Friday, 7 August 2015

Ramadan Journal - Entry 5

21) Smile
24) Happy
 Receiving gifts are always reasons to smile. And it's with a lot of happiness when the gifts are from parents. This lovely green prayer garb is a surprise gift from Father while he was on a short shopping spree across the Causeway.
Pretty, isn't it? Alhamdhulilah.

22) Colour
Eid, or Hari Raya, as we say it here, is never complete without these lovelies.
We all have personal favourites. Mine are the pineapple tarts.
It is our family practice to pack these colourful Eid cookies for our guests and neighbours.
One thing I have to change next year is to really pack these at least two days before Eid!

26) No 
We made a trip to Johor Bahru, as we do every year to make some purchases for Eid with our cousin sisters in tow.
This time, with a different hired driver. The experiences were not as pleasant. And so, next year, In-Shaa-Allah, when we decide to make the trip, that driver will be a no-no.

27) Listen
I had the blessed opportunity of listening to the Imam's recitation of the Quran during the last Friday's Ju'maah (congregational) prayers while near a Masjid in the east. As I listened to the recitation of the Imam in tears, standing there, watching my Ummah in unity, I teared too. For me, it was one of the most beautiful moments I was blessed with this Ramadan.

28) Reflect
In my later years of growing up,  I always was tested on controlling thirst while fasting, more than on hunger pangs.
One of the days, when the weather was really sultry, as I was waiting for the bus that neevr came for almost 45 minutes, under the burning sun, I reflected deeply - on how fortunate I was to only feel that test for so little of the whole day. What about my brothers and sisters who fast in far worst conditions throughout a whole month, with taqwa? SubhanAllah.

Our purified water dispenser - a reminder to keep thanking HIM for all that we get and others don't. Gratitude - for everything.

29) Eid Prep
The sister I bought the pretty, colourful Eid paper plates wasn't selling them anymore. So, AZ thought of serving food on banana leaves. I felt it was a refeshing change too.
 AZ is hard at work at cutting the leaves to fit the plates on the eve of Eid.

30) Thank You
This year, AZ and I have both been very busy with our careers. And we had mentioned on our Al-Barakah Abayas' Facebook page that we will not be bringing in new designs. We welcomed orders on existing stock though. We admit we haven't spent much time on Facebook marketing like last time too. Yet, we were so humbled that we had sisters contacting us for abayas for Eid. We would like to thank them all for their support. This support has definitely inspired us to do better. In-Shaa-Allah.

Source: Internet

Ramadan Journal 2015 - Entry 4

16) Capture 
20) Me
I thought that I don't always capture photos about my Eid clothese. So, I made a mental note to snap a picture of a simple band very comfortable-on-the-skin maxi dress that AZ bought for me at the Eid fair before I wore it. I wore this on the first day of Eid. I  really liked how I could easily run around the house as we were attending to guests. I matched it with a maroonish scarf and had compliments from AZ and Mum.

17) Wish
I always wish to get some henna done on the last few days of Ramadan. These recent years, that has not been anywhere close to possible. This year, too.A few days after Eid, I found a tube of henna that's been untouched for a few months. I grabbed some lazy moments and had AZ applying some simple designs on my finger nails and palms. The outcome was pretty enough.

18) Make
My Mother makes beautiful murukkus... savoury Indian snacks.
You would think every child says this - that her Mother makes the best food.
My Mum does too, and this is EXCEPTIONALLY true with her Murukkus.

It takes a lot of time and effort to make these snacks. From measuring up the ingredients, to kneading the dough, to pressing the dough out through the traditional 'murukku ural' (I seriously don't know what it's called in English; you can google the images though), and then frying them in the correct temperatures.

I can never manage any of these. One of the biggest things I regret not learning to do. The scale of the process just scares me, really.

But my Mum makes them  single-handedly, with so much love. There were times we decided to give her a break, and ordered from home-based businesses. Not a single one of them came anywhere close to Mum's.

And so she goes - 'I told you. Let me make them like I always do.'

19) Read
23) Three
 One of the things about my job I loved this Ramadan was that I could get to work with Masjids on some projects. Over Ramadan, I had a chance to work with three Masjids in different vicinities.  After every project meeting, I made use of the lunch hour (while other colleagues involved in the projects headed to lunch) to spend time reading the Quran after my prayers.

Ramadan Journal 2015 - Entry 3

6) Sahur
15) Iftar
A cup of milk at Sahur and Iftar was my must-have in Ramadan this year. Something I needed to make sure I didn't end up with gastric for consumption of spicy food. As of course, spicy treats that were too good to resist for an appetite that came after fasting.

7) Mood
AZ and I like to take a walk along the Eid Bazaar (Fair) here just to soak in the atmosphere every year. This year, we headed out on the second day of Ramadan, after Dhuhr prayers. It was one of those days that we weren't in the 'mood' for shopping. We went again though, this time towards the last few days in Ramadan when we had a mini-shopping list in hand for Eid preparations. And these two items below were among the purchases that we both really liked.

8) Grateful For
For being born as a Singaporean Muslim. I have thanked Allah (S.W.T) many times this Ramadan for being able to fast 'freely' this Ramadan. Reading about our brothers and sisters in China who were forced to eat during work hours to prevent them for keeping their fast in this holy month was painful.
May Allah bless all our efforts amongst the struggles, with a place in Jannah. Ameen.

12) 4pm - At work
Relates back to my sentiments above. 4pm for me on weekdays were at work. - that was the time I wlooked forward to perform Azhar prayers, and then wrap up my work for the day. I had requested to leave work an hour earlier and my bosses were cooperative.

As I write this now, we are in our SG 50 Jubilee Weekends here. Singapore celebrates 50 years of independance this year. A heartwarming part of our National Day celebrations here is these funpacks for every citizen's home. We collected ours a few days back. There are 50 designs that the bags come in and every design paints the Singapore story. Masha-Allah.

These were some of the pretty, keep-sakes in the bag. Every neighbourhood gets a variety of items that bring back childhood memories and stamp the success of Singapore. My personla favourite is the 'Old Maid' card game. There are four in this card-games' gang. There're are the 'Snap', 'Happy Family' and the 'Donkey'. Games we all loved as children.

I am going to take some time this Jubilee weekends and introduce this game to AZ. My Brother and neighbours included. In-Shaa-Allah.

9) Inspired By
This whole Ramadan, I felt I had not done my best, and at times, I felt I fared better last year.
At one of these low moments, I came across this article here. And it sure was an inspiration to pick myself up and make the most of the remaining precious time I had.

10) Light
On a couple of days, after setting the table for Iftar, we had moments - AZ and I - sitting down, making duas, with the light of twilight coming through our curtains. It was serene.

11) To Do/To Ask
My Duas List.  I came up with a tangible list only after Day 11 or so in Ramadan.

25) Write 
I actually didn't get to writing on my personal dairy. At all.

13) Craving
King of fruits, that's what they are known as. Durians. I had cravings for these towards the last ten days of Ramadan. My Father promised then he would get me some after Eid as th tastier ones were not so easily available near our place. He delivered his promise some two weeks back, and I was one happy kid. Alhamdhulilah for parents.

14) Mess
This is what our kitchen table looked like at one of its to-get-messier moments on the eve of Eid. With Mum's jellies, my cake-making props, and other items I usually bring down from cabinets once a year for Eid. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Ramadan Journal 2015 - Entry 2

Source: Internet

3) Love
Mothers - From the Mother who deliberately wakes me up half hour later than she's up preparing for Suhoor, the Mother who gets warm Iftar meals all ready by the time I step into the house on some days, twenty minutes before the Adhaan for Maghrib. And from the Mother who sends her duas, love, and duas from many miles away every minute of her life. May Allah give them a place in the highest Jannah in the hereafter and the most happiness in this world. Ameen.

4) Eyes
In Surah Al-Furqan:

“ …and those who say:  O, our Master, grant us from our spouses and our children ‘the coolness of eyes’ and make us leaders over those who are righteous, pious, and fearful”.

 Here, Allah (S.W.T) refers to children as 'coolness of our eyes'. Though AZ and I do not have children yet, our parents are now "coolness of our eyes". Seriously, I remember reading somewhere that as people mature, they tend to become more child-like. Our parents will make great testimonies. It's especially sweet when they have little cravings and traditions that show up only in Ramadan. Dad's briyani musings at Iftar and Mum's love for haleem from the masjids. SubhanAllah. Makes me smile everytime I think about these.

5) Throwback
Mum's and my creations for Iftar last year. Our mango pudding was a hit last year.

This year, I barely made anything for Iftar. Mum was extra adventurous though, she made a variety of new things this year - beef balls, 'ulunthu vadai' and cutely-shaped curry puffs. All of which of course, were delicious. Alhamdhulilah.

Ramadan Journal 2015 - Entry 1

Finally, I am getting down to pen down my Ramadan Journal. Actually, AZ was neatening up my mobile phone and its contents just a few days back.

In the process, I realised that some photos I had snapped throughout Ramadan are now missing. Knowing that I would want to document these very much, AZ spent quite a bit of time trying to recover them from softwares. Given a bit of time, he would have recovered all of them, but I really felt bad about it as he had exams to prepare for, alongside work commitments to attend to.

And most of all, these days, I have learnt to accept, or to be truthful, learning very hard to say Alhamdhulilah for all things - to my favour and otherwise.

And so, Alhamthulilah, I retook some shots in the same order that I could and will write about other images that I captured after Ramadan that also deserve space for memories in my Ramadan Journal for this year.

So here goes, my photo journal (of sorts) for this Ramadan.

1) Prepare
As I had hoped for, about 80 per cent of our Eid shopping was completed before Ramadan. And of these, the essentials that 1 particularly shop for new bedsheets for the house.

2) BnW
Battling within myself to spend as much time as I could with my Quran. I could have done much, much better...
What I was happy with myself was that I read different Surahs, unlike in all other years where I had read from the first Surah and followed through.

My Quran - which is a gift from my Father during one of the Ramadans in earlier years.