12 August 2011

Sesame Cookies

Talibiddeen Jr
When we were in Egypt (eons ago, it seems), I had come across a recipe for sesame cookies online and tried making them. They came out so awesome, alhamdulillah. One of the local bakeries sold them there and I had tried them once. However, these puppies came out so great that our joke was, these were as good as the bakery's except they (ours) weren't burnt.

Unfortunately, I no longer have the recipe (I think it was from a Jewish/kosher site) so I was surfing the web for recipes in hopes of recreating those little gems.

I came across this one, and finally made them. They were a hit, alhamdulillah.  Everyone (except my youngest, 3, loved them--I think they were too sesame-y for her) but they were good and "melted" in your mouth. 

Sesame Cookie Recipe
These Israeli sesame cookies are light buttery with a fresh, nutty flavor. Use freshly made tahini paste with a little bit of vanilla bean for the best results.


  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds


  1. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar until just creamed, beat in the tahini and vanilla
  3. Slowly add in the flour mixture, stirring constantly until the dough is moist and crumbly
  4. Form the dough into a large ball and wrap in plastic, refrigerate for 1 hour
  5. Spread sesame seeds out on a plate, roll the chilled dough into small balls and coat in the sesame seeds
  6. Arrange the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes
  8. Allow the cookies to cool completely before moving, store in a covered container for up to a week.


Talibiddeen Jr
"Halva is a Turkish candy similar in consistency to fudge. Made from tahini, it has a nutty and sweet flavor."

I haven't tried making this yet, but it's been 11 days of Ramadan and I have not made one sweet, so this may be one to try.  Of course, alhamdulillah, living in a Muslim country, one can find all sorts of wonderful pre-made treats, such as this, that can be easily purchased.

  • 1-1/4 cups of sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups of tahini
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Optional flavorings such as nuts, vanilla or chocolate
  1. Boil the sugar and water with any optional flavorings to 257 degrees Farenheit to form a thick syrup
  2. Pour the syrup into fresh tahini and beat well as it combines
  3. Continue beating until the mixture sets
  4. beat well as it combines
  5. Continue beating until the mixture sets
  6. Press the mixture into an oiled cake tin or plastic container
  7. Chill for 36 hours and cut into squares

Source: Suite101.com

10 August 2011

Creating Engaging Ramadan Writing Prompts using the RAFT Technique

Talibiddeen Jr
Creating Ramadan Writing Prompts using RAFT

I just finished reading a book called, "Writing Across the Curriculum," and it gave some neat tips for creating engaging writing prompts for writing, so I decided to try making up a few for Ramadan:

I started with some topics;

  • Hijri Calendar vs. Gregorian Calendar
  • Getting Ready for Ramadan/ It looks like Ramadan
  • Suhoor (merits; example of good Suhoor choice)
  • Ramadan Memories
  • Get in the Ramadan spirit

Basic writing topics, right? How do we turn them into creative writing prompts that kids may actually want to write to?

We can use the RAFT approach.

RAFT is an acronym for:

R - Role
A - Audience
F - Format
T - Topic

Instead of merely giving your student a topic, also set a role for them to get into (writer, historian, inventor, teacher), give them an "actual" audience to write to (activist, parent, animals) and establish a format (letter, brochure, editorial). Or, you can have your student come up with their own role, audience, and format.

"Toolbox of Ideas: The RAFT Technique" gives some great background information about this technique of writing. I have been using it for years with my kids and they will attest that using this method has often made writing more engaging (ok, maybe they won't use that word per say) but it has been a very good motivation technique, alhamdulillah.

Below are some sample RAFT writing prompts that can be used with the topics I supplied earlier:

You are a news reporter (role) for the Metro City Times newspaper. Ramadan is approaching and your paper will run a series of reports on the month. Most of the readers of the paper are non-Muslims (audience) and after the results of a poll run in the paper recently, it is concluded that most have little knowledge about the Islamic calendar. Write a newspaper article (format) that compares and contrasts the Hijri/Islamic calendar and the Gregorian calendars. (topic)

You are a copy writer for the city of Ramadania, a popular destination for Muslims during Ramadan because of its Ramadan Village . Write an advertisement in the form of a feature article to be published in a newspaper in a nearby city encouraging Muslims to come visit Ramadania during Ramadan. Describe the atmosphere of Ramadan Village during Ramadan, the decorations, exhibits and activities that will make Ramadan an unforgettable experience for visitors this Ramadan.

You are a copy writer working for the Great Grains manufacturing company (they manufacture bread and other grain products). The company is trying to reach out to the Muslim community to promote Great Grains’ products as great candidates for Suhoor (pre-dawn meal for fasters). Create a brochure for the general Muslim public that explains the benefits of taking Suhoor, describes the components of a healthy Suhoor and non-healthy Suhoor and how they affect the fast, and then persuades them to buy products from The Great Grains company for Suhoor by showing how they compare to what is recommended for a healthy Suhoor.

 You are an elderly Muslim. A local Islamic newspaper has asked you to write a memoir of a past Ramadan (when you were a child) to be published in a special Ramadan edition of the paper.

 Ramadan is here and the excitement of Ramadan is not felt very much in your Muslim community. The fast of most of your peers doesn’t reach much beyond abstaining from eating and drinking. You decide to write a letter to the editor to call your Muslim brothers and sisters to do more this Ramadan.

These are just a few ideas to get the juices flowing. Can you and your students come up with interesting Ramadan themed writing prompts to write to using the RAFT Technique?

Moroccan Tagine Chicken

Talibiddeen Jr
This was posted on one of my homeschooling groups. I haven't tried it yet, but I am thinking my family would enjoy it so I hope to try it this Ramadan, in sha Allah.

Morrocan Tagine chicken

1 whole chicken cut into 10-12 pieces
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground ginger or  1/2 tsp of fresh ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons of cilantro
1 large sweet onion sliced or chopped
3-4 garlic cloves
1/8 cayenne pepper
1 pinch of saffron (I've made it w/ or without)

1 chicken bullion cube
2 cups of water

Raisin sauce

1/2 cup of raisins (golden or regular) You can mix both if you'd like
1/2 cup of suger
2 cups of water
cinnamon stick
Add all ingredients together and boil medium-low until it becomes thick (about 30 mins) May need to add water a little at a time if it boils down.

Add 2 tbs of olive oil to pan, cook onions and garlic for 1 min add chicken and spices, only 1 tbs of cilantro, cook for 15 mins or chicken is golden brown. Add two cups of water and chicken bullion cube. Let simmer for 20 mins cover pan.

After 20 mins add raisin sauce and the other 1tbs of cilantro to chicken and let it simmer another 10 min on medium.

(You can omit this part if you want but I like my chicken crispy so this adds a nice texture before serving) Remove chicken from pot, add a little butter on top of chicken and put in oven on high or broil for 5 min until browned. And let sauce on the stove continue to cook during this process, you want the sauce to be a thick.  When chicken is brown add back to pan and turn off pot and let it rest for 5 mins before serving.

05 August 2011

Kid's Ramadan Organizer Ideas

Talibiddeen Jr
After we put together our Ramadan journals for this year, and as I was giving my kids their fasting trackers and other Ramadan papers, I realized that it would be handy to have everything in one convenient spot, so I decided to combine the papers and their journal into one book.

I made a list of things to include. Most of the items in the list are currently available here at TJ Ramadan (I''ll relink soon, inshaa Allah) 

Kids’ Ramadan Organizer and Journal Ideas

• Ramadan goals

• Fasting tracker

• Qiyaamul Layl tracker

• Islamic calendar reference sheet (can be found in adult's organizer, in sha Allah)

• Moon phase reference chart(can be found in adult's organizer, in sha Allah)
• Ramadan calendar

• Duaas (breaking fast, upon seeing crescent moon, laylatul qadr) (can be found in adult's organizer, in sha Allah)

• Things that break the fast (can be found in adult's organizer, in sha Allah)

• Journal pages

• Ayaat/Surah text to be memorized

• Certificate showing number of days fasted 

03 August 2011

Ramadan Sight Words/Vocabulary Resources

Talibiddeen Jr

I made a set of Ramadan flashcards for my little guy some years back.

Ramadan Vocabulary/Sight Words

(Set of 15 cards)

Also, my bud, Umm Abdul Basir, made a cute Ramadan word wall set for our collaborative Islamic Bulletin Boards blog.
Ramadan Word Wall

30 July 2011

Greeting upon on Arrival of Ramadan - Ramadan Kareem??

Talibiddeen Jr
Regarding the Saying: "Ramadan Kareem"

Questioner: When the fasting person falls into a sin and he is prohibited from that sin he will say, "Ramadan Kareem". So what is the ruling concerning this phrase and what is the ruling concerning this behavior?

Sheik ibn Uthaymeen: said:

The ruling concerning this is, this phrase "Ramadan Kareem" is not correct, and the only phrase that should be said is "Ramadan Mubarak" or what resembles that. Because Ramadan is not the one that gives such that it can be called generous (Kareem), rather it is only ALLAH the Exalted that put virtue in it and made it a virtuous month and made the time period for performing (the fasting) a pillar from Islam.

And it is as though the one who said this thinks that due to the nobility of this month it is permissible to commit sins. And that is in opposition to what the people of knowledge have said (for they have said) that the sins are multiplied if they are done during virtuous times or noble places so this is the opposite of what this person has pictured. And they have said that it is incumbent upon the person to have Taqwaa of ALLAH the Mighty and Majestic during every time and in every place especially during virtuous times and in noble places. And ALLAH the Mighty and Majestic says

{Oh you who believe fasting has been prescribed for you like it was prescribed for those before you that you may obtain Taqwaa.}

So the wisdom behind the obligation of fasting is to gain Taqwaa of ALLAH the Mighty and Majestic by doing what He has ordered and avoiding what He has prohibited. And it has been established that the Prophet peace and blessing be upon him said "Whoever does not abandon falsehood in word and action, then Allah Mighty and Majestic has no need that he should leave his food and drink". Therefore fasting is worship for ALLAH and cultivation for the soul and a safeguard for it from the prohibitions of ALLAH. And it is not like this one without knowledge has said that due to the nobility of this month and its blessing, sinning is allowed in it.


Abu Imad Rasheed ibn Gant

Leave alone those who take their religion to be mere play and amusement, and are deceived by the life of this world. But proclaim (to them) this (truth): that every soul delivers itself to ruin by its own acts:(6:70)
Taken from SalafiTalk.net

Educating Children in Ramadan

Talibiddeen Jr

from “Fasting in Ramadan”

Children (who have not reached puberty) are not commanded to fast. However, they are strongly encouraged to fast even a few days so that they get used to it and they grow up knowing the worship of fasting. In fact this was the practise of the first women oflslam who were living around the Prophet, (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him). An example of that is Ar-Rubayya' bint Mu' awiyyah who reported that: "The Messenger of Allah, (Peace and Blessing

"Whoever has spent the morning fasting is to complete his fast.

Whoever has not spent this morning fasting should voluntary fast for the remainder of the day.' We fasted after that announcement, as did our young children, we would go to the mosque and make toys stuffed with cotton for them to play with. lf one if them started crying due to hunger, we would give them a toy to play with until it was time to eat." (Bukhari andMuslim.)

There are many ways to educate your children about Ramadan, the best and most important of which is to set the good example by fasting properly and behaving according to the Prophetic teachings. This is what your children will take from you first. When you are fulfilling this you can very easily [and they will accept it and practise it easily as well] teach them what you want. Here are few guidelines that you can use with your children [you can think of others as well]:

1. Depending on their age encourage them to fast a number of days up to every other day or more for those who are almost at the age of puberty. For those who are still young let them fast a day or two.

2. Take your children to the Masjid for Maghrib prayer and break the fast with the larger Muslim community to make them feel the greatness of fasting and the unity of Muslims in worshipping Allah.

3. If your children cannot fast let them eat with you at the time of Maghrib and teach them that you are breaking the fast even if they ate before.

4. Teach your children the supplication of breaking the fast.

5. Take your children to the Taraweeh prayer so that they get used it and know about it from an early age.

6. Teach them to recite the Qur'an regularly and inform them that the Prophet (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) used to do that in Ramadan.

7. Correct them if they misbehave or say unacceptable words and remind them that they are fasting and this may alter their reward.

8. Wake them up for Suhoor [even if they don't fast] and Fajr prayer.

9. Teach them to feed people who are fasting and tell them about the reward for that.

10.Dress them in the best clothes, give them a bath and take them with you to the Eid Prayer. Teach them that this is our celebration.

And remember that the Prophet (Peace and Blessing if Allah be upon him) said:

"One who is given the responsibility of bringing up Daughters and treats them well will be shielded from Hell. (Bukhari and Muslim)

27 July 2011

TJ Ramadan Organizer

Talibiddeen Jr

Printables to make your own Ramadan organizer!

TJ Ramadan Organizer - 75 pages (2012 edition, good for any year). It's a little dated , but it may inspire you to make your own printables to use in your organizer

Here's a look at what's inside:

I. The Hijri Calendar (Reference Charts)

  • Islamic Months.
  • Days of the Week.
  • Seasons
  • Significant Days.
  • Moon Phase Reference Chart
  • Duaa Upon Sighting the Crescent Moon.
  • Approximate Dates of Islamic Observances chart

II. Calendars.
(Print out a calendar according to the day of the week the indicated months start-good from year to year)

  • Shabaan -Starts on Sunday.
  • Shabaan- Starts on Monday.
  • Shabaan - Starts on Tuesday.
  • Shabaan - Starts on Wednesday.
  • Shabaan - Starts on Thursday.
  • Shabaan - Starts on Friday.
  • Shabaan - Starts on Saturday.
  • Ramadan - Starts on Sunday.
  • Ramadan - Starts on Monday.
  • Ramadan - Starts on Tuesday.
  • Ramadan - Starts on Wednesday.
  • Ramadan - Starts on Thursday.
  • Ramadan - Starts on Friday.
  • Ramadan - Starts on a Saturday.
  • Shawwaal - Starts on Sunday.
  • Shawwaal - Starts on Monday.
  • Shawwaal - Starts on Tuesday.
  • Shawwaal - Starts on Wednesday.
  • Shawwaal - Starts on Thursday.
  • Shawwaal - Starts on Friday.
  • Shawwaal - Starts on a Saturday.

III. Reference Material.

  • Ramadan Reading List.
  • Juz Divisions.
  • Educating Children in Ramadan.
  • Ramadan Bulletin Board Ideas.
  • Proof for Fasting Ramadan.
  • Obligation of fasting.
  • Excellence of Fasting.
  • Elements of Fasting.
  • Recommendations of Fasting.
  • Suhoor
  • Break the Fast Hastily.
  • Breaking the fast with dates and water
  • Supplicating at time of breaking fast
  • Safeguarding the fast and Refraining from Excessive Food and Drink.
  • Things That Break The Fast.
  • Permissible Acts in Ramadan.
  • Those Permitted to break the fast.
  • Desirable Acts in Ramadan.
  • Diet During Ramadan.
  • Good Deeds Ideas.
  • Duaa for Host.
  • What is/When is Laylatul Qadr?.
  • Signs of Laylatul Qadr.
  • Laylatul Qadr Duaa.
  • Zakatul Fitr.
  • Preparing for Eid Prayer.
  • Eid Prayer.
  • Eid Greeting.

IV. Forms.

  • Ramadan Goals.
  • Ramadan Fasting Tracker.
  • Daily Ramadan Schedule.
  • Daily Quraan Reading.
  • Education Goals - Adult.
  • Educational Goals for Children.
  • Ramadan /Eid master task list.
  • Ramadan /Eid master shopping list.
  • Personal Ramadan Reading List.
  • Ramadan Meals Master Lists.
  • Ramadan Meal Plan.
  • Ramadan Recipes Index.
  • Ramadan/Eid Recipes.
  • Preparing for Eid Day - clothes.
  • Craft/Activity Ideas for Kids.
  • Ramadan Journal.

25 July 2011

Rulings for Fasting Specific to Women

Talibiddeen Jr
Rulings for Fasting Specific to Women
Author: Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan
Source: Abdur Rahman.org

Fasting the month of Ramadaan is an obligation on every male and female Muslim, and it is one of the pillars and great foundations of Islaam. Allaah says: "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you in order that you may attain Taqwaa." [Surah Al-Baqarah: 183] The word"kutiba" (prescribed) here means "furida" obligated. So when the young girl reaches the age in which she will be held accountable for her actions, by having one of the signs of puberty become apparent in her, among which is menstruation, then the obligation of fasting begins for her. She could begin menstruating as early as when she is nine years old. However, some young girls are not aware that they are required to begin fasting at that point, so she doesn’t fast thinking that she is too young, nor do her parents order her to fast. This is a great negligence, for one of the pillars of Islaam is being abandoned. If this occurs to any woman, she is obligated to make up for the days of fasting that she abandoned since the point when she began menstruating, even if a long time has passed since that time, for it remains in her obligations.

Who is obligated to fast Ramadaan?

When the month of Ramadaan comes, every male and female Muslim that (1) has reached the age of puberty, is (2) healthy and (3) a resident (i.e. not traveling) is obligated to fast. And whoever is sick or traveling during the month, may break the fast and make up the number of days missed on other days. Allaah says: "So whoever sights the (moon indicating the beginning of the) month, then he must fast. And whoever is sick or on a journey, then (he may break the fast and instead fast) the number of days missed on other days." [Surah Al-Baqarah: 185] Likewise, whoever enters into Ramadaan and he is very old and not able to fast or has a chronic illness, which does not expect to be cured any specific time - whether male or female - may break the fast and instead feed a needy person half a saa’ (four handfuls) of the food from that people’s land for every day missed. Allaah says: "And as for those who can fast (but) with difficulty, they (may break their fast and) feed a needy person." [Surah Al-Baqarah: 184] Ibn ‘Abbaas (raa) said: "This ayah is for the old man of whom it is not anticipated that he will be cured." [Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree] And the sick person of whom it is not hoped that he will be cured from his sickness falls under the ruling of the old person. And he does not have to make up the missed days because of his inability to fast.

A woman is specified with certain excuses that permit her to break the fast in Ramadaan, on the condition that she makes up the days she missed fasting due to these excuses on other days. These excuses are:

1. Menstrual and Postpartum Bleeding: A woman is forbidden from fasting while she is in these two conditions. And she is obligated to make up these missed days of fasting on other days. This is based on what is reported in the two Saheeh collections from ‘Aa’isha (raa) who said: "We were ordered to make up the (missed) days of fasting but we were not ordered to make up the (missed) prayers." She gave this answer when a woman asked her: "Why does a menstruating woman have to make up the (missed days of) fasting and not have to make up the (missed) prayers?" So she (raa) clarified that this is from the matters dependent on revelation, which must comply with the reported texts.
As for the wisdom behind that, then Shaikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah said in "Majmoo’-ul-Fataawaa" (15/251): "The blood that comes out of the woman because of menstruation has a discharge of blood in it. A menstruating woman can fast in times other than when the blood that comes out of her due to menstruation contains her blood. So her fasting in this situation is a moderate and balanced fast - no blood, which strengthens the body and which is its main substance - comes out of her during these times. But her fasting when she is menstruating necessitates that her blood come out during this time - the blood, which is the main component of her body and which will lead to a weakness and deficiency in her body. And this will necessitate that her fast not be that of a moderate and balanced nature. So that is why she is commanded to fast in times when she is not menstruating."

2. Pregnancy and Breast-Feeding: If because of fasting there is harm caused to the woman or the baby or to both of them, then she may break the fast while she is pregnant or breastfeeding. But if the harm for which reason she is breaking her fast only applies to her baby and not her, then she must make up for the days she missed of fasting and feed a needy person for each day missed. And if the harm only applies to herself, then it is sufficient for her to only make up the missed days. This is based on the pregnant woman and breastfeeding woman falling under the generality of Allaah’s saying: "And for those who can fast (but) with difficulty, they (may break their fast) and instead feed a needy person." [Surah Al-Baqarah: 184]
Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer (rahimahullaah) said in his Tafseer (1/379): "Amongst those who fall into the meaning of this ayah are the pregnant and breastfeeding women if they fear for themselves or for their children." And Shaikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah said: "If a pregnant woman fears for her fetus, then she may not fast and instead make up each day of fasting that was missed on other days and feed a needy person around 2 kilograms of bread." [Majmoo’-ul-Fatawaa: 25/318]

Important Notes:
1. Istihaadah (Irregular Bleeding): This is the condition in which a woman has blood come out of her, which is not her menstrual blood. She must observe the fast and it is not permissible for her to break her fast because of this type of bleeding. When mentioning the allowance of the menstruating woman of breaking her fast, Shaikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullaah) said: "This is contrary to the woman in the state of Istihaadah, for this state comprises an unfixed period of time, and there is not a time in it in which she can be commanded to begin fasting (again). So because of this, it is not possible to caution against it, the same as for throwing up unexpectedly, emitting blood due to a wound, getting a boil, Ihtilaam (when sexual fluid comes out of the private parts not due to intercourse or foreplay), as well as all the other things that do not have a fixed time in which they could be cautioned against. So this (Istihaadah) was not made as something that nullifies the fast, such as the blood of menstruation." [Majmoo’-ul-Fataawaa: 25/251]

2. The Menstruating woman as well as the pregnant and breastfeeding women, if they break their fast in Ramadaan, must make up for the missed days of fasting in the time that occurs between the Ramadaan in which they broke their fast and the forthcoming Ramadaan. But to complete them early is better. And if there only remain a few days before the next Ramadaan begins, then they are obligated to make up the missed days of fasting (from the previous Ramadaan) such that the new Ramadaan will not come upon them while they still have to fast days from the previous Ramadaan. But if they don’t do this and Ramadaan comes upon them while they still owe days of fasting from the previous Ramadaan, and they have no (valid) excuse for delaying it, they are obligated to make up the missed days and to feed a needy person for each day. But if they have a valid excuse, then they must only make up the missed days of fasting. This goes the same for those who must make up the missed days of fasting due to sickness or traveling. Their ruling is like the ruling of the woman who broke the fast due to menses, with the previously mentioned details.

3. It is not permissible for a woman to observe a recommended fast if her husband is present unless she has his permission. This is based on what Al-Bukhaaree, Muslim and others have reported from Abu Hurairah (raa) that the Prophet (saws) said: "It is not permissible for a woman to fast while her husband is present except with his permission." In some narrations of the hadeeth in Ahmad and Abu Dawood, there occurs the wording "...except Ramadaan." But if the husband permits her to observe a recommended fast or he is not present around her or if she doesn’t have a husband, then it is encouraged for her to observe this recommended day of fasting. This is especially for the days in which it is recommended to fast such as Mondays and Thursdays, three days in every month, six days in Shawaal, the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah, the Day of ‘Arafah and the Day of ‘Aashooraa along with the day before or after it. However, she should not observe a recommended fast while she owes days to make up for (the previous) Ramadaan, until she first makes up these missed days and Allaah knows best.

4. If a menstruating woman stops bleeding during the day in Ramadaan, she must begin her fasting for the remainder of the day but still make it up with the days that she didn’t fast because of menses. Her fasting for the remainder of the day in which she stops bleeding is an obligation on her out of respect for the time (i.e. Ramadaan).

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