Bio

Sakina has over 10 years of experience in the field of corporate communications; having worked for a leading Annual Report Production House dealing with top corporates of Sri Lanka and overseas, and later as the Group Communications Specialist for a Sri Lankan conglomerate for their overseas plantations business. She is well-versed in the production process of annual reports, sustainability reports, corporate videos and other corporate communication media. She also has experience in Social Media Marketing and works to increase and improve social media presence of corporates and small niche market businesses. Today, she works as a freelance writer and undertakes consultations on corporate communications and social media related projects. She enjoys writing for blogs on topics of interest.

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  • Planning To Travel After Covid-19? Here Are 10 Best Road Trips in Australia You Need To Check Out

    Planning a getaway to restart your life after the pandemic? Great idea! Why not plan for a road trip, especially in Australia since it has some spectacular routes and scenic drives as you traverse this large island continent? A road trip will also give you an opportunity to revive long-standing relationships with friends whom you have been social distancing from recently. And, you can do this while taking in the awe-inspiring scenes, hidden natural wonders, and some out-of-the-way places which can only be reached via a road! What is more, a road trip does away with the tedious tasks of extreme budgeting, applying for visas, considering travel restrictions, and embarking on a long flight to reach your destination. It allows you to travel at your own pace, it can nicely work out on a limited budget, and there is no fuss on what to wear – comfort-wear is the way to go! Most importantly, it enables you to create your own unique route while traveling.  Road trips are a convenient way for you to travel with your friends after Covid-19 and it is expected to rise with domestic travel will begin to recover first. To help you plan for your next road trip, here are 10 best road trips in Australia!  via GIPHY  1. The Great Ocean Road, Victoria Image Credit: Mateusz Glogowski on Unsplash This is one famed road trip route taking you across the southern coast of Australia from between Torquay and Warrnambool, Allansford, or a little further to Port Fairy in Victoria. The Great Ocean Road, completed in 1932 as a First World War memorial, showcases breath-taking clifftop vistas, wildlife, shipwrecks, and the never-ending coastlines while passing through quaint towns and rain forest. Things to do and see: Bells Beach, 12 Apostles, Erskine Falls, Apollo Bay, Port Campbell National Park, Loch Ard Gorge, the Island Archway, the cliff-face Gibson Steps, Cape Otway lighthouse, Great Otway National Park, Lorne, Anglesea, Peterborough, the historic fishing village of Port Fairy, and many delicious eateries along the way. Time frame: The route is about 9.5 hours (approximately a 250-kilometre drive). So, a day-trip is possible and done often if you want to enjoy only the passing scenery. But the best way to take in all the sights and sounds and venture further afield is a three to four-day road trip along these most famous road trip routes. 2. The Great Beach Drive, Queensland Image Credit: Tim Foster on Unsplash; You can get a nice view of the beautiful sunrise at Hervey Bay while on this route. For those of you living in Queensland, you need not go too far to catch some scenic views and some of the best routes for a road trip. The Great Beach Drive is the famed road trip on some of the Sunshine Coast’s most stunning beaches leading to Fraser Island and the Fraser Coast while meandering through UNESCO Heritage sites, national parks, and many historically significant landscapes. While traversing this most wonderful of road routes, you will be privy to whale, dolphin, turtle, platypus, kangaroo, and rare bird sightings. Don't miss out on the Hervey Bay; you can get a nice view of the beautiful sunrise and sunset here! Things to do and see: Noosa Biosphere, Great Sandy Biosphere, wildlife sightings, picnics, camping inside national parks, off-road driving, Double Island Point lighthouse, Hervey Bay, Teewah beach, Rainbow beach, surfing, kayaking, swimming, Great Barrier Reef, hiking and trekking, and Fraser Island - the largest sand island in the world. Time frame: The route is about 168 hours (a 380-kilometre drive). Take a three to seven-day road trip along the Great Beach Drive or even longer, depending on how long you want your getaway trip to be and what you want to explore with your friends. 3. The Grand Pacific Drive, New South Wales Image Credit: Mara Page on Unsplash; The Grand Pacific Drive will lead you to some of the iconic places in Australia such as the whitest sand beach, Hyams beach at Jervis Bay. For those in New South Wales, the Grand Pacific Drive will lead you along some of the territory’s most memorable places and coastal scenes through a 140-kilometre bitumen road. Things to do and see: Sydney’s Royal National Park, Wollongong, Shellharbour, Sea Cliff Bridge, booming blowholes at Kiama, Austinmer Beach, Nan Tien Temple, hang-gliding, paragliding Minamurra Rainforest, whitest sand beaches in the world at Jervis Bay, and Jamberoo Action Park. Timeframe: The route is just a few hours (approximately a 140-kilometre drive) and an ideal one-day road trip for anyone from Sydney, Canberra, or other neighboring areas. However, there is nothing to stop you from making this road trip a longer vacation by staying over in any one of the towns or reserves along the way. 4. Great Alpine Road, Victoria Image Credit: Linda Xu on Unsplash; Experience the beauty of lush mountains at Mount Buffalo National Park  Another scenic drive starts off at Wangaratta in Victoria and traverses through the Victorian High Country and ends at Metung in the Gippsland Lakes region. The Great Alpine road trip will stun you with its fabulous Alpine scenes, mountain ranges, deep valleys, wine country, and sparkling waterways. This route will let you revel in the beauty of the mountains while enjoying some relaxation time with close friends whether you live in New South Wales or in Victoria! Things to do and see: Be inspired and rejuvenated by the lush mountains and rain forests, Mount Buffalo National Park, Gorge Lookout at Mt Buffalo, unique rock formations, and waterfalls. You can also try activities like mountain biking, trekking, and horse riding with your friends. Drive through Victoria’s highest alpine village, and view the 1,750 meter above sea-level Mt Hotham. Don't forget to visit towns such as Beechworth, Bright, and Omeo to experience the local hospitality.  Time frame: The road trip is approximately 500 kilometres and best enjoyed through a week where you can take in the scenes and enjoy the local hospitality. 5. Cairns to Cape York Peninsula, Queensland Image Credit: Photo by Pierre-Henry de Soria on Unsplash; Drop by the Palm Cove while on this route, and spend some time with your friends, catching up.  A Sunshine Coast epic journey is the road trip starting from Cairns and ending at the Cape York Peninsula. While this route is not common, unlike the Cairns to Cape Tribulations road trip, it will take you through the World Heritage-listed, Great Barrier Reef to the ancient World Heritage Daintree National Park across red sand, rain forests, many national parks, indigenous history and culture, and scenic views like no other. While the drive is said to be bumpy and does not boast much comfort, it is a once in a lifetime adventure and a chance to experience a simple lifestyle! Things to do and see: Palm Cove, Port Douglas, Daintree National Park, river crossings, ancient rock art at The Quinkan Galleries at Laura, rainforests, Cape Tribulation, Mossman Gorge, camping, Lakefield National Park, traverse the Old Telegraph Track, and walk to The Tip – the northern most point of Australia. Time frame: The route is about 14 hours (approximately a 1,000-kilometre one-way drive). Considering the dirt roads, raw terrain, and the need to do a round trip while exploring places and experiences the region, a minimum two-week road trip is called for. If you really are short on time, consider a one-way drive and return by air. 6. Gibb River Road, Western Australia Image Credit: jancolaco from Pixabay; Enjoy the Kimberley gorges on the Gibb River Road.  Western Australia’s Gibb River Road is another epic Australian road trip route for the adventurous. This route beginning and ending from Derby to Wyndham, or vice versa, will take you through the Kimberley region. Traveling through the outback on dusty roads will require a four-wheel drive, but the journey will take you through national parks, waterfalls, plateaus, gorges, natural wonders and lets you soak in the 50 to 60 thousand-year-old indigenous Australian culture. Things to do and see: Crocodile sighting; Windjana Gorge National Park; Mitchell Falls and Mitchell Plateau; El Questro; ziplining; King Leopold Ranges; visit outback cattle stations; compare and contrast between the Adcock, Manning, Galvans, Leonard, and Bell Gorges; Zebedee Springs; and Tunnel Creek. Time frame: Approximately a 660-kilometre route with only two roadhouses along the way – at Imintji and Mt Barnett. An ideal road trip would be a week-long, and more if you plan to stay and visit some out of the way places. Be prepared with extra fuel which can be expensive to purchase. 7. Red Centre Way, Northern Territory Image Credit: Philippe Wuyts on Unsplash; Kings Canyon, a must-visit to enjoy spectacular views!  The Northern Territory’s Red Centre Way is another epic and very cliched Australian road trip over sealed and unsealed roads. The route takes you through several mountain ranges, red earth deserts, isolated rocks, fresh swimming holes, ancient Aboriginal rock art sites, and historic towns. So, get ready for one epic Australian outback road trip experience! Things to do and see: Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon, and West MacDonnell ranges; walking and hiking; Finke Gorge National Park; Watarrka National Park, the only place to see the red cabbage palm; the spirited lands of mulga forest; and the spinifex. Time frame: A loop route of about 1,135 kilometres starting at Alice Springs and taking you through Uluru and Kings Canyon is a 5 to 6-day road trip. 8. The Nullarbor Plain, South Australia to Western Australia Image Credits: Simon Maisch on Unsplash; Create unforgettable memories with your friends here at Nullarbor, South Australia If you are living somewhere in South or Western Australia, consider taking the Nullarbor Plain road trip which stretches across Ceduna/Adelaide in South Australia and Perth in Western Australia. While quite remote, the desert highway is an easy route meandering through the goldfields of Western Australia and the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. If you enjoy off-road driving, then use a four-wheel drive to ride through wide-open spaces, sand dunes, and wooded hills while re-hashing some legendary UFO stories and old-time myths with friends.  Things to do and see: Bragging rights to having seen and driven on the largest piece of limestone on earth; strange landscapes which the Nullarbor Plain is renowned for; wildlife such as giant wedge-tailed eagles, emus, kangaroos, dingoes, and camels; whale watching beneath the world's longest line of sea cliffs; the world’s longest golf course; unique caves; riding over sand dunes; ruins of Eucla Telegraph Station built in the 1870s; and camping under the starlit skies. Time frame: An ideal 6-day road trip of 1,256 kilometres which requires some preparation due to it being remote. So, carry enough fuel, water, and other essential supplies. 9. Heritage Highway, Tasmania Image Credit: Samuel Scrimshaw on Unsplash; Rural Building at Tasmania, Australia.  Living in Tasmania? No worries… This little island has quite a few road trips on offer from the Tassie Loop, to the route from Hobart to Freycinet, and of course the famed Heritage Highway. The Heritage highway which runs between Hobart and Launceston is a 200-year-old road built by convict road gangs in the 1800s. The highway meanders through some scenic views of farmlands, Georgian villages, grand rural estates and the authentic scenes of Tasmania’s historic midlands. Things to do and see: Visit the towns of Oatlands, Longford, Evandale, Cressy, and Perth; enjoy some gourmet food; Heritage Highway Museum and Visitors Centre in Campbell Town; Shene Estate & Distillery; and the Chauncy Vale Wildlife Sanctuary. Time frame: A short 2 to 3 days road trip of approximately 200 kilometres. 10. The Big Lap, Australia Image Credit: Martyna Bober on Unsplash; Visit the Bondi Beach at Sydney, one of the most famous beach destinations.  Last but certainly not the least… we have “The Big Lap”, a spectacular adventure around the entire country. Try this fabulous road trip of 15,000 kilometres using Highway One around the edge of Australia as you take in the changing scenes and landscapes of the country’s diverse territories and mixed natural environs. The big lap route will take you through seven capital cities, ride through rain forests and the red earth deserts, cruise along the coastline, and enjoy the vast emptiness of the outback. Things to do and see: Everything and anything that you fancy from the coastline between Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Broome, Perth, Esperance, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Hobart. Time frame: To truly experience the big lap, you will need at least six months, so, consider this a final hurrah kind of road trip adventure!   In ending this article, let me say that depending on the amount of time you have for a vacation, some of these road trip routes can be combined with some fun activities to make it a super adventure. So, take this chance; do not agonize about limited overseas travel, but instead, make the most of exploring your own country and enjoying a relaxing, fun-filled time with your friends! Don't forget to download the HalalTrip App, here, for more travel tips, prayer times and Qibla Direction, and many more!    via GIPHY...

  • SEAGames 2019: Where To Get Your Halal Food In Subic

    The SEA Games are nearly upon us, and as you prepare for your great adventure in the Philippines to coincide with the SEA Games 2019, a visit to Subic will no doubt be part of your travel itinerary. A coastal municipality situated northwest of Manila, Subic offers diverse sights and activities for different interests and passions. So, combine watching the SEA Games with lounging in sandy beaches along Subic Bay, diving to view shipwrecks and an array of coral species, a walkabout town to take in the splendors of 19th-century Spanish architecture to a game of golf, a fun time at the theme parks or a range of water sports. Subic has much to offer to ensure an active and action-packed holiday amidst the exhilaration of the SEA Games. So, while packing and getting ready for your unique adventure during this special season, here’s our contribution to your highly memorable holiday enabling you to follow your Islamic practices-- a list of halal and Muslim-friendly restaurants in Subic at a distance of 2-45-minutes’ drive from the SEA Games venues. However, do remember that during the period of the SEA Games, there is likely going to be increased traffic and many changes to accommodate the increased tourism in the area, so call ahead and check on availability and make bookings as needed. 1. Mr. Taste Restaurant Image Credit: Mr. Taste Halal Food & Restaurant on Facebook Claiming to be the first Halal-certified restaurant in the Subic Freeport Zone, Mr. Taste serves a range of Indian and Pakistani food. Halal Status: Halal-certifiedAddress: Building 1143, Rizal Highway Corner, Argonaut Highway,                  Subic Bay Freeport Zone 2222 Subic, Zambales, Philippines.Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday (10.00am to 10.00pm)Telephone: +63 906 463 6071 Facebook 2. Shan Biryani Kabab Halal Restaurant Image Credit: Shan Briyani Kebab Halal Restaurant Offering a typical Indian fare, this restaurant also has shawarma and a range of halal meats and sells groceries. Halal Status: Serves Halal food (Beef, Chicken & Mutton)Address: 20 Elicano St, Olongapo, 2200 Zambales, Philippines.Opening Hours: Sunday to Friday (10.30am to 9.00pm)                             Saturday (10.30am to 10.00pm)Phone: +63 917 134 9623 Website | Facebook 3. New Feng Huang Seafood Restaurant Image Credit: New Feng Huang Seafood Restaurant on Facebook Located inside the Subic Bay Diamond View Hotel on the 5th floor, New Feng offers a spectacular view of Subic Bay. Chinese and authentic Cantonese cuisine is their specialty, while they are well-known for serving fresh seafood. They also serve a range of Asian and vegetarian-friendly fare. Halal Status: Muslim-friendly seafood meals and serves halal chickenMeals: Breakfast | Brunch | Lunch | DinnerAddress: Block 2, 3 Waterfront Road, Subic Bay Freeport Zone,               Olongapo, 2200 Zambales, PhilippinesOpening Hours: Monday to Sunday (9.30am to 11.00pm)Phone: +63 47 252 9022 Facebook 4. Seafood By The Bay Image Credit: Seafood By The Bay on Facebook While not Halal certified, the restaurant serves a wide array of seafood dishes which they can customize for a Muslim-friendly meal. They do serve alcohol. Halal Status: Muslim-friendly seafood meals on requestMeals: Lunch | DinnerAddress: Block 1, Lot 5, Waterfront Road, Moonbay Marina,                  Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo, PhilippinesHours: Monday to Thursday (10.30am to 2.30pm & 5:30pm to 10.30pm)              Friday to Sunday (10.30am to 2.30pm & 5:30pm to 11.00pm)Phone: +63 47 252 8199 Facebook 5. Wild Herbs Restaurant Serves Asian, Thai, fusion and vegetarian-friendly food. While not Halal certified, an inquiry via Facebook Messenger revealed that they serve Halal food on special request, as long as the order is placed in advance. They do serve alcoholic drinks. Halal Status: Serves Halal food on special requestMeals: Lunch | DinnerAddress: #67 National Highway, Barretto 2200                  Olongapo, PhilippinesHours: Monday to Saturday (9.00am to 11.00pm)              Sunday ClosedPhone: +63 906 497 1499 Facebook 6. Shamboli's Pizza A dedicated pizza joint that claims to be vegetarian-friendly. Halal Status: UnsureMeals: Lunch | DinnerAddress: 57, RH 5, Subic Baraca National Highway,                  Olongapo, Zambales, PhilippinesHours: Monday & Tuesday (2.30pm to 2.30am)               Wednesday to Saturday (2.00pm to 2.30am)               Sunday (11.00am to 2.00 am)Phone: +63 928 635 5720 Facebook 7. Starbucks The famed Starbucks can be a quick stop for rest and relaxation between SEA Games events. Since it is located within a mall, it will also give you an excuse to indulge in some shopping. Halal Status: Unsure, however, the coffee, tea and other drinks should be Muslim-friendlyAddress: Rizal Highway, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales, Philippines                   (Located in Watsons Harbor Point Mall Subic)Hours: Sunday to Thursday (7.00am to 12 midnight)             Friday & Saturday (6.30am to 12 midnight)Phone: +63 47 2527439   Now, all that’s left is to enjoy your Muslim-friendly SEA Games 2019 adventure in Subic, Philippines....

  • Barakah Lifestyle: 7 Ways to Get Started on Your Ramadan Planner

    As all good things must come to an end, the last day of Ramadan is approaching very soon. Thus, we should make full use of the days we have left to repent and strengthen our faith while bringing ourselves closer to Allah SWT.   Surely, many of us have welcomed this month with the intention of turning over a new leaf or improving ourselves positively. However, if you have not had the chance to do so, you can start preparing now! Whether you want to learn a new dua, read more pages in the Quran, memorise a surah or be a more forgiving person, here are a few tips to get started on your Ramadan planner:   1) Decide on the goals you want to achieve this Ramadan Make a list and be reasonable with it. Make sure the list does not overwhelm you. Setting too many goals will only serve to make you feel stressed during ramadhan and disappointed at the end of it when you do not manage to complete all your tasks. At the end of the day, you know yourself best so be sure to plan your goals in accordance with how much you can handle.As for Muslims who live in non-Islamic countries, be sure to carefully plan out your time in a way that you can balance out work with your religious pursuits.   2) Plan your time out by customising a calendar which suits you best A list is a great start but the next step to note is time management. How are you going to manage your time with everything else that must be done? Easy, just set achievable targets and take note of when you want to achieve them respectively. Also, make regular updates about what you have accomplished. That feeling of accomplishment you get upon completing a task should serve as a motivating factor for you to continue with the task you set for yourself.   3) Minimise distractions and set and end reward The world is full of distractions which range from social media to popular television shows and the latest movie releases. Even birthdays and other celebrations can sometimes be a distraction. But since Ramadan is about to come to an end, why not go on a social media cleanse or give up watching the television for a while. This way, you are making an attempt to stop yourself from seeing things which are innappropriate, or people who are dressed immodestly during this holy month. By respecting the month, Allah will surely recognise your efforts and reward you.Perhaps if you haven't seen that Avengers: Endgame movie yet, save it for Eid! You have all the other months in the Islamic calendar to watch it, so don't waste your Ramadan away. Instead, spend time focusing on yourself and your sprirituality. And do your best to abstain from those worldly things that are truly not beneficial to becoming closer to Allah SWT.   4) Prepare all your materials beforehand For example, if you have set a goal to memorise one of the Surahs from the Quran, then prepare the video or audio clips you require to aid you in your memorisation beforehand. And if you are planning to visit the mosque every weekday, be sure to have a few modest outfits and shawls put aside so you don't end up struggling to find them on the days you need them.A little pre-planning will most definitely go a long way in helping you make the most of your Ramadan planner.    Step 5: Share your goals and plans with your loved ones By telling your friends and family about what your ramadhan goals are, you will experience an adrenaline rush that will make you feel pressured to complete the tasks which you have told them you intend to do. Indeed, this is a good tactic to ensure you always stay focused and on track with your planner.  Furthermore, your peers will know not to disturb you during the times you’ve set aside to achieve your goals. Instead, they will act as your cheering squad and motivate you to keep going whenever you feel like giving up.   Step 6: Seek advice from Islamic teachers Perhaps some of your goals are too ambitious but you do not realise it. This is when speaking to a professional will come in handy. They will serve to point out any mistakes or flaws in your planner.  Remember you are not alone. There are many people who will be more than willing to help you to work towards your Ramadan goals - all you have to do is seek them out.   Step 7: Get started! All the planning and preparation will only come to fruition if you get going. Be sure to follow through with everything that you have planned, the best you can. Know that it is okay if you do not manage to complete one or two things you set out for yourself due to circumstances. As long as you put your best foot forward, you should be proud of yourself nonetheless. So don't procrastinate - start now!   Wishing you all a very peaceful Ramadan!...

  • What Females Can Do During The Last 10 Days Of Ramadan If They Are On Their Period

    At some point in a woman's life, she will begin to embark on a monthly cycle of menstruation for most of her teenage and adulthood years. During these cycles, Allah forbids her from performing her five daily obligatory prayers (namaz), entering mosques, reciting the Holy Quran and fasting.And that is why during Ramadan especially, menstrual cycles can become a trial as women may feel as if they are excluded from the blessings of Allah SWT. However, this is definitely not the case. After all, these natural course of events are bestowed upon women by Allah SWT.Having said this, here are a few ideas on how women can receive as much barakat (blessings) as possible during the last ten days of Ramadan, as Laylatul Qadr falls on one of these 10 days.   1. Recite duas While performing namaz and reading the Quran may be banned, there are still plenty of duas that women can recite as a form of worship during Laylatul Qadr. One dua in particular which we strongly encourage you to read is as follows:اَللَّهُمَّ اِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ ، تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّيAllahumma innaka ‘afuwwun, tuhibbul-‘afwa, fa’fu ‘anniIt translates to "O Allah, You are Most Forgiving, and You love forgiveness; so forgive me." Recite this as many times as possible and hopefully, Allah SWT will forgive you for all your previous sins.Remember, Ramadan is the time of repentance. Thus, you should ask Allah SWT to forgive you for your sins and help you to keep away from committing any future infringements. You can ask also him for the health, safety and wellness of you and your family and friends. Indeed, He is the most merciful and forgiving, and He is always listening.   2. Listen to the Quran While you are unable to touch or recite Quran while on your period, you can always still listen to its verses being recited. Thus, with the spare time you have accumulated from not having to pray, spend the time listening to others read the Quran. Perhaps, if you are a mother, you could take this opportunity to listen to your children recite the Quran and then guide them as they go along.   3. Feed those who are fasting Use the extra time and energy you have to cook for others, be it family, neighbors, close friends or colleagues, during iftar or suhoor. Feeding those who fast is a form of worship, as it helps them to feel energised while fasting, which in turn brings you many rewards. If you'd like to take it a step further, you could even cook up a large amount of food for your neighbourhood mosque during iftar. Just imagine how many mouths you would be feeding and how many times your rewards would be multiplied! Now, if you'd like to up your game even further, you can recite Salawat on Prophet Muhammad SAW while cooking the food. Even by reciting just one salawat, Allah will write for you ten good deeds and erase ten of your bad deeds - Masya Allah.   4. Increase your Islamic knowledge Don’t waste your time. Spend it wisely by learning more about Islam and understanding what the Islamic faith is all about. Discuss your concerns with reliable Islamic teachers and clarify any aspects of Islam in which you feel confused or doubtful about. Through this, you are being productive as this newfound knowledge you gain will most definitely serve to strengthen your faith as time progresses.   5. Help others and be charitable Use this time to help others, whether it be to help your mom with the house chores or listen to your friends' woes. For instance, if you know of a young mother who is very stressed with her children, you can always lend her a helping hand by offering to babysit her kids.Alternatively, you may also use this time to increase your charitable contributions as you research and choose a worthy cause that you and your family can contribute to, to obtain Ramadan's blessings. This is a good form of spirituality that will help you feel better about yourself in the long run. Another form of help includes volunteering. You can make use of this extra time and energy that you have to visit the aged and the sick so you can help them feel better and less lonely.May we all have the motivation and perseverance to obtain all the infinite number of blessings and forgivess from Allah SWT during Laylatul Qadr :)...

  • Spend Your Final Hours In Mauritius Buying 7 Souvenirs And Gifts That Are Rare Anywhere Else!

    Dreaming of beaches this winter season? Want to escape to the warm climes? Well, Mauritius may likely be your answer. Mauritius is an island renowned for its beaches, reefs and lagoons as well as its abundance of mountains, rain forests, waterfalls and wildlife. Situated in the Indian ocean this island’s temperature ranges from 19 to 28 Degree Celsius throughout the year, and the best time to visit is from May to December when the weather is cool and sunny. Aside from its natural endowments, Mauritius will give every Muslim traveler a souvenir and gift shopping experience like no other! With its unique a local spice, sugar, tea and handicraft products, Mauritius is a souvenir shopping paradise offering a range of traditional and local gift items for you to take home as the ultimate souvenir. Here is a list of the best Halal souvenir and gift items with a guide to where to shop for them. Don’t forget to bargain when you shop and look around before you make your final purchase. Top souvenirs from other countries 1. Dodo Souvenirs Picture: Royal Palm Mauritius The Dodo was a native bird to Mauritius. Although now extinct, the country still celebrates the uniqueness of the Dodo bird by offering tourists a range of Dodo souvenirs such as stuffed toys, key chains, magnets, ornaments and whatnot. Also available are Dodo print t-shirts, caps, bags, mugs, and the famous flip-flops. The Dodo souvenirs range in price depending on what you buy and the shops and stores in Mauritius you buy it from. If you become a little Dodo crazy while in Mauritian take in the Dodo Museum and learn all about these flight-less birds that existed before the 17th century. 2. Model Ships Picture: Easyvoyage A very fascinating souvenir are the model ships made from wood and the famed shipwreck bottles that are a dedication to a bygone era of shipwrecks in Mauritius. Mainly handmade, these wood-based models are a lovey and unique souvenir to take home for your living room or as a gift to your parents. 3. Sarongs or “Pareo” and Scarves Picture: Air Mauritius Blog Over the years, the textile industry in Mauritius has become quite famous for its quality products, making clothing products one of the best gifts from Mauritius. So, while there get yourself a Pareo made from quality textile with local prints and all colors. This sarong will make you stand out once you go home or make a perfect yet cheap gift for your friends who dream of visiting the beach. Another popular clothing item for gifting is scarves. Mauritius scarves come in many different colors and prints, making it a very nice and affordable gift for friends and family. Note, the best place for textile shopping is the Quarter Bornes Textile Market. So, if you are in the vicinity of the town of Quatre Bornes, don’t miss out on an opportunity to visit this market! 4. Traditional Music Picture: MusicInAfrica If you are a music lover and enjoy all varieties of music, then buy yourself a CD of the best traditional music known as ‘Sega’ from any music shop. This also makes a very inexpensive gift for friends and allows you to take home a little bit of your holiday. 5. Bois Cheri Tea Picture: Bois Cheri Tea While you can get many flavored teas in Mauritius, the Bois Cheri Tea is a favorite, especially its vanilla flavor. Therefore, this brand of tea is available everywhere. If interested, you can even visit the Bois Cheri Tea Estate and take a tour of their tea plantations and factory. 6. Napolitaines Picture: Air Mauritius  If you have a sweet tooth, this sweet treat is the perfect take home souvenir from Mauritius. Napolitaines are shortbread cookies filled with jam and are available at all bakery shops throughout the country. Tip: Some bakers add rum to these biscuits, so check before you eat or buy this sweet goodie. 7. Mauritian Jams Mauritian jams made from homegrown tropical fruits is another gift and souvenir option to consider. These jams are locally manufactured from fruits such as bananas, passion fruit, pineapples and even guava. So, taking home such a gift is akin to taking home a taste of Mauritius. Locally made jams should be available at any grocery store or supermarket. Just double check to ensure it's Halal. Where to Shop for Souvenirs There is an abundance of shopping options where finding your perfect souvenir and gift item will become a pleasure. Whichever part of the island you visit, you can be sure to find a range of shopping malls and centres as well as the traditional local markets. Here are a few choice shops and markets to visit. Badaboom Souvenir Shop Address: Royal Road, Stall 22, Bazar De Grand Baie, Grand Baie, MauritiusContact: +230 5250 2068Operating Hours: 9AM to 5PM (Daily) Blue Magic Rodrigues Craft World Company Ltd Address: Baie Malgache, Port Mathurin, Mauritius R4304Contact: +230 440 2580 Cottons Address: Dias Pier, Le Caudan Waterfront, Port Louis, MauritiusWebsite: www.cottons.mu Le Craft Market Address: Marina Quay, Caudan, Port Louis, MauritiusContact: +230 211 9500Opening Hours: 9AM to 5PM (Monday to Saturday) Le Port Ship Model Address: Vacoas-Phoenix, MauritiusContact: +230 696 9042Opening Hours: 8.15AM to 5PM (Monday to Friday)                            8.15AM to 4.30PM (Saturday) Marche de Goodlands Address: Next to Central Bus Station, Goodlands, Mauritius Pieter Both Shop Address: Racket Road, Grand Baie, Mauritius|Tel: +230 263 1821Times: Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm Pride of the Island Address: Floreal Road, Floreal, Curepipe, MauritiusTel: +230 684 2999Times: 9AM to 5PM (Mon-Sat)            9AM to 12PM (Sun)Facebook   BONUS: Find your ultimate shopping guide to Mauritius here...

  • Shopping In Dubai: Spend Your Last Few Days In Dubai Shopping At These Amazing Malls & Souks!

    Planning a shopping spree in the coming months? Have you considered Dubai as the ultimate shopping destination? Dubai is the place for all forms of shopping. From high-end designer wear to department store brands and everything in between and cheaper! Dubai also offers a plethora of souvenir shopping options. Let’s explore what to get where and where to get what, to take back a memorabilia of Dubai for yourself and as gifts for your loved ones. There are a range of unique gifts to chose from as Dubai souvenirs, here are some of the best souvenirs to bring back from Dubai: Camel Milk Chocolate Camel Milk Soap Camel Replica Souvenirs Premium Dubai Dates Arabian Traditional Sweets Arabian Coffee Traditional Clothing Replicas of famous Dubai Landmarks Oudh and Bukhoor Silk scarfs and Pashmina shawls Perfumed Oils (Arabic Attars) and Fragrances Persian rugs and carpets Unique Arabian themed showpieces, bowls and jugs Now where should you purchase these lovely and unique souvenir gifts? Here’s a list of Dubai gift and souvenir stores. As you can see, such souvenir stores are spread across Dubai and available in all of Dubai’s premier and popular shopping malls and markets. 1. The Dubai Mall Picture Credit: The Dubai Mall Facebook This mall offers more than 200 luxury fashion brands for the shopaholic. With stores ranging from fashion and beauty products to household items and gift stores, the Dubai Mall is a must visit while providing a range of options for souvenir shopping. Gift & Souvenir Stores: Camel Company, 2M Novelties & Gifts, Discover Dubai, Persian Carpet House, Pink Cat, Al Nabeel Perfume, Arabian Oud, Aoud Gallery, Bateel outlet, Al Nassma Chocolate Shop Entertainment: Dubai Fountain, Dubai Ice Rink, Reel Cinemas, Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Nearby Hotels: Armani Hotel Dubai, Manzil Downtown, Address Dubai Mall, Palace Downtown, Vida Downtown, Address Boulevard, Rove Downtown, Address Downtown Address: Financial Center Rd, Dubai, United Arab Emirates​ Opening Hours: 10AM to 12AM (Mon-Sun)                          *Opening Hours may differ according to the holidays, please refer here Website: thedubaimall.com Facebook | Instagram 2. The Mall of the Emirates Picture Credit: Mall of The Emirates Considered one of the best shopping malls in Dubai, a must visit for everything and anything! Find a range of branded stores interspersed with specialty shops for your every need. Gift & Souvenir Stores: IDdesign, Ajmal Perfume, Arabian Oud, Al Rifai, Jashanmal, Borders, Hallmark, Bateel outlet, Godiva Entertainment: Ski Dubai, Magic Planet, VOX Cinemas, Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre (DUCTAC) Nearby Hotels: Kempinski Mall of the Emirates and Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates, adjoin the mall Address: Sheikh Zayed Road, Interchange 4, Al Barsha. Opening Hours: 10AM to 10PM (Sun-Wed)                          10AM to 12AM (Thu-Sat)                          *Opening Hours may differ according to the holidays, please refer here​ Wedsite: www.malloftheemirates.com Facebook | Instagram 3. Wafi Mall Picture Credit: WAFI Facebook The Wafi mall’s architecture is set to resemble ancient Egypt and is known for its affordable luxury range of shopping stores and brands. The mall is famous for a wide range of stores offering antique and unique gift items, traditional Arabian clothing for men and women, a range of perfume oils and Oud stores, Tamr Wa Teen – famed traditional Arabian coffee store, as well as many options for specialist traditional ware stores. The Khan Murjan Souk within the Wafi mall is a must for an amazing Arabian shopping experience. Gift & Souvenir Stores: Amber Gallery, Bayet Gallery, Raffles Retail Store, Just a Minute, Aainah Gifts & Novelties Trading, Abdullah Al Majid General Trading, Al Howameir Perfumes & Incense, Amouage, Al Zeena Perfumes, Areej Al Oud Perfumes & Incense, Al Qasr Al Bajaa, Al Raheeq Al Malaky Honey & Natural Oils, Al Rand Fashion, Atiqa Boutique, Lebanon Forests Herbs & Honey, Moka Godiva, Patchi Chocolates, Tamr Wa Teen Entertainment: Kidz connection, Games Court, Tee and Putt Mini Golf, X-Space Pampering and Wellness: Cleopatra's Spa & Wellness                                          Female Spa | 8AM to 8PM (Daily), Male Spa | 9AM to 10PM (Daily) Opening Hours: 10AM to 10PM (Sat-Wed)                          10AM to 12AM (Thu-Fri) Halal Food: A wide range and variety of Halal dining options Nearby Hotels: There are many hotels near the mall which is centrally located and only 10 minutes from the Dubai airport Website: www.wafi.com Facebook | Instagram 4. BurJuman Centre Picture Credit: BurJuman Facebook Located in Bur Dubai, this shopping centre has been recently upgraded and renovated improving the shopping experience by adding a range of new stores and entertainment options. Burjuman has a range of affordable gift and souvenir shopping options in Dubai. Gift & Souvenir Stores: Ajmal Perfumes, Firsous, Rasasi Perfumes, Bateel outlet, Patchi Chocolates, Just Accessories, Charming Charlie, Abu Haleeqa, Ximi Vogue Entertainment: Magic Planet, VOX Cinemas, 12D Rides Opening Hours: ​10AM to 11PM (Thu-Fri)                          10AM to 10PM (Sat-Wed) Halal Food: A wide range and variety of Halal food options at the food court and in restaurants and cafes Nearby Hotels: BurJuman Arjaan by Rotana Website: www.burjuman.com Facebook | Instagram 5. City Centre Deira Picture Credit: City Centre Deira Located amidst the heart of Deira, this shopping centre cum dining complex revolutionized the mall concept in Dubai over nearly a quarter of a century ago. Today, the Deira City Centre is home to a range of affordable shopping stores and many dining and souvenir shopping options. Gist & Souvenir Stores: Al Jaber Gallery, Miniso, Boarders, Sanrio, Ajmal Perfume, Arabian Oud, Al Hunaidi Perfumes, Al Haramain Perfumes, Bateel outlet, Godiva Store, Entertainment: Magic Planet, VOX Cinemas Opening Hours: 10AM to 10PM (Sun-Wed)                          10AM to 12AM (Thu-Sat) Halal Food: A wide range and variety of Halal dining options Nearby Hotels: Aloft City Centre Deira, Ibis Dubai City Centre Deira, Novotel Dubai City Centre Deira, Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre Website: www.citycentredeira.com Facebook | Instagram 6. Shopping Avenues at The Atlantis Picture Credit: Atlantis, The Palm Facebook A comparatively recent addition to Dubai’s shopping experience, the Avenues Atlantis, provides a luxurious shopping experience for the MUSLIM shopaholic. International branded stores range from fashion to travel and everything in between with a luxury dose of home grown luxury brands of note. Souvenir Stores: Al Tantawi Novelties and Gifts, Precise, Montage, Elephant Parade, Gallery One, The Spirit of Dubai, Yas Perfumes, Aqua Therapy, Bateel outlet, Dolphin Bay Boutique, Legends of Atlantis, The Lost Chambers Boutique Entertainment: Aquaventure Waterpark, Dolphin Bay, Sea Lion Point, The Lost Chambers Aquarium, Diving in Atlantis Pampering and Wellness: ShuiQi Spa & Saloon Halal Food: A wide range and variety of Halal restaurant options Nearby Hotels: The Atlantis, The Palm Website: www.atlantisthepalm.com 7. Souk Madinat Jumeirah Picture Credit: Jumeirah A combination of traditional and modern, the Souk Madinat Jumeirah gives the shopper the Middle Eastern shopping experience of booths and stalls together with a range of boutique brands, luxury fashion and jewelry shops, and an affordable range of Dubai gift and souvenir shops. Souvenir Stores: Camel Company, Al Jaber Gallery, Al Jaber I Love Dubai, Gallery One, Heritage for Henna, Kashmir Cottage Arts, Modern Antiques, Orient Spirit, Pride of Kashmir, Sinbad Antiques, Tarrab Trading, National Iranian Carpets, Persian Carpet House Entertainment: performances at the Madinat Theatre, water canal tours by Abra Tours Opening Hours: 10AM to 11PM (Mon-Sun) Halal Food: A wide range and variety of Halal dining options Nearby Hotels: The Madinat Jumeirah Resort and many other hotels/apartments in close proximity Website: www.jumeirah.com Facebook | Instagram 8. Deira Gold Souk Picture Credit: Dubai Online The ultimate in jewelry shopping, the traditional Deira Gold souk with over 300 shops offering jewelry in all sizes, colors using precious and semi-precious stones and metal is a must visit for the jewelry lover. Opening Hours: 10AM to 10PM (Sat-Thu) *Stores may close between 1PM and 4PM                               4PM tp 10PM (Fri) Halal Food: A wide range and variety of Halal dining options near the Souk For More Details: www.dubai-online.com 9. Bur Dubai Souk Picture Credit: Dubai Online One of the oldest markets (Souk) in Dubai, this Souk is also referred to as the Old Souk and the Textile Souk. This traditional Souk comprises of small shops selling a wide range of products including textiles, footwear, handbags and a range of gift and souvenir items to take home from Dubai. Opening Hours: 10AM to 10PM (Sat-Thu)                               4PM to 10PM (Fri)  Halal Food: A wide range and variety of Halal dining options near the Souk For More Details: www.dubai-online.com 10. Global Village Picture Credit: Global Village Facebook An annual carnival fair, the Global Village Dubai is a shoppers’ paradise with its country pavilions featuring county specific products and brands and the extensive range of products from clothes, cosmetics, accessories, footwear, household goods, souvenirs, gift items and much more. It is also the place for a variety of international cuisines an entertainment. Operating Months: Annually from November to April Halal Food: A wide variety of cuisines from around the world More Details: globalvillage.ae Facebook | Instagram 11. Al Nassma Chocolate Stores/Booths Picture Credit: Al Nassma Chocolate Facebook Have you heard of Al Nassma? This is the only company in Dubai that manufactures camel milk chocolate, a true and unique delicacy of Dubai. These chocolates made from milk, cocoa, dates, macadamia and Arabian spices are an absolutely perfect souvenir gift for the chocoholic friend, family or colleague.  What’s more, these chocolates also come in the shape of camels, making it a joy for children to receive as gifts. Location: There are Al Nassma booths in many of the popular malls of Dubai and in some hotels, as well as at the Dubai Airport. Standalone Store Location: Warehouse No. A1, Light Industrial Unit, Industrial Area - Dubai - United Arab Emirates Another Store: Located in Dubai Mall Price range: USD 12 to 50 Website: www.al-nassma.com Facebook 12. Bateel Dates Outlets Picture Credit: Bateel International Facebook Dates are a popular dried fruit in Dubai and many other Middle-Eastern countries. So, purchasing dates will not be a hardship. Dates are available in all supermarkets (pre-packed and easy to transports) as well as in the Deira Food Market (for fresh dates).  However, to enjoy some premium quality and gourmet dates, visit the Bateel company outlets. Bateel also processes dates into special products such as date bars and stuffed dates, that must be tasted at least once. And remember, due to their nutritious nature, dates make a healthy gifting option for just about anyone! Location: Bateel Outlets at many popular Dubai malls Price range: Dates per Kilo - USD 10 to 70, Bateel special date products will vary in price. Website:  www.bateel.com Facebook  So, while the shopaholics indulge in their passion for shopping, the rest of his or her family can partake of the many other aspects of Dubai’s wonders, from Dubai’s desert safari, to Ski Dubai in its famed Mall of the Emirates to a visit to the Palm Islands and the famed Atlantis Hotel. Let’s not forget the Burj Khalifa and aquariums either!...

  • Europe this Winter: Check Out These Amazing Festivals In Europe This Holiday!

    Europe in winter is a fun and exciting place, with snow and cold temperatures and of course special shows, events and festivities! Well, there are also warm places in Europe during winter, but that’s another story. Many European countries have unique festivals organized for the winter season… let me give the Muslim traveler some highlights of these festivals that can be enjoyed in some of the best European cities. So, start now, and plan for a fantastic winter vacation this coming season! A chance to participate in some splendid festivals while on your winter vacation in Europe. Amsterdam Light Festival, The Netherlands Picture Credit: Amsterdam Light Festival Facebook The light festival is all about fantastical light sculptures created by local and international artists. This winter, the festival will mark its 7th anniversary, bringing light to Amsterdam’s beautiful city center and its canals. As the festival is held over a period of two months, there is ample opportunity to view its splendor. Picture Credit: Amsterdam Light Festival Facebook Travelers and even locals can take in the sights of the light festival at several different locations around Amsterdam by boat, foot or bike. There are even special canal cruises arranged for viewing the wonders of this festival in its entirety, as the view from the water is the most spectacular. So, plan a winter trip which will allow you to partake in this annual event while enjoying a uniquely planned European winter vacation. Dates: November 29, 2018 to January 20, 2019 Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival, Bruges, Belgium Picture Credit: Ice Sculpture If you are visiting Belgium this winter, don’t miss out on their famed annual snow and ice sculpture festival which is a treat for young and old alike. Usually revolving around a theme chosen by the festival organizers, this event showcases the talents of many ice sculptors worldwide. For a small entrance fee everyone can enjoy the magic and wonder of an icy world during this European winter season. Dates: Late November 2018 to Early January 2019Location: Close to the Central Station, BrugesDress Code: Warm clothes as the temperature is usually around -6°C!Tickets: A fee is charged for entrance Bruges Christmas Market, Belgium Picture Credit: Newmarket Holidays Another well-attended festival during the winter months in the Christmas Market that annually crops up in Burges. Located close to the city center of Bruges, close to Market Square, this Christmas festooned market is a must visit even for the MUSLIM traveler. Not only is the market a place for all things Christmas including the traditional Christmas foods and drinks, but it also boasts a range of handmade customized products that make the ideal souvenir from Belgium. There is also an ice rink located within the market area where you can try ice skating! Dates: November 23, 2018 to January 01, 2019Tickets: entrance is free to all, except for a small fee for enjoying ice-skating on the ice rink.For more details, visit: https://www.visitbruges.be/ Sculpture Festival, Hasselt, Belgium Picture Credit: Discovering Belgium Another famous ice sculpture festival in Belgium is the one held at Hasselt annually. With over 300 tons of ice used to make the sculptures, the entire area is an Iceland of wonder that can be visited for two months. This year’s theme is Antarctica to honor the adventurer and Hasselt native Adrien de Gerlache who went there 120 years ago. Dates: November 19, 2018 to January 08, 2019Time: 12.00 noon to 10.00 pm daily, except on some special days when they close at 11.00 pm.Dress Code: Warm clothes as the temperature is usually very cold!Ticket prices and more details: http://www.ijssculptuur.be/en/ Up Helly Aa, Lerwick, Scotland Procession Picture Credit: Up Hella Aa A 24-hour festival consisting of parades and community celebrations, is a sight to behold. It is the biggest fire festival of the Shetland Isles held annually to celebrate the coming end to winter in the middle of winter. A tradition that has been upheld since the Vikings, this festival must be seen to be believed, and a great exposure for Muslim travelers visiting Scotland this coming winter. Date: January 29, 2019 (held on the last Tuesday in January annually)For more details, visit: https://www.shetland.org/things/events/culture-heritage/up-helly-aa Nice Carnival, France Picture Credit: Deccan Chronicle This carnival is a signature event held annually in Nice, France. The festival which goes on for two weeks revolves around a unique theme annually. The theme finalized for this winter is ‘King of Cinema’ to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the celebrated Victorine Studios on the Côte d'Azur. The carnival has six parades which boast 17 floats with over 1,000 people participating in these parades. These parades take place both day and night and make the city a place for fun and enjoyment, a two-week party in essence! Dates: February 16, 2009 to March 02, 2019Tickets: are required, check rates - http://en.nicecarnaval.com/ratesFor more details, visit: http://en.nicecarnaval.com Venice Carnival, Italy Picture Credit: Venice Carnival Italy Planning on visiting Italy this winter? Well, while there don’t miss out on the annual Venice Carnival which has been taking place for centuries. The Carnival which is considered one of the biggest celebrations in Italy; is abundant with masquerade balls to people parading the streets in Venetian masks. The Carnival filled with activities for children and adults alike with food fiestas, live performances, traditional events, and other entertainment. Some of the events of the Carnival include water shows, street shows, parades, best mask contests, balls, youth festivals and special events such as ‘the flight of the angel’ and the ‘festa delle Marie’. Dates: February 16, 2019 to March 05, 2019Tickets: some events are free to view, and others require tickets. Complete details can be obtained at http://www.carnevale.venezia.it/en Chocoa Festival, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Picture Credit: Heavenly Holland Are you a chocolate lover and chocoholic? Well, this Chocoa Festival is the place to be for you! At this festival you can learn all about chocolate – its origins to the latest trends and developments of today. You can meet renowned chocolate makers, taste a variety of different chocolate blends, learn the process of chocolate making and even become a connoisseur of chocolates - even more than you are right now! So, make Amsterdam a must visit location this winter while on your European winter tour, and enjoy some chocolate in the cold. Dates: Saturday, February 23, 2019 & Sunday, February 24, 2019Time: 10.00 am to 06.00 pmLocation: Beurs van Berlage, AmsterdamTickets: Buy online at https://www.chocoa.nl/events/chocoa-festival/...

  • Muslim Parents 101: A Guide To Raising Kids In A Non-Muslim Country

    Raising kids anywhere in this world is evidently a challenge in today’s highly networked and visual world. However, being a Muslim and raising kids in a non-Muslim country can be quite tricky and disconcerting at times. Having grown up myself in a non-Muslim country, I find that it’s a matter of balance and getting one’s priorities in order. What is important must always come first and I’ve found that everything else just falls into place. Faith also plays a big role, I believe. So, all young mothers out there, living in a world that has shrunk thanks to technology, don’t over fret. Just remember your values and what your parents did to raise you and tweak things a bit and I’m sure the whole process of raising children will become a little easier. However, to put your minds at ease, here are a few pointers to be a guide to raising kids in a non-Muslim country. 1. Instill the basics of Islam in your kids from a young age at home Children will only know what Islam is if you as parents teach them about Islam. So, from a young age teach your kids the principles and the practices of Islam. For instance, what is Halal and Haram, what is considered right in Islam and what is considered wrong. You need not grill them, but ensure they understand there is a difference. For example, one of the most important aspects of living in a non-Muslim country is avoiding food that are Haram and making sure we eat food that is Halal or permissible in Islam. So, through actions and words make them realize the differences and make them understand that even if their friends eat certain foods that are haram, it is important that we know our boundaries as Muslims and avoid these food. In addition, start your kids learning about Islam at home. You have the knowledge, use it and teach your kids. For children who still cannot read, download a Quran recitation, or get a CD and play it for them daily for 15 minutes. If you need more help, there are some online learning tools and activities that Muslim parents can use to slowly start building your kids’ knowledge of Islam at home. Here are a few to consider:  Little Muslims Books: Helping kids think for themselves The World’s First Interactive Kids Islamic School Online Quran Learning websites Video on how to take Wudhu' The Home School Mom (Islam) A Muslim Home School Try them and let us know how good (or not) they are. If you can find other online sites that are useful, recommend it thus on the HalalTrip App! 2. Send your kids to Madrasa (religious school) Of critical importance is the study of Islam in the atmosphere of a school. There are so many things to learn in the Islamic religion and this is quite impossible to do at home. Today, most countries with Muslim populations organized religious classes for the community’s children to attend. So, make the time, give Madrasa the same importance to a regular school and make sure you send your child there. Attending a religious school will not only give your kids a strong foundation of the concepts and practices of Islam in addition to learning how to recite the Quran, recite dua and perform the 5 daily prayers, but it will also allow them to interact with other Muslim children and give them a chance to make friends for life. 3. Regularly meet family and community members Meeting and mingling with family and the Muslim community can shape and create a better understanding and acceptance. Kids will observe the interactions and actions of people, and by such gatherings, they can experience for themselves the camaraderie and closeness of the community. Also, if sharing a meal, they will learn that others also practice the same way their parents do, and this makes children accept such stipulations more. Admittedly, at times, the older child may consider it a bit embarrassing to ask if the ingredients in the foods they have ordered at restaurants are all Halal, and observing others doing this will make them realize that it is not an unnecessary fuss but an accepted practice. 4. Attend Islamic festivals and events Attending Islamic events such as Eid, going to the mosque during the month of Ramadan, attending Islamic events, etc., and taking your children with you can be a great learning experience. This also makes kids understand that these days are important and must be treated as such. As they get older, kids will have many different things pulling them in different directions. Attending such events as children will make them realize that it is important to go to mosque during Ramadan and that it is also important to attend Eid prayers. 5. Listen to your kids It is very important for parents to listen to what your kids are saying. When kids come home from school and discuss their day and what has happened in school, please listen, however, busy or tired you are. Listening to kids recounting their day can give insight on what his/her thoughts are on what someone (even friends) at school did. Parents can also get a better understanding of the other kids your child is associating with. Listening to your kids can provide parents the opening required to bring up some topics or guide your kids in the right direction. Listening is not just for Muslim parents in non-Muslim countries but for all parents worldwide! 6. Talking to your kids Talking is equally important, especially as your kids get older and are more exposed to the internet and everything else in the world. Talking to kids can bring parents closer to their children and allow kids the opportunity to ask parents questions. Today, the world has become an open place, and kids are very curious from a young age. There is no such thing as a “taboo subject”. Parents must encourage their children to talk to them about everything and anything. Otherwise, how will you know your how your kids think or view a certain subject or scenario? Knowledge is power, and only if kids know that something is not acceptable being a Muslim, even if it is acceptable by their non-Muslim friends’ parents, can you give your children the ability to follow the right path. 7. Lastly (but most importantly), practice what you preach Teaching your kids about Islam is great, but as parents you yourself need to practice what you preach. For example, if you are teaching your child that prayers is important five times a day, make sure that your kids see you praying at home. For older children, make them pray with you. For those who are still learning their Wudhu', ensure that you make them do Wudhu' during Namaz times. If you want your child to recite the Quran daily, then you yourself need to recite the Quran daily – in fact, if you have small children who still don’t know to read, then sit them by you when you are reciting the Quran and let them listen to you. If you go out to a restaurant, make sure your child knows the food it is Halal, ask the maître d or the waiter in front of your kids. These actions will show your kids the importance you place on the teachings and practices of Islam and will, in turn, instill these practices them. 8. A few pointers on ‘what not to do’… While it is important to teach your kids about Islam, its practices, its edicts and the rights and wrongs (Halal and haram), it is also important that you DO NOT: Use violence while teaching them about Islam.  Give your kids the impression that what followers of other religions do is wrong (simply explain that what we, as Muslims do, is different because we believe in something different) Explain and teach your children in such a way that they become scared about the teachings of Islam Nag them or go on about a subject, teach them through action as well ...

  • The Hague, Netherlands: Your Guide To The Mosques In The Hague

    Are you planning to travel to the Netherlands? The Hague is surely on your ‘to visit’ list. This city, in the province of South Holland, is home to the to the United Nation’s International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. In addition, the Hague has many museums, palaces, and is along the coast offering some fabulous beaches. However, being in Europe, one of the main concerns for Muslim travelers would be the requirement for a Halal food and the location of mosques and prayer places in the vicinity. Here are Our Top 3 Halal Restaurants in The Hague That We Want You To KnowA Guide to The Hague, Netherlands The Hague offers many Halal food options, which a Google search will yield. And, surprisingly for me, I found that the Hague has many mosques that Muslim travelers can utilize depending on where they are staying during their visit to Den Haag (the Dutch name for The Hague). So, here’s a list of nearby mosques in The Hague for you to say your Friday prayers or simply tour on your Muslim-friendly tour of The Hague. Faizul-Islam Mosque Picture Credit: Faizul Islam Address: Loosduinseweg 851, 2571 AT Den Haag, NetherlandsContact: +31 70 364 2208Website: www.faizul-islam.nl Facebook Foundation As-Sunnah (As-Soennah) Mosque Picture Credit: Stichting as-Soennah Facebook Address: Fruitweg 5, 2525 KE Den Haag, NetherlandsContact: +31 70 389 6960Website: al-yaqeen.com Facebook Mescid-i Aksa Mosque Picture Credit: Haagsetijden Address: Wagenstraat 103, 2512 AS Den Haag, NetherlandsContact: +31 70 363 4546Website: www.hdvmescidiaksa.nl The Hague Muslim Association Noeroel Islam Picture Credit: Waterkant Address: Scheepersstraat 188, 2572 AP Den Haag, NetherlandsContact: +31 70 345 6198Website: www.noeroelislam.org Masjid Al-Hikmah Picture Credit: KisahWisataku.com The only Indonesian MOSQUE in The Hague, which is open to all MUSLIMS, both men and women. It is however, quite small, and the sermons are conducted in Bahasa. Address: Medlerstraat 4, 2531 HA Den Haag, NetherlandsContact: +31 6 28672813Website: alhikmah.indonesia.nl Mobarak Moskee - Ahmadiyya Moslim Gemeenschap NL Picture Credit: Roel Wijnants, Flickr This MOSQUE is maintained by the Al Ahmadiyya MUSLIM community and was the first MOSQUE to be built in the Netherlands in 1955. To commemorate the MOSQUE’s golden jubilee, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands visited the Mobarak MOQUE located in The Hague on 3rd June 2006. Address: Oostduinlaan 79, 2596 JJ Den Haag, NetherlandsContact: +31 70 324 5902Website: www.alislam.org Moskee Anver-E-Mistafa Picture Credit: Moskee An War E Mustafa Maintained by the Welfare Foundation for Muslims (Stichting Welzijn Voor Moslims) in The Hague, an independent organization of Muslims serving the entire Sunni Islamic part of society. The mosque is accessible to all so long as the set rules are observed. Address: Herschelstraat 21-A-23, 2562 JN Den Haag, NetherlandsContact: +31 70 326 5143Website: moskeeanwaremustafa.nl Al Mouhsinin Mosque Located close to the Den Haag Holland Railway (Spoor) Station and Den Haag Centre (Centrum) in a MUSLIM neighborhood which has enough HALAL restaurants and HALAL Grocers. Address: Stationsweg 89, 2515 BK Den Haag, Netherlands Mosque El Islam Foundation Picture Credit: Visit My Mosque This Foundation was founded by the Moroccan community of the Netherlands and the MOSQUE is mainly used by community members and those of Moroccan origin. Address: Van der Vennestraat 20, 2525 CG Den Haag, NetherlandsContact: +31 70 380 7172Website: newsite.moskeeelislam.nl Moskee el Oemma Picture Credit: Moskee el Oemma Facebook This MOSQUE in The Hague welcomes one and all, young and old, to practice the religion of Islam. Address: Guido Gezellestraat 48, 2524 CM Den Haag, NetherlandsContact: +31 70 750 4337Website: eloemma.nl Moskee El-Fath Picture Credit: Moskee El-Fath This MOSQUE was built in the 1990s, and is an outstanding architectural building with an impressive dome, lamps and a high tower which is over 19 meters tall located in the municipality of Alphen Aan Den Rijn. Address: Wouwermanstraat 59, 2525 KN Den Haag, NetherlandsContact: +31 70 388 2600Website: www.el-fath.nl Moskee Al Ichlaas IGN Picture Credit: IGN Moskee Al-Ichlaas Facebook This MOSQUE’s congregation is mainly made up of people from and originating from Suriname. IGN is part of the Dutch Muslim community that mainly comes from Suriname. Address: 16, Rozenburgstraat Den, 2512 ST Den Haag, NetherlandsContact: +31 6 45091817Website: ignmoskee.nl Mimar Sinan Mosque Address: Teniersstraat 13, 2526 NX Den Haag, NetherlandsContact: +31 70 369 9855Website: moskeemimarsinan.nl Moskee El Mouahidin Picture Credit: Stichting El Mouahidin Facebook Address: Deimanstraat 7, 2522 BB Den Haag, NetherlandsContact: +31 70 395 2464Website: mouahidin.nl Masjid Annour Picture Credit: Islamitische uitvaart Address: De Gaarde 59, 2542 CB Den Haag, NetherlandsContact: +31 70 309 6518Website: www.annourdenhaag.nl  ...

  • A Muslim's Guide to Thailand's Suvarnabhumi Airport

    Thailand is a popular holiday destination for Muslim travellers, offering fabulous shopping in Bangkok, seaside retreats in cities like Phuket, and adventures with unusual natural formation when visiting Thailand’s many smaller islands. However, the first stop for most holiday goers is the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport opened in 2006. Often known as the new Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, the Suvarnabhumi Airport is one of the biggest international airports in Southeast Asia covering an area of 8,000 acres (3,240 hectares). The Suvarnabhumi International Airport comprising of seven floors and two basements offers Muslim travelers’ duty-free shops, lifestyle and dining options, recreational facilities, banks; ATMs and money exchanges, emergency and medical facilities, lounges for transit passengers, internet cafes and Wi-Fi facilities, buggies for internal transport, luggage wrapping services, airport parking facilities, vehicle rental and taxi services, and the list just goes on! Some of the more interesting features of the airport, that make it Thailand's best airports for Muslim travellers’ results from its Muslim friendly facilities and other conveniences. Credit -Giphy.com   Halal Food and Restaurants in the Airport Picture Credit- Bayubangkok.wordpress.com The Suvarnabhumi Airport not only offers a range of restaurants, cafes, eateries, and fast food joints for travellers placed within four different terminals and three concourses, but there is a signboard on Level 4 that directs Muslim passengers to an area that serves Halal Food! Here are some of the restaurants, food stalls and cafes that serve Halal food. Express Kebab - located on Level 4 and also inside The Miracle Food Village food court on Level 3 Canadian Pizza - located on Level 4 Halah – serving Thai Halal food is located near Gate B on Level 3, Concourse B The Miracle Food Village – a food court located on Level 3. There are some vendors who offer Halal food. They have “HALAL” signs on their name boards. Sareefah - located within the Magic Food Point food court on Level 1 near Gate 8 In addition, there are many seafood options that Muslim travellers can choose from. However, it is best to inquire about the Halal status of each dish before you order. For coffee lovers, the Suvarnabhumi Airport also has Starbucks Coffee, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and some other local cafes. The Halal food options at Bangkok's airport is wide-ranging and can match different palates and pocket sizes.   Prayer Facilities at Suvarnabhumi Airport One of the more impressive facilities at the Bangkok Airport for Muslim travelers is the prayer rooms located in the Terminal Building Level 3, Airport Transit Area on Level 3 and the Jet Bridge E. There are signboards that direct Muslim passengers to the relevant areas, and inside one will find the relevant facilities including an ablution room. The prayer facilities at Suvarnabhumi Airport are segregated for males and females.   Shopping There is much shopping that can be done at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport. From convenience stores, bookshops, fashion and accessories stores, to souvenir shops, everything can be found under one room at this airport in Bangkok.   Recreational and Spa Facilities The Suvarnabhumi International Airport also has designated recreation areas on Level 4 on Concourses C & D where many events and activities take place daily. There is a Sauna and Spa on Concourse FL3 where travellers can relax between their flights!   Play Areas for Children Picture Credit - junusdavid.files.wordpress.com The Suvarnabhumi Airport has designated play areas for children, located near the transfer lounges in Concourse B and D and on Level 4 of Concourses C and D.   Halal Restaurants Near Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok For those Muslim travellers on a long transit and able to leave the airport, or those transferring to another airport, and for passengers entering the Bangkok after a long-haul flight, there are some Halal food restaurants available close to the Suvarnabhumi Airport. Some of these are Aleeus Halal Food, Kobang Halal Food, Go To Grill, Fahana Italian Halal Restaurant, and Mabuba Halal Food. For location details, a quick Google search will do the trick!   BONUS: Good-to-know point of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport   There’s free drinking water near most bathrooms. Showers are available in a few of the paid lounges. Economy class travellers can buy a pass and relax in several airport lounges. Check at the information desk for locations and rates. Free Wi-Fi is available at Suvarnabhumi Airport for up to 2 hours per day. There are 126 internet kiosks offering free internet. However, users can only connect for 15 minutes at a time, but once your time expires you can log in again. Download the HalalTrip Islamic Travel app for more airport guides and to help locate Halal restaurants near you. ...

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