Halal Pumpkins…What?!?

As the holiday season is in full swing with glittering christmas trees, cooler weather and festive holiday lattes at starbucks I am reminded why I love this time of the year. As adults we enjoy the atmosphere but kids may not understand why we don’t have a christmas tree, or why Santa didn’t visit us this year. This may be  a challenge for families who have young kids and who are trying to build their Muslim Identities.

As a first generation American Muslim with a South Asian heritage, defining our family’s Identity has been an interesting process. As a mother of a curious three year old I am now faced with hard questions about traditions that I have grown up around but never thought as my own. This becomes particularly tricky as the children go to school and learn about different holidays. Although going to an Islamic preschool has made things easier it also means that I have to decide how to frame things for my curious toddlers.

A few months ago I was pushed into a sort of an identity crisis when Humza went to the fall festival with his school and came back with a grin and a pumpkin which would cause more trouble than I could have ever imagined As Humza excitedly jumped out of the mini-bus that had transported him from the Farm back to the school, I could see that he was clutching this little pumpkin like a shiny new toy, “Momma, see pumpkin.” He proudly raised it  to show me.

I nodded excitedly and wrestled the pumpkin from his hands to get him into the carseat, which caused the pumpkin to roll underneath of a parked mini van. The tears were streaming down Humza’s face and Hassan his younger brother joined in also now wanting that same orange pumpkin which was now somewhere underneath of that van. I quickly strapped the kids in and told the lady who was speaking in Arabic on her cell phone that I was going to go under her van since my kid had dropped his pumpkin. She nodded enthusiastically and I hoped she was nodding to me and not just agreeing with the person whom she was speaking on the phone with. Saying a quick Bismallah I got down on my hands and knees (ahh this reminds me why all my jeans have rips in them) and grabbed the pumpkin.

Tired kids, worn out mother and a little pumpkin in tow, we finally headed home. After the novelty of a little orange pumpkin wore off I had to decide what to do with that thing. Would I display it proudly outside my front door? Put it on my mantle on top of the fireplace? Make a Jack-O-Lantern? What do I do with a pumpkin??

I eventually put it on the fireplace it was so odd but I figured it would be out of the kids reach, I wrestled with the idea of putting it outside my door like other people do as part of the of their fall decorations. But then I didn’t because I was hesitant that I would be acting to “white.”  “Desi people don’t put pumpkins outside of their house,” I thought to myself. After some time when the pumpkin craze died down and the kids forgot to fight over the poor little pumpkin who was probably very thankful for the decision I had made to put him on the fireplace, I approached the subject of the final resting place for the pumpkin again.

After a few strong chai’s and some moments of clarity  I’ve finally made peace with the pumpkin. It is finally at rest on my dining table with some other fall folliage decor and my  little glittering rickshaw.

I haven’t figured out all the answers to how I want to balance and incorporate traditions from Pakistan as well as our American culture but I have a feeling that i’ll figure it out. Now I just need to break the news to the kiddos that the lights my neighbors have put up are in fact not Eid lights. One baby…step at a time.

 

 

Raising a Damaad

Damaad is the word for son-in-law in the Urdu language.  In the South Asian culture damaads are often treated like royalty. From my observation society treats the roles of a daughter in law (bahoo) very different from the son -in-law (damaad).  My thoughts derive from experiences, observations and maybe Pakistani dramas.
Although  this post may not describe everyones experience, I know that many people know of cases or can empathize with the double standards in our culture (at least most bahoos)Traditionally South Asian mothers raise their daughters to fit into the new family she goes into, and to treat her new family the way she treats her own.  However, when it comes to a son, I don’t think the mother instills those same values in him.

We mentally prepare daughters to embrace going into their husband’s new home which is their “real” home.  They must win the hearts of every single creature living inside the house, yes even the Jinn.

As the new bahoo in the family you are expected to delight your in-laws with your cooking, amuse them with your personality, be the first to help out and the last to sit down, beautify yourself with the finest clothing and of course adorn the gold with the newly wed-bride look.  You are expected to keep them before your plans and sometimes even before your family.

Expectations for the Daamad? Well lets just put it this way:

Do not swear/abuse/degrade your wife
Do not start arguments with your in laws,
Do not have a bad mood in their presence
Exchange a few smiles here and there
Show up to family dinners every now and then
= BAM you have yourself a great son-in-law.

Virtually no effort is required and all they have to do is meet the bare minimum requirements for a decent human being.  They do not have to go out of their way for their in-laws or even make an effort to take part in family discussions nor stay in touch for that matter.

They have to ‘not be bad’ in order to be considered good whereas a daughter-in-law has to be outstanding in order to be considered somewhat good!

I have a son, which now gives me the added responsibility of raising him to be that one heck of a darn good SON-IN-LAW.

Insha’Allah, I will teach him to make an effort to fit in with his new family, help them and maintain a high level of akhlaq in their presence. He should get involved in family discussions and find solutions to their problems and dilemmas.  It is not just about giving their daughter the bare rights but rather giving her the utmost happiness alongside being a good person to his in-laws.

He should be thankful for the hospitality his in-laws provide and not assume it is expected.  Sometimes in-laws may go above and beyond to please their damaad and  as a typical guy’s personality he may not even realize that, hence limiting his appreciation for the amount of effort put into pleasing him.

He too should know that his in-laws miss their daughter/sister and that she is still an integral part of their household. Just because she is married does not mean she no longer should contribute to her family.

Rather a good damad will not only appreciate the vital role she plays in his family but encourage her to provide any sort of support for her own family as well.

Does your husband fits the description above? If so, then please message me your mother-in-law’s contact info so I can get some pointers.

As for the rest of the boy-mamas, I say we dust off our akhlaq books and sit our boys down and drill it into their tiny brains.  Our upbringing may serve as a means to attain Jannah, Insha’Allah.

Meanwhile I am accepting applications for daughter-in-laws. (My son’s two but gotta start early these days!).

Something for boy-mamas to think about….

 

English Medium Dude

I was watching the ‘Lux Awards’ with my mom, something like  the  Pakistani Oscars.  They give out awards for acting, fashion, makeup and other things.

A good portion of the award show was conducted in English which I thought was weird.  Urdu is the national language and is spoken in offices and businesses.  So what could possibly be the reason for speaking in English?

This brought me to another trend I’ve noticed which is when I come across an aunty or uncle who insists on replying to me in english, despite the fact I am speaking to them in Urdu.  I refuse to believe the fact that that is what they are comfortable speaking (especially if your English has a thick Desi accent).

I can understand how English may be a sign of modernity and literacy.  Convent schools and Pakistani’s attending universities abroad give the locals a ‘classy’ and a ‘distinguished’ impression.  But does being educated or amongst the elite mean we must drop the core of our culture, our language? Or does it mean that speaking Urdu is a sign of backwardness or of being low-class?

After thinking about all this I started to carefully notice how much Urdu  I use on a daily basis.  There are only a handful of people with whom I speak solely Urdu to.  This thought made me sad and question why I don’t speak Urdu more often.

I feel very comfortable conversing in Urdu, as a matter of fact I feel Urdu has a wider selection of descriptive words.  Therefore at times it is easier to pinpoint or talk in grave detail in Urdu.  Sadly, my husband feels more comfortable talking in English, and it has been a work in progress to shift to Urdu…slowly but surely!  If I don’t speak it then I certainly can’t expect my son to speak it.

So I can understand that American-Pakistanis born and raised here may naturally feel more comfortable speaking English.  However, why the natives of Pakistan?

I can imagine the youth thinking its the ‘cool’ thing to do, but it is rather silly when you see grown adults giving interviews and comments in English.  It may perhaps be the issue of an inferior complexity?

I recall an incident in Pakistan when I was waiting for an order from McDonalds.  It was taking far too long and I had gone up twice to ask about the order and would instead receive a prompt and rude reply.  The third time I went up I decided to switch to English, “Excuse me I have been waiting forever, when will my food be ready?”

Off the workers went and brought me my order in a jiffy.  Had I known English would jumpstart my order, I would have resorted to it in the first place.

Urdu is one of the few things I like about my Pakistani culture, it is something I wouldn’t want to lose.  I think it is something we should all hold on to and try to speak it as much as we can.  In my opinion if we can carry both English and Urdu, then that is a sign of both intellect and balancing diversity.

Imagine if our grandchildren knew only English? Meaning in this generation we have a fair share of people who ‘understand’ it but can’t ‘speak’ it, but just imagine if they couldn’t even do that.  How boring would that be?

I was visiting Pakistan and my 4 year old cousin requested I say something in English, so of course I asked her the basic stuff such as name age etc. With a tone of disappointment she asked if that was all that I knew….I nodded and asked her how much did she know?

In response she said, “tube light, spoon, table, fork, books and dolls”.  I gave her a look of astonishment and a big “WOW!”

Sochnay ki baat hai….(something to think about…)

A National Crisis of the Heart

Somethings been bothering me and it has to do with the way people are respoding to Hurricane Sandy. The storm which has ravaged New York, affected several states and has claimed many lives is being mocked and belittled.  A friend as his status wrote: “ I bet all the ppl saying they were tired of hearing about the NE whining about a little Cat 1, are feeling pretty bad right about now.”

To that a person responded – “Did the coast flood just like it does in Fl. And the entire south east 3 times every year?  Did they loose some board walks along rivers and the ocean just like we loose piers and boat docks every year. Did someone have their basement flooded?  Was there a random shingle misplaced on a few roofs?  What?”

I was taken back, is there some resentment for the North? Do Southeners think there better than us because they have more Hurricanes? Or does this person just lack the compassion to understand the pain or suffering of others?

Okay, so that may have been a random post I thought to myself, but I was mistaken. On a NYT web article about Hurricane Sandy peoples’ comments ranged from the absurd to just spiteful,  these are few of the comments I found:

“With all the warning there is no reason ANYONE should have died in this storm.”

“Agree.  OK, so the power’s gonna be out and the subways down and some coastal homes were destroyed by fire and flooding.  I don’t see bodies floating in the streets.” – Los Angeles, California

“As one who lost everything to hurricane Katrina, I can’t help but think of the many New Yorkers who responded to my grief when I returned to settle back in NYC with the words  “What did you expect?  You chose to live in New Orleans”   Or some variant thereof.   May you learn from your current suffering that there are limits to the control we have over our lives. ” – Austin, TX

I am sorry to inform you that we have a national crisis. No this time it’s not weather related. I think our hearts have become  hardened. We are unable to feel compassion for our fellow Countrymen’s suffering and pain. I’m sure some of you will blame it on the increase use of technology, the decrease of quality personal interactions, or  the lack of time we have to gain meaningful experiences. The only thing I know is that a person that lacks compassion will not get very far in life.

As our Prophet taught us that our neighbors have certain rights on us : “A man is not a believer who fills his stomach while his neighbor is hungry.” (Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)

So if you feel that you are not being able to empathize with people or being able to be a compassionate person, pray to Allah that he softens your heart and gives you the ability to feel for other that are in pain and suffering. If you think that people that have been inflicted by this storm are being punished than this is a reminder from Imam Abdul-Azeez, director of the SALAM Islamic Center of Sacramento:

“Natural disasters cannot be God’s wrath of punishment for sin, for  they indiscriminately kill innocent people. We know Allah is just. How  can he punish some for the faults of others? The Quran says, in many  locations: “ no bearer of burdens shall be made to bear another’s  burden”. In the hadith Qudssi, Allah says: “My worshippers, I have made  injustice and transgression forbidden with respect to myself, and made  it prohibited amongst you, so do not commit injustice!””

Imam Azeez points out the three reasons that we are inflicted with natural disaters

1- They are a test for us! Allah says: “And certainly we shall test  you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits,  but give glad tidings to those who exercise patience” (al-Baqarah)

2- They serve the purpose of bringing us closer to Allah (swt).

3- They bring us all together!

Let’s unite together and not pick geographic locality, religion, or other types of labels to stop us from  feeling  for people who are suffering as a result of hurricane Sandy, political unrest in Syria and countless other catastrophes that are happening worldwide.

 

Cooking with a Slow Cooker

 

 

Dear friends,

The weather is beautiful, the kind of weather where you want to take advantage of the beautiful afternoons and then eat a hearty homecooked meal in the evenings to warm up your family as the temperature drops…

This is when you should take out the crock pot/slow cooker and let it do all the hard work for you. This way  you can come home to a wonderfully smelling kitchen with a warm dinner ready to be served.

Here are a few desi-ish  recipies that I found online. Take a look, try them and tell us what you think!

 

Chicken Tikka Masala

http://cookingclassy.blogspot.com/2012/02/slow-cooker-chicken-tikka-masala.html

 

  Hyderabadi Curry:

 http://www.indianfoodrocks.com/2006/08/hyderabadi-marag-in-slow-cooker.html

Mint and Garlic Leg of Lamb :

 http://dinnerwithjulie.com/2012/10/19/leg-of-lamb-slow-cooker/

A Preschooler’s Understanding of Hajj

Humza started in an Islamic preschool in our community almost a month ago. We had heard great things about it so we had registered him a year prior to him attending to ensure his spot (it fills up fast.)

During that year I was in Pakistan for an extended period and so I enrolled my eldest son in a nursery school in Karachi. My experience in the nursery was great. I was amazed at the professionalism of the teacher, the staff and the kinds of activities that the kids were exposed to. The facility although at a private residence was spotless, inviting and very kid friendly.

I came back from Pakistan and it was time for Humza to start school. I began to have doubts about my decision of enrolling Humza in ADAMS Radiant Heart Academy. The preschool was not as clean or inviting as the nursery in Karachi. My friends were astonished to hear that a Pakistani nursery was so amazing and I kept comparing the two institutions in my head.

Initially the great thing about ADAMS was that my son was extremely happy going to school everyday. He would wake up excited about going to school and would be very eager to pack his snack. Sometimes as punishment I would threaten him by saying, “If you don’t listen to me than I won’t take you to school tomorrow!” He would be in tears! But it wasn’t till a week ago that I saw the “magic” of an Islamic preschool,

Humza had been learning Surah Al-Fatiha for a few weeks but just last week he came home and just recited the whole surah with almost no mistakes. I was stunned. I had not done anything really to help him learn it except for reciting it with him a few times at night or on the way to school in the mornings. But it gets better, I had been thinking of Hajj and Eid-Al Adha but I didn’t even think to explain the significance  of both these events to my 3-year old.

I was too busy thinking about important things like:  What I’m going to wear on Eid? What should I cook for Eid? And Where is the party this Eid?!?

On Monday afternoon while quietly eating his vanilla yogurt Humza looked at me and said, “Momma, Hajj has mountains.”

Totally shocked in a good way, I nonchalantly answered “Oh really? What else is there in Hajj?

My three year old broke it down for me: “Hajj is where the Kabah is and there are mountains and their is Zam Zam which we can drink. We run between the mountains because their was a baby who had no food. The baby was kicking because he was hungry and his mommy was running back and forth to the mountains to find food.”

WHOA! I was blown away!!! How do the teachers explain these concepts while still keeping the kids engaged and happy? Hats off to them.

The ADAMS preschool is not the most well-equipped and certainly is not very glamorous but the school has a lot of heart. It has just been a month and  now I  realize why parents love Adams Radiant Heart academy, the teachers instill in their students the love for Allah (SWT) and all of Allah’s creations. It also makes life for parents easier by introducing the students to concepts that we may not have been able to explain. On the other hand it may be challenging  parents to open up their Islamic books so that they can keep up with their kids. I know I certainly need to!

Full Time Mom,Part Time Student

[Hazima lives part-time in Ashburn with her Husband and her 1 year old daughter, she is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Aerospace Engineering. For fun she likes to hang out with friends and  read. Her all time favorite  book is The Hunger Games.]

I grew up with a mom who took care of her four children, ran a daycare in her home with four more children, enlightened all other surrounding aunties to open a day care in their homes and struggled to attain a teaching degree on evenings and weekends. I think I may have somewhat of an idea on how I may want to raise my kids, and remain sane.

Over the years I’ve come across moms that exercise attachment parenting, read and follow all of Dr. Sears’ advice, the nonchalant and go-with-the-flow mamas, co-sleepers, ones that will nurse until their children suck the life out of them, the full-time working moms that are feeling guilty of dropping off their children at daycare, and those moms that will continue to produce in order to populate our earth.

Out of all these moms, there was one particular mom that amazed me the most. This woman was traveling between three states one state where her husband was doing his residency , the other state where her parents lived (free babysitting), and going to college in the third state. Did I mention that she was also performing clinical studies in the poverty-stricken countries of Sudan and Ghana for her Ph.D dissertation. Wow…how do you?…and why do you?…girlfriend you are CRAZY!

When I was pregnant with my first child, I read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” okay I didn’t read it, but I had the app on my iPhone. That counts right? But I never read up on what the first year would be like, nor did I bother to ask. I thought,“hey I partied till the AMs in college (with sisters of the MSA of course) and pulled all-nighters for my exams. This no sleep after you have a kid I can manage.”

Boy did I get hit by a bus, banged in the head, and circles under my eyes! Gas? Colic? Diaper Rash? Ear/Throat Infections? Awkward nursing times? All in all while traveling 200 miles back and forth each week to visit the in-laws? No thanks! This kid can cry me a river, build me a bridge, and get over it!

I felt as if my life had been compensated for, 24/7/365, someone change my name and move me to Wisconsin. I don’t know why I just chose that state. Seems like somewhere you’d want to go when you’re running away from your mama duties?

I felt as if I was the only person in the world dealing with all of this. My husband used to say; women have been doing this since Hawa (radhi allahu anha)’s time, what’s your beef? I was a first-timer that was my beef! So I decided I needed to do something that I could always give myself a pat on the back for. Something that was just for me, so I decided to pursue my master’s degree.

It’s not easy and its extremely tiring to watch lectures for your Master’s program into the wee hours of the night while your kid is soundly asleep and all you want to do is put your feet up. But I love the schedule and the sense of accomplishment I am getting in the process of having weekly lectures to watch, submitting homework, and studying for midterms and finals.

I would encourage moms to explore the many opportunities of attaining a bachelor’s, associate’s, or masters online in the comfort of your PJs. Besides certified universities there are numerous Qur’an classes, Tajweed and Tafseer classes that may be for you. There are many established institutes out there like, Bayyinah, Qurtuba and Al-Maghreb.

I believe all moms should do something that challenges them. Pick up a pottery class, an aerodynamics for engineers class, or a life of the Prophets class. You may just fill that tiny void in your heart, and be a happier and more fulfilled Mom and Wife. I’m not saying everyone drop your kids with your husbands and hop to Africa, but it’s amazing to see what we can be capable of.  Every mama deserves the chance!

 

 

 

To Friend or Not to Friend….

Thanks to Facebook…friendships, relationships and acquaintanceships have whole new meanings.  It is easy to stay in touch, find out the latest updates and of course get in on some juicy gossip.

A few days ago I came across an old friend’s profile whom I had not spoken to in years. Based on her pictures she seemed to have drifted from deen, the most obvious thing being the way she dressed.

I’m sure we all know of someone who has been through these difficult times, or perhaps have been through it themselves.

I later came to find out that her distance from deen started a while back, she started to take  part in activities that she stood firmly against.  Due to her involvement in such things, her friends started to distant themselves.These friends were trying to be stronger in deen and didn’t want the negative influence.They would get into frequent arguments and eventually just didn’t want to associate with her.

The ‘lost friend’ would initially keep making an effort of staying in touch and hanging out, eventually she stopped making the effort.  Her friends now want to reach out to her but she is unresponsive and not reachable.

What is the correct solution?

I would like to think that a person should stick around in hopes of bringing that friend back to deen.  Implementing and practicing good actions could certainly be a source of positive influence in that lost friend’s life.  It is possible that the friend may have a ‘cause’ to all those changes, and she may need a good friend by her side to help her get through it.

However, on the contrary it could also be difficult to see your friend engage in activities that are harmful to their deen.  A lot of times people don’t know how to handle such situations and may come off as too strong or rough.  Though their roughness comes out of love, but to the ‘lost friend’ it comes off as an attack, thus the need to defend themselves.  Hence, a never ending argument that becomes a lost cause.

Again, my question is then how do you handle such situations? Do you ignore their ‘changes’ and continue your friendship as if you don’t know anything else about them? Is ignorance really a bliss? Is it our responsibility to help them?

Something to contemplate about…

But There’s no Costco in the City

On Monday I went to go visit my bestie in the city, I walked into her cool artsy studio in the district with my 2 year old in tow. Bundles of magazines, a cheerful Buddha and a beautiful painting that her grandmother had painted were on the side of the wall.

We caught up on each others weekend, scanned family pictures on Facebook and then got ready to walk to the zoo. I was happily sitting on the couch sipping my chai but my friend insisted that we walk. She is very focused on health and fitness and for fun likes to walk. I have a hard time understanding why I was being forced to walk when I had just made a comfy warm spot on the couch.  I reluctantly agreed and we grabbed cereal in a ziplock for Hassan and began our walk.

I saw several moms walking with their strollers down the busy sidewalk  and I turned to my friend and said with gratitude “I love living in the ‘burbs.'” She looked back at me surprised and asked why?

I stammered and said  there’s no Costco in the city! Where would I get diapers from? Other thoughts flashed through my head… Where would I park my car (parking is so difficult in the city), who would be my childs pediatrician?

She calmly responded to these absurd  concerns by saying “Saman there are doctors in the city,”  and  she added you wouldn’t have to park because you can walk everywhere or use the metro.

I wasn’t convinced,  “How would I walk everywhere and what about my double stroller, it won’t fit in the Metro!” She replied saying that I  would just need to change my double stroller so that its the stackable kind.

“Didn’t everyone want to move to the burbs when raising a family?” I thought to myself, why do I have to explain to my friend that the city is not a place to raise kids. But what seems like a very obvious choice in my head doesn’t hold true for my friend and many other people.  The appeal for my friend was about accessibility, she wanted to skip the whole loading the kids in the car process  and just walk to places in the city. She thought that the city lifestyle is a more active lifestyle with lots of more opportunities to explore area parks and take advantage of the diverse cultural experiences. I agree with her I feel that kids would be exposed to many more different types of people and  would be engaging with people on the street, in the metro and even the elevators of their own apartment buildings.

I’m not sure I would be able to appreciate raising a family in the city because I feel that the most important thing for me is an active Mosque community.  Things like an Halal meat store and a Pakistani grocery store would be very neccesary and I have become a total suburbanite with my easy access parking to walmart, my costco membership and my kids love for Chuck E. Cheese.

While the city life is not for us  I now realize that what seems like a hassle to me (living in the city with young kids) is loved and valued by many people. It’s about changing perspective and adjusting to the surroundings around you. I think there are pros and cons to raising kids in the city but I think that is something that each family has to decide for themselves.

The city kids may not have easy access to suburban malls  and Chuck E. Cheese but if my friend decides to have kids Im sure her kids would be very well acquainted with the zoo, the Smithsonian Museums and without a doubt will be much cooler than me.

 

 

Jummah with the Kids

8:15- I wake up and  reach for my iphone to check  facebook  (I mean the news)  I am reminded by many friends status’s that today is Jummah. Inspirational verses from the Quran and updates such as “TAIF” – Thank Allah Its Friday – get me excited for Jummah!

 

8:30 A.M – “Wouldn’t it be great if I could keep Jummah as a special time to bond with my boys?” I think to myself.

8:45 -In my mind the scene unfolds like this: Friday morning after taking a nice shower and wearing my new Lawn shalwaar Kameez my squeaky clean children put on their Kufis and we arrive at the mosque. My angelic kids first listen to the  Khutbah and then pray besides me.  They then go off to play with their friends at the playground. Afterwards we go to the Rice and Kabob where my kids  gobble down the food while I talk to them about the lessons we’ve learned in the khutbah.

9:45 –  Reality beckons… Humza is being chased  by his younger brother with a wooden spoon, there is alot of screaming, THUD, Hassan falls, CRYING ensues…Simultaneously corresponding with the crying is the pressure cooker’s whistle (PHEWWW)  letting me know that i’m on my 10th whistle which means my aloo gosht (beef and potato stew) is ready.

11:00 – Breakfast is done, fights over, thinking of having a cup of chai and then getting the into kids the shower, this is the point I re-check all the ADAMS times and locations and make a game plan. GAME TIME ON!

More often than not my dream that I  had at 8:45 every Jummah never makes it to fruition possibly because my kids are never squeaky clean and who really would have the time to iron a lawn shawar kameez?

I think about all the preparations that I will have to make to get to Jummah and ensure that my kids last an hour without a major meltdown

1) Snacks – cereal, goldfish, chips, fruits, juice

2) Wipes and napkins – Sounds basic but with all the snacks and choas you need them!

2) Cars – I always think im not going to take a car because I want them to learn to self entertain themselves, also they end up fighting or losing their cars. However based on past experiences, I’ve learned that all the other boys always bring some sort of car/toys and that causes even a bigger problem because then my kids hover over the other kids toys.

To be honest its a draining expereince but still every Jummah I have an internal struggle of why I should just be extra patient and head over to Jummah. Here are some reasons why:

Family Bonding Time

When I was growing up, going to Sunday school was the most annoying thing to do. Waking up early to catch up on Sunday school Homework such as the last minute essays on the importance of the five pillars was not exactly memorable. What was memorable was the whole chaos surrounding it. My mother would yell to get us in the car, we would be trying to find our scarves and inevitably there would be a discussion about the clothes we were wearing to the mosque and the reasons why next time we should just wear shalwar kameez… can anyone relate?

Your kids will start school and you won’t really have the option of spending Jummah with them, so bite the bullet pack the snacks and toys and throw those kids in the car!

Getting Kids familir with the Mosque environment

Believe  it or not the mosque is a perfect place to take younger kids. It’s an open space they can wander if they get bored and there are not many dangerous things around. That being said many people are concerned that their kids will disturb other peoples Jummah. That is a valid concern but if we don’t expose our kids to the mosque environement and the rules of the place then how can we expect them to learn?  Moms be prepared to take your kids out of the prayer area if they are having a melt down, but otherwise don’t worry, kids will make noises and they will wander.

Spiritual Benefits

Jummah Jihad is what comes to my mind when I think of getting my two boys ready for Jummah. Before you flip out the Jihad is the struggle that I have every Friday morning to just pray at home versus going to the actual Mosque. Althought it may be spiritually more rewarding to pray at home while the kids are napping, if you are going in with the intention of making your kids familiar with the Mosque and instilling in them the love and importance of Allah (SWT) then you will inshAllah get rewarded for that.

Social Benefits

There are social benefits for  both the mothers and the kids. Mothers can meet other women, correspond play dates and learn about other things that are going on at the mosque. Going to Jummah cuts the “routine” and allows for mothers to get  dressed and read their Jummah prayer in congregation. It also gives them the opportunity to enjoy their friday afternoon with friends or enjoy a nice lunch. A breath of fresh air and getting out of a routine does wonders for a mother!

Althought I write all this and I believe in all the positive aspects of taking your child to Jummah, I know that its hard getting out for Jummah and sometimes we have had negative experinces that may cause mothers with young kids to hesitate going. Lets try to motivate each other and make it to Jummah with our kids, inshallah may Allah reward all the mothers who go the “extra” mile!

Do you have any Jummah Experiences? Positive or Negative? Advice please share!