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Showing posts from 2017

Moaning, not appreciating

While studying the story about Moosa AS in our weekly halqa, I came across this ayah from the Quran on showing gratitude: And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.' " (14:7) We discussed what the Shaykh had taught us in a course on "Discourses from the Quran" that we attended in London a few years ago and we remembered how he had mentioned that gratitude is something you ARE and LIVE, not just DO. So through your actions you are grateful, not just doing a ritual for a few minutes when you feel like it, thinking your gratitude action is done for the day (or week or month!). I started thinking about being grateful and  made me realise that you can't be grateful and complain at the same time. Go on, try it! So every minute we spend complaining, it's taking us away from focusing on all that's good and counting our blessings. Rather we are l

Salted caramel Heaven

My latest favourite flavour is salted caramel- but served with chocolate (in the form of cake, dark chocolate, dessert).  I love how the sweetness from the caramel is cut by the sprinkle of salt- and it's even better if there are little granules of salt dancing around on your tongue in the end - a real treat of flavours for me! However I find that not many places that sell this yummy delicacy  get the balance just right - it's sometimes too sweet and lacking the essential saltiness that is promised. It ain't salted caramel if it ain't got salt! I am always on the hunt for * real * salted caramel and so when I came across this recipe online I instantly decided to try it. It was not one of those that you make a mental note of trying "one day". I kept an open tab opened in my browser (a sure way to motivate me to take action - open tabs mean open actions and I love getting things done so this was a good approach!) Anyway, the recipe was fairly easy, the onl

Turkish tales: Exploring Cengelkoy in Istanbul

Salaams We like to structure our weekends with one day of rest/chores/catch up, and the other day for adventure! This usually involves exploring an undiscovered area, trying out new food or just doing something different. This weekend, we woke up to a sunny sky, albeit with a slight chill in the air and decided to head out to Cengelkoy, a neighbourhood in Uskudar, across the bridge on the Asian side. This place is best known for "Cikolata Kahve" - a chocolate boutique store specialising in exceptional chocolate. So this made our first stop for a "snack" , since we had already had a big breakfast at home. Inside, it was quaint and cosy, friendly staff and quite busy, which I kind of expected for such a popular place. There are no menus, because really there are only 3 items on their menu to drink - Cay (Turkish tea), hot chocolate and Turkish coffee/hot chocolate. Besides this, you can order chocolates from their attractive display made up of dark, milk, whi

Posh veggies for dinner

I love watching cooking shows and I often hear certain phrases or ingredients that seem to stick in my mind, especially when the contestants describe their scrummy looking dishes with vivid vocabularly! One such example is a description of a dish where it is served  "... on a bed of celeriac purée .." Just sounds so exotic! I guess I must talk about it a lot too- as  the other day the hubby went out to the store (sorry not the local market...this time) and brought me a medium sized sandy little vegetable and proudly presented it to me as "celeriac as you hear your favourite posh people make!"  (he's so embarrassing!) Celeriac Two Ways Nonetheless, I was intrigued and so I googled some ideas and found two great recipes to make that day for dinner. I even made a little for my baby as mash (the celeriac puree!) as it's texture lends itself to lovely and smooth for little mouths :) So here is my recipe for celeriac two ways... quite yummy and w

Turkish life: Lessons from our first Roadtrip: Istanbul is not Turkey

Salaams Last month I was really fortunate to go on (our first) roadtrip in Turkey! I was amazed by the landscape- mountains in the distance, green fields and farms, and the wide open space to breathe! It looks like this: Turkish countryside Beautiful right? I don't know what I was expecting but  what I saw reminded me how different Istanbul is to the "rest-of-Turkey." Whilst Istanbul is beautiful, and there are beautiful places to walk around and chill especially on the mighty Bosphorus, it just has a more "closed -up" feel to it. Like take Bebek for instance, you can sit near the water edge - but just in a small space and then there's buildings in and around you. In Istanbul, at least on the modern European side which is what I'm more familiar with, sure there are parks, but it's surrounded by loads of flats and tall buildings. So when driving around your view usually includes  sprawling flats on hills. It's different ou

Sit back and enjoy a response from ALLAH. ALLAH promises!

Greetings on this lovely day of Jumuah (Friday) I have this thing with effort and reward. I practice it alot. Must be something I picked up growing up. Anyway, it serves me well as it works as motivation to keep me getting things done and working hard. So it's no wonder that this image shared on a family Whatsapp group hit home for me. It acted as a reminder for me to do my bit : all I need to do is these four things : 1. show gratitude 2. ask of Allah  3. ask for forgiveness and  4. constantly praise Allah -and then sit back and enjoy a response from ALLAH Alone!  There are some simple tasbeehs to read for each of these, so this is how I plan to implement. Gratitude :   سبحان الله   (Subhanallah)  Glory be to God   Ask of Allah:    لاَّ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ أَنتَ سُبْحَـنَكَ إِنِّى كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّـلِمِينَ  (  La Ilaha Illa Anta Subhanaka Inni Kuntu Minaz Zalimeen)    “… There are none worthy of worship besides You. Glorified are You. Surely I am f

My reflections from the book: "When you hear hoof beats, think of zebras"

Book Review: When you hear hoof beats, think of zebras This book has been on our bookshelf for ages, so it was wonderful to finally read it. These are some  of the very powerful lessons I took out of this book based on interesting Sufi tales: Seeing Allah in everything and everyone around us - to me this means being in the company of those that remind you of Allah. Everything is a trace of Allah because everything is predestined and from Him. When looking at the creation,even inanimate objects, trace it back to Allah remember to admire the Creator. If you spend your time going after gold in this world, you will have neither the gold nor yourself! Think about what you spend your time, energy and thoughts on between prayers -  We think about our life first, and weave our prayers around that. How nice to switch it around to focus on prayers first! Every morning when we get up, we must remember two things- Allah and death - see how different our life will be as a result! We will

How has Surah Maryam made me a better person?

Salaams  I just completed the tafseer of Surah Maryam , following the intensive series by Shaykh  Abdul Nasir Jangda . I was motivated to start this when during my early weeks of pregnancy I kept hearing from people around me that Surah Maryam is a very good surah to recite during pregnancy. I researched a bit about the wisdom behind this, but could not find any concrete Hadith to support this notion, and whilst we know all of the Quraan is beneficial to us at any time, I wanted to know why this particular Surah was called out to be one to recite specifically during pregnancy. Well I was not satisfied with a seemingly unsupported claim, and so I decided that instead of only just reciting this surah, I wanted to delve a little deeper and understand the meaning of this surah, and what made it so remarkable and beneficial during pregnancy. I came across this incredible tafseer series on the surah, and decided to dedicate the months of my pregnancy to completing the whole tafseer by

Riding the Guidance Train

Listening to the tafseer of Surah Maryam by Shaykh Jangda on YouTube and I'm absolutely inspired by this ayah he spoke about from the Holy Quran: "And those who are guided - He increases them in guidance and gives them their righteousness." [Muhammad 47:17]  The Shaykh explains that the more we follow the guidance that Allah sends us to us - the more guidance Allah will send to us! Such a simple formula, such powerful effects. This is the "guidance train" as Shaykh amusingly terms it. So when we ask Allah for help and guidance, we shouldn't just stop there - the journey of seeking guidance isn't the end game - clearly what's important is taking on the guidance we are given. Sometimes it comes to us in ways we don't expect - like a maybe a turn of events forcing us to act in a certain way. Other times it can be some sort of inspiration we are given to take a course of action. Either way it speaks to us being conscious and aware so