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!

 

 

 

For my Baby Sister


My baby sister is 18 today MashAllah. I’m so happy for her but at the same time I’m sad, here’s why, I got married and moved away from my sister when she was only 12. I have not been there for her when she went through many of her growing up experiences and as time wore on I grew busy in my life and never made a very conscious effort to keep in touch with her or be there for her when she may have needed me. Although  I love her I’m not sure she knows how much she means to me, So Shifa I dedicate this post to you.

Looking back I still remember the day Ami and Abu brought you home from the hospital. Before you arrived and mom was in labor and  Dadi Jaan (our grandmother) came to me and Saher (my middle sister) and  told us to make special dua for a brother. We didn’t want a pesky a little boy so we silently rebelled and instead prayed to Allah for a baby sister, Allah could not have given me a more beautiful sister. Shifa you arrived October 9th 1994 to a house with two adoring older sisters. We would linger around your crib and  keep checking on you to see if you were finally ready to play with us. The funny thing is that you kept us waiting a long time, it was 2 months before you decided to open your eyes , it was  love at  first  sight and we knew there were fun times ahead.

Shifa, you were a living doll to us. We would dress you up and create elaborate stories in which you were the bride and you would sit for hours in the position that we had placed you in. We would drape you in mom’s fancy dupatta’s and  layer necklaces and bangles and then put all our stuffed animals around you, trying to recreate a mehndi scene in which you were the bride and the stuffed animals were our guests. You are always such a sweet tempered child and I honestly can’t even remember you doing anything wrong! As you grew older you started different activities such as gymnastics and girl scouts, you easily made friends and were always going to different friends birthday parties and extracurricular activities. You were always a reader and were very imaginative, you would play with your toys and create songs about different things. In fact I remember that there was this art contest at Publix and you entered your drawing and you won first prize! you were always very creative and had a knack for art even at such a young age.

Do you remember the one birthday when we were a part of the National Conference for Community Justice walk and then we went ice skating. It was such a fun day and I think it may have been one of the last birthdays that we celebrated in America. We had then moved to Karachi, Pakistan and thus began a new chapter in your life. It was a difficult adjustment trying to fit into a new culture and a new way of life. You entered the Foundation School and began your journey in the Pakistani Education system. In the first few weeks I would pick you up from school and I remember trying to scan the crowd for you, everyone looked the same! It was so different from America, all these desi girls in identical uniforms. We shared stories on the way home and I listened with amusement as you related how the students would be jumping on desks and how the  teachers lacked control of their classrooms. I saw you struggle on an academic level, you were being exposed to subjects like Urdu and Islamic Studies that you had never taken before. The other more traditional subjects were also taught entirely differently than what you had been used to back home in the U.S. You started taking tutions and learned first hand what it meant to be a student in Pakistan. Socially you had a nice group of friends, many of whom you have still kept up with to this day.

One of my best memories is when you and Saher came to visit me a few months after my wedding. We really got to spend a lot of quality time and I was so thrilled to have you guys by my side as we went up and down the East Coast. Shifa there’s been so much that you have accomplished and its unbelievable the things that you have done and your wide range of interests from learning German and traveling to Germany, your volunteering with different social institutions, your essays being published nd your amazing artwork. Shifa you are an amazingly talented woman who excels at everything you have layed your hands on (okay maybe not the Urdu subject) You are an extremely hard worker but most of all you are one of the most caring and loving person I have ever met. If you don’t believe me ask Humza!

So Shifa please forgive me for not knowing the details of the last 6 years  of your life.  You are and always will be my baby sister so even if im not there with you or don’t express it openly you are one of the dearest people to me and I really miss not being there with you to celebrate the beautiful person you are. May Allah bless you, make you amongst the righteous and make you the leader of the pious people as well as the coolness for our parents eyes – Ameen

60 Miles for Cheesecake

The hubby (and from this point on will always be known as ‘the chief’) announced that Friday evening will be date night.  After much contemplation we decided to go to Cheesecake Factory.We dropped Eesa off at my mother’s and by the time we reached CCF it was 9:30 PM.  I was so tired and was willing to skip CCF to go to bed.  My My, 9:30…only 9:30 on a Friday night, the night was young yet I felt old and ready to pass out. All of a sudden I had a blast from the past.

I thought back 5 years ago when a couple of friends and I had the sudden urge and craving for cheese cake. The closest one was 60 miles away. It was already 9:30 PM, did we want to drive an hour plus just for cheese cake?

HECK YA, the night was young and so were we. We reached CCF 15 minutes before it closed. I grabbed a slice of original cheesecake with whipped cream and strawberries on the side. We drove back home (without eating anything at CCF) and then popped the movie ‘Wicker Park’ while we savored our cheese cake.

The movie ended at 3 AM and there was no point of going to bed when Fajr was just a few hours away, thus we partied the night away (the halal way of course duh!).

So what’s the point of this post? Well its rather interesting how a person goes through many phases in their life.  Whether it be fashion, hobbies, habits or adventures, we all go through these changes.

What causes these phases? Maturity level? Life and the circumstances surrounding it? People? Experiences?

Perhaps a little bit of everything.  Each phase of your life has its own sweetness (and bitterness).  Now my idea of sweet is to take a two hour nap on any given Sunday.  The amount of relaxation, energy and power a nap gives me is indescribable. As a matter of fact just thinking about it puts a smile on my face.

I wouldn’t say these changes are for better or for worse, it is just a natural transition that a human being adapts to throughout their lives.

It is very similar to fashion I suppose. When bell-bottoms were in style, they were the coolest things around, now they look so ugly.  Remember short kameez were the Pakistani fashion? Now they look hideous!

I guess same rule applies for Deen, with coming days we should consistently strengthen our relationship with Allah SWT.  Although our eman may encounter highs and lows, but we should always make a conscious effort in making it stronger.

For example, I used to argue a lot (the chief might think I still do) but I came across this hadith

“Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever does not argue when he is in the wrong will have a home built for him on the edge of Paradise. Whoever avoids it when he in the right will have a home built for him in the middle of Paradise. And whoever improves his own character, a home will be built for him in the highest part of Paradise.” [Tirmidhi]

If not arguing means a home built in Paradise, then so be it insha’Allah! Similarly, I hope I can make other changes that can benefit me in the hereafter insha’Allah ta’Allah.

So would I drive an hour to CCF now? HECK NO! I wouldn’t even drive 10 minutes, actually I don’t even like their cheese cake anymore, haven’t had it in years.

I can still party the night away, but only after my two hour nap.

Something to take a look back about…

Don’t Sweat It!

I’ve never worked out. I mean there were these two years in high school that I ran track, but I wasn’t even close to being an athlete. Now the whole family has joined the gym and we’re trying to lead a more active lifestyle.

The gym that I’ve joined is a lot like high school, the lockers, the basketball court and bleachers. I even sensed that awkwardness like the first day of class when I sheepishly walked into the yoga class. I had no idea there were thousand different yoga’s offered; Hot Vinyasa Yoga, Fitness Yoga, Vinyasa Flow Yoga, oh and I almost forgot Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga!

People high-fived each other as they walked into the classroom and were doing all kinds of warm up stretches which I pretended to ignore while I cooly hung out in the back. There were definite cliques and friendships that have been established. These women “the cool” ones were on top of their game. They were dressed the part with their black and pink Nike’s, black fitness pants and had an attitude like high school cheerleaders.

I was not intimidated like I may have been in high school or junior high but a part of me wanted to fit in and I suddenly wished I would have dressed the part a little better. I was wearing a washed out old tunic and these gray workout pants, I was most definitely not matching in anyway. I had even forgotten to wear the ankle socks and instead I was wearing old school crew socks that made me stand out even more.

As our teacher walked in and dimmed the lights I took a sigh of relief, at least nobody would notice my faded kurti and my unironed hijab (I need to take my own advice) The class began first with some light stretching and breathing – the teacher was incredibly nice and assured us that this was not a competitive sport but a place to relax, unwind and focus on ourselves.

I totally enjoyed the class and loved being able to be child-free for the time I spent in the gym.  The only challenge now is trying to find some modest but trendy workout clothes. So I contacted my blogger friend Farrah Khan of Greater Lengths, her blog is focused entirely on helping Muslim women create a modest and trendy wardrobe.  She has put together an post on modest workout wear! Check it out, I’ll be doing some shopping too, but in the meantime I’ll start by wearing my ankle socks, deodrant and bringing my desi Swag to the gym even if it is in my Cotton Kurtis.

 

 

 

Real Women Cook

Since when is frozen foods and take out better than home cooked meals? I recently went to a gathering and was asked how often I cook, I gave my response shamefully (thinking it was not enough) “Three to four times a week.” I said,  the person responded “Oh man! 3-4 times? man thats crazy, you must get so tired!” with this look of pity.

If this sort of response was coming from an unmarried or even NEWLY married girl then I would completely understand.

I have to admit for the longest time I fought the housewife title, I refused to give in to the everyday chores and fall into the trap of cooking every day (not to mention I sucked at it!). Alhumdulilah I grew out of that thinking and became mature. The only people to look down upon housewives are women themselves.   I think our generation of ladies don’t want to end up as a typical housewife.  Many of us may think our mothers had it hard or hated what they did.

I used to think cooking was a chore for my mother, but I’ve realized she truly enjoys it.  Through her food she expresses her creativity, passion and love.  When we were sick she made the best soup, when we were leaving for a trip she made her famous pulao, each event or situation was linked with her food item.  There was no skipping or taking the easy way out for them, they wanted their meals to be absolutely p.e.r.f.e.c.t.

After marriage I have gained a whole new appreciation for good food, cooking is indeed an art.  I underestimated the effort put into it,  behind good food is a talented woman.

Don’t get me wrong, I work part-time, but working woman or not, a mother/wife is a homemaker.  Allah SWT has blessed women with the ability to provide warmth, love and comfort. Think back to what made your parents’ home? I think of laughter, joy, TLC and and and….FOOD! Till this day I get excited when I go to my mom’s house because I’m so eager to eat her food. It’s a whole other story how I always end up gaining weight when I’m in Maika (mom’s house).

Sadly, these days homes are missing the food aspect.  I don’t believe tv dinners, frozen foods and eating out can ever replace what our mothers did for us.

It’s not about your class or education, it just a natural thing to do. I recently came across a Pakistani person who said “My mom is a working woman so when we go home we have to figure out our own dinner and fend for ourselves.” I thought that was so depressing. The lack of dinner isn’t just about not having food, it just gives a home an empty feeling.

My aunt is a doctor and is working insane hours, however every weekend she cooks about 5-6 dishes to last her a week. In my book she is a super woman; She knows her children depend on her for a good meal. Anyone can pop in a microwave meal or whip up a sandwich, but it takes a real woman to cook up a meal for her family.

For women who really find it difficult to squeeze out time for cooking, do it on the weekends. Have your husband help and make it into a bonding activity.  If your husband is cooking, I would give him a ton of compliments so it encourages him to do it again!

The dinner table isn’t just a place for food but it is a time for bonding, discussion and crucial family time.  Days are discussed, problems are solved and of course food critiquing is done.
Don’t feel discouraged if a meal or two…or a dozen go wrong, practice makes perfect! (although I feel like I’m stuck in the practicing phase!)

Ladies whether it be once a week or every day, we should uphold that tradition of cooking. It isn’t hurting our feminism, it isn’t degrading, its an art our mothers have mastered and we should too!

Something to cook about….

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.

 

 

A Millionaire’s Hobby

My father fired the guy who mowed our lawn.  He wasn’t coming regularly and when he did come he didn’t do too great of a job mowing.  My father complained to a friend and asked him if he knew of anyone who could mow his lawn.

I rather not get into any specifics, but would like to give you a bit of a background to who this friend is.  He happens to own a popular car dealership.  No not some random junkyard full of  used cars, this is a legit dealership that has a number of top car.  In other words, yeah he is a millionaire, for sure.

So my dad asked him thinking he may refer one of his landscaping guys.  Instead, the friend said “I can mow your lawn”.

My dad was shocked and wasn’t quite sure how to respond to this guy . He was a bit confused but then the following conversation took place

Dad: you?…really?

Friend: yeah but you’d have to pay me
Dad: sure, how much?
Friend: you tell me…how much did you pay the last guy?
Dad: $25 for every visit
Friend: ha! you gotta pay me more than that
Dad: ok…tell me a price?
Friend: $30
Dad: ok deal

And well there you have it, a millionaire comes to mow our lawn.  He wears proper clothes, well proper if you were going out to dinner.

I do think its pretty amazing that a guy of his financial status would be mowing lawns, and more surprising that he’s doing it for $30.

I wonder what he’s doing with the $30, maybe buying a fancy handkerchief to wipe his forehead once he’s done mowing.

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!