Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Ramadan Journal 2014 - Just So Soon...

I knew it... that I wouldn't be able to keep up with my blog posts for this month. But I am not complaining though.

This Ramadan has brought about new awareness. 

What was difficult are the  many upsetting news of Muslims and non-Muslims alike around the world.

May Allah forgive us all, and accept all our duas and deeds. Ameen.

Like I said, I am not going to try and complete my journal now. There are only four precious days in this precious month left this year. While I still can, I want to try to make the most of it, In-Shaa-Allah.
Let's us all too.

Will come to this space to complete my journal after Eid, In-Shaa-Allah. I pray that all my brothers and sisters will persevere to make the most of this Ramadan with the best of imaan. Ameen.

The new Quran I have been reciting from this Ramadan.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Ramadan Journal 2014, Day 12 – We Are Almost 1.

Alhamdhulilah.  AZ and I were surprised at first, and rejoiced later when we received a letter on the yearly renewal for our business. We didn’t really realise that our ‘fairly new business’ is  turning one in about two months.

We both remember clearly. Our dream on starting up our ‘Al-Barakah Abayas’ online store was conceived in Ramadan last year. Masha-Allah.

We registered our business around September and October. AZ and I did all the ground work and tried our best to get in our first batch of stocks by Eid ul Adha last year. Our orders reached us a few weeks later. Actually before that, our heat press machine arrived. AZ has been experimenting on this, on and off, now and has made two pretty abayas for me.

We would like to move into customising abayas for our sisters in the future. Working towards that, AZ is still exploring with design ideas, various types of rhinestones, and suppliers. We will market the concept when he is ready. In-Shaa-Allah. 

 The abaya that is getting worked on by the machine is a sample – AZ created that design from scratch on a plain, black abaya. I had asked for pink rhinestone works and there he is, at work. 

We must have launched our business in December (I think!). In our pursuit of bringing on, “Elegance… With Modesty”…(our tagline)

So, that makes it almost a year now since we made the niyyah (intention) to start an online business to bring elegant, affordable abayas to our sisters here.

Thank you, Ya Rabb, for making this possible for us, and we also thank many other people who have walked with us on this journey.

Our Parents – For believing in us and praying for our success in every single step that we take that and every dream that we pursue, every moment. And my Mum and Dad’s word-of-mouth marketing and handing out of our namecards at all the weddings, functions, market places, and all other places (you name it), they went to. They still do too.

My Brother – For spreading the word among his friends and colleagues. It always brings a smile to my face whenever I hear him say, “Kakak saya dan Brother-in-Law saya jual ini…(My Sister and Brother-in-Law are selling these...)” over the phone to his Malay friends. Oh yes, and for being my very patient Malay to English translator on our customers’ messages and enquiries on Facebook, whatsapp, etc. And occasionally trying to help AZ with photo-taking with our abayas but giving up after our mannequin proves too challenging for him.

Friends and Colleagues – Muslims and non-Muslims alike, these people in our lives have been very sweet and have motivated, supported us right from day one. And still are, with suggestions, on how we can improve, etc.

iMentor Training Academy – When we prayed for a name for our business, AZ and I asked for a name that will give us lots of barakah. And Allah (S.W.T) pointed us to ‘Al-Barakah Abayas’. The first Facebook friend we made once we set up the ‘Al-Barakah Abayas’ Facebook account was Sister Mariam and she introduced us to the iMentor journey. And through that, Sister Ruzie’s invaluable friendship. And then, AZ and I went on to our iMentor journey, and are learning new things through Sister Suria’s priceless coaching. While AZ and I must admit, we must be more pro-active in practicing what we bring home from all the training! In-Shaa-Allah.

Our Suppliers – We have worked with a number of suppliers now. And we thank all of them for the experiences – the difficult ones who taught us patience, and the patient and accommodating ones who taught us gratitude.

Our Customers – Both offline and online. For believing in us, and our products and our services. We thank you for all brothers and sisters for your  feedback, enquiries, words of encouragement, and some really kind-hearted sisters who have also recommended services they have benefitted from.

We also take this opportunity to seek forgiveness if we have hurt anyone in the course of our business or otherwise.

And we make lots of duas for everyone. Please keep us in your duas too.

(P.S. there will be lil preview of what we have in store this evening on Facebook. We will start uploading our humble Eid stocks tmw, In-Shaa-Allah).

Ramadan Journal 2014, Days 6 To 11 – Us And Friends

Our Abayas
Alhamdhulilah. Our Eid stocks from a new supplier in Dubai we are working with, have arrived. All days are blessed days, yet there is certain happiness when blessings come in on Fridays.

A Wedding And… Prayers
AZ and I attended a dear friend’s wedding and also decided to attend the couple’s customary tea ceremony. While other guests were lunching, another close friend of ours voluntarily drove us to a nearby mosque - Ba'alwie Mosque - for Zuhr prayers before we headed to join the ceremony.
Alhamdhulilah, for these two special friends in our life.
(Will post more again on this friend’s wedding after Ramadan, In-Shaa-Allah.)

Quran Classes
We just completed the second session, and Ustazah was opening up a class for Iqra classes immediately after the ‘Quran workshop’. I joined the class too, and realised I had so much to improve. SubhanAllah.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Ramadan Journal 2014, Days 2, 3 and 4 - Gratitude

For AZ. For being there and supporting in every aspect of my life. There was a mini-crisis at work that I came home with – well, without tackling it actually. Shared it with AZ with a heavy heart and he talked it through with me, gave me the stamina and strength to handle it the way it should have been. Went back to office the next morning and had it dealt with the way it should have been. Came out of the whole thing with more confidence on the work that I do. Thank you, Ya Rabb, for blessing me with a soul mate like AZ, who knows me better than I do. Alhamdhulilah. May Allah bless this soul always. Ameen Ya Rabbilameen.

For Mothers. A mother here who selflessly makes sahur and iftar meals right from her heart, and serves it with lots of love for us. Living with my mother means even as a married woman, I can still get up half an hour later than her during sahur as she does the preliminary preparations. While I consciously makes sure she doesn’t do any other work than prepapring meals at most times, nothing is comparable to what she does. And a mother back home. Who sends her constant prayers and love to us (peppered with her commentaries of her Iftar creations!) Thank you, Ya Rabb for mothers in our lives, and may Allah bless them all with the highest Jannah. Ameen Ya Rabbilameen.

For Peace. In the place that we live in. Reading and hearing news about suffering Muslims in Palestine and poverty-stricken countries has made me thank Allah continuously for all that HE has blessed us with – abundance in Iftar, peace, peace and peace. Let us keep all our brothers and sisters in Islam as we make duas in this month when Allah answers all our prayers. Ameen Ya Rabbilameen.

Jellies made by Mum and Mango pudding made by me.