Ali-Huda online TV REVIEW by Dr Mumly and Sons!

We were invited to review Ali Huda (www.alihuda.com) and were happy to take this up in exchange for preview access. Ali Huda is an online pre-recorded TV site with an array of educational shows aimed at Muslim families with children. We did not get around to watching everything in the time we had but the kids were satisfied that they watched the shows that got their attention. I asked the kids to watch, make notes and rate eye-catching shows over a week under my supervision, and this is what they came up with.

Top shows

The two shows that came out on top were –

Once upon a time and Activ8! These shows scored 5/5 and my children were glued to the screen! Once upon a time is a story telling show where an adult reads an engaging story.  It is aimed at a younger audience. My children love to be read to and really liked the choice of stories and the manner in which the stories were read. Alternately, Activ8 is a series aimed at older children and follows a group of teen boys on bush craft adventures. The show highlights team work and problem solving skills that the teens navigate in the challenges set for them to complete. My 9 year old described the show as ‘excellent and amazing’.

Other shows that my children really enjoyed were:

Scrap book Island – rated at 5/5. ‘You get to see kids learning and the show is set over different parts of an ‘island’ set up which is interesting and fun’.  This was something my kids felt they could watch every day for fun and learning. Episode one was downgraded, however, to a 4.5/5 when my kids felt some of the props could have been better formed. For example, an animated waterfall with more realistic sound effects was suggested for the ‘Sunnah’ waterfall.  The voices for the bird and the character ‘croco’ were loved and my children also found the narrator/presenter fun and engaging.

Baba Ali – This was rated 4.5/5! My children are familiar with Baba Ali from Youtube and were really excited to see how Baba Ali had been developed with the addition of a new character called Mu Mu. At the moment there is only one Baba Ali show about friendship. They found it ‘funny and cute’ – they watched it repeatedly! My children always enjoy a good laugh!

Talkies – This was rated 4/5. This show is about an animated robotic cat and penguin discussing Islam. My kids found the characters funny and also liked the way that the Arabic alphabet and Quranic verses are read at the end.

Brainy Bunch – My children rated this show 3/5. This show is an animation series which looks at a child’s understanding of different developmental themes, including emotional, intellectual, spiritual physical and creative. This series was described as ‘good for learning’.

General points for parents

Some shows aimed at younger children are short and as Ali Huda is relatively new there is new content added at intervals. Therefore, some series are sparse but I assume will build up shows in the future. Ali Huda is a nice addition to family learning resources or religious studies curriculum whether you are a home educator or not, especially if your children are visual learners. Generally I found that my children found most enjoyable the content that was less focussed on direct learning, and had elements of fun or adventure. In a home education environment some of the shows would make great topic based learning, however I have not been able to explore the shows as fully as I would like to in order to specify in more detail. In general, the shows called Muslims around the world, activ8 and brainy bunch caught my eye to explore further and use in topic based learning projects. The biggest bonus for Muslim families is the aspect of normalisation of seeing familiar cultural and religious vocabulary used in the shows. There is a good range of diversity within the shows and for my children it was nice to see a story time show hosted by a Muslim bearded man with a traditional long garment on. This is not something they see every day on TV and positive depictions such as this are arguably an important part of healthy identity development. It is positive to see someone who looks and dresses like people in their family doing ‘normal childish stuff’ on TV.  I do recommend taking up the trial to see how Ali Huda will suit your family so you can decide for yourself how it could enhance your family’s screen time!

Recommendations for Ali Huda from my kids

My children are boys aged 5 and 9.  They are crazy about Lego and they really wanted to use this review as an opportunity to express how they feel that a show based on LEGO (construction/building block projects) could enhance Ali-Huda further to all the boys and girls who have a passion for the brick and STEM activities. They would really like to see Lego projects based on festivals around the lunar calendar or the use of Lego in learning the Arabic alphabet is another idea for Ali-Huda!

If you would like to try ALI HUDA…

If your curiosity is tickled and you would like to try Ali Huda, you can actually get a free trial before you pay the subscription fee. You can also get the first month half price if you use the code DRMUMLY.  The Ali Huda website also states that they donate 10% of subscription fees to a UK based charity for orphans. Finally, my children really enjoyed the content and loved the challenge of doing a review. Thank you Ali-Huda!

You can reach Ali Huda at www.alihuda.com and https://m.facebook.com/alihudatv/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah could be your second shot at doing the last 10 days of Ramadan again with your kids!

This is what i am trying to remember as we have approached the month of Dhul Hijjah (the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar). Social media users are catching on to this concept and more and more videos, blog articles and downloads have been circulated this year all aimed at encouraging the season of ‘another go at the last ten days’ – except they are the first 10 days this time round! That’s all good! I do actually welcome that! Why not be prepared and upbeat! The second Eid of the year always does seem to fly by too quickly and so the buzz of articles and videos on social media can certainly help for parents to get into the mood and help set the scene they actually want in their homes for this beautiful new season in the Islamic lunar calendar.

So what’s the plan this time round? Well, remember the empty feeling at the end of last Ramadan? Here is a chance to ‘redo’ and prolong those 10 days all over again! So you can do many things together to bond, get spiritual, get learning or sharing just as you tried to in Ramadan. Celebrating festivals, rituals, and seasons are all very important for emotional, spiritual and identity development. So don’t overlook the opportunity to involve your children. Here are some ‘short and sweet’ ideas – I know you are already inspired and i’m probably wasting my time with my super organised readers, but just incase there’s someone out there who is feeling a little stuck – here it is –  Enjoy!

1). Make a Count down Kaba poster. Easy – just cut 10 black squares and add a gold strip and rectangle for the kaba features – Kaba voila! Now add a number on each Kaba door. If you want to get really adventurous, the last door could open with a clue behind it for something fun planned on Eid day. My advice is to not put the clue behind the Kaba door till the actual day of Eid to prevent it being torn out beforehand 🙂

2). Watch Hajj live or prerecorded as a family. Make a special viewing area in the house  -for example – place the screen/ laptop on a low table and then the colourful prayer mats arranged to form a carpeted area to sit on.  Use a special bowl for prayer beads. Go further and  drape white, black and gold scarves around the area. this depends on the space you have and if you have a wall stapler 😉 Hang sparkly battery lights that you may have used last Eid. When the family is not watching Hajj live you can play the Quran or set up everyones Qurans to sit in a circle to read together in the mornings and evenings. Whereas the build up was to laylatul Qadr in Ramadan, in the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah the build up is towards the day of Arafat (day 9) and Eid (day 10). The day of Arafat is the day pilgrims stand on mount Arafat all day making dua. It is strongly recommended to fast for those not at Hajj and of age/physical ability. Therefore, day 9 may include extra special activities such as suhoor and iftar, and elongated dua between Asr and Magrib.  Remember to read up on all the sunnahs for the day of Arafat and day of Eid so you are not caught out.

3). Create a playlist of historical educational programs about the Kaba. Use this as an opportunity to understand more about the Holy mosque and what changes have been made over the centuries in Makkah and Medina. Do post a link in the comments if you find some good ones to recommend to others.

4). Revisit stories of how and when the Kaba was built and by which prophets. Use childrens’ stories of the prophets books available in audio or book format.

5). Set up another table for crafts. You can colour a Dhul Hijjah journal together as a family, doing a couple of pages each, or an entire journal each! There are plenty of journal  ideas found on the ilmaeducates blog.

6) If you have been on Umrah in the past,  look at the pics/ videos and talk about what prayers you made and make a new dua list to use in these ten days. (If you are planning to go on Umrah after the Hajj season with your kids – you may want to also read our short article featured in the Muslim Travel Girl blog .

7) Let the kids try on Ihram! Either borrow one from someone you know or use scarves.

8) Don’t forget the usual list of good deeds –  fast, read your personalised dua lists, perform night prayers, and giving to charity are all important. Allow the children to participate according to their age/ability. Sometimes families may also encourage their children to participate in a sponsored fast to raise money for a big charity.

9) Qurbani – the story behind this will have been told via the prophets stories mentioned above. If you are doing qurbani locally, try to distribute it as a family. Kids will remember actions better than explanations, therefore, involving them wherever possible in good deeds and ‘giving to the needy’ is important.

10) Eid plans – be sure to make  gifts and visit or invite family and friends that you may not have been able to see last Eid. Making gifts is more fun than buying them! How about air-dried clay tiles with hand designed geometric patterns (with the name of the person you are gifting to in the centre).  Don’t forget to make two holes at the top of the clay tile to thread ribbon through so the tile can be hung. You will need to get making now so they are dried and decorated in time for Eid!!!

Did i miss anything? Let me know in the comments 😉

This post is part of the Eid al Adha and Hajj Blog hop by Multicultural Motherhood. Join us as we share Eid and Hajj related posts. Hop over to see related posts from other Muslimah Bloggers.

BLOG HOP LINKS:

Eid Party Crafts For Kids by Multicultural Motherhood

Ever Wonder why Hajj is Once in a Life Time by Jeddah Mom
Hajj/ Umrah Products by Ayeina.Com
Dhul Hijjah Best 10 Days by Christal Joan
Eid Ul Adha crafts/activities and celebrations in a homeschool by The Fire Fly
The activities of the big day of Eid al Adha we need to know by Ummu Kulthum
Get organised for Eid ul Adha – printables, activities and more! by And Then She Said
Free Download: My Dhull Hijjah Journal by Ilma Education
The first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah could be your second shot at doing the last 10 days of Ramadan again with your kids by Dr Mumly

Author Interview – Ramadan without daddy

It is a great pleasure to interview the author of Ramadan without daddy! Welcome Misbah Akhtar!
1) Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and bred in London although I lived in Dubai for a while. I love chocolate and all things horror whether it be games, movies or novels! I’ve been writing from a young age and was inspired in particular by Christopher Pike who remains my favourite writer. I’m a busy mum of 4, founder of Single Muslim Mums; and editor-in-chief of Mumspiration – my blog documenting my journey to become a more positive, mindful me.
I felt there was a need for it within our ummah (Muslim community). A story about different types of families to promote awareness about single motherhood and the challenges these mums face. It was an extension of the work I do for Single Muslim Mums. I believe it will aid parents in explaining the concept of divorce to their children, and I hope it is also a wake up call to all the absentee parents out there who don’t see the sadness left behind when they abandon their children.
2) What has been the reaction to the book before and after it was out? 
It’s been good. A lot of mothers have been calling for a book like this for a long time. They like the straightforwardness of the book in an easy to understand way for children and appreciate the honesty of how parents may behave and feel when going through a divorce/newly divorced. The book hasn’t been out that long and I’m hoping in time we see more titles like this in Islamic book shops and mosque book shops also.
3) What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my debut novel entitled: The Jinn Within. It’s a horror story (of course!) about jinn possession and the impact that it has on one family. It has a lot of real elements to it based upon a true story; again, the aim is to promote awareness, this time about the the spiritual realm. It isn’t just a story but also a form of creating awareness for others about the different kinds of spiritual beliefs people have, in this case the belief in Jinn.
4) What other challenges have you faced in the writing industry?
Promoting and marketing your work as a Muslim author is certainly hard because we are only now starting to see fiction books written by Muslims for Muslims. I haven’t come across a published Muslim fiction book that deals with the horror the jinn can inflict on humankind (yay, I can be the first 😉),  or many books written for children talking about sensitive Islamic issues either. It’s therefore hard to gauge what the  reaction will be to such books, but I remain hopeful. Writing is also a lot of hard work  which I only now fully appreciate!

Muhammad Ali

He advised a mum of a 9yr old, what did he advise? She wanted advice for her son who attends boxing lessons. What he advised was don’t think about becoming a professional boxer, but learn and get knowledge. Youth is an important time to learn. Whilst watching this interview he did in Newcastle in the 70s, I did not expect that kind of answer. Did you?

Its funny just this past few days I have been planning our home education curriculum with a desire to teach world history and world literature. Yes, the passing of Muhammad Ali today has reminded me of a few things.

  1. His was a literature rooted in causes he believed in, not boxing, but peace and of owning ones identity. He was not just a professional boxer. He was a poet and political thinker too.
  2. He talked openly about oppression and the White privelege system, black stereotypes and prejudices that still exist.
  3. He was not shy about his faith. Nor was he afraid to share his spirituality, he did not split that part of him off from his public persona.

I remember one time in supervision at work, I was asked if I had a legacy I wanted to follow or share. At that time I had not looked deeply into these thoughts. Different ideas and themes were emerging and eventually we settled on looking at Muhammad Ali’s biography. The choice as he was a powerful figure who overcame subjugating narratives in his life. Some lessons and journeys were to be found there about his deep identity reformation, congruence of self and confidence in himself. Therefore, to understand at a deeper level of how he navigated the hurdles of loving himself in a White priveleged world would not only have been useful for me but also in understanding my client group at the time who were majority Black minority ethnic  with some form of spiritual beliefs. You know what, I did not do it. I forgot or something else took over, and it became one of the things I will do one day.

A family therapist once said to me that every man (and woman) wants a legacy, needs a legacy, to join or reinforce a legacy…not knowing your legacy is like darkness. Uncovering your legacy can be like a shining light that brings congruence in your actions and life. I see legacy, identity and self esteem as very closely linked. Muhammad Ali knew his legacy. Rest in peace Muhammad Ali, rest in peace.

So to teach world history and world literature would mean to us that we are not missing out on knowledge and important lessons about different civilisations….and we are Becoming aware of parts of ourselves that don’t appear to fit a dominant white Eurocentric discourse, but are still proud of them.  It would enable us to hold multiple narratives and discourses, and not just the dominant ones which have in history and in present day too, become narrow – and thus oppressive.

So, we will be studying the poetry and life of Muhammad Ali- yes most definately we will…His life will form part of our identity curriculum as well as in the literature and spirituality strands that I am developing. I am so grateful for this opportunity!