5 Years Of Sparking Joy!

This is my brother, Ali Omar Mukhlis. He’s brought light and happiness into our lives for so long…and today marks 5 years since he was brought into this world and began showering us with joy!

Ali is more than just a brother: he is an amazing son that surprised Mrs Mom and Mr Dad – their very own #SurpriseNumber3! He’s a best friend that’s always fun to be around – even the rainiest days seem like summer with him. His smile, his laugh, and his joking personality all make him a lovely lil’ guy, but what’s most important is that underneath that cheekiness is a kind, caring heart that loves and keeps all of his family and friends close. In his own way, Ali manages to love us and make us the happiest we can be. And as he grows, his love only gets bigger…as well as his hugs!

Today, this fun-loving, family-minded, part-time artist and full-time foodie officially turns five years old! In truth, it feels much longer than that – the joy-filled five years I’ve spent with Ali, from the moment I walked into that hospital room to greet my newborn baby brother, all the way up until now, has seemed like an eternity (and a very well-spent one at that). Me and Fatimah are so lucky to have him as our brother, and there’s no denying how great a son he has been to Mrs Mom and Mr Dad!

For his 5th birthday, I pray that Allah blesses Ali with all the good things He has to offer, and rewards him for the happiness he has given us by showering him with a hundred times the amount of joy he has given! I pray that these five years he has spent with us will only be the first few of many, and that Allah guides him on the right path and he continues to spread joy.

Happy 5th Birthday, Ali! Never stop making people happy…

Your Lalajee,

Omar Mukhtar

2nd July 2020

Ramadhan is over, but…

Ramadhan is over…but prayer isn’t,

Ramadhan is over…but fasting isn’t,

Ramadhan is over…but reading Qur’an isn’t,

Ramadhan is over…but lowering our gaze isn’t,

Ramadhan is over…but refraining from backbiting isn’t,

Ramadhan is over…but giving charity & helping others isn’t,

Ramadhan is over…but the angels are still writing down everything we’re doing,

Ramadhan is over…but Halal & Haraam still exist,

Ramadhan is over…but Paradise & Hell still exist,

Ramadhan is over…but our obligations towards Allah remains!

Have a blessed Friday,

Omar Mukhtar

#thepawsomelion

6th Shawwal 1441 AH

A Letter To Allah…

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Ya Rabb,

This is my second mother. Even though she isn’t the one that gave birth to me, You know that she has been with me since day 1. For as long as I can remember, she has been there alongside my own mother, supporting me, caring for me, protecting me, loving me unconditionally – You know how generous her heart is. In fact, I can’t imagine a life without her there as a guiding light and a role model every step of the way! Her love, her smile, her warm hug,  even her presence is enough to comfort me. I never have to ask for anything from her – she will always give, give, give and give! And together with all the love she has given to me over the years, every single bit added up, You know I would never be able to repay all of her endless gifts!

Ya Rabb,

Before this holy month of Ramadhan comes to an end, allow me to ask another thing from You, this time as a gift for her. All my life, You know that I have had her watching over me and caring for me as a second mother, but I’m afraid that I won’t always be able to do the same for her. So I ask that You send two of Your best angels to watch over her, to guard her, and to care for her, 100 times as much as she has done for me! Please don’t let her see a day without happiness, so she can be happy like how she always keeps me happy. And if there is anything that crosses her mind which You think is best for her, please grant her wishes as fast as lightning! I pray that You reserve her the most beautiful palace in Jannatul Firdaus, cos that is what it felt like when I was spending time with her – heavenly! I pray that when we leave this world, we will be reunited together again, cos I don’t know what I would do without her! And lastly, I ask for You to let her know just how much I love her, cos it would be impossible to tell it to her enough!

Aameen,

Omar Mukhtar

#thepawsomelion

27th Ramadhan 1441 AH

#alettertoAllah 💌

p/s: @drauntie.uk, if you’re reading this, please know that even though you loved me first, I will love you till the end…and I love you more!

One Year Later…

💌 Dear Mamajee,

It’s been a year since you were gone. How am I supposed to feel? Well, before this, I know I felt sad. No, more than sad. I was heartbroken. Confused. Speechless. I couldn’t think straight. I felt like looking up to the sky and screaming.

But at the same time, I couldn’t make a sound. In the days leading up until now, honestly, I was anxious. What would it be like, knowing that it would have been a year since you left us? How would I feel now when before this, I felt like I couldn’t live without you? Would I always be in grief? Would I forget you completely?

Yet here I am, one year later, loving you and remembering you. So what’s the answer to that very first question? How am I supposed to feel? It’s simple – I feel relieved. Relieved that I have made it this far. Relieved that you still live on in our hearts. Relieved that I still have so much to be grateful for – the loving, supporting family I have around me, and the memories in which I can still find you.

And after all, while we may not be able to talk to you, we know that you’re waiting for us all to be reunited again. All I pray for is that Allah accepts my special gift to you in this holy month of Ramadhan.

Love,

Omar Mukhtar

19th May 2020

Alhamdulillah!

All praise is due to Allah! Managed to khatam the Quran a second time in this holy month of Ramadhan under the guidance of Mrs Mom. May Allah accept all of our good deeds and purify our hearts from riya’. And now that we’re in the last 10 days of Ramadhan, together, let’s increase our Ibadah. And I pray that my sharing will inspire others to multiply their Ibadah too…

Have a blessed Friday,

Omar Mukhtar

22nd Ramadhan 1441 AH

Friday, 15th May 2020

12:45am, Birmingham 🇬🇧 

Ramadhan 2020 In Lockdown…

The Covid-19 lockdown has brought to light many of the things we all take for granted, and one of those is spending time with the ones we love. Being in lockdown inevitably means that we’re with our family 24/7, and perhaps for some of us, it gets a little bit hectic! Most parents have to work from home and homeschool their children all at the same time, and that can get pretty bustling really quick. But as the weeks go on, I believe that we’ll learn to appreciate each other’s company, and make the most of the time we have together.

The start of the Summer Term has also brought upon us the start of Ramadhan. Last year’s Ramadhan marked the time when the whole family lost a piece of ourselves as our beloved Mamajee passed away. And this year, we’ve been thrown into another confusing, extraordinary situation! Thoughts are racing, the mind is blurry…but Ramadhan is the month of piety and reflection, and during this current pandemic, when we are all sat at home, Ramadhan could not have come at a better time for us to practise this! This lockdown has given me plenty of free time, so for this year’s Ramadhan, I’d like to use that time not only to strengthen my faith, but to do some serious self-reflection, and, most importantly, to value the family time I have been blessed with by Allah to start the holy month of Ramadhan!

Ramadhan Mubarak,

Omar Mukhtar

Back To (Online) School!

Hi guys! Sorry I haven’t written anything for so long. I’ve been on my Easter holidays and for the 3 weeks, I decided to detox from my laptop, which is why you haven’t heard from me for so long. I got inspired by the letter our Chief Master sent out to us, where she told us all her plans for the 3 weeks, including learning to make her own ice cream and experimenting with cooking out of her comfort zone – fun!

So aside from helping Mrs Mom and Mr Dad with our homeschool, I’ve decided to give Fatimah and Ali some French lessons too, so their normal routine is livened up by something they wouldn’t normally learn. I myself have taken on some new languages to keep myself busy – Swedish and Irish Gaelic. Well, more Swedish than Irish Gaelic, to be honest!

Plus, since we are in lockdown, I thought it would be a good idea to bring some of the outside into the house! So that’s why I’ve been keeping myself occupied with the makeshift indoor garden I’ve cobbled together in the living room! Even my friend has been inspired to start his own indoor garden in his bedroom! So far, he’s got a cactus and a sunflower to take care of. It’s actually quite relaxing and fun to take care of all of them – plus, it compensates for the fresh air we’re not getting coz we get fresh air from the plants too! Other than that, I’ve been working on some more writing projects of my own too…

Many of you have wanted to find out more about my distance learning experience. Well, like I said, I have been on my Easter holidays these past three weeks. As much as we all enjoy an extended holiday, me and my classmates have all been eager for the start of term. We’ve all been missing each other, and we’ve been looking forward for school to start again. But since term officially starts tomorrow, we’ll be able to talk to each other again (online, of course).

And plus, I’ll be able to share more about my online learning journey! So starting from tomorrow, I’ll be back in the routine of having live school lessons and working together with my friends – all from the comfort of my own home, Alhamdulillah! Stay tuned for more posts from me, coz I’ll definitely be updating more about my online learning experience for the students, teachers and everyone else who are curious to know more about my e-learning journey.

Stay safe,

Omar Mukhtar

p/s: How have you been keeping yourself occupied in the lockdown?

My Lockdown e-Learning Experience

I’ve received a few questions from students and teachers about my e-learning experience since lockdown. Well, I’m not sure about other schools in the UK, but for my school, we use a variety of means for our online learning: live lessons, set work, and Internet websites. For your information, I’m currently in Year 8, which is the second year of secondary school. Things might be different in other years, but I’ll talk about our e-learning for Year 8.

Our online learning is exactly the same as a 9am-4pm normal school day, from registration until the end of the day, with 8 periods and the same timetable, except we do it all at home. The subjects we’ve done through online learning are English, Religious Studies, History, Biology, Maths, Latin, Drama, Art, French, Physics, Design and Technology, Geography, Music, Chemistry, and Sports. Some were through live lessons, and other times, we were set work, where we had to work and then submit it digitally at the end of every lesson. And of course, we have break and lunch at normal times.

For live lessons, we’ve been using an app called Zoom, which is widely used by other schools and universities. Each session lasts for 40 minutes, and there are different things both the teacher and the students can do. If it’s required, you can turn on your webcam, or just have the mic on. There is an option to mute the mic, so not everyone is talking over each other at the same time. And what’s really useful is that you can share your computer screen with others, so you can put up notes, a question, or anything else you need pupils to see. 

In terms of set work, we’ve been using Google Classroom most of the time. That’s where teachers can set assignments, post announcements, and ask questions. We’ve also been set work on Firefly, our school’s intranet system.

For Maths specifically, we’ve had live lessons on Zoom where the teacher shared their screen with us so we could see the notes and answer questions. Also, we were set work on a website called MyiMaths, where the teacher can set tasks related to specific topics. This could also be the case for other subjects, such as languages, where you could be set tasks on websites like Duolingo etc.

Personally, I find that the live lessons are the most successful for introducing new topics or going over more difficult work, because the teacher is there to explain the work to you, and if you’re stuck, you can ask them a question. However, set tasks work just as well if the work is more straightforward.

Hopefully, this little bit of my e-learning experience could be useful for both students who want to know more about what e-learning is like, and for teachers who want to create an ideal work environment for online school. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’d be more than happy to share about my e-learning experience.

Stay safe,

Omar Mukhtar

Day 5 Of Covid-19 Distance Learning…

Since yesterday was the last day of term, we only had a half-day of school. Normally, we’d have meetings with our school houses and our forms, but that would be too difficult to organise since we’re all doing online learning at home. So instead, our Head of Year set us a challenge – we had to make a tower out of Lego, and whoever built the tallest tower won! So that’s what I’m doing in the photos, in case you were wondering what any of that had to do with distance learning. My finished tower was 178cm tall, but if I added any of the leftover blocks, it would have fallen down! The winning tower was 4 metres tall – that’s a lot of blocks! It was quite a fun way to end the term, even though we were all at home. And it certainly took our minds off the stress of being stuck at home because of the coronavirus.

Regarding the pandemic, we received breaking news whilst we were in the middle of this Lego challenge. The UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, along with a few other members of the government, have tested positive for Covid-19. Yet again, we have proof of how quick and widespread this virus is, which is why it’s so important for all of us to stay at home to minimise the threat of the virus. The key workers and front-liners are doing all they can to stop the coronavirus in its tracks, so as a favour to them, we should stay at home to prevent any further spread of the virus. They are heroes sacrificing their own time for us, so do this as a ‘thank you’ for everything they are doing for us. May God protect them and reward them for their selfless actions.

Stay safe,

Omar Mukhtar

Day 3 Of Covid-19 Distance Learning…

We’ve gotten used to the rhythm of online learning now, so there isn’t much to update you on in terms of my studies. However, reading the news yesterday, I was quite shocked. Here in the UK, Prince Charles has tested positive for the coronavirus. The news spread like wildfire. It just goes to show how widespread Covid-19 is, and how careful we should be to contain it. Like I said in yesterday’s post, we’re really lucky to have such great resources, which mean that we can carry on with our studies whilst not risking anybody’s health. I pray that we all get through this quickly and unharmed, and that God blesses all those key workers and front-liners, including our very own teachers, who are the reason why we can carry on with our education safely during this pandemic.

Stay safe,

Omar Mukhtar