Ramadan Beats


I hope this playlist keeps you going through this blessed month inshallah! Please click on the hyperlink.

please note: the * indicates songs that have musical instruments in them

1. Native Deen – Ramadan is Here* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7VezcjXNec

2. Sami Yusaf – Hasbi Rabbi* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRqTV1P9Zyk&feature=related

3. Qari Waheed Zafar Qasmi – (Urdu Song) – Fasalon Ko Takalluf Hai Humse Agar http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-oW8BGjh0g

4. Zain Bhika – Welcome O’ Ramadan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xv-TlLAUXQ

5. Sami Yusaf – You Came to Me* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTxWbmOCkQE&feature=fvwrel

6. Junaid Jamshed – (Urdu Song) Ilahi Teri Chaukhat Per http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze0Q8VRkLh4&feature=related

7. Zain Bhika – Eid-Un-Sa’Eid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDdHkIbPfuw

8. Ali Haider- Maula Dil Badal De (Urdu Song) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twvTqQ5CJ-0

9. Yusuf Islam- Tala Al Badru Alyana  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5HiXM9JGJQ

10. Zain Bhikha: Mountains of Makkah http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvbgaw972c4

11. Waheed Zafar Qasmi: Allah Hu Allah Hu http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MLgWjFyj8k

12. Mishary Rashid Al-Afasy: La Illaha Illallah http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs3cfmhBOkw

13. Kamal Uddin: Subhan-Allah http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2KEAy11srA

14. A Beautiful Dua: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzef68MZ0GE&feature=related

Keep the Kids Busy this Ramadan, While Staying Cool


It’s Ramadan but its also summer and that means long days, no schools and potentially cranky and bored kids!

Here are a few suggestions to beat the heat, while keeping the young ones entertained. A Ramadan tip is to do Ibadah while watching the kids grab your Quran in your purse or do Zikr while watching the kids have a great time!

1. Any indoor mall play areas: My favorite is the Fair Oaks mall play area it’s large enough and has many little things for the kids to climb on and explore. I have been to the Dulles and Tyson’s corner one as well, whichever is closer and convenient usually wins in my book.


2. Local public library: With plenty of books, tables and chairs, this is the place where young kids can begin to get exposed to library etiquette and the joys of reading. On certain days there are free book readings or activites, you would have to check on your county’s website for more details.


3. Chuck E. Cheese: Indoor play area – tokens are purchased to play the games or for rides, but keeps my kids entertained for hours with a very little hit to the pocket. Best part there are usually plenty of tables with booths for you to sit and read your Quran Tafsir.


4.Reston Town Center water sprinklers; Reston, VA – Dress your kids in their bathing suits bring a towel and sit back on the comfortable shaded lawn steps while the kids drain their energy and build up their appetite. If your there later closer to iftaar time there are a lot of dining options just a few steps away http://www.restontowncenter.com/index.php


5. Loudoun Sports Bounce, Ashburn Va: Kids will enjoy bouncing all the different bounce courses, large slides and  a playroom for 18 months and older, best part there’s AC and you won’t break a sweat! http://www.sportbounce.com/opengym.php


Have other ideas for beating the heat this summer? Please share.






Ramadan Notes

I hope everyone’s having an energizing, ibadah-ful and enlightening Ramadan thus far.  Right before Ramadan started, I had the opportunity to go to a lecture called “Looking forward to Ramadan.” This lecture was by Shaikh Saad Tasleem, A Madina graduate who has also just joined the Al-Maghrib world as a teacher.

I took a notebook and a pen for notes, sadly the notes were not as elaborate due to Eesa’s persistent attempts in wanting to kidnap my pen.

Most things mentioned at the lecture served as good reminders and motivation.  Here are quick 10 points that I hope we all can benefit from insha’Allah:

1) One of the major reasons we fast is to attain taqwa. (taqwa: to be more conscious of Allah SWT)
a) Ramadan is the month of forgiveness.
b) Since shayateen are tied up, it is easy for us to worship.

2) Sahaba’s would make dua six months before Ramadan to be blessed and allowed to see Ramadan again.

3) Relationship with Quran: Sheikh Saad said that when ever people are struggling with eman then the first question is how is their relationship with the Quran.
a) Ramadan gives us the ability to reconnect with the Quran.

4) Back in the Sahaba’s time, there were very few hafiz, the average sahaba had a few surahs
memorized. The focus was implementing the Quran in their lives.
a) Umer RA took 12 years to memorize Surah Baqarah because he did not want to move on till the next surah till he implemented and practiced the surah in his life.

5) Try to memorize a few ayahs but with tafsir, tajweed and implementation, then watch how Allah SWT raises your ranks.

6) Taraweeh helps to build our connection with night salah.  No one is there, it is an intimate relationship.
a) Qiyam-ul-layl is one of the few acts we do in seclusion, no one but Allah SWT knows.

7) Ramadan brings us back to delayed gratification. Anytime we’re hungry, we open the refridgerator or rush to the vending machine.  Ramadan teaches us to wait, be patient.

8) Siyam dawud: It is narrated in al-Saheehayn from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best fasting is the fast of Dawood: he used to fast one day and not the next.” This type of fast was observed by Prophet Dawud (AS), however it is becoming an extinct practice.

a) Sunnah Fasts: It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Deeds are shown (to Allaah) on Mondays and Thursdays, and I like my deeds to be shown when I am fasting.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 747; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1041

9) YOLO: You only live once.  This may be the only chance you get to get your sins forgiven.

10) Ramadan isn’t just about fasting, its about deeds. Any deed can earn you reward if done with the right intentions.  (i.e getting groceries for your wife, if done to please Allah SWT then can get rewarded).

Sheikh Saad said that Ramadan is a chance for us to transform our lives, it is an opportunity to change.

May Allah SWT allow this Ramadan to be a means for us to attain taqwa, seek forgiveness, and establish a relationship with the Quran and Qiyam-ul-Layl.  Ameen

Below is one of my most favorite Ramadan lectures, it is only 10 minutes long and I highly recommend watching it.

Virtues of Ramadan

Something to look forward to…..

Reminiscing Ramadan

When I was younger and lived with my family Ramadan was so much fun, now that I have my own family I hope that I can also make Ramadan memories with my kids. My mom made Ramadan an incredibly happy month for us. She was the glue that held the family and our Ramadan traditions together, she would spare no detail when it came to both  the sehri and iftaar table spread and much to her dismay would even tolerate our cravings for  french fries, doughnuts, Mcflurries, and other things over her freshly cooked food.

The mornings were the hardest (still are) My sisters and I would wake up to find my mom fully awake and frying shami kababs and eggs. There were always fresh parathas but  we much preferred eating cereal or even a frozen waffle. Mom would be chirping along enjoying her breakfast while my sisters and our dad would be eating like zombies. Somehow no matter how early we would wake up we would always be running late on our sehri, Dad would be updating us on the time  and would give us a 5 minute and a 2 minute warning. The 5-minute warning went something like this:

The 5-minute warning:

Dad: 5 minutes left, where’s the water?

Mom: oh no I haven’t even finished my food.  Kids drink lots of water

Kids: ok mom

The 2-minute warning:

Dad: okay lets go, only 2 minutes left

Mom: okay let me drink my water

Dad: there’s very little time left

Mom: I have to drink my really large glass of water no matter what

Kids: Mom were going to brush our teeth

Mom: drink all of your water before you go!

Mom: OK stop drinking your water and go brush your teeth we have no time left!!

 After the 2-minute warning:

Mom: still finishing her water

Dad: thats it, your fast is not valid! its past time!

Mom: Nothings going to happen, im okay, just about done

There was a lot of water gulping and pushing as my sisters and I  made it to the bathroom to brush our teeth and make wudu. After Fajr we would be fully awake but would still attempt in vain to snuggle back in our beds to get a few minutes of sleep before waking up for school. The day would pass in school activites and when we would come back home, we would rest  for a  bit until iftaar time. Is it bad if food is the thing that keep coming to mind, when I think back on spending Ramadan with my family? The warm samosas, the tangy cholay (chickpeas), and the cold dahi baray (yogurt dumplings). What’s funny is that at that time none of those things were a big deal. Around iftaar time I would start hovering around the kitchen and would help prepare the Rooh Afzah while filling my mom in on what happened at school that day.

During Ramadan we would go to many iftaari’s and frequently visit  the Mosque, this was fun for me because I would get to catch up with all my friends. As the days of Ramadan progressed we would start thinking about Eid. Eid was HUGE, I mean there was nothing better than Eid, and its funny because on the actual Eid Day we didn’t do much but there was so much anticipation that half the fun was preparing for Eid. Eid preparations for us consisted of two things our annual Eid party and our eid outfits.

The Eid party was something we really enjoyed and it seemed like everyone in the community would be there! My mom would make a slew of different traditional Eid foods and then ask all three of her daughters to make either a dessert or an appetizer, I would be the slacker when it came to cooking and would rather clean than cook and I somehow got away with it. Our eid clothes were of the utmost importance to us. We would either save a shalwar kameez outfit from the ones our family in Karachi would send us, or we would make our own! Our mother would make it a project and take us to JoAnn’s to pick out the fabric we liked, then the buttons, etc. She would guide us and then eventually we would lose interest or would get bogged down with school work and she would finish them up for us. After the shalwar kameez was ready we would  pick out shoes and jewelry to complete our outfits.

One of my favorite memories is on eid morning  when our mom would wake us up and she would look at our mehndi and comment on how great the color came out, she would be wearing her Eid Shalwar, an oversized t-shirt and bangles. She would always change into her kurta at the very end so that the ironing doesn’t get ruined. Once we were all in the car we would all recite the Eid Tasbih which is one of my most favorite things to do. After Eid Prayers we would start hugging everyone around us with a 3 embrace rule – while saying  Eid Mubarak all three of those times!

We would seek out our mom and she would be so happy to see us in our full eid outfits. After that we would meet all of the aunties in our community, who would be genuinely pleased to see us looking our best. I would hang out with my friends and we would be inseparable, Aleya, Kiren, Tahirah these were a few of my friends that I grew up with and we would make our way around the Mosque meeting our families and other community members. Our family was among the last ones to leave the Mosque because my dad would always help to count the Fitra money that the Mosque had collected.

We would then go to my friend Kiren’s house for an Eid breakfast, from there on, we would hop from house to house and eat all kinds of food. My friends and I would always try to stay together or plan out the day to see whose house we would meet up at next. It wasn’t that we were ever doing something very special but I remember having a blast. One of the uncles that we knew would be standing at the door with a stack of bills.  As children entered in the house he would give them a dollar. At about 5:00 after a full day of party hopping, we would make the long trek from Jacksonville  back to Orange Park and would immediately start preparing for the big dinner at our place.

We would do a Bollywood style outfit change and get ready to start hugging and greeting our guests with the traditional three time Eid Mubarak! Over the years we’ve had many different versions of Eid, but with the same pattern I described above, as we got older and my friends started driving we began going out in the evenings and meeting up our friends to get ice cream or go to a movie. One year Eid coincided with the release of the animated movie” The Last Messenger”  and the entire community was found at the movies.

Ramadan and Eid have definitely changed maybe because I’m older and I have my own family now,  but one thing is for certain that at the start of every Ramadan I become nostalgic for the Ramadan I spent as a child. I reminice about the days when I would go to the  Islamic Center of Northeast Florida and recognize every single person at the Mosque, of the times when our Dad would lead us in prayers and when I would wake up to my Mom’s excited exclamation of, “Eid Mubarak, today is Eid!”


Decor de Islamica

Ramadan Mubarak! May we all make the most of this blessed and joyous month insha’Allah!  The feeling is shared amongst Muslims all around the world. However, for children who are not fasting, the Ramadan feeling may not be as strong.  Therefore, it is up to us to create that atmosphere for them.

It is up to us to instill that joy and excitement as Ramadan approaches. Aside from acts of ibadah and preparing iftar, another way to get the children involved is decorating the house for Ramadan and Eid.

A tradition that was started at my parents house was to put up lights on windows, doors, and even fireplaces. I hope to continue that tradition with Eesa.

I’ve included pictures of other decorating ideas.  Some of which are crafting ideas with kids, while others are decorations you can purchase.

1. Ramadan Mobile:  You can purchase the wood ring from a craft store (i.e Michaels) and use  yarn/construction paper to cut out the letters and hang them from the ring.



2. Garland: Use card stock or construction paper to make this nice garland



3.  Balloons: This picture led me to another idea, we can blow up 30 balloons and write out a good deed on a small piece of paper to put inside the balloon.  Every day pop/cut the balloon and try to implement the good deed written on the piece of paper. (i.e help put the dishes away, memorize an ayah etc.)


4.  Sadaqah Box: Help your children make a charity box.  You can use shoe boxes, tissue boxes or anything at all. You can decorate it with stickers, glitter or drawings.  It will be a fun way to encourage kids to donate.

My nephew Hasan made this, could be used through out the year!


5.  Paper stars & moons: that is a simple yet fun idea.  Cut up stars and moons, and use yarn to hang them up!



6. Paper Lanters: The caption contains the link on how to make these cute paper lanterns.



The following ideas/pictures are decorations you can purchase.

1. Ranoon offers wonderful decor, such as table toppers and crescent lights



2. ModernEid carries delightful and decent priced decorations.  They even have cupcake toppers and candy bar wrappers.





3. Noorart carries a wide variety of party supplies for Iftars and Eid parties.  They carry balloons, banners, plates, napkin and more!



5. Eid Creations: They have really neat looking plates and napkins!





I know there are a ton of more ideas out there, please feel free to share ideas and pictures, and we’ll post it on Biscuits & Banarsi!


Something to rejoice about….

Ramadan Baskets!

Ramadan Mubarak to you all!!  I’m sure we’re all doing our last minute grocery shopping and preparations.  Some of us may even be planning on doing the iftar with friends or family.  As Muslims, we should take advantage of our holidays to bring out the best of us, to wear the finest, and open our hearts to loved ones and strangers.  We should offer glad tidings, and one of the ways to do that is by making a Ramadan basket.I saw my husband’s aunt pass out Ramadan baskets and I liked the idea so much that I wanted to do the same for this Ramadan insha’Allah.Ramadan basket is a basket full of goodies that may or may not be related to Ramadan.You can have themed baskets for example:Iftar basket:
1-Rooh Afza: A popular iftar drink in Pakistan.
3-Can of garbanzo beans
4-Pakora Shan Masala: fried ground flour snacks
5-Seviyan/vermicelli: Pakistani dessert item used to make sheer korma.
6-Dua/Prayer: Print the Iftar dua/prayer on cardstock, so they can put it on their refrigerator.

*sample basket: does not contain all the items listed.

Fruit-chaat basket: Pakistani fruit salad mixed in with juice and spices.
2-Shan fruit chaat masala
3-Juice: You can either put a bottle of lemon juice or a fruit juice
4-Fruit: bananas, grapes, apples, mangoes, oranges and strawberries.

*sample basket: does not contain all the items listed.

Ramadan gift basket
2-Quran/tafsir book
3-Prayer rug
4-CD: Burn a cd consisting of either Quran, lectures or nasheeds.

Since I am Pakistani, these baskets reflect the Pakistani culture, please feel free to share what you would include in your Ramadan basket!

Something to celebrate about….

Samosa Fest – An American Muslim Family’s tradition


There is nothing better than biting into a delicious crunchy golden samosa after a day of fasting, but there are several steps that go into making samosas and it can be a tiring and time consuming process.  The Ayub family has turned this very tedious process into a festive family reunion.

For the past five years the Ayub family has been having the pre-Ramadan Samosa Fests.  Women in their family sit around, enjoy each others company and make perfect triangular shaped samosas. The first Samosa Fest was born when family members began talking at an iftaar.

“We decided that everyone makes samosas, so we should get together and make them together,” explained Humaira Ayub, one of the hosts of Samosa Fest.

The women bring their own batch of keema from home and then add the onions and other “masala”  when they get to Samosa Fest. Then everyone helps to complete one batch (5 pounds makes approximately 150 samosas) for the family member, This takes about 45 minutes, said Ayub.

“When it comes to preparing the samosas the women form an assembly line. The younger girls of the family usually do the sticking of the samosas and the putting them into ziplock bags,  while the more experienced wrap the samosas,” said Ayub.

Family members have traveled several hours for this annual event and see it as a way to spend quality time and get into the festive Ramadan spirit. One year the entire family went to Boston, they made Samosas in the afternoon and then after that they went on a duck tour.

While  the women do the Samosa assembling the guys are usually throwing around a football and the event usually concludes with a big family dinner. Each year, a different family volunteers to host Samosa Fest. The host for the first Samosa Fest,  Sharmeen Khan, had custom Samosa Fest aprons made for all the guest.

” I wanted to give everyone a party favor and aprons seem to suit the event,” said Khan.

She also added that Samosa Fest is about creating traditions,  ” It’s just fun! It’s also an amazing way to pass on a tradition and skill. Since we’ve been doing this, all of us including the girls are great at making samosas.”


Does your family have any Ramadan traditions? We would love to hear about your family’s traditons!

Amber Alert

Ok so count to seven….1 Mississippi 2 Mississippi……..7 Mississippi.  Seven seconds is barely anything, zooms by at the blink of an eye.  I recently experienced the longest 7 seconds of my life. Seven seconds felt like seven hours, a time that froze my brain, here is why…..

One fine day I became inspired to do a scrapbook for my son.  I packed him up, strapped him in and off I went to A.C Moore, (where you never-ever buy things at regular price).

Eesa is a pretty active toddler (masha’Allah).   He can manage to slip himself out of strollers, high-chairs, and….carts! ah so I’m sure you know where I’m going with this.  Well instead of putting him in the front of the cart because the belt cannot stop him from jumping out;  I put him in the back.

I even brought snacks for him to keep him distracted.  Sigh, he was determined to jump out of that cart. As he was taking one leg out, I immediately grabbed him. I let him down to see where he would go.  He was off, he ran out of the aisle but kept looking behind to see if I was following.  What I did was I slowly went to the end of the aisle and peeped through things to keep an eye on him.  I can see his monkey face kept turning back to check for me, at one point he even came back to my aisle.

*gulp* so this one time he went out of the aisle again, and of course I was quietly and sneakingly watching him, but then he decided to turn into another aisle and thats when I RAN.  I went into that aisle and no he wasn’t there.  My heart was pounding, my brain froze, and I was hyperventilating.  I was running wild and screaming “EESA….EESA!”

Then I heard a voice, “he’s heading out the door.”  I immediately ran to the exit door grabbed him before he made his first step out.  I would never have thought that in a matter of a few seconds so much could happen.

Instantly at that moment I told myself that I would never go to a store till he’s 5.  Ok fine that is not a realistic goal, but what IS realistic is to either have my husband come with us, or leave Eesa home with him.  In both situations I can focus on what I need to get rather than running after tarzan.

On a related note, my cousin told me she always makes an effort in helping parents find their children in stores/malls.  Her words are, “If we are ever in that situation (God forbid) then I would want all the help I can get, and I’m sure other parents feel the same way”.

I agree with her wholeheartedly, if someone had not told me Eesa was headed out the door, then I don’t even want to think what would have happened outside that door.

Therefore, I have made a mental note, that whenever I hear “Amber alert” or “Missing child”, then I too will set everything aside to help find that little one.

Something to worry about…

Beauty Bits: Face Masks

I can never find the perfect face cream or moisturizer.  I’ve tried all brands  from St. Ives to the higher end brands such as Origins and Clinique.  After many trials, I’ve realized all the best facial cleansers are right in my kitchen.

Here are a few of my favorite mask remedies:

1. Homemade Rose Water: Rose water is excellent for cleaning dirt/oil and impurities off the skin. Soak a cotton ball in the rose water and wipe your face to purify and tone.

Rose water is also known to cool and soothe tired eyes.  Soak cotton balls with rose water and place over eyes for 15 minutes.

*Recipe for homemade rose water: Now when your husband gets you roses, you can use them to make your own rose water. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add 12 large rose petals and remove from heat.  Leave to steep for a full 30 minutes.  Store in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed glass bottle.  The rose water will remain good for up to 3 days.

2. Really Rosy Face Mask: Soak rose petals in two tbsps rose water for 10 minutes. Drain.  In a separate container crush the petals with the back of a small spoon.  Mix 1 tbsp yogurt and 2 tbsp honey.  Apply to face and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

3. Banana Face Mask: Your skin will have a healthy glow after applying this tropical mask to your face.  This mask is designed for all skin types.

Mash one half of a banana, mix in a tablespoon of orange juice and a tablespoon of honey. Apply to the face and keep the mixture on for 15 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water and then moisturize.

4. Lemon Egg White Mask:  The lemon juice serves as a bleaching agent for minor facial discolorations, while the egg whites help sop up extra facial oil, while healing and rebuilding skin with their protein-rich content.

Crack an egg and remove the yolk. Beat the egg whites in a shallow bowl.  Cut a fresh lemon in half and squeeze into the bowl, mixing it in with the egg whites to form a dense paste. Apply to a clean face and allow to dry 15-20 minutes. Rinse face and pat dry with a towel.

5. Refreshing Green Tea Mask: This gentle face mask will help remove toxins from your skin, as well as leaving it silky smooth. 

Mix three tablespoons of mayonnaise with one heaped teaspoon green tea leaves. Apply evenly to the face, avoiding the delicate eye area, and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse the mask off, then dry and moisturise your face.

Something to experiment about….
1: Sisters Magazine
2: Sisters Magazine
3. Marie Claire

4. TLC
5. iVillage

B&B Recipe of the week – Kerala Shrimp Curry

Make the tamarind mixture by placing the tamarind paste, chilli powder, cumin and turmeric in a small bowl with the measured water and stir to mix well.


Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and shrimps and stir fry for a few minutes.


 Stir in the tamarind paste and the measured water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and stir.


Gently simmer on low heat add salt to taste. Now add coconut milk

Mix well and simmer for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro, serve with rice. Enjoy!

Photo credit: Hamlyn 200 Curries