Sunday, July 31, 2011

 Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Raheem

Ahlan Wa Sahlan Ya  Ramadhan!

The time has come for us Muslims to  welcome the most glorious month. For those not familiar , I thought I'd share a little  about it. Ramadhan falls on the ninth month of the  Islamic calendar and it is the month in which  Muslims fast everyday for a whole month from dawn to dusk. Often enough most of the non muslims I know have heard of the term fasting but are not quite sure as to why we actually do it. Firstly I have to say fasting in the month of Ramadhan has been prescribed to us in the Holy Quran. It is one of the pillars of Islam.

The reasons for fasting to me is one that enjoins sacrifice, purification, forgiveness,generosity, harmony,sympathy and a whole lot of reflection. In this glorious month, when you abstain from food and water not only does  it make you hungry and thirsty  but you learn  through this sacrifice what it would feel like had you no food to eat on a daily basis. This realization in turn makes you sympathize with the needy who are constantly facing hunger. At the same time it encourages you to share your sustenance with the less fortunate.Sharing is caring and so the best of that caring is to be charitable. Fasting makes you ponder, repent and count your own blessings.You are reminded to Thank Allah for  his provision  and  to seek his forgiveness for your carelessness.You spend your hours in devotion to Allah, praying and reading his  glorious book, the Quran . The bonuses of this month are special supererogatory prayers known as Taraweeh which  are exclusive to the month of Ramadhan. It brings together Muslim brothers and sisters in  harmony ,unity and prostration to the Almighty . It has been narrated that Allah sends out his mercy and opens the doors to his heavens for a fasting believer and that truly keeps you motivated to keep fasting. To receive his mercy is the hope that every believing Muslim would like to be blessed with. Last but not least ,one of the fundamental reasons of fasting is that it is meant to teach us all self control, to not only abstain  from food and water but to abstain from anything  harmful, to abstain from wrong doings and to have a positive stride , to  do good and be well mannered to everyone at all times. That last bit I'm sure is more the struggle for a lot of us than the not eating and drinking bit but all I can pray for is to be guided and hope this Ramadhan will be a month of Self improvement  for myself and my loved ones and all fellow Muslimeens. So those are my reasons for fasting, 

To all my family and friends, 
As'shahar Mubarak.May Allah guide us to his right Path,
May the benefits of this glorious month be with you all

Looking forward to our first Ramadhan  in Dubai and saying it with love,Adla

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Friday Flowers in Dubai

Good morning Friday.Seeing fields of pink and yellow blooms.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Raheem
Masjid at Palm Jumeirah
After a great deal of house searching we finally found a place to call home Alhamdullilah. We've gone the apartment route and my little somebody is  over the moon that he gets to go up and down the lift.We've moved out of the Marina to live on this reclaimed man made island. I was a little skeptical at first (was wisu/paranoia issues) but after calming myself down and assuring myself that part of Singapore was built on reclaimed land , I felt a little more at ease. Where we are at is called the Palm. It's less hustle bustle than the Marina , less chic hip I think but  I need  to be where the noise level is kept a little more at bay. The  noise this country creates with  revved up cars is appaling. What I'm loving though  is that I'm increasing my Arabic vocabulary by reading signboards . These are a few words or rather 2 words I've learnt :  (cheesy but whatever! )
Marina in Arabic is Marsa.. 

and Palm in Arabic is  Nakhlah

English is conversed more commonly in Dubai than Arabic or so it seems but I'm catching up none the less.

Anyone want  to play Arabic hopscotch :D
Our freight from Perth has arrived, so cleaning and organizing has kept me busy busy on my toes these last few weeks. I kind of regret chucking  out some of the things  that would have been useful to have here.  There are shops here , lots of beautiful home decor shops but the taste here is slightly different  from the the "Shabbyness" that I'm fond of. Who knows I might find myself a different sort of liking something ala Royale Sultan Brunei, dont they say you should grow accustom to your environment. You know that saying "when in Rome..haha!" I'm just joking, I think I'll stick to my shabby decorating, if all else fails theres always bedouin prettyness to keep me happy.

So marakech , loving the water , lined palms and my little life size model . smitten is an understatement.

In the meanwhile I  am exploring my new neighbourhood, we have a community masjid which is so beautiful. I love how they manage to infuse new clean cut designs with old charm elements. If anyone has been to the Islamic Museum in Kuala Lumpur, its pretty like that . Bright, airy yet intricate. The weather is still scorching hot. would love to venture out on foot but  thats reserved  for when  the heat subsides, I will be wandering around the neighbourhood for good snaps InshaAllah! I know there's heaps yet to be discovered.

The pictures above are not of the palm with the exception of the masjids dome. It's of another beautiful suburb called Old town. It's so rustic pretty, totally smitten and it happens to be close by to that massive gigantic  over the moon mall I was talking about the other day. Dubai is so impressive!

Till I discover more InshaAllah, thank you for stopping by.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jumping into puddles

Just before we left Perth , it was raining pretty much daily. Glad Omar had the opportunity to jump into puddles. It's such a contrast to the weather here, sunny , humid and dusty. Subhanallah, how different places on this earth experience different extremities. Adjusting to a new place and  all that comes with it is a CHALLENGE. I have cried so much this year, it's like we have jumped into an uncertain puddle  that I'm quite unsure of. There are days when I ask myself , " Is this move truly worth it? ". I  can only pray to Allah that he makes this the right path for us. Trying to remember to keep true to our intentions and reminding myself of these verses from the Quran.

“Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves (by not performing Hijrah), they (angels) will say (to them): ‘In what (condition) were you?’ They will reply: ‘We were weak and oppressed in the earth.’ They (angels) will say: ‘Was not the earth of Allaah spacious enough for you to migrate therein?’ Such men will find their abode in Hell – what an evil destination! Except the weak ones among men, women and children – who cannot devise a plan, nor are they able to direct their way. These are the ones whom Allaah is (most) likely to forgive, and Allaah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Most Forgiving.” [Surah An-Nisaa: 97-99] 

InshaAllah to anyone going through Hijrah, may Allah make it easy for us all. Looking forward to seeing  the rainbow at the end of the tunnel.Please keep us in your duas too.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Arabic books

Just like everyone else ,one of the first few places I visited here was the bookstore. I now know they dont stock on Donna Hay magazines .I'm thinking of subscribing. On a more positive note, they have lots of great Arabic books for kids. Omar stumbled on this colourful book by Emirati publisher known as Kalimat.They have many books from different authors in their publication and I have just fallen in love with one book after another . I am a very visual person, anything colourful gets my tick. Last week we went to a book reading by one of Kalimats authors, Maitha Alkhayat. It was at the Alsafa library. Now I know they have Quranic classes for kids at the library too. It was so lovely seeing all these young kids reading the Quran. Anyway back to Maitha, shes a mother of four who wrote this really adorable book called 'My Own Special Way'. It is in Arabic and it is about a little girl learning how to put on her hijab, the illustrations are superbly cute too, it's a must have  for every little girls bookshelf! It was really lovely to meet Maitha and hear  her narrate the story in Arabic. She was so kind and gave Omar a signed copy of her first book  'I love my dads long beard' which she illustrated as well. Thank you Maitha, we will enjoy the books and we wish you much success as an author :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Running to Hatta and Eating Mandi

We took a drive to the border of Oman last week to organize our visas. I often hear people using the term VISA RUN and it scares me crazy. It just sounds wrong, it sounds as if your are absconding but truth is theres nothing illegal about it. What a visa run means is that you  get out of the UAE into neighbouring Oman to get your passport chopped and  visa renewed. Not all that bad an idea considering we enjoyed the drive and ate the best roadside restaurant Mandi ever.  Mandi  actually happens to be a Hadrami dish , so it's food close to my heart. It is spiced rice served with meat . The meat is cooked in a special oven in the ground called a taboon covered  in charcoal and dried leaves. I'd love to learn how to cook Mandi the traditional way because  I've always cooked mandi the playcheat way in a conventional oven.

So the border of the UAE that meets Oman is Hatta. I know there are a few borders as I remember travelling  through some others when I lived in Muscat. but from what I gathered (correct me if I'm wrong ) you can only do a visa run  through Hatta .The landscape is pretty much sand dunes on the UAE front and once you get to Oman its beautiful formation of rock mountains. So raw ,so earthy ,so harsh, so untounched , so blazing hot ! We are having temperatures above 40 °C at the moment. Here I am sitting in the car sipping through a bottle of icy cold Masafi  (the Evian  equivalent  in the Middle East)  I can't help but look out  the window and wander  what it must have been like for our forefathers who crossed these harsh terrrains. I'm pretty sure they were not steering the wheels of  a 4wd with the aircon on full blast. My great great great grandfathers were missionaries who spread  Islam to Asia  and they were also Merchants  who  travelled along the spice route to trade. What they did allowed us descendents the opportunity to interact with other cultures. Without their adventurous streak we would have not known Asia, we would not have known Africa, they way we know it now. You don't truly know a place till you live in it and assimiliate with it's people .It's amazing what they did, now as I take the migration path back to where we are originally from, well not the exact place but close enough. I know first hand how daunting this migration process can be. I cannot imagine how it must have been for them. I have nothing but admiration . May Allah bless them all  and give them the best of Jannah Ameen.I hope I find some of their strength and adaptability as I endure this journey we have chosen InshaAllah.

Here are some photos I took on the trip.

There were these pottery shops all along the highway and I had to stop and have a look. A few minutes of looking and some haggling got me a little something to keep too. Here's the man wrapping my fragile clay the best way he knows how.
On the way back from Oman we stopped  at this "Mataam" arabic for restaurant and we are ushered into  a family room. As with most Arabic styled restaurants, families are always given the option to dine in a private room. This one had the whole sit on the floor atmosphere with carpets and cushions.  Here's Omar doing his riding on a camel pose. (Nope we still haven't spotted  any camels yet!)

That's suppose to be me but the thing is whenever I'm not behind the camera, pictures just dont come out right! That or my husband  was just being artistic  :)
 Now here is what you call Mandi and in true Hadrami fashion  you eat it in a big tray with others. No one hands out plates ,so you better like your eating partner :)

Till my next  Mandi session, Have fun peeps. And to all my lovely friends who keep in touch through email and facebook. Thank you and thank you for following us on this blog.

Saying it with LOVE from the UAE,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cool like a penguin in a pool!

We went to this massive mall and it's not that I'm not accustomed to how extravagant /excessive we Arabs are but let me just pretend because afterall I'm semi sandgropper .I  have had the pleasure of living  my very quiet low key private lifestyle back in sedated calm Perth  for many many years and  suddenly kaboom I am now faced with having to do Grocery shopping at midnight , eating at weird hours, I just had dinner at 11 pm the other night,  the roads are busy and  there are people on every corner of every street. Oh  how my life has changed ! and dig this I'm learning that you shall not call an Arab household anytime before Zuhr prayers. If you are of nocturnal breed, then this is the place for you. hoot hoot! The heat keeps people indoors during summer and for all dramatic cool purposes,  Penguins live  in Dubai too , in an underwater zoo in this crazy massive mall which makes you forget all about the heat outside. What don't they have here, they've freaking brought part of the  Antarctic  here so at the end of it , despite my  new  somewhat erratic timetable, I'm left saying,   cool !! ( no sacarsm intended )
 If  you are in Dubai  and happen to visit this massive Mall better known as Dubai Mall, go say hello to these Gentoo penguins and  some other wowzie underwater creatures for that altogether different mall experience ,

My little penguin had a ball!