Author: cruisewithtahir

Book Review: Sofia Khan is NOT Obliged

I always enjoy reading good fiction work by Muslim authors because they are something of a rarity. I have waited a long time for a piece of work as contemporary and fresh as this from a British Muslim.

The book follows a year in the life of Sofia Khan, a 30 year-old British Muslim who works in publishing. She lives with her family in London and the book documents the happenings of that year including her search for Mr Right (blurring line between research for her book and reality). The character is likeable and relatable. If we do not see ourselves in Sofia Khan then we all know a Sofia Khan.

Writing a story in a chronological timeline such as a diary entry can sometimes feel linear and somewhat clinical. Despite delivering her book in the form of chronological blog entries, Ayisha Malik’s storyline is neither linear nor clinical. One of the advantages to the outlay is that it can be picked up and put down easily, especially if you are a busy Mum and need to find snatches of time to be able to read.

Most of the reviews have concentrated on the humour, and without doubt the humour is by far the most obvious asset to Malik’s writing. The laugh out loud moments (Conall’s T Shirt on her head instead of her hijab), the Punjabi words (Le, Hain, Hai etc) all add to the quality. However, for me the unsaid and subtle sorrow that emanated as the character matured following the loss of her father towards the end of the book spoke volumes. It is the hallmark of a multi-dimensional author who has the skill to pen both humour and sorrow in an equal and powerful measure.

“We write to taste life twice.” Anais Nin. And Ayisha Mailk, “We read to know we are not alone.” William Nicholson, Shadowlands. Well written, funny and subtly serious. I would thoroughly recommend this book. By far, my favourite Summer 2017 read.

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Perfect Breakfast (Suhoor)

Each year, Ramadhan brings with it a unique favourite dish. This year it was the porridge and flapjacks for suhoor which went down a treat.

Creamy Porridge 

Organic oats prepared in the usual way but add honey, chopped dates and walnuts. Sprinkle some coconut power. I made the porridge the night before and chilled in the fridge. You can top with seasonal fruit before serving. We topped ours with organic raspberries from the allotment.

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Flapjacks

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1205637/flapjack

I used the recipe above and added pecan nuts, chopped dates and chopped walnuts. They were the tastiest flapjacks we ever had and brilliant to keep you going through the day.

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I knew a Terrorist

I have thought long and hard about this post and decided I must speak out.

The terrorists behind the London attacks have now been identified. First and foremost, my heart goes out to the victims and their families. The terror that unfolded on that awful night is unimaginable.  Since these attacks, many people have been engrossed in discussions about why these men are driven to attack innocent people in this way. Some cite Islam. Others cite immigration. A few cite drugs. I have another theory.

There is an image in mainstream media which has been circulating depicting one of the terrorist praying in a park alongside others when he was aired on a documentary about extremists. The image has stuck in my mind for two reasons:

  1. Muslim do not pray to a flag. By placing the flag before them in prayer, these young men are making a POLITICAL statement not a religious or spiritual one. This is not about their connection to God, this is about their political beliefs.
  2. I have seen this flag before in the home of one of the wives of 7/7 bombers. I was 21 years old at the time. I began to have difficulties with this woman because of her increasingly intolerant views. I visited her home on one occasion and found this flag dominating the decor of their main room.

 

So what does this flag mean and what does it have to do with terrorism? I am not an expert in what drives young Muslim men to commit acts of terror, but I am an observant tolerant Muslim who has seen my religion hijacked by morons. This flag has been used by members of Hizb ut Tahrir (HT) just like the terrorist I knew who displayed it proudly in his home. I have often wondered why the media have not made the link between terrorists and their political affiliations because for me each time a moron is identified after an attack, their political affiliation is obvious (al muhajiroun, HT or any other variant of these).

We need to stand together and rid ourselves of this extremist political party that calls for an islamic state, justifies suicide bombings and spreads hatred for the West. This party is banned in 13 countries and has been behind attempted coups in a number of countries. https://www.counterextremism.com/threat/hizb-ut-tahrir

The terrorists might happen to be Muslims. But a decade of blaming Islam has not resolved anything. The terrorists might happen to be immigrants. But a decade of a more vigilant immigration has not resolved anything.

Maybe it is their political affiliation? Maybe we need to diagnose this illness correctly before we can treat it.

As Muslims, we need to drive out abhorrent views about the country in which we live. We would not tolerate the National Front asking us to leave the country which we love and are part of. So why do we tolerate a Muslim spreading hate about the country which we love and are part of? It works both ways.

As a society, we need to unite and diagnose this properly. It’s not a Muslim problem. It’s a problem for us all and currently, there is no solution, only blame.

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Healthy Iftar

We will have dates, sweet lassi and fruit chaat to break our fast and then after maghrib we will have feta cheese and couscous salad with scallops and home-made humous. There is no dessert but we will have some delicious mint tea.

Fruit Chaat: Banana, Pomegranate, Blueberries, Strawberries and Kiwi with fruit chaat spice and lemon.

Salad: Parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, pomegranate, red onion, chickpeas, couscous, feta cheese finished with a sprinkling of sumac spice and lemon.

 

 

Good Deed Jar

My 4 year old finally got round to completing his Ramadhan Good Deed Jar.

We upcycled an old jar and used the print-out below. My son decorated the jar with some gold ribbon and golden crescents. He did all the cutting himself (with some tidying up by Mummy!).

This was supposed to be part of a playgroup activity but it had to be cancelled so we decided to do it together at home.

We have used pompoms at the bottom of the jar and he gets one if he completes a good deed. Five pompoms will give him treat such as feeding the ducks in the park.

 

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Click on this link to download the worksheet 30daysramadangooddeeds

 

Good Deed of the Day

Day 1: Kindness to Animals  

For each day of Ramadhan, the children have a deed of the day. Today, it was kindness to animals and Suhayla pipped the post with helping to clean the goldfish tank. “Fish” is her favourite word at the moment and she kept saying it over and over again. She was particularly happy to see the fish eating in the clean water and smiled at me saying “Hmmmmm” (delicious).

 

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“There is reward in kindness to every living thing.”

Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (saw).