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Hajj Tips 2016

Subhanallah, it has been 2 years since I was blessed with the invitation to go for Hajj. For those of you who have been before, you can likely attest to the fact that it doesn’t seem so long ago. It feels like *just yesterday* I was performing tawaf with millions of other pilgrims and pouring my heart out to Allah swt. Alhumdulillah, I was able to go for umrah between then and now, but I can promise you, Hajj is the real deal – nothing compares to this trip of a lifetime.

This year, the blessed days of Hajj are from Friday September 9th to Wednesday September 14th.

Disclaimer: If you are unable to go for Hajj for any reason, I encourage you to participate in Pilgrims at Home by Rabata: http://rabata.org/home/?event=pilgrims-at-home. Often we forget that there are so many factors that go into a Hajj trip (health, financial situation, visas, etc) and that an invitation is truly a HUGE blessing. Don’t miss out on the blessings of this time of year if you are not going for Hajj, and participate in Pilgrims at Home, or your own ibadah challenge to reap the blessings.

For this blog, I wanted to keep it simple and easy to read with the idea that most of you have already prepped hard for your Hajj trip and are looking for last minute tips and reassurance that you are ready. Newsflash: you are ready! I can pretty much guarantee you that much. How? You need just one thing to be ready – tawakkul (faith in Allah’s plan), and if you have spent the time, energy, and money to go for Hajj, I can pretty much guarantee your faith in Allah’s plan is at its highest, inshallah.

Here are my Hajj tips for you:

  1. Patience. Your patience meter should already be at an all time high (before you leave for your trip). Allah swt will be testing you left, right, and center, so be prepared and don’t lose your cool. At anything. Nothing should have the capacity to “ruin your trip”. Not a broken cell phone, lost luggage, people who push you, aunties who tell you that you read the wrong dua, or a delayed flight. Nothing. Just take everything in stride and remember that you will be rewarded for your patience! Nothing happens without Allah swt’s will and what He wills is always BETTER for you. Keep that in mind and breathe in, and breathe out. Patience is your #1 key factor in a successful hajj (in my humble opinion).
  2. Dua + Gratefulness. Make dua for everything and be grateful for everything. Even if it’s not what you wanted or expected. May our flight be quick and turbulence free. Y’Allah thank you for bringing us our flight on time. May my bunk mates in Mina be helpful and not chatty. Y’Allah thank you for blessing us with comforts like a blanket in Mina. Protect me from illness during Hajj. Y’allah thank you for providing me with medication to take care of my headache quickly. Your dua’s are always answered, and regardless of whether the outcome is what you had desired, Allah knows best. So show Him your gratitude and He will keep on giving and giving. Bonus: the duas of a pilgrim are elevated so…make some dua for me too! But seriously, ask for anything and He will deliver.
  3. Dua for Protection from Illness. So I kind of mentioned this in tip 2, but I am a huge believer in (a) the power of dua, and (b) mind over matter. I learned from Hajj Coach dot Com that dua for protection from illness during hajj should begin asap! And when you make that dua, you must make it with conviction. I took it one step further and basically convinced myself that there was NO WAY I was getting sick in a “mind over matter” sort of way. With my heartfelt dua to Allah swt and 100% certainty that He would answer (plus the Zamzam super drink!), I had psyched myself out, such that I did not get sick while at Hajj, or when I came back. I’m pretty much 1 of a small percentage of people who did not get sick. And I’m 100% certain it’s because of my faith in Allah’s protection AND my mind over matter strategy. Try it, and let me know how it goes.   Also, if your spouse gets sick, I recommend putting a pillow barrier between the two of you at night, so you don’t infect one another. This is an important trip and at least one of you should be well, if not both!
  4. Sleep. During our Hajj trip, I trained my body to sleep at any given chance in any given situation. And by train, I mean I made dua that I get enough sleep and have energy for the rituals. I literally slept through 7 hour bus rides, while everyone else was stressing out about being late and whatnot. I pretty much slept any chance I got so I could ensure I had energy for all of the acts of ibadah necessary. Now, don’t get me wrong, I would also read Quran and duas any chance I got. But when I felt even an eensy-weensy bit tired, I would let my eyelids close and have a nice snooze. I believe this is also another reason I did not get sick – I didn’t overtire myself. So, take a pair of ear plugs and a sleep mask and get those Zzzz’s.

And that’s all! See, I told you you’re ready. And honestly, these 4 Hajj Tips are all you need to be ready. Don’t stress about memorization, knowing all of the rituals, taking enough Vitamin C, whether you should take 1 pair of shoes or 2, etc. Allah swt is going to take care of you – just focus on what matters and that’s your ibadah – and for that, all you need is patience, duas, protection from illness, and energy!

I hope you benefit from this blog and if you do, I have just one request. Ask Allah swt to keep me steadfast in my deen and place barakah in Salam Shop. Ameen.

Safe travels!

“May your journey to and from be for His sake”

Sudduf Wyne is the owner of Salam Shop. She loves drinking chai, hanging out with her nephews and niece, and talking about Hajj. Sometimes, all at the same time.

Purple Impression: A Modest Alternative to Fast Fashion

Lately, the hijab and modest fashion has received more attention than ever from the fashion industry and many of us have responded with excitement to this recognition. But how many times do we actually check to see where and how our clothes are made?. The collapse of Rana Plaza garment factory has brought many dirty secrets of the fashion industry to light. Of Course  you can blame it all on the economy and conditions of the third world but if you dig deeper you will realize that the reason for the incident was Fast Fashion and our demand for cheaper clothes that are made at the cost of modern day slaves.

Purple Impression, a Fair Trade fashion brand based out of California has made it its mission to promote slow and ethical fashion. At a time when many fast fashion brands have decided to go after the purchasing power of the Muslim Market, this clothing company has decided to bet against the norm/mass production and offer its customers unique hand embroidered designs that are empowering women artisans in Pakistan.

Born in Pakistan and raised between Dubai and the U.S, Afshan Khan the co-founder of Purple Impression said: “We witnessed firsthand the loss of traditional crafts, exploitation from middlemen, tons of second hand clothes landing up in developing countries, and the effects of fast fashion on the factory workers and the planet. We knew something had to be done, so we took our production to our parents home town in Multan, Pakistan that is rich in the culture of hand embroidery and built a supply chain to provide a fashionable alternative that was made with quality fabric and stitching that the modern buyer demands”.

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Their designs are more casual with a fusion of traditional motifs adding an indigenous flair to modern silhouettes. They also make it easy to follow the journey of the production of your clothes by showing you the women working on each piece and sharing their names. “When you see a face, it prompts you to think deeper, adding meaning to your wardrobe. Often times more than how something looks, what matters is how it makes you feel, that sense of connection is what we are trying to create”, Khan explains.

When you see a face, it prompts you to think deeper, adding meaning to your wardrobe. Often times more than how something looks, what matters is how it makes you feel, that sense of connection is what we are trying to create”

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Purple Impression started off by offering limited hand embroidered tunics but have now expanded to include Eco-friendly fabrics into their designs. Their new Mystic Collection is inspired by Islamic Art featuring the wonderful collaboration of a local San Francisco based designer who brings her 20 years of experience working in the fashion Industry with the beautiful calligraphy of a local Iranian calligrapher that is hand embroidered by their artisans in Pakistan.

 

Hubb, Wahda, Sallam (Love, Unity and Peace) is the message of their Nomad Tee. “In this time of world turmoil we wanted to bring people together through Art and Fashion”,Said Khan.

 

“In this time of world turmoil we wanted to bring people together through Art and Fashion”

 

Purple Impression is definitely leading the way by providing fashion forward modest clothing for the modern buyer who wants to make an impact with what she wears . Once you have a piece from Purple Impression, you can be proud to support fashion that empowers women and preserves the dying art of hand embroidery by restoring the pride and recognition to the artisans. You can Check out their line at: http://www.purpleimpression.com

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This blog post was provided by Purple Impression and written by Huda Werner. 

 

How to be Productive this Summer

Now that both school and Ramadan are over, we have nothing to do except eat and start new shows. Which leads to a sad, counter-productive cycle of being bored, watching, then eating because you’re tired of watching, the watching because you’re tired of eating and so on…
We always tell ourselves that “This summer, I’m gonna change for the better, I will get so much done”. It’s pretty much New Year’s Resolutions in July. But I’m not judging, if it weren’t for my internship, I’d be in the same position as you. It’s hard to be productive when you don’t have a game plan and that’s where I plan to help. This blog post lists things to do this Summer, so you’re not sitting around being a couch potato.

 

Productive Thing 1: Take up a Hobby

Whether it’s knitting cute hats for your cat or sketching anime in your sketch pad, hobbies are a great way to pass time and improve whatever skills you intend on improving.

 

Productive Thing 2: Learn a new language

I know, it sounds crazy and I’m not saying that you’ll finish by the end of the summer, but give it a shot. Learning another language opens so many doors. You can put it in your resume and bring it up at an interview. Plus people who speak more than one language tend to have a higher IQ. A great language-learning app that I like to use is Duolingo. My sister recommended it to me and it’s really helpful. It starts of with a placement test to see your level in the language you want to learn and contains short activities that improve on your grammar. And it’s free!

 

Productive Thing 3: Get a Summer Job

It might be hard now that summer has already started and job positions for the season are probably already taken, but you can start applying for September if you can’t find any at the moment. There’s also always the option of volunteering. Volunteering is very beneficial, not only for attaining your ‘hours’ for high school, but it’s also an amazing learning experience and a great way to earn good deeds.

 

Productive Thing 4: Take a course online

Now I don’t mean a course for credit like Grade 12 English, but something fun (not that grade 12 English isn’t fun, but… you know what I mean 😅). If you like computers, take a course in Technology. If you like drawing, take visual arts. If you want to learn more about Islam, whether it’s because you’re new to the faith or simply want to renew your faith, you can try Seekershub. They offer free online courses, taught by Great Islamic Scholars, on Quran, Islamic Law, the Prophets, you name it! Registration is currently open and courses start July 18th. Salam Shop is also hosting Circles of Light, which is a small gathering where girls aged 13-17 can discuss questions they may have about Islam and Life. I attended the most recent event and it was very beneficial. We discussed the endless blessings that Allah has given mankind and were given an assignment where we would have to write something that we’re really grateful for and how we thanked Allah for that blessing. Circles of Light is held every Wednesday at 6:30, so don’t miss it.

 

Productive Thing 5: Make a Bucket List and Start Working on it

Life is short and we have to make the most of it. We don’t want to grow old with regrets of not doing certain things while we could. Remember the hadith about taking advantage of five before five:

“Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth, before you become old; and your health, before you fall sick; and your richness, before you become poor; and your free time before you become busy; and your life, before your death.”

So whether it’s memorizing the Quran or Performing the Great Pilgrimage, make a plan and work on it.

 

I hope this blog post inspired you to do something great this summer. So go out and do something productive. 😉

Omhani is an intern at Salam Shop for the Summer of 2016. She is going into her senior year of high school and hopes to take Psychology in University. Omhani is a little bit of a neat freak and she loves reading and making the people around her smile.

Book Review: Jannah Jewels

Jannah Jewels by Umm Nura is Salam Shop’s “PRODUCT OF THE WEEK”. It’s an amazing series about four young girls who travel back in time to gather different ancient artifacts. This series teaches children that it doesn’t matter what your gender is; if you put your mind to something, you can achieve it. The series revolves around the main characters Hidaya: the brave leader, Jaide: the spunky artist, Iman: the ‘mom’ of the group and Sara: the eco-friendly swimmer. All of the girls have their own unique ‘super power’. Whether it’s the ability to breathe underwater or the incredible talent of archery, each girl and her talent come together to defeat their nemesis, Jaffar, and save the day.

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One of the illustrations in Book 5 of Jannah Jewels.

Each book focuses on a different time period in a different country and teaches about general history, as well as specific Islamic history. The girls go from China to Cordoba and meet influential Muslim leaders and inventors like Zheng He, Al Kindi and Abbas ibn Firnas.

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These books are available at Salam Shop

These books are entertaining and educational, and are a great option for girls and boys between the ages of 7 and 11, who love action, adventure, and want to learn more about Islam.

Jannah Jewels are available at Salam Shop and online here. 

Omhani is an intern at Salam Shop for the Summer of 2016. She is going into her senior year of high school and hopes to take Psychology in University. Omhani is a little bit of a neat freak and she loves reading and making the people around her smile.

Keeping The Ramadan Spirit Alive

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…and it’s over! I remember the anticipation of Ramadan like it was yesterday. Yet, it feels like it was so long ago.

I’m severely missing the spiritual high I felt after those early mornings reading the Quran with the twilight sky peeking through my bedroom window. The long, tranquil nights of standing in taraweeh with my fellow brothers and sisters in front of our Lord. The shared memories of preparing iftar, attending iftar gatherings, and heading to Timmies for late night snacks and coffee.

Ramadan. A blessed and peaceful month.

It is so easy to go back to our old ways; binge-watching netflix (instead of listening to an Islamic lecture) or eating mindlessly until our pants are tight around the waist (instead of savouring each bite). So very easy to rush our prayers, or visit the mosque only on Fridays…if ever. Simple, even, to put our Quran back on the book shelf and say goodbye for another year.

Subhanallah – how simple it would be to just forget all of the gains we made this Ramadan and the peacefulness our mind, body, and spirit felt from being closer to Allah. Don’t forget. Don’t give up. Don’t choose the “simple” route. Work hard (just like you do everyday at work!) and make an effort to keep Ramadan alive in your heart.

To help you do this, I’ve compiled a list of easy-to-implement tips to keep the Ramadan Spirit Alive:

TIP 1: LISTEN TO QURAN IN YOUR CAR

Buy a Quran CD or create a you tube playlist of your favorite surahs: With work and school it’s hard to find the time to pick up the Quran and read it. Playing quran in your car ensures that you get your daily dose of Quran and it’s as easy a pressing a button once you’re on your way. We do a lot of driving on a daily basis and Toronto traffic is a headache, so instead of cranking up the tunes, crank up Surat-Al Baqarah and let the rewards pour in.

TIP 2: GO TO QIYAM-UL-LAYL OR TAHAJJUD AT THE MASJID

Taraweeh isn’t the only form of worship during the night-time. Qiyam-ul-Layl or Tahajjud is another way to connect with Allah Late at night or early in the morning (which, by the way, is one of the best times to make dua). The following Hadith Sahih confirms this:

“When half or a third of the night passes by, Allah descends to the lowest heaven and says: ‘No one asks more about my servants than myself. Who is asking me, so I can give to him? Who is calling upon me, so I can answer him? who is seeking my forgiveness, so I can forgive him?'” (narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Head to your local masjid on the weekend for qiyaam/tahajjud and ask Allah for anything you want.

TIP 3: CONTINUE TO DO GOOD

This one’s a no brainer. Doing good isn’t specific to Ramadan, but Islam as a whole. Always be kind to your family, friends, neighbours, guests, even strangers you meet. Random acts of kindness display the beauty of Islam to the community – help an elderly lady unpack her groceries, hold the door at Starbucks for the group of people walking behind you, pay for the Timmies order for the people in the car behind you, say “good morning” to a random person, give your neighbour some of the delicious dessert you just baked, etc.

TIP 4: PICK UP A GOOD BOOK

There are many books out there about different duas you can make, the journey of the prophets and learning about Islamic etiquette. Head over to Salam Shop or your local book store and pick up a book that interests you. Make sure it’s something that you know you won’t be able to put down once you start and something that’s at your current level of Islamic knowledge. One of our Salam Shop bestsellers is Joy Jots by Anse Tamara Gray. It is the perfect book for busy peopel because it’s a collection of short exercises to do each week throughout the year. Once chapter a week! It helps you implement and reflect upon the lessons taught in the book and you feel a sense of accomplishment in completing the exercises for the sake of Allah. Reading is good for the mind and spirit, and the act of gaining knowledge is very important in Islam.

TIP 5: FAST ONCE A MONTH

Just because Ramadan is over doesn’t mean that you can no longer fast. Fasting is great for self control and willpower. The best times to fast are Mondays and Thursdays (the way the Prophet SAW) and any six days of Shawwal.
“Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days from Shawwal it is as if they fasted the entire year.” (narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah)

That’s it. Our five tips……but we want to make it easier for you to keep the Ramadan spirit alive all year round – that’s why we are combining tip 4 and 5 and making it a monthly hangout. On the 15th of every month, we are asking our Salam Shop customers, followers, and friends to fast. For those of you who are local, we’ll be meeting up on the 15th of each month for maghrib prayer at ISNA Mosque Mississauga, followed by iftar at a nearby restaurant. To make it even more fun, we are combining our monthly fasting group with our book club!! We will be reading Joy Jots by Anse Tamara Gray. You can pick up the book at the shop or order it here. Attendance at every FBC meeting is NOT necessary…you can come once, you can come monthly, you can come whenever!

To sign up for the fasting book club or FBC, click here and enter your info.

You’ll receive a monthly reminder to fast on the 15th, as well as the location of iftar! This is a great way to reap many rewards – fasting, praying at the masjid, making the heart of a fellow believer happy, and finding serenity in the sunnah of the Prophet SAW and the quran (through Joy Jots).

Looking forward to keeping the Ramadan spirit alive with you all…

This blog post was written by Omhani in collaboration with Sudduf. Omhani is an intern at Salam Shop for the Summer of 2016. She is going into her senior year of high school and hopes to take Psychology in University. Omhani is a little bit of a neat freak and she loves reading and making the people around her smile.

Gift Ideas for Tricky Giftees

There’s a lot to do with Eid coming up. Shopping being the first thing on the list. Now, it’s not always easy to shop for people. Sometimes, you’re not close enough to know what they like or they’re just really specific when it comes to gifts. Don’t worry though, we’re here to help.

Person Number 1
The Challenging Chum We all have that one friend who is almost impossible to shop for because they have it all. Thankfully, Salam shop has unique items that are sure to wow your buddy. A Banat or Squad Pouch paired with a glittery hijab are special and glamorous. They’re the perfect gift for the friend who has everything.
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Person Number 2
Super-Mom What do you give someone who has given you everything? Something that helps her relax. Whether it’s a gift card to a spa or a scented soap or candle. Anything that helps her unwind, will work great. I mean, our moms are up and about for so long, we wonder how they were still able to tuck us in at night. If anyone deserves a break it’s them.
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Person Number 3
The Helpful Neighbour They’ve got your back when you go on vacation and offer to help with yard work. So what do you give them? Tea is the answer. It’s tasty and relaxing (another thing you can get your mom). And you can even offer to steep it and invite them over to drink it with you.
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Person Number 4
The Extreme Vegan You know who I’m talking about, the friend that eats 100% organic, ethically sourced, non-GMO foods, that didn’t harm any living creature in the process. The best thing to get your health conscious friend is Wawawee, CCOF Certified Organic Syrup. No Artificial Colours, Flavours or Preservatives and no High Fructose Syrup. It also comes in different flavours such as Peach and strawberry.
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Person Number 5
The Generous Grandma Grandmas are so sweet. They give us so much and never ask for anything in return. So what do you get someone, who genuinely doesn’t want anything but your love and care? Gourmet Dates imported from Saudi Arabia! They’re healthy, sweet and part of the Sunnah. Your grandma is sure to love them.
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Person Number 6
The No-Gift Aunty This happens a lot. You’ll ask a family member what they want for Eid and no matter how much you insist they say “Nothing but a hug and kiss”. Now you can’t go into their heads and figure out what they want, but ask yourself, what is something that is beneficial to all who own it? A Quran! Yes, they probably already have Qurans, but do they have a rainbow Quran?
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Person Number 7
The Neat Freak The organized friend that has everything planned down to a T. Encourage their tidiness by getting them a calendar. It might seem a little late, but trust me, your friend will appreciate the gesture and all proceeds go to Nisaa Homes. Also, a planning junkie can never have too many calenders.
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Person Number 8
A Revert you Know Sometimes it can get kind of lonely for a revert during this blessed month, so invite them over and exchange gifts. A gift I recommend is the book: The Prophet of Peace by Maulana Khan. It’s a great book about what Islam really is, that will be sure to inspire. And don’t forget, even the Prophet had to go through a period where his entire family didn’t believe in his message.
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Person Number 9
The Thoughtful Teacher Teachers hold a high status in Islam. Without them we wouldn’t have the knowledge and experience we attribute to our success. So this Eid, get your teacher some halal gummy worms, because they’ve ‘wormed’ their way into your heart *Badum Tsh*. Plus who doesn’t love gummies?
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Person Number 10
The Distant Family Member It’s hard to shop for someone who you don’t see often. The safest, most practical thing to get them is Wooden Car Hanger, unless they already have one. If so, refer to Person 1
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Hopefully this list helps you get all your Eid shopping done and helps you put bright smiles on the faces of your loved ones. Afterall, the happiness of your family and friends is the best gift anyone can receive.

Omhani is an intern at Salam Shop for the Summer of 2016. She is going into her senior year of high school but hopes to do Psychology in University. Omhani is a little bit of a neat freak herself and she loves reading and making the people around her smile.

Easy Tips for a Better Fast

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Image by @camerasncupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramadan is in it’s second half with less than 2 weeks left but it’s still important to know how to keep yourself well nourished.

Fasting from sunrise till sunset is a challenge but if you follow these recommendations it can be more adaptable and will leave you feeling more energetic during the day. The good thing is by now your stomach has shrunk compared to your first day.

Here are a few tips to help maintain a healthy fast:

 

  • Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate!

Water is your best choice, as juices are tempting to consume but they are full of sugar and I always say don’t drink your fruits. Try to drink 6-12 cups of water between iftar (breaking your fast meal) and suhoor (pre-dawn meal) to help you avoid feeling dehydrated while you fast.

Another way to hydrate is by eating fruits that have high water content especially at your suhoor. Great examples of such fruits are: watermelon, orange, pineapple.

 

  • Eat a suhoor meal closer to sunrise (around 3 am in Canada)

Having a small yet complete meal closer to the beginning of your fast will help in maintaining regular energy levels throughout the first part of the day (about 5-6 hours).

 

  • An ideal suhoor meal consists of 40-50% Carbohydrates (the complex unrefined ones like thick oats, whole wheat grains and sweet potato while some can come from eating dates and fruits) 25-30% Protein and up to 25-30% Fat (the good and healthy fats that are found naturally in foods like nuts, avocados and coconut) and should have a low salt content and must include water.

 

  • Dates are part of the sunnah as they were known to be consumed by prophet Mohammad PBUH on a regular basis and are highly recommended at both iftar and suhoor for their nutrient dense and energy boosting properties not to mention how great they taste.

To get you on board with this here’s an easy make ahead suhoor meal:

 

Date Pop & Pecan Oatmeal

Image by @camerasncupcakes

Image by @camerasncupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This recipe makes 4 servings

For the oatmeal:

  • 1 cup thick oats
  • 1 ½ cup fresh milk
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

For the topping:

  • 4 Healthy Genie Date Pops (choose your favourite flavour – I used the sesame pops for this recipe).
  • 2 Tbsp pecan nuts (or any nuts based on preference).
  • Organic honey or maple syrup to drizzle on top.

Method:

  1. In a small pan mix the oats with the milk and cinnamon and stir on medium heat until bubbles form.
  2. Lower heat and keep oats cooking for another five minutes or until desired thickness is reached.
  3. Once oats are cooked you can put them in the fridge and keep them for a week.

To serve:

  1. Divide the cooked oats over 4 small bowls.
  2. Cut each Date Pop into 4 pieces and distribute evenly over the bowls.
  3. Sprinkle nuts evenly.
  4. Drizzle a small amount of honey or maple syrup on top.

Enjoy!

Tip: If you want to save time you can simply soak the oats in milk over night and just add the toppings when you are ready to serve.

Maryam Munaf is the founder of Healthy Genie, the fresh face for healthy eating…one that empowers and educates! Her products can be found at Salam Shop and at http://www.healthygenie.ca. You can also follow her on instagram at @healthygenie 

Making Eid Special for Nisa Homes

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In Ramadan 2015, we had a full house at Nisa Homes and at one of our weekly meetings we asked the ladies what their plans were for Eid. There was an awkward silence as they each looked to their hands or into the distance. One of them finally told us that they cant afford to do anything. Another chimed in that she hadnt told her kids when Eid was because she didnt have anything to give them or anywhere to take them. This broke my heart. Into a million little pieces.

I remembered when I was younger and barely able to sleep the night before Eid. I would lay in bed staring at my brand new Eid clothes, ironed in preparation for Eid prayers, then breakfast with our family and friends and the activities we planned from paint balling to going to the CNE or the movies and even going on trips. But I was mainly awake in anticipation for the Eid gifts I was hoping to get and the money from my parents and grandparents! Oh, and of course we cant forget the candy and yummies!

I couldnt even imagine what it would mean for others not to have this experience. Especially growing up where Christmas was THE thing but our parents always told us, oh we have TWO christmas, Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha. But for these children there wasnt going to be anything!

And then I thought of the women themselves! How difficult it must be for them to have to lie to their kids because they had nothing to give them and nothing to make the day special in anyway. As a parent, not being able to give your child something is heartbreaking.

We decided to plan a barbecue at the house and get candy and sweets. But subhanAllah only days later we received an update from Sudduf that they had been getting more donations than they imagined! Not only could they help out with our barbecue, they could get every single woman and child a gift as well as gifts for their families as a whole!

The day before Eid we went to Salam Shop to get the gifts and were in awe! SubhanAllah they made the most beautiful baskets full of fun, education and practical gifts from chocolate, yarn and needles, journals, mugs, Islamic art prints and gift cards for a spa day and for grocery shopping. Each woman even got a bouquet of flowers! The kids each got a movie, toy and video game.

We hadnt told the women that Salam Shop was getting them Eid gifts and decided to surprise them the night before Eid. As we walked in with the huge baskets, the women didnt believe they were for them. After the initial joy they couldnt stop crying. They peeked around the basket wrapping, ooh-ing, aah-ing and giggling at the things they were discovering. I felt like we were all transported back to Eid when we were kids. Not only did we make their Eid Al Fitr 2015, but they all agreed this was the best Eid they ever had!

We gave the mothers the beautifully wrapped Eid gifts for the kids which they would surprise them with the next morning along with a bag of candy, balloons and books for each. They were too excited though and ended up giving some of the gifts to the kids that night. Word is the kids devoured the candy, cake and chocolate in less than an hour!

Alhamdulilah for the feeling of being able to bring such wide and bright smiles to the faces of those 12 women and children. Very little can compare to the feeling of bringing joy, relief and happiness to your sisters and brothers on this most special of days. Its a blessing.

Yasmine Youssef is the coordinator of Nisa Homes and works alongside Zena Chaudhry to ensure the transitional home women’s needs are met. They work tirelessly night and day to empower women to regain confidence, means, and ability to start afresh.

To support Nisa Homes this Ramadan, you can donate at the shop or online here. 

The Ramadan Rangers: Spreading Love Through a Ramadan Food Drive

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“You have two hands. One to help yourself, the second to help others.”

In Ramadan, the act of giving charity is increased generously. The reward for every good deed in this month of blessings is multiplied immensely. This Ramadan, we encourage everyone to get involved and give back to the community to reap the increased reward!

Salam Shop has created an opportunity for you to give charity while shopping for your Ramadan and Eid needs at the shop – The Ramadan Rangers. The Ramadan Rangers are a group of 8 friends who started a food drive last Ramadan to honor the true spirit of Ramadan: to give, to share, and to sacrifice to those that need it the most. They are holding a food drive to collect non-perishable food items for Food for Life and Muslim Welfare Centre (with all monetary donations going to Islamic Relief Canada). Did we mention the kids of the Ramadan Rangers are all age 10 and under? Mashallah! An inspirational bunch of kids!

Here’s some quotes from the kids on why they are doing this:

Zaara: “I do Ramadan Rangers because I like giving food to the the needy”

Imaan: “It’s a great feeling to give back to the community”

Aiza: “I like helping people”

Waseem: “I do Ramadan Rangers because it’s a good deed and it’s about Ramadan and we collect a lot of food and donate it to people who need it”

Eleeza: “I do Ramadan Rangers because I like helping others and we are donating to our own community”

Amaad: “I do Ramadan Rangers because I like to help poor muslims boys” (…by far our favorite quote from the kiddos haha!)

…and here is some motivation from a few more of the Rangers:

Ammani: “Don’t delay, donate today”

Ayaana: “Together, we can make this happen!”

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Salam Shop is honored to be participating as a drop off location for the Rangers. Drop in at anytime, during your shopping trip, or otherwise, and help us fill our box! We are counting on your support to help the Rangers fulfill their mission and help those who are less fortunate.

Here is what we need for our box:

  • Cooking oil
  • Rice
  • Sugar
  • Teas
  • Canned fruit
  • Canned vegetables
  • Lentils
  • Flour
  • Pasta

We will be announcing our second Ramadan charity project at the shop on Wednesday, inshallah!! So blessed to be able to support our community this Ramadan, alhumdulillah!

And lastly, if you won’t be popping by the shop soon but want to make a donation, here are the other drop off locations:

Eleeza and Waseem
4674 Irena Ave
Burlington ON L7M 0K3
(Sehr Wyne – 905-606-0647)

Ammani, Ayaana, Amaad
3316 Stoneware Rd
Burlington ON L7M 0K3
(Arfa Dar – 647-771-5222)

Imaan, Zaara, Aiza
31 Camp Drive
Ancaster ON L9K 0A7
(Nermeen Malik- 905-407-9293)

Palvascha is an intern at Salam Shop for the summer of 2016. She is studying Business Management at the University of Toronto in hopes of getting into Marketing. Her favourite part of Ramadan is seeing the Muslim community come together and all of the yummy iftaar dinners! Palvascha loves to travel, take pictures, and spend time with family & friends.

Welcome Ramadan

During the holiday season in December of 2015, I realized how much I love the lights, the decor, the warmth, and the shopping – of Christmas. I feel excited for the shopping malls to light up their tree, “deck the halls”, and become beautiful, in the celebration of the Winter season. Growing up in Canada, I have become accustomed to feeling this “warmth” every December, and the cheery nature of fellow Canadians.

Now that I’m older (and wiser!) I realize that Muslim countries around the world celebrate the Ramadan season with just as much pomp and circumstance! Lights, special decor, shopping malls and souks open late, and food – lots of delicious iftar food.

All of these realizations led me to create the worldwide #WelcomeRamadan party! An opportunity for all of us to ring in the most blessed month of the year with beauty…because Allah loves beauty.

We collaborated with brands around the world to create special #WelcomeRamadan parties and events for our community to participate in. To make it even more fun, we live broadcasted our parties on facebook so we could learn more about how people celebrate in different areas of the world.

All of us had the number one goal of ensuring children (and adults!) were excited for Ramadan and knew Ramadan was here! We hope to make this a yearly occasion among our communities. If your place of business is interested in participating next time around, email team@salamshop.ca and ask to be put on the #WelcomeRamadan list for 2017.


Salam Shop – Mississauga, Canada

View our livestream(s) here: https://www.facebook.com/MySalamShop/ (Click on Videos)

*Just a side note, it is so SO cute – you and your kids will definitely enjoy the videos :)

On Sunday June 5th, Salam Shop welcomed Ramadan with a full day of fun. The day started off with the Ramadan Rangers chatting about how kids can get involved in their amazing Ramadan food drive for Muslim Welfare Centre, Food for Life, and Islamic Relief. These wonder kids are all age 10 and under, mashallah.

The Ramadan Rangers with their mums (and me!)

The Ramadan Rangers with their mums (and me!)

This was followed by Ramadan story time (and prizes!) with Hina, a longtime lover and supporter of Salam Shop. She read “Lailah’s Lunchbox” and “Hamza’s First Fast” to a large group of children, eager to listen and win prizes! Hina also kept the kiddies occupied with a Ramadan craft using paper bags and construction paper to create Ramadan mosques.

Ramadan story time with Hina!

Ramadan story time with Hina!

We didn’t forget about parents and adults! Kenda (from @simplykenda) and Maryam (from @healthygenie) joined us for a “date” in the afternoon. They discussed healthy meal planning in Ramadan (and Kenda equipped us with a meal planning worksheet), as well as the importance of dates!

Our lovely intern, Palvascha, serving free kashmiri chai all day!

Our lovely intern, Palvascha, serving free kashmiri chai all day!

Alhumdulillah, the day was festive and the general feedback was that both kids and parents were even MORE excited about Ramadan because of our event. Subhanallah!

 


Mubarakville – New York, USA

View their livestream here: https://www.facebook.com/mubarakville (Click on Videos)

On June 5 Mubarakville hosted a Welcome Ramadan Party with Events By Khadejah. The theme was “moon sighting” and kids were able to create their very own OREO moon phases, as well as telescopes to use while searching for the Ramadan Moon.

Oreo moon sighting activity for kids! Educational and delicious :)


 

Modern Eid – California, USA

View their livestream here: https://www.facebook.com/moderneid/ (Click on Videos)

On June 4th,  modernEID teamed up again with Macy’s South Coast Plaza in California to host a Welcome Ramadan event. The event was bustling with music and light refreshments. There was also a kid’s craft activity station, Ramadan inspired flash tattoos, and free modernEID gift-wrap with any fragrance purchase.
Macy's and Modern Eid. It's touching to know children can now have memories of celebrating Ramadan while shopping with their parents, a simple thing many of us never had growing up.

Macy’s and Modern Eid. It’s touching to know children can now have memories of celebrating Ramadan while shopping with their parents, a simple thing many of us never had growing up.


The Date Palm – Markham, Canada

The Date Palm collected donations for Islamic Relief and with every $1 donation they received a chain link to add to their “charity chain” that will continue to grow throughout Ramadan and decorate their store. Customers had the chance to customize their chain link by writing their name or greeting on it!
All proceeds from the date palm necklace were given to charity.

All proceeds from the date palm necklace were given to charity.

 

And that’s a wrap! Thank you to ALL of the brands that participated in the #WelcomeRamadan party and provided us with details about their party so we could share it will all of YOU!
Stay tuned for more Ramadan goodness throughout the month by following us on instagram and facebook! Sign up for our newsletter to get all the juicy details on events and product specials.
Happy Ramadan to all!

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