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Umrah 1435: Observations, Thoughts, and Discoveries


Street Vendors of Madinah:

01. If possible, it would have been better if the government of Saudi Arabia made separate arrangements of tawaf for men and women. Such arrangement would have been purer for hearts.

02. I wish the women pilgrims at haram observed hijab in the proper manner, at least out of respect for the House of Allah.

03. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, especially the streets are way more dirty compared to the streets of Qatar. This has resulted from the culture of irresponsibly disposing wastes almost anywhere without any concern for environment and cleanliness. Majority of the Saudis and expats at KSA do not have the habit of disposing wastes at designated waste bins. That is why you will see polythene bags and plastic bottles even in the middle of deserts. To the locals and residents of KSA: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) has described removing harmful things from the streets as part of eeman. So, how can you so carelessly litter your streets?

04. Before going for umrah, we often harbor dreams like making lots of dua and tawaf and so on. What we forget while dreaming is umrah has been described by the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as a jihad for the weak. Since it is a jihad, after reaching there, we often do not find the perfect utopian setting of worship we imagine. We discover a place of hardship. Often due to overcrowding, noise level, struggle like lowering the gaze, grasshoppers, and many other factors, we struggle to accomplish what we plan to accomplish. That is why before we go for umrah, or hajj, we have to have a different expectation. Just because we are going to the holiest sites of Islam, we should not expect a utopian setting where we will be able to worship effortlessly. Rather, since umrah has been described as a smaller jihad, we must mentally prepare to struggle and endure a lot of hardship, and only if we prepare with such a mindset, we will able to accomplish our goals while we are there.  Otherwise, umrah will turn like visits to other places, and we will return only with lots of complaints against Saudi government, service providers, and so on, and we will not attain our goals of supererogatory worship at the haram.

I was passing by an audio store when the recitation of a Qari captivated me. I came to learn that this was Shaykh Khalid Al-Jaleel.

Verily, have we ever wondered what our life would be without the Quran?

“Praise to Allah , who has guided us to this; and we would never have been guided if Allah had not guided us. Certainly the messengers of our Lord had come with the truth.” [The Noble Quran 7:43]

Here is a clip:

Why I Wish I Could Become a Child Again

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They do not have responsibility.
They do not understand sin.
Pen is lifted from their shoulders.
They do not understand the dirty things of this world.
They have not lost their natural disposition through sinning.
They do not understand gender differences and sex.
They do not have jealousy, hatred, and other ill feelings.
They do not have to fight their lower self.
They have no worries except for playing.
They possess the simplicity, which we have lost after growing up.
They exude innocence.

My dua for every Muslim child:

O Allah! Keep our children away from sin, disobedience, transgression, shamelessness, and all the ugliness of this world, and keep them upright upon their fitrah and make them grow upon guidance.

Eid Al-Adha: Photos of Doha Cattle Market and Slaughter Hosue

Simplified: Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani in 10 Steps

This is my simplified hyderabadi chicken biriyani recipe. If you want to make chicken biriyani that is perfect in terms of taste and splendid in terms of its presentation, then this is not the recipe for you. This is a recipe for those who want to cook quickly and are happy with less than a perfect biriyani. 


Part A (in case if you do not know about a spice mentioned below, simply Google it)
1 chicken (cut into 8 or 4 pieces)
250 grams yogurt
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 tablespoon of ginger pate
1 tablespoon of biriyani masala
1/2 tea spoon red chili powder
1/2 tea spoon of coriander powder
½ tea spoon of cumin powder
½ tea spoon of turmeric power
1 large tomato minced
3-4 green chilies
2 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of sugar

Part B
2 bay leaves
4-5 cloves
3-4 cardamoms
3 pieces of cinnamon stick
5-6 black pepper
1 medium sized potato cut into several pieces
2-3 dried lemon (optional)
8 medium sized onion, chopped (the rule of thumb is you need 1 onion for each 100 grams of rice)
1 cup oil (you have to guesstimate, may be you will need more or less)

Part C
750 grams of rice
Mint leaves (chopped, amount as you like)
Coriander leaves (chopped, amount as you like)

How to cook it:

  1. Mix all Part A ingredients and set them aside for about an hour.
  2. Take four chopped onions and fry them till they are dark brown. It is called beresta.
  3. In a pot, take oil and fry the remaining four chopped onions along with Part B ingredients for about 5 minutes.
  4. Then add Part A ingredients, one cup of water, and the beresta with Part B ingredients.
  5. Cook for about 30-40 minutes in a medium flame. Set the chicken curry aside.
  6. Soak rice in water for about half an hour.
  7. Cook the rice. The rice should be 40% cooked. If you overcook the rice, you will spoil your biriyani. Stop cooking the rice 3-4 minutes after the water comes to boil.
  8. Drain the water.
  9. Mix the rice with chicken curry, coriander leaves, and mint leaves. I do not believe in setting up things in layers. Because when things settle up in our stomach, they do not settle in any ordered layers.
  10. Tightly put the lid of your cooking pot. Now set your cooking pot over a used tawa or any round shaped metal and heat the pot over the tawa in a very low flame for about 45-50 minutes.

Finally serve with salad or raita!

Below are some pictures that I took while cooking biriyani:

Cooking Adventure: How to Cook Yummy Pasta (Pictorial Recipe)

Currently my mom is away from home, which gives me the opportunity to engage in cooking adventures. Most adventures do not have yummy ends, but some of them do. Today inshallah I will share one cooking adventure with you that had an yummy end.

How to Cook Yummy Pasta:

What you will need: 500 grams of pasta, 200 grams of minced carrot and green chick peas, 200 grams of pre-cooked minced meat, 2-3 green chilies, 2 medium sized onions, 2 soup stocks of instant noodles, oil to cook, coriander leaves, and cooking utensils. It will produce about 6-7 servings.

P1040636 [640x480] Step 1. Boil the pasta. Fill a container with water and add salt to taste. When the water comes to boil, add the pasta. While boiling the pasta, stir them frequently to prevent pasta pieces from sticking together. After about 7-8 minutes, when the water again comes to boil, take out a pasta and taste it to check if it has been cooked adequately. Pasta must be boiled perfectly. If your pasta is over boiled or under boiled, your pasta will not turn out to be yummy. Once the pasta is boiled, drain the water out.

P1040637 [640x480]Step 2. Slice two medium sized onions into thin pieces.

P1040640 [640x480]Step 3. Chop two green chilies into small pieces.

P1040647 [640x480]Step 4. Chop a few coriander leaves and keep them aside.

P1040648 [640x480]Step 5. While boiling the pasta, also boil small pieces of carrots and green chick peas in a separate pot. Once they are properly boiled, drain out the water and keep the vegetables aside.

P1040650 [640x480]Step 6. This a soup stock that comes along with small packets of instant noodles. Keep one or two such stocks, depending on the amount of pasta you are cooking, ready for later use.

P1040656 [640x480]Step 7. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a cauldron and add the sliced onions and chilies. Fry them for a few minutes.

P1040659 [640x480]Step 8. Add the boiled vegetables and also fry them for a while.

P1040661 [640x480]Step 9. Add the pasta. Fry them along with`onions, chilies, and vegetables.

P1040662 [640x480]Step 10. Spread over instant noodles soup stock over the pasta. Then give the whole mixture a good stir.

P1040667 [640x480]Step 11. Add minced meat with the pasta. These minced meat should be pre-cooked.

P1040669 [640x480]Step 12. Finally when you have adequately fried the pasta, add minced coriander leaves and give it a last stir.

P1040672 [640x480]Step 13. Serve yummy noodles. Say bismillah and start eating. While eating, thank Allah and give yourself a pat on the back for successfully bringing your cooking adventure to a yummy end.

Ramadan 1433 Umrah in Pictures

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