Friday, 18 January 2008

Ashura Porridge

Apparently, there is such a thing. At least over here. It is customary for Muslims (in some parts of Malaysia) to convene at their local masjid and enjoy a bowl of porridge. It is called Ashura Porridge. I guess it brings Muslims together to do what most enjoy - eating.

Is that not cute? I have never heard of it before, but since I am at my in-laws' this Ashura, we will be trooping along to enjoy a bowl each tomorrow, insha'Allah.

For those who have fasted today, may all your sins have been forgiven. If you could not fast, click here.

It Does Not Mean You Do Not Care!

The Qur'an warns strictly of the care facilities that one has to provide for their parents, especially as they move on to the old sensitive age. This includes financial support, shelter, medical facilities, continuing education (especially religious education), a sense of belonging and plenty of love and care. Sounds like taking care of your new-born does it not? As my husband says, as we grow older, we tend to grow younger - not in a good way but physically, mentally and socially we are unable to do most of the things we were able to do when young. Sounds about right, does it not.

Most Muslim families have their parents live with them once they reach a certain age - it is an honourable thing to do, to take care of your parents - should anything happen to them, at least you are there and readily available to jump to their needs.

I once spoke of this to a non-Muslim friend who was having difficulties coping with her grouchy, diabetic and extremely stubborn grandfather who was spending his cranky days terrorising her working mother, instead of his own son. She was so flabberghasted that she wanted to shift him off to a home. Our Muslim friend disagreed, saying that it was their duty to take care of him, regardless of his attitude.

When they finally asked me what I thought, they were shocked to know I sided with my non-Muslim friend. My opinion was this, both his son and daughter-in-law worked long hours, and the 6 grandchildren who stayed with him either worked like their parents or were studying vigorously in school / university. He was left at home everyday, with a maid who did not speak the same language. He had a strict diet that he refused to follow and was generally grouchy and temperamental.

What he needed was this - a place to socialise with plenty of cheerful peers, avenues to exercise, medical care provided by personnel he could not bully and he needed to get out of the house. This was for his own good as well as the family's.

Personally, I think care homes are good for the elderly, all for the reasons above. At this age, they are free from any burdens of cooking and cleaning and working in general and they should be allowed to kick with buddies of their generation with a glass of milk and diabetic cookies, do some light exercise in the park and have professional people look after them. They should also be given their own time to reflect on life and read the Qur'an as often as they like. I'm not saying we should discard them completely - if it is possible for them to come home and sleep at home, then by all means, pick them up after work. The point is, they would not be alone at home during the day. It can be lonely for them, and sometimes depressing if everyone is rushing about, in and out of work, school, clubs, sporting activities, music classes. It happens - life goes on for the next generation and it is within their duties to make the best of their lives too.

Loving your parents does not mean you have to keep them bottled up in the living room the whole day - it is much like your children, you have to let them off to pre-school one day, just for the sake of getting up and about, out the house and learning something new in this unlimited world of wisdom. It is also a time for them to make friends and talk to other people. The elderly need that too, especially if a spouse has passed on - moping around at home can lead them down memory lane's more painful trips.

If you are concerned about sending your parents off to care homes as you should be, take time to do some research on the different types of care available. If you parents have conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, take time to look around for care-providers that will help them with their medication. Check if you can send your parents to homes for day-care only, much like pre-school, if you do not want them lodging there permanently. Also ask about the activities they arrange - like exercise and other social activities that will benefit your parents. If keeps the mind and body fit at all times. If you still have qualms about homes, you may want to consider bringing care into your home - that is also a viable option, though without the social aspect.

If you are living in the UK, bettercaring provides a whole list of caring homes for the elderly, that way you would be able to contact them directly and even pay them a visit, with your parents to check out their facilities and meet their people. It would be worth a search, in my mind.

Most homes provided that. Bettercaring will help you with all your questions if you are looking for options that will help your parents through their later years of their lives. They should happy years and they deserve that - it is part of caring for them.

I don't think my friend ever desposited her granddad into a home - as she put it. The facilities do not really exist in Asia, and besides the norm would be to keep your parents in your own home. I know many Muslim families here though feel there is a need to change. My mum-in-law mentioned that a few friends of hers put their heads together and rented a small house for all their parents to stay together. There they set up all the facilities for them to live comfortably and hired an Ustaz (religious teacher) to sit with them and read the Qur'an and tell them religious stories - just to remind themselves of the importance of being a Muslim. On the weekends, after five days of activities and pot-luck meals, they all return home to their families with a bundle of stories of their own to share with their kids and grandkids.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Do you have a Shirtdress?

This must be the perfect piece of attire for the modern muslim woman who spends most of her days outdoors. I found the piece while browsing around Her Modesty.

I think it looks chic, classy and extremely comfortable. Best of all, it covers well and can be worn with a long skirt or trousers. It is also extremely versatile and you would fit in well, whether at work or running to the grocery store.

The shirtdress works perfectly for those who do not have access to abayas and jilbabs - or for those who just do not prefer to wear one-pieces, whether at work or out on chores. Imagine it as a long top that does not display your precious curves but allows you to move freely and quickly when on the run. I am guessing it is also easy to slip on and off when moving in and out of your house.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

This is Sharlinie Nashar - Have You Seen Her?

If you have seen this girl, please contact RakanCop at 603-21159999. The man on the left is the sketch of the suspected abducter.

She has been missing for over a week now and we are worried that her fate will be the same as Nurin Jazlin's.

Please make du'a for Sharlinie (Nini) and her family, for them to be strong under these difficult circumstances. Please also remember Nurin in your prayers, as well as her parents and sisters.

Relinquish Yourself From Debt NOW!

Muslim Matters blogged on something important a few days ago. DEBT! We all are acquainted with the pains and bruises that debt can cause us. Especially for Muslims, and I think, other faiths of the book, interest is gravely prohibited, whether we are a borrower, lender or privy in any way to an interest-based contract - it is a grave disobedience to one of our religion's directives to "not take interest" (Prophet Muhammad's (peace and blessings upon him) final sermon).

There are plenty of financial consultants, websites, help-articles, magazines, books and even tv programmes available to educate and help debt-ridden members of society to get back on the right track - back into the green. Advice usually revolves around the importance of using only cash when spending. Avoiding interest at all costs definitely helps save money and reduce stress and tension in the household.

However, there are times when one, Muslim or not, may need to apply for credit cards and / or personal financing. As a responsible Muslim, it is important to exhaust all options in searching for Shari'ah compliant instruments that avoid the concept of interest. The best way to do this is to become educated on the different forms of financing there are in the market. Learning and shopping around will deter rash decision-making that can lead to unwarranted stress and rising credit problems.

So whether you are a fresh graduate looking to build a future or someone with bad credit loans, Bad Credit Offers is a consultation web-site that is geared in easing the stress of debt. Firstly, they have shopped around for credit cards and financing options that will mitigate the risk in falling the red. Education is the other element of this credit service. By helping their customers understand their spending habits and eventually their credit standings (through their consultative services), you will be able to pro-actively curb the risk of over-spending in the future.

Over all, they are really looking into helping those who are struggling with credit problems with alternatives to consolidate their debt into one single source and provide steps in repaying the loans / interest at the soonest. Muslim Matters stated that 43% of Americans are spending more than they can earn - that is a serious responsibility issue.

However, this does not stop those who are already in the green from learning about how money works. We can never be to careful when spending our salaries, especially if a credit card is at hand. One too many swipes of that piece of plastic can push you over the edge when the bills arrive.

Managing money is really mind over matter - it is pure discipline and to arrive at that mind-set, it is best to educate yourself on the options there are in the market for financial help; your own salary and how to apportion it on necessities; and finally how to avoid over-spending, since this is the main cause of debt in the first place. But no matter how many web-sites you visit or how many books you buy, at the end of the day, it is up to you to take control over your cash outflow and to be responsible and honest with yourself and your family before matters get out of hand.

Sometimes it is easier said than done. But insha'Allah, if there is will, there is a way to get back into that green zone of comfort.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Buying Medication Online - only for responsible shoppers

Shopping online can be fun. It can a breeze for those who are looking for hip and happy apparel and accessories. But there is also the market of serious shoppers - and by serious I mean those who are shopping for necessities - like medication.

I never had really thought about purchasing medicine online. Somehow, you would always visit your physician or tinker by the pharmacist. But I guess an online pharmacy sounds viable. It would actually save time on the road and in queues. It would also save money (if you are looking at transportation costs). But online shopping does that and online pharmacies are now available to ease your chores of the week.

I mentioned being a responsible shopper when it comes to buying prescribed medicine through the internet for obvious reasons. Though Buy Online Pharmacy provides a questionnaire to ascertain the viability of your medication, it is really up to the consumer to be honest with him or herself before purchasing and ultimately consuming the medication.

But the good thing about a store like this, is that it houses a range of medication that treat a wide range of ailments such as muscle pain, headaches, anxiety and health conditions that affect both men and women. Prices seem to be competitive too with guaranteed overnight shipping.

It really is up to you to determine your level of comfort when buying prescribed meds online. Since the website is managed by licensed physicians and pharmacists, you can always contact them unlike physical clinics and stores that operate only during business hours.

Modern Mama, Modern Baby

If you are a fan of contemporary art, you have to check out this site. Modern Nursery is just brimming with modern ideas for your baby's life. I really had to share this store with you and have half the mind to add it to Hijab Haven's Muslim Baby enclave.

It's amazing. I love the furniture and the toys; the books and all the interior decor.... meal time at my household would be a real waste if we did not use any of this funky high chair collection. Though I do find this uglydog doll rather disturbing - it is far more suited to a wonky teenager in those weird hormonal years. But you never know, there may be little tikes who appreciate toys like that one.

But my favourite pieces of furniture are definitely ones that can store all the clutter. STORAGE! I know it's impossible to have everything in hiding, but if I ever had a chance to design my dreamhouse, all the walls would be built-in cupboards.

Anyway, if you are shopping for your baby, remember to check out this page. There are clothes, toys and Muslim dolls. I'm glad Barbie is being outshone in the girlie market - I used to have plenty of Barbie dolls growing up - I guess I was unlucky that Leen was not around yet. In fact, I might have even preferred the ugly doll set available at Modern Nursery. Who knows?

Monday, 14 January 2008

Islamic Bouitique - A Store Review

Shopping for clothes that comply with Islamic requirement can sometimes be a chore, especially when you are living in the West, and the range of longer, larger, less fitting clothings are sparse. Even in Asian countries, where fashionable attire can be a hype, Muslimahs often find it taxing to find a decent outfit that will comply to their requirements to cover when outdoors.

That is why I started this site - to help Muslimahs in the West find their outdoor abaya, jilbab, hijab and even their pair of black socks. LOL.

One of the first stores I was attracted to was Islamic Boutique, due to their range of Abayas. You know you would be comfortable donning an Abaya outdoors, and their range of designs, fabrics, colours and matching Hijabs provides for the Muslimah who is always on the run.

Today I was dawdling through the store and found their Auction Page. It is powered by eBay and it is great to browse through. Buying new clothes can be expensive, plus, shopping online with all that shipping costs can really bite into your budget. The alternative is to auction away at eBay!

I am pretty sure Islamic Boutique will surprise us with more designs and fashion statements for the Muslimah outdoors in 2008. I think alot of sisters enjoy trawling through their shop. Insha'Allah we will be able to find inspiration from within their philosophies.

Search for More Hijabs Online!

Hijab Haven is not responsible for apparel in external sites. Not all outfits fulfill the Hijab requirement when in the presence of non-Mahram men. As a reminder, please use them responsibly.