All you need is LOVE!

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog! Thank you so much for tuning in to read about my thoughts and feelings and my ideas about the world.

If you’re familiar with my blogs, you’d notice I’m into psychology and everything about the self (self care, self improvement, self love, self reflection) and so today I have come to an important realization.

I have come to this realization time and time again but as humans do, I tend to forget and pine after what I don’t have and forget to apreciate what I do have.

What I have noticed today after interacting with a few friends and my sister is that I felt loved. I don’t feel this everyday. My mood fluctuates a lot and sometimes throughout the day. For example, I got angry several times today, even enraged a couple of times. But right now, I just feel loved. I don’t know how else to describe it.

That brought me to the realization that all we need and all we ever needed was love. To love and be loved.

Whether you’re a sibling or parent or child or friend, all you need is LOVE.

I know it sounds corny, but hear me out. No matter how much money you have or how many things you buy or how much entertainment you fill your time with, it all comes down to who you love in your life and who loves you.

Rich or poor, married or single, old or young, we all need someone to care for, and someone who will care for us. In the end, we are only truly happy when we have someone who laughs at our jokes, listens to our stories, reassures us that we’re not crazy when we talk about our pain.

Even children, I’ve read about it so many times, don’t need elaborate parties and toys. They need someone to sit with them and tell them that they love the way they draw and love them no matter what.

In this world, the miserable people are the ones who need the most love but don’t know how to ask for it, and the unhappy people are the ones who truly and utterly feel ALONE.

So in this holiday season, though I don’t celebrate Christmas, I wish everyone happiness, health and togetherness. I hope you are all giving and receiving tenderness, love and care from your families and friends.

May your holidays be filled with LOVE!

Go ahead and spread kindness like confetti 🎊

Places to visit in Turkey: AyaSofya

Hello 👋

How are you doing today?

How are you coping with everything going on in the world?

Today’s post is going to be about AyaSofya. I don’t know much about it but I know it used to be a church, then it was turned into a mosque, and afterwards into a museum. I feel like you can’t go to Turkey without visiting AyaSofya.

I’ve been to AyaSofya twice, once in 2016, and once in 2018. I enjoyed the 2018 one more because I saw it in more depth and I went with different people then. Today I will be writing about my 2016 experience.

Sadly, I barely walked around and snapped some pictures on this specific trip because some of the people I went with didn’t like historical sites.

I remember there was a long line and there were renovations being done on one side of the museum (the next time I went there was a long line and renovations as well).

So basically I will just share some of the pictures I took, including the stone on which is written the history of this museum.

5 facts about Eid Al Adha

Eid mubarak everyone!

I know it doesn’t feel like it, with corona virus and the economic crisis going on, but it’s Eid, and as Muslims, we only have 2 Eids, so let’s rejoice on this day. Let’s remember our blessings and pray for God’s forgiveness.

Let’s dress our best and go to Eid prayer, if the mosques are open in your area. Or pray at home if you c

Let’s wash our hands, put on our masks, and have a nice socially distanced Eid.

I wanted to share with you 5 facts about this Eid, to help you get a better understanding why this Eid is so important.

5 facts about Eid Al Adha:

1. Eid al-Adha commemorates when God appeared to Abraham — known as Ibrahim to Muslims — in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience. As Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, God stopped him and gave him a sheep to kill in place of his son.

2. Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى‎ ‘Īdu l-‘Aḍḥā) “Festival ” or “Greater Bairam” is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims all over the world, which falls on the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Muslim lunar calendar. It is when Muslims sacrifice a goat, sheep, cow , camel,and bull sending part of the meat to poor people as a donation.

3. One-third of the meat is kept for immediate family members, one-third is given to friends and neighbors, and one-third is given to the poor. Part of the sacrifice of the animal is not only for personal consumption, but for helping the poor.

4. Unlike on Eid AlFitr, you should eat after the Eid prayer on Eid AlAdha. And if you‘ve offered a sacrifice, you can and should eat from your Qurbani meat. If you didn’t offer a sacrifice, it’s fine for you to eat before the prayer.

5. Working on the Eid day is NOT prohibited, but not performing the morning Eid prayer is not permitted, it’s Wajib means just next to Fard or mandatory. In Islam, this is encouraged to celebrate and exchange goodwill with people on Eid days. However, if you can’t and need to work, you can do so after the Eid prayer.

I hope you enjoyed these facts about this Eid, if you didn’t already know them.

Wishing all Muslims a Eid Mubarak, and wishing the world peace and prosperity and good health for all my friends and family.

I also wish to pray for, on this special day, all the oppressed and poor and sick people in the world.

I conclude this blog with the takbeerat of Eid:

الله أكبر الله أكبر الله أكبر , لا إله إلا الله , الله أكبر الله أكبر ولله الحمد ,الله أكبر كبيرا , والحمد لله كثيرا , وسبحان الله بكرة وأصيلا , لا إله إلا الله وحده , صدق وعده , ونصر عبده , وأعز جنده , وهزم الأحزاب وحده ,لا إله إلا الله , ولا نعبد إلا إياه , مخلصين له الدين ولو كره الكافرون , اللهم صل على سيدنا محمد , وعلى آل سيدنا محمد , وعلى أصحاب سيدنا محمد , وعلى أنصار سيدنا محمد , وعلى أزواج سيدنا محمد , وعلى ذرية سيدنا محمد وسلم تسليما كثيرا .

Translation of takbeerat:

1. Allah is Great
2.No one is God except Allah.
3. Allah is Great and Praise is due to Allah.
4. Allah is Great.
5.Many praise is due to Allah.
6. Praise to Allah at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day.
7.No one is God except Allah
8.He fulfilled His promise and gave Victory to His slave.
9.He strengthened His soldiers and He alone defeated the Ahzab.
10. No one is God except Allah.
11. We do not worship anyone but Him.
12. Our worship is dedicated only to Him.
13. Even if the non-believers hate it.
14. We ask Allah to raise the status of (our master) Muhammad,
15. And the Al (Muslim wives and relatives) of our (master) Muhammad,
16. And the sahabah (Companions) of (our master) Muhammad.
17. And the Ansar (The people of Madinah who supported the Prophet) of (our master) Muhammad,
18. And the wives of (our master) Muhammad,
19. And the descendents of (our master) Muhammad, and save the (Muslim) Nation of (our master) Muhammad

Celebrating Eid despite covid 19

Eid mubarak everyone!
This Eid feels different…
This Eid feels weird….
This Eid, we didn’t go to Eid prayer.
This Eid, I didn’t go to my Taita’s for kaak el Eid.
This Eid, I didn’t spend the morning with my family.
This Eid, we probably won’t be visiting relatives, except for my in laws, who we never stopped visiting, despite quarantine, because when your husband belongs to a traditional family, that’s how it is.
However, we showered and dressed up, called family on the phone, made Eid cards, ordered junk food and made goodie bags.
I was too tired to decorate the house, but I had bought a gift for my son 2 months ago and decided to give it to him on Eid.
I didn’t buy new Eid clothes this Eid, although I could have if I wanted to, but I’m lucky that we all have new clothes already from our last trip to Turkey.
That being said, I’m grateful that at least I get to have lunch with my in laws and family in Eid.
My friends and family living abroad are not that lucky.
My sister doesn’t get to spend this Eid with her husband.
My brothers don’t get to spend Eid with us.
My friend doesn’t get to spend Eid with her dad.
It’s harder for some than for others.
I can’t help, in the midst of gradually being happy with what I CAN do this Eid and who I CAN see, but remember those who don’t have family or homes or food or can’t afford new clothes or new toys and so I pray for them.
I hope everyone enjoys this Eid with what they have.
I wish you all a blessed Eid.
May you make the most of it and enjoy it and tolerate the negativity that comes with family get togethers or lack thereof.
May next Eid be Corona Free!

How to make the most of this Ramadan while in quarantine

This is a post about Ramadan. If you’re not a Muslim and you don’t know what Ramadan is but are curious to know, check out this video that explains everything. Even if you are a Muslim but aren’t practicing or want to know more about this month, check it out.

So Ramadan is in a week, and I’m anxious excited. I have been mentally prepping myself for Ramadan for the past 2 weeks. I downloaded Ramadan plannars, printed out a checklist, created my own checklist, saved a lot of pins to my Ramadan pinterest board (click here to see them), but there is one thing bothering me:

We’re in quarantine!

Even for me, the introvert, i feel more spiritual when I go to the mosque for fajr and taraweeh prayer. I haven’t been able to go since i delivered my son, but I was hoping this year, I would be able to at least go to fajr prayer. It’s such a bummer that we will be at home instead of having iftar at each other’s houses, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pray together as a family 👪

Maybe this is what we needed to bond. Maybe this Ramadan can still be spiritual, even with kids at home testing our patience. Maybe we can instill the love of Ramadan in our kids this year by making them feel a part of it! Christians involve their kids in Halloween and Christmas and Easter activities (all of which are celebrations that should not be celebrated by Muslims), so why not us Muslim moms involve our kids with Ramadan?

If you don’t have kids, you can still make the most of Ramadan by decorating your house and reading more quraan and praying together with your family. The pinterest board has ideas for kids and for adults. You can also read more about Ramadan and about the story of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and do your own lanterns if you’re into arts and crafts.

Normally,I’m too lazy to include my son in activities that don’t interest him, but this Ramadan, I’m going to try to pull him in gently through the two things he loves: Animals! And junk food!

Some kids have a natural tendency to get excited about Ramadan and will try to immitate you in the acts of worship. If your kids are like that, God bless your soul and protect your kids from the evil eye. However, some kids need further encouragement. I, as a mom, definitely need the further encouragement to get up and make fun Ramadan-related activities for my son while still making time for my ibada (worship) with the limited energy I have (we all have different levels of energy, and I, for one, get tired easily, especially when I’m fasting).

So without further ado, here are my top tens ideas to make Ramadan fun and memorable with my son (let’s hope we do each one of them at least once):

1. Get him to pray with me. How? I printed out worksheets where he gets to color a part of a flower for every prayer he does. If he prays all 5,he colors the whole flower pot. If he doesn’t, it gets colored black. My son is just 5 and has never prayed with me before, so i feel if he prays 1 prayer with me a day, I’ll call it a win. The age of teaching kids how to pray is 7, so i won’t focus on this point. I just want to encourage him to love prayer. I will try to explain to him why we pray (to thank God for everything he gave us) if he resists, and if it comes down to it, I’ll offer a weekly reward of sweets.

2. Get him to memorize short verses from the quraan. Different kids have different memorization abilities, and some are more resistant than others, but i will try to put on videos for him where they say the Quraan and he repeats after. I will offer a reward for each surah he memorizes. This is the playlist i will depend on (because trying to teach him myself didn’t work as I lack patience and consistency).

3. Do Ramadan related activities with him. I printed out worksheets from pinterest (word search, connect the dots, mazes, and such) and I’m hoping we do them all during Ramadan.

4. Get him to do charitable acts. I have a worksheet for that. I will introduce the concept of doing good deeds for the sake of God and how they are rewarded in heaven (he already knows this but I’ll emphasize) and I’ll explain that good deeds are multiplied 70 fold during the month of Ramadan.

5. Make a lantern with him. I’ve been begging him to do a lantern with me for 2 weeks. I even printed out a template a week ago but he says he won’t do it until Ramadan begins.

6. Read him Islamic stories about Muslim children around the world (we already started this one). I bought this book a year ago and he wasn’t interested because it had no animals in it, but a week ago when i told him it was my book and I wanted to read it by myself, he got jealous and claimed it and every other day i read him a story from it (the key with kids is to not do the same type of activity everyday or they’ll get bored easily). You can download storybooks for free as pdfs or you can buy from Amazon. There is an abundance of books available online in english (not sure about the Arabic).

7. Tell him Ramadan related stories (example: how the quraan was revealed or maybe a personal story that happened to you in Ramadan)

8. Read quraan aloud next to him to get his attention and when he seems interested, explain the meanings of the ayat to him (if you don’t know the explanation, you can search online and watch cartoon explanations together).

9. Baking cookies shaped like a crescent moon, mosque, stars, and such. You can either involve your child in baking and have them make shapes with their hands or, if you’re anything like me, just let him make the shapes with cookie cutters. I plan to do this the day before Ramadan only.

10. Explain to him about Ramadan in a fun way (why we fast, do’s and don’ts of fasting). Kids are curious, and it takes a keen eye to notice when a kid is willing to learn and some patience to answers their questions.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. If you have any questions or more ideas on how to make the most of this Ramadan in quarantine, comment below.

April fools’ day and lying

So tomorrow is April 1st, in less than 1 hour in Lebanon and as it goes, my 6th anniversary of marriage. That’s not what this post is about. This post is about lying 🤥

1st of all, why is April 1st known as April Fools’ day?

I googled it. Here’s why

2nd of all, why is it okay to lie on this day? As if people are honest on the other days.

I’m not calling everybody out on lying. I’m talking about the quote my mother taught me “Honesty is the best policy” which i lived by for years, only to discover that in society, honesty is not very much appreciated and is sometimes even considered a courtesy to lie to someone. Wait, let me get off my high horse for a minute.

I lie. Ok? I know it’s wrong, but as a teenager, who didn’t do things behind their parent’s backs? So everybody lies, according to House (House MD is a medical drama series i adore and i think the character Gregory House is very wise, however sardonic and rude). Wouldn’t you lie to protect your father from harm or embarrassment? Wouldn’t you lie to please your spouse? How many times do you lie to your kids when you’re answering a very awkward question or trying to get them to do something? I don’t usually lie in these situations but i know many people who do.

I know a lot of people who go around the topic, and omit pieces of the truth and spin a tale in a way that that they’re not flat out lying. To me, that’s still lying.

I’m not writing this to condemn lying or to say “there is no such thing as a white lie“, as my mother used to tell me, I’m just discussing the topic of lying, acknoledging that everybody lies, and wondering why some people decided to create a lying day. I expect instagram to be filled with April Fool’s lies, as if the people who photoshop every single picture on instagram aren’t already lying, or those who facetune their face all the time so you no longer know what they really look like are being honest about their appearance.

Finally, how often do we lie to ourselves? When we feed ourselves lies that it’s okay to do wrong things, like… I don’t know, i don’t have anything in mind… When we justify our actions to suit our desires, isn’t that lying? Ok I’m done lecturing.

Do you play pranks on April fools’ day?

How often do you lie?