“Read ( or Proclaim) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created-” This was the first verse of the Quran revealed and first word mentioned was Read .But how many of our Muslim sisters and brothers love reading. I know this verse was in reference to Quran and we all recite it Alhamdulillah. But here I am talking about reading books …Well not books like Mills and Boons or HArry potter for sure but good books especially the islamic books which inspire.
The reason I am stressing so much on reading is because I run The Islamickidstore myself and I know more than first convincing a customer to buy the book I have to first convince them to start reading. Especially a big issue with Asian women.One of the sisters told me ” Why do you write blogs ,just make vlogs(videoblogs) ,you know I feel bore to read but videos are delight to see.”Some of the mothers come and meet me during Exhibitions we arrange and say,”Aaliyah give me some Islamic DVDS ,Games but no books pls. You know my kids do not love reading at all….They will throw it …tear it..” To be very honest most of the times its fault of the mother than child.
It is convenient to leave your kids on T.V or gadget and the mother can then be at ease. When as a mother you never sat and read a good book ( I am not talking about those romantic fairy tales of prince and wizards but good islamic children books) along with your child ,why shall he read?The first time I bought a book for my elder son he was only 6 months old. He initially tried to put it in his mouth but gradually he would keep turning its pages as he grew older. TAke some time off( I am busy myself so generally afternoon time I and my kids read together) and read along with your kids. It will increase their islamic knowledge,improve their vocabulary ,increase their love for Allah and look upto Prophets,noble Islamic people as Icons to follow Inshaallah.
Well this topic can go on and on.
So lets avoid that and meet our Alhamdulillah I am a productive Muslimah guest for today. She is Dr. Shagufat Malik,author of Seven is special which was recently launched at Sharjah Book fair . An excerpt from the interview…
1) Assalam alai kum sister,Glad to have you here. Kindly elaborate about yourself and your book Seven is special?
Dr. Shagufta : I was born in Denmark to Pakistani parents and grew up in the UK as one of seven siblings. I developed a love for reading, writing and drawing and much of my childhood was spent with my head in a good book. I spent long summers writing stories without endings and drawing and painting pictures which still hang in my parent’s home today. I also enjoyed the sciences and went on to study medicine at Imperial College, London, After marrying and having children I chose to not pursue a career in medicine and instead home educate my three children. I worked part time on different educational projects for young children and graduates and was involved in founding an Islamic school. As my children grew older I discovered there was a shortage of fiction books with characters my children could relate to. When the family moved to Doha and later Saudi Arabia, I sent my children to school for a few years to experience local culture, other nationalities and living abroad and with my new found time, started writing and drawing again – Seven Is Special was born. I am now living in Sharjah where I am home educating again.
2)What inspired you to writing. You have any prior experience or expertise?
Dr. Shagufta : I spent much of my childhood reading, writing and drawing – three things I have always loved doing. My inspiration was always there and push came to shove when I realised there was a shortage of diverse books for my children to read – books with characters and stories they could relate to.
3)Some sisters in this group would like to know procedure from after they have an idea to write till publishing. This includes which software to use for writing,whom to contact for designing the book ,proofread it,illustrations ,finding the publisher etc?CAn you kindly outline the steps briefly?
Dr. Shagufta : I applied to many different publishing houses to get my book published. They all have their own submission criteria which should be followed. Thereafter I worked with the publishing house to complete the text, illustrations and prepare the book for print. They had their own team of editor, layout person etc. I found my own designer for my front cover design.
4) How do you achieve your Islamic goals?
This is something which is continuously taking place through experiencing life, thinking, reading, discussing and learning. Accepting shortcomings and mistakes and trying to always be positive and allowing myself to develop. Lots of constant personal reflection and development through conversations with myself and Allah (swt)!
5) How challenging is Homeschooling?
Dr. Shagufta : Very – it is very challenging – and also very rewarding. We have good days and bad days. The challenges we set ourselves within home educating (on top of the general challenge of doing it in the first place) – they need important consideration and should be something realistic and manageable and suitable to our home situation and family.
6) LAstly How do you balance work ,religious duties ,home and homeschooling.An advise to Muslimahs on the same.?
Dr. Shagufta : Its a constant struggle…prioritising helps me a lot…and sacrificing is necessary (different things at different times). Organisation is important to me – I have recently started keeping a “bullet journal” – and would recommend this, it can help to catalogue the past, organise the present and plan the future inshAllah.
Jazakallah sister for being there with us .
Alhamdulillah as we can see Dr Shagufta,handles home,does homeschooling,writes books as well as simaltaneously achieving islamic goals .Also highly appreciative was the fact that she left her career in medicine to be with her kids. A wonderful idea suggested by her was the Bullet journal. For those who do not know the bullet journal is getting increasingly popular especially among people who have loads of tasks,would like to get more organised Inshaallah. It could be a simple diary or journal you maintain where you write down your tasks for the day. I generally prioritise in the form of its importance ( Eg TAsks must be done,tasks to be done if time ,schedule your time for each task,highlight tasks accomplished,some tasks need review or research etc.) This tool is effective and it helps me to give time for my Islamic course,business,family,housechores etc as well as live an organised life. Inshaallah we shall have a blog soon on the bullet journal.ALSO FOR THOSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO BUY THE BOOK IT IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT http://www.theislamickidstore.com/collections/story-books/products/seven-is-special