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).






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

Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (saw).


This is directed at my Muslim friends. I have seen many status updates recently mentioning Manchester and Syria in the same post. Please don’t compare the loss of life in Manchester to the loss of life in Syria. Give each innocent life that was lost it’s rightful mention without a political agenda. Now is not the time. Now is the time to come together for Manchester. Each and every life matters and deserves our thoughts, prayers and respect individually. Would you turn up at a relative’s funeral and begin to mourn someone else’s death? No. Give Manchester respect.




Ramadhan Iftar Prep

I tried this last year and it worked so well, I decided to do it again. I have batch cooked all the curry using fresh ingredients. The following dishes are included:

  • Keema Aloo
  • Keema Karela (bitter gourd)
  • Kofta
  • Arvi (Taro root vegetable)
  • Mixed Vegetables (Courgette, Edamame Beans and Aubergine)
  • Chicken Shorba
  • Chicken Palak
  • Chicken Cholay
  • Chicken with Courgette
  • Fish Masala
  • Mackerel and Cholay
  • Palak Paneer
  • Aloo Gosht
  • Gosht with Tinda (Indian squash)
  • Gostht with Kaddu (pumpkin)
  • Tarka Daal
  • Bhindi (Okra)


I have set aside half for my Mum. We usually have curry 3 – 4 times per week in Ramadhan with fresh roti (chapatti). I will set aside the selected curry for defrosting and then heat in a pan (not microwave) before iftar and add fresh coriander, slices of ginger and a dash of lemon juice.

Ramadhan Calendar

With a fortnight or so left to the start of Ramadhan, some of our preparations are already underway.

We made our own Ramadhan calendar this year. The cutting and sticking was done by my 8 year old but my 4 year old found this activity particularly exciting. We talked about what the month of Ramadhan is and how we look forward to celebrating Eid. We also talked about how the sighting of the moon marks the beginning of Ramadhan. I was impressed that he remembered one of his favourite nasheeds “Ramadhan Moon.” This activity helped with his number skills too. The pockets contain “Deed of the Day” which are simple acts such as “Be kind to a friend.” Our own calendar is different to the conventional ones as it is actioning a good deed which is rewarded with a treat, not just the passing of the day. So, the children will read the deed first thing in the morning and then in the evening we will discuss how they actioned it and then get a treat (or not). Some of the days contain no treats to help teach the children that the simple act of giving and being nice is the treat itself.

All materials were purchased from the Range. The calendar cost under £5 to make (treats not included!).


Home-made Picture Book

My 13 month old is starting to imitate speech very well and is able to copy-cat sounds. She also takes an interest in books and particularly enjoys looking at animals pictures and listening to animal sounds. Her favourite word this week is “tiger” and she loves making a growling sound. It is lovely to see her emerging sense of humour when she creeps up behind her brothers and growls like a tiger.

I decided to make our own picture book that we can add to as she grows up. For example, as she gets older we can add the first letter of the animal names to help with phonics such as “T” for tiger. I have used a basic black and white theme and a great selection of wooden animals. I also added a beaded elastic animal string at the front of the book for an added sensory experience. Because I have used a photo album we can take the picture out (the duct tape keeps them secure whilst using but can be peeled off)  let her feel the 3D wooden animal. It is therefore not just a great sensory experience but interactive too.

She is currently napping and I can’t wait for her to wake up and have a look at her new book!

All materials were purchased from The Range. It took less than an hour to make.


Muhammad Ali: The Soul of a Butterfly

Fully Booked

A book club for busy ladies who make time to read


Muhammad Ali: The Soul of a Butterfly

Rated: 8/10


Summary of the Discussion on 19th February 2017


  1. What is your favourite passage of the book and why?

We shared our favourite passages. One particular one was “The Real Success”. Many of us were struck with Muhammad Ali’s ability to see the extraordinary in what might otherwise seem ordinary e.g. ants walking.


  1. What is the title of your autobiography, and briefly, what would it’s message be?

This question was thought provoking and required a lot of discussion. We felt it depended on where we were in our lives and agreed that the title of an autobiography is probably fluid.



  1. What difference does it make that Hana, his daughter, penned this book?

We actually started our discussion with this question. It was suggested that her daughter writing this book may have lead to bias, but not all of us agreed with this view. Those dissenting said that it was obvious there was no bias through some of the stories told. It was agreed that she was mentioned as one of her favourite daughters and therefore had a close relationship with her father. It was also agreed that Hana had an insight into the life of her father that another biographer would lack and was in a good position to jog her father’s memory, especially on family matters.


  1. There are few or no people who are seen in a negative way in this book despite history telling us otherwise. What does this tell us about Muhammad Ali?

We did not deal with this question directly but instead discussed that earlier biographies made mention of his relationships and negative aspects of those. This book served the purpose of charting his spiritual progress and therefore did not deal with negative relationships.



  1. Would Muhammad Ali have had the same confidence if he was a white American in the 60’s?

Again, this question was not dealt with directly but touched upon in other questions when looking at the society in which he lives and contextualising his experiences. It was agreed that:

  1. It was Muhammad Ali’s roots and upbringing which gave him a sound self-identity;
  2. The Society in which Muhammad Ali lived not only made life harder for him but also easier for him to become an icon. It served a purpose for him and he fed into that.


  1. With regards to his conviction, how was Muhammad Ali able to stay true to his beliefs when everything was against him?

Erm… we didn’t discuss this!


  1. What are your thoughts on his use of ‘magic’ in certain circumstances?

Many of us felt this was an interesting question and perhaps something we hadn’t thought of until now. It was mentioned that deception is not permissible in Islam with specific reference to the magic tricks mentioned in the Qur’an during the life of Musa (as). It was agreed that a children’s magician who did a show for a party was entirely different to someone professing they used magic and were not performing a magic trick. It was agreed that the magic tricks used by Muhammad Ali to impress the young boys after one of his fights was acceptable.


  1. At what stage did you know who you wanted to be in life?

This question led to some interesting discussion. It was intriguing to hear of self-discovery stories and also perceived confidence. Some of us felt the pressure of University resulted in increased confidence. It was nice to be reminded that when nervous about public speaking, some of us make dua to Allah.



All of us felt that this would not have been a reading choice were it not for the book club. We felt pleased we had read it. Many of us could relate to what Muhammad Ali described and in fact one comment was “Oh my god, this is my life.”. We felt inspired by his words and impressed to see who he was.


To feel the soul of the butterfly was humbling,

because all we knew was the sting of the bee.




Judge without being Judgmental

I met a man who impressed me. He spoke well, articulated his ideas in a persuasive manner and advocated intelligent arguments. It was refreshing to see these qualities. As I got to know him, I realised a few people had spoken of him to me before. But what I recollected were negative descriptions, which did not match my own perception and interaction. I therefore discarded their opinion and formed my own.

We all judge; our opinion on another person is our judgment of them.

Pearls of wisdom on judging:

*Judge wisely: think good, expect good.

*YOU are the best judge of a person’s character.

*Opinions of others should inform your opinion, not define it.


The Real Superheroes – Day 2

Today was markedly calmer and it felt as though we had synchronised with each other. I do feel it takes time for a teacher to know his or her students but it also takes time for students regardless of their age, to align their learning to their teacher’s way of thinking.

We started the morning by talking about what we had done for New Years Eve. I found it incredible that all the children had stayed awake for the countdown to midnight, including my own who had in fact been tucked up in bed at 10pm. As adults, we never like to feel as though we have missed out on something special, and children are no different. The reality is that most were probably fast asleep well before midnight!

The children enjoyed the presentation on Yusuf (as). The older children were able to grasp the repetitive imagery in the story such as the shirt. The younger children liked sharing their most recent dream and enjoyed listening to one of the most beautiful stories in the Qur’an. We then made shape poems. Many of the boys chose to draw wells and write their poems around it whilst the girls chose the moon and stars. The children who finished were then directed to paint their clay pots. Unfortunately, some of the pots did not survive for a variety of reasons: some were broken accidentally by younger children, some had fallen off the radiator on which they had been drying and others simply didn’t survive the drying out process. Though the feeling of disappointment would be obvious and in these circumstances, perfectly acceptable, the children were very understandable and simply accepted the fate of their pot. It was “pot luck” if it had survived.


We then had lunch and a break for Duhr salah. The older boys prayed with the men downstairs and after lunch played with their Match Attax cards.

In the afternoon we learnt about the Prophet Muhammad (saw).   We focused on the mercy of the Prophet (saw). The children learn about how the Prophet (saw) was kind to all f creation and he himself (saw) was the best of creation. We then began our craft activity after Asr salah. We made snow domes with the masjid Nabi inside. Whenever you shook the dome, it reminded the children of the mercy of the Prophet (saw).

We then prepared the hall for the arrival of the parent. After maghrib salah we had a quiz called “Beat the Parents”. The parents and myself were all incredibly inspired by the children’s enthusiasm and passion. They had picked up a lot from the course but even if they had learnt nothing except that the masjid is a nice place to be in, that in itself was a valuable lesson. The children won the quiz, although it was a close call. The most memorable moment was when a young boy explained what a wet-nurse was after correctly identifying Haleema-Sadia as the wet nurse of the Prophet (saw).

The certificates were presented and the children said their farewell to new friends and old. A few of the asked if they would be seeing me again next weekend as they wished they could do these courses every weekend.

Thank you to my volunteers: Shafeena, Masarat, Rasheeda, Nasreen, Hannah and Asma. Thank you also to the parents and the children for making this a truly wonderful way to end 2016 and start 2017.