could fast. Well, all that has paid off. Alhamdulillah, now that it’s compulsory upon them to fast, they act upon it willingly. They are happy to be fasting, one of the rewards of a fasting person is when they break their fast; the relief and pleasure that comes in enjoying all the tasty food in front of them. My neighbours who are great cooks have been giving us delicious iftar dishes too! I feel sad to think of those people in poverty whereby fasting is a daily occurrence. This serves as a great reminder for us, to be grateful for what we have always and never take them for granted. Anyway, enough said for now, I leave you with several images and another Ramadan song, do watch the video clip of a Muslim family in America during the fasting month. Take good care!

Do read all my previous Ramadan posts, just type ‘Ramadan’ in my Search Widget on the right hand side! :)

he never fails to surprise me with flowers every now and then, my ramadan bouquet from hubby

he never fails to surprise me with flowers every now and then, my ramadan bouquet from hubby

hubby's favourite starter for Iftar, onion bhajias (left) and potato/onion bhajias (right)

hubby’s favourite starter for Iftar, onion bhajias (left) and potato/onion bhajias (right)

chicken cutlets (right) and lamb pasties (left) ideal as light Iftar meals, served with salad/chips/wedges

chicken cutlets (right) and lamb pasties (left) ideal as light Iftar meals, served with salad/chips/wedges

my youngest with her ramadan henna done by her big sister

my youngest with her henna to welcome Ramadan

my lil one checking on our goldfish

my lil one checking on our goldfish

yes, we have 5 goldfish in the old bathtub!

yes, we have 5 goldfish in the old bathtub outside!

my summer display

a couple of my summer display by the old bathtub

pale pink roses lifts my mood

pale pink roses in my late neighbour’s (Lionel) overgrown garden, peace and beauty always there amidst the thorns of life

Oh God! Please make the rest of Ramadan easier for me to get closer to you, especially in this year’s challenging 19 hour long fast! Fasting from food and drink is manageable with practice (pray my health remains good) but refraining from bad habits and behaviour and increasing my religious acts may be a struggle! Please do forgive and guide this humble soul!!!