‘Lasuna wichat ka’, is a phrase in Pashto meaning ‘raise your hands’, which I remember hearing for as long as my memory allows me to. However, not only was I told to do this, I often witnessed my parents with their hands ascended in the remembrance of Allah ﷻ, whether it was at the end of the adhaan, after salaah, or at iftar time. ‘Turn to Allah’, is a piece of advice my whole life has been shaped around, and I was frequently shown that whether it was happiness or grief that your blessed with, Allah ﷻ is the Sustainer of everything.
Do you remember when you started making dua to Allah ﷻ? Or, was it so long ago, that you cannot even recall a time that you didn’t make dua to Him? It’s a gut instinct, is it not? Allah ﷻ tells us clearly in the Quran:
“And your Lord says: “Call on Me; I will answer you.”
Why Dear Allah?
I often find myself in conversation with Allah ﷻ, asking of Him, however, thanking Him too. Turning to Him during times of anguish has become a much-loved norm and I’ve always experienced that He SWT, has always answered me back. It was narrated from Hudhayfah (may Allah be pleased with him) that when the Prophet ﷺ woke up, he would say: “Al-hamdulilla hilladhi ahyaana ba‘da ma amaatanaa wa ilayhi an-nushoor – Praise be to Allah Who has given us life after He caused us to die, and to Him will be the resurrection.”
It’s a true blessing from Allah ﷻ, that when we wake up, there stands in front of us another opportunity to fill our book of good deeds. Yet, how many of us can say this is the first thought that comes into our minds as soon as we are awake? Every morning that we have the ability to get up from bed, is another chance for us to redeem ourselves- Subhan’Allah. However, we find ourselves, yawning, sighing, waking up in a lazy manor, perhaps even missing the fajr prayer.
It is this exact feeling, of ‘Turning to Allah ﷻ’, that I want to help instil in children with this particular book. That by default, we ask of Him only, and only Allah ﷻ can answer our prayers. This should be a part of our children’s fitrah right from the beginning, and if we get this chunk right, by the will of Allah ﷻ we will be assisted with the rest of it.
The finer details
I have to be honest and say ‘Dear Allah’ is slightly more special to me than my other two publications. Two years after having first published ‘I love my Baba’ and ‘I love my Mama’s Hijab’, I would like to think I’ve slightly progressed up the ladder of an amateur publisher/writer. No doubt, I still consider myself as a newbie to this biz, but I feel as though I have developed and grown, Alhamdulilah. I also contributed more to the production aspect of the book. What is placed where, which font, which size, which colour, all the significant details (as well as the text of course), which make a book what it is, were decisions and actions I personally got to take lead on.
Never would I describe myself as a tech savvy, and would admittedly say that its probably not one of my strengths. I found myself remarkably astonished with what you can achieve by a few clicks. It’s just a matter of knowing the correct sequence of those clicks, that’s all. It was stressful to say the least, especially with all the hours which were put into it. The whole book is around one hundred and fifty-seven words, yet the efforts, the time, and the love which has been placed into those one hundred and fifty-seven words is immense. I hope this is felt when the book is read to children all over the world, insha’Allah.
I absolutely adore the illustrations of the first two publications, however the ones of ‘Dear Allah’ make me feel delighted. Just as I have progressed, my dear sister in Islam and illustrator; Asbah Aleana (AKA @amuslimmamacomics) has too. I feel as though she can see the image, I want created by reading the words of the text and it is nothing less than sheer pleasure to be able to work with her.
Features of ‘Dear Allah’
What I love about ‘Dear Allah’, is that not only does it focus on asking our Rabb, but also on WHAT He has blessed us with. I chose to highlight Allah’s rahmah through naturistic features which surround us, as I love the outdoors. I mean, who doesn’t feel jubilant lying on the grass under a clear blue sky, imagining shapes out of fluffy clouds passing you by? Or swimming in the clear blue waters with the yellow sun shining down on you?
Another focal point of the book is colours, which are revealed under the flaps on each page. I’ve never been a grey and white kind-of-gal, having always believed that colours make life bold and beautiful (as cliched as it is). Colours are known to attract the attention of babies and toddlers; therefore, it was a no brainer to add this to the learning element of the book. I personally feel this book is suited to children between the ages of 0-5. Although parents might think, its slightly ‘babyish’ for over 3’s, the simplicity of the language makes it a perfect choice for early readers.
The final page reflects on one of the 99 names of Allah; Al Wahab, the Bestower. The Oxford English dictionary translates the word ‘bestow’ as: confer (a gift, right). What we take from this is that Allah ﷻ is one who gifts, and again we see evidence of His wondrous attributes.
“أَمْ عِنْدَهُمْ خَزَائِنُ رَحْمَةِ رَبِّكَ الْعَزِيزِ الْوَهَّابِ”
“Or do they have the depositories of the mercy of your Lord, the Exalted in Might, the Bestower?”
So, Allah ﷻ gives and gifts and what should we do in return? Why we thank Him of course! The repetitive nature of the book is to ground into our children’s minds that no matter what we’re blessed with, we remember to thank Allah ﷻ. We remember Him by expressing our gratitude to Him and in return He gives us more. I sincerely hope that this book brings benefit to many children and plays a small factor in their upbringing. May Allah bless us all with children who are the coolness of our eyes and our means to attain Jannah, Allahuma ameen.
Ya Allah, I thank you a thousand times over for providing me with the means of completing this project and allowing me to execute it. All praise belongs to You alone, the Creator of the heavens and the Earth and everything in between.