Making Time for Prayer

I’m sure you have noticed that I am blogging a little less these days, which is mainly due to the long hours of fasting, as well as being kept busy with work, food preps and taking time for quick naps!

One of the biggest parts of Ramadan when fasting is prayer – not just the five times a day worship, but other forms of prayers as well. Fasting is not enough on its own, for a lot of Muslims there is no point starving yourself of food all day if you do not understand spiritually why you are doing this, and how it can help us. It is this which makes our fast more meaningful, and also more likely to be accepted by God as something truly offered in Ramadan

Unfortunately, in today’s busy society, we all have pretty lives – I know my sisters and I all have full-time jobs and household responsibilities which can take up a lot of our time, and even in the long hours of Ramadan, we find ourselves busy. We also find ourselves tired, running on less sleep and low energy which can make it more difficult for us to make sure we put some time aside for ibadah and prayer.

My goal this month has been to spend more time reading the Quran, as well as looking at the English translated copy I have, which I have always enjoyed reading because of the detailed background it gives to so many stories. It’s ironic, when we were all little and learning our letters, being taught the Quran by our father, we were never that appreciative and we always tried to hide from our lessons or fall asleep in them (me!). These days, when we want to do these things, we feel like we just have no time for it, let alone free time to ourselves. We all try to set goals for ourselves every Ramadan – but meeting them can be a little bit of struggle. Equally, a lot of women who aren’t fasting due to pregnancy, or nursing children, or even busy mothers who keep fasts but are unable to pray, often feel guilty because they feel their contribution isn’t enough – I think I can agree with those who say that raising your child and nurturing them is a form of worship to God, and that feeding and looking after your family shouldn’t be underestimated.

I’ve been lucky enough this year, however busy I have been, to be helped a lot by my husband, who often takes the time to cook after work, or clean around the house (he still doesn’t pick up his coffee mugs though), which leaves me with more free time. I’ve been making an effort to make more time for prayer and looking a small duas that I can incorporate. As we enter the last ten days of Ramadan, each night becomes more special, and even though I’m pretty sure I’ll get busier (that Eid shopping won’t get done by itself!), that special atmosphere in the air, that sense of camaraderie will make it more of a reason to take the time to count our blessings : )

20160618_200629

A Chunky Chicken and Potatoes Curry Recipe

I thought I’d post a quick chicken and potato curry recipe that we made yesterday, which I thought would be quick and easy to throw together! I’m looking to be more creating with recipes this Ramadan, so will post any new dishes I make!

Cook Thangs

Ingredients:

  • Chicken (we used half a kilo)
  • 4-5 potatoes
  • 3-4 tomatoes
  • 1/4 spoon of chilli powder (use more or less according to your preferences)
  • 1/2 spoon of salt (use more or less according to your preferences)
  • A pinch of saffron
  • Pinch of garam masala
  • Pinch of black pepper (optional)
  • 3 cardamoms seeds
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 1 tsp of mashed garlic paste
  • 1 tsp of mashed ginger paste

Method:

  • Warm some oil in a pan
  • Chop the onions (it’s up to you how big/chunky you prefer them) and cook in the pan until golden brown
  • Once they are brown remove from the pan and drain. leave the oil in the pan
  • Roast all of the spices together with the garlic and ginger paste and the cardamom seeds in the remaining oil for about 10-15 mins
  • Peel and chop the potatoes, wash the chicken pieces and chop the green chilli – we trimmed the chillies at the end and left them as whole pieces
  • Chop the tomatoes – again you can keep these chunky or blend these like we did. We also put the onions in with the tomatoes for a smoother sauce, but you can leave them chunky if you want a thicker sauce
  • Add the chicken pieces to the spices and cook in the sauce until half-cooked
  • Add the green chillies to the pan
  • Once the chicken is half-cooked, add the tomatoes and onions mix back to the pan
  • Add the chopped potatoes to the pan
  • Cook in the sauce for a little while
  • Add water to the pan and cook for a few minutes
  • Put the lid on the pan and let the steam cook the potatoes
  • Once the potatoes begin to go soft (about 15-20 minutes later) the dish is ready
  • Serve with rice or with naan/pitta/chappatis and enjoy.

Ramadan Mubarak…!

I’m a bit late in posting this (only a couple of days late!) but I’d like to wish everyone a blessed month of Ramadan, full of good deeds, delicious food and a memorable month of fasting, prayers and charity.

I debated whether I should take part in the yearly Ramadan Journal challenge held by the wonderful Neelu who initially started a lot of bloggers doing this. I’ve taken part in previous years, but decided not to this year to focus on ibadah (prayer) and spending more time at home to make the most of the month rather than stressing about posting every day. As much as I always enjoy the challenge, I’ll be taking a break this year, although I will be continuing to post where I can!
However my elder sister will be taking part in the challenge so please do follow her progress!

In the meantime, here’s an idea of the beautiful sunsets we’ve been seeing lately. the sunshine has finally hit London and it’s made our skies all pastelly pink and blue. I’m off to break my fast soon, which we’ve been busying ourselves in the kitchen with, so enjoy the lovely summer that’s finally reached us and I’ll be posting again soon! : )

Ramadan Mubarak and may all of your duas be granted x

201605121637004926

#CHECKTHELABEL

“There’s a Palestine that dwells inside all of us, a Palestine that needs to be rescued: a free Palestine where all people regardless of color, religion, or race coexist; a Palestine where the meaning of the word “occupation” is only restricted to what the dictionary says rather than those plenty of meanings and connotations of death, destruction, pain, suffering, deprivation, isolation and restrictions that the country has become injected with.”
― Refaat Alareer, Gaza Writes Back

Every year, Israel exports millions of pounds worth of dates to the world, which many people unknowingly buy and use to break their fasts. These dates are often grown in illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley, on land that has been stolen from Palestinians. By buying these dates, we are helping Israel to continue it’s illegal occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. With your hard work, dedication and support the #CheckTheLabel campaign has grown significantly over the last 8 years.  The campaign has gone to the heart of the communities in cities and towns across the UK to ensure no one buys these dates.

When buying dates for Ramadan this year, please check the label and make sure they have come from free settlements and are part of a fair trade community. One of the biggest reasons we fast is to recognise and understand the suffering which unfortunate people undergo, and these fasts could be undermined if they are opened with food which becomes a symbol of oppression.

For more information, please visit this site.

Snapchat-8486090719207647394

Our Eid!

DSC_4025

We had a lovely Eid weekend (which was a 3 day affair for me) starting with dinner at the sisters, then dinner at my mum’s, and ending with an Eid Fair at a local park (with lots of screaming on the rides!). Here’s a few shots of what we did this Eid, you can see a little more here  as well, but the general theme was lots of good food, energetic toddlers and yummy cupcakes!

Journal Your Ramadan – Day #25: Y is for Yellow

There’s something about the colour yellow which feels appropriate as the end of Ramadan draws closer – maybe the burst of activity and preparations, as well as the fact that we strive to make the most of the last ten days of Ramadan.

For me, it’s an inspiring colour – hopeful, sunny and bright – and certainly eye-catching enough to make you see something in a different way.

yallo