By now every Muslim across the world should have celebrated Eid and a new month is upon us.

Saturday was our last fast and it was a busy one as Mo and I travelled across to the Yorkshire town where my (very large) family live, to visit and catch up with loved ones who we knew we wouldn’t get a chance to see on the day.

I also managed to find time to pop into the Trafford Centre to check out some of their celebrations, which I was excited about – it’s been really amazing to see how many mainstream companies and organisations are starting to recognise this all-important Islamic holiday! Of course, I also had some last minute shopping to do (face. palm).

I officially began my Eid celebrations with family on Sunday morning. Even with the rain, there was a great turnout at the park for the community Eid prayers. Followed by visiting more family, lots of good food and some real laughs!

The holy month of Ramadhan is now over and I personally feel like it passed way too quickly. I feel almost a bit in shock that everything is expected to return to normal.

I ran an #idealiftar competition over the last few weeks, which I really enjoyed hosting. There were so many great entries and I received some really nice supportive messages from non-Muslims, it was wonderful. The winning entry was from Sadia Iqbal who sent in a fantastic tweet of her ideal iftar at a Great Get Together community evening, in memory of Jo Cox. It completely captured the essence of Ramadhan to me – a worthy winner! (Congratulations again Sadia!)

At dinner the other day, one of my dear friends asked me:

“so what do you think you’ve gained during this month?”

I kind of paused. Partly because in my head there was so much I had planned for Ramadhan which I just didn’t get round to doing. With such long days, tiredness stopped me from being as productive as usual. It’s left me feeling a bit disappointed in myself.

But I knew that fasting this year reinforced my feeling of gratitude – a key element of why we do what we do.

When the weather heated up in the last week, all I wanted for iftar was a glass of water. I can’t actually describe that feeling of the cold glass in hand, the relief of feeling that same coolness travel down your throat. The throbbing headache from lack of fluid starts to slowly relieve itself. I didn’t even care about food on those days.

Filling the glasses ready to drink, it really hits you how privileged we are to be able to turn on a tap and know that the water gushing out is clean, cool and safe to drink. It broke my heart to think of those around the world, from all kinds of situations, who probably endure the same ‘fasting’ conditions we observed, not by choice. Feeling that sense of dehydration only to quench it with a warm drink, perhaps one that isn’t clean. If you look at world news right now, Yemen is currently suffering from the worlds worst outbreak of cholera – 14.5 million people are said to have been cut off from clean and safe water supplies. It really puts things into perspective.

From that moment, I’ve thought about that same feeling every day and I hope I continue to do so for the foreseeable. One of the problems with the month of Ramadhan is a lot of people assume its a month to behave, but it’s actually more about reflecting on your life and making long term changes.

Changes for your own good and that of others. Changes that make you a better person.

I am so grateful for everything I have in my life.

For my husband. My mum, my dad. My sisters. My brothers. My grandparents. All my crazy cousins, aunties, uncles… of which I have many (like seriously, hundreds). For my friends. Scattered all over the world.

For the privileges God has given to me throughout my life. For the tests he’s thrown my way. For the ambition and strength he has given me to do everything that I do.

For the fight he has burned into me these last few years. For the feeling that I want to be more than just a 9-5 TV watcher robot and for helping me feel that even just the one person can make a difference.

For opening my eyes to learning about the world. Through travel. Through politics, through hope and activism.

I’m going to end with a quote I heard recently… one of the worlds greatest singers of all time, the sensational Celine Dion, said that her late husband gave her a piece of advice that she will always remember.

“You don’t want a hit. You want a career”

 

 

And she said from hearing those words, that’s exactly what she set out to do. (And she did a bloody good job)

Now I too want to take those words of wisdom, I want to take everything that I love doing and not focus on just the one thing becoming a ‘hit’ – I want to throw the same amount of dedication Celine has put forward and turn my dreams of helping people into a career.

Turn my fight for humanity, politics and spreading hope into something more meaningful.

It’s not going to be easy, I know that. But we got through a month of 18 hour fasts, so surely anything is possible!

I just know that even if we don’t always have the answers, faith can carry us through so I won’t give up on mine.

After all…

Love comes to those who believe in it.

That’s the way it is

😉

 

 

What career are you wanting to make for yourself? If you were fasting too, do you intend on carrying forward any life changes???

 

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eidmubarak

 

I know I know, it’s pretty late… but I couldn’t go to bed without writing even a brief message.

It’s that time of year where once again, it’s Eid! and I have spent a wonderful evening with my family (minus a very special member) indulging in an amazing home cooked feast and enjoying their great company.

For those of you that celebrated today, I hope it’s been just as special.

This is our second Eid of the year, Eid al Adha and it’s sad to think how long we have to wait until the next. This Eid also marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, the largest gathering of Muslims, over two million people this year.

Part of the pilgrimage involves gathering in an area around Mount Arafat to re-enact the actions of our Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) from more than 1400 years ago. It was here that he delivered his final sermon.

A number of middle Eastern news agencies reported interviews with pilgrims who were there yesterday and they spoke of how climbing the hill made them reflect on the Prophets words in that final lecture. A speech that spoke against oppression, asked that we all unite as one and treat each other with respect. They spoke about how his message was one of peace, a message that most of our 1.6 billion Muslim population strive to live by.

It’s just a shame that a small minority have tainted us all with such a deadly reputation. A reputation that has unfortunately been encouraged and hyped up by Western media and in some countries has made things very difficult for the large population of peaceful Muslims who live there (yes France I’m talking about you, but don’t worry you’re not the only ones).

Don’t panic, I’m not going to go off on a political rant, after all today was a day to celebrate!

To celebrate all that we have been given. To be grateful for all that we have. And most importantly, to pray for those who are less fortunate.

One of my favourite things to do before I go to bed on any Eid, is to find pictures of how people all over the world celebrated this blessed day.

I saved one of the links to share: Eid Al-Adha 2016 in Pictures

Maybe I’ll set myself a target to make more friends across the globe this year, so next Eid I can share my own gallery 🙂

 

 

Eid Mubarak once again and good night! x

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EidMubarak Jet set Chick

 

The search for the new moon is over, the sweets and treats have been shared out and it’s been a wonderful day catching up with friends and family.

I’m going to be honest – the last few years my excitement for Eid started to decline ever so slightly, maybe that’s down to age? Eid was no longer about bags of sweets and gifts and games. Maybe it was down to the fasts being so long? I know I made a joke on my last fasting post about the struggles we go through, but in all seriousness no food or drink for 18 hours a day is hard work when you have a full time job!

But this year I was pretty excited. And I think it’s all down to remembering what the festival is all about:

A celebration gifted to us by God to mark the end of Ramadhan.

Definitely a cause to jump for joy right? 🙂

So what did the day entail?

No Eid morning is complete without a cup of mums special recipe homemade hot spice-infused milk, the most perfect way to start the morning!

Next up, it’s a mad rush to get ready, ideally dressing up in something new to mark the occasion.

Once beautification is complete (which simply entails whacking on some eyeliner in my case) it’s time to head out for Eid prayers. In Manchester, we normally go to the Muslim Youth Foundation right in the heart of city centre. This year we all went to the local park in my parents town, where the community had set up an outside prayer area for anyone and everyone to join. After the hit and miss weather we’ve been having over the last few weeks, we were blessed that this morning, the sun decided to shine brightly for us. Not a rain cloud in sight!

After that well the day followed pretty much the same old pattern:

Visiting family. Eating. More visiting – quick mini shift at work (which also involved some eating) – then off to a different town for more family visiting (between Mo and I our family’s pretty huge). Followed by surprise surprise more eating. and so it continued…

The kids had a ball, I literally couldn’t move from all the food consumption and on a day where once again bad politics is making the news (damn you Tony Blair), it was nice to push it all aside for a minute and just be happy.

All in all it was a pretty, great, day.

 

How did you celebrate Eid? Do you have any yearly traditions?

 

Have you entered my Eid giveaway? Click here to enter and be in with a chance to win an advanced tea tasting session for two at Himalayas tea PLUS two day tickets to the Foodies festival in Tatton Park, don’t miss out!

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