11. Geneology Research
Al-hamdulillah, Muslims have kept a good habit of tracking and recording the Genealogy of our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his family and some of the companions, but somehow we forgot to do the same for ourselves. This is a great hobby to get into; the suspense and thrill of finding the long lines that lead to you is amazing. You’re not just an isolated person; you come from a very real lineage, and your ancestors are all a part of you in some way. Sit down with your parents and grandparents and write down who their parents, grand parents and grand grand parents were. Make it a family project to trace your family’s route, visiting countries, villages, and asking the elderly and looking up online. Who knows, you might be pleasantly surprised who your great great great great grand mother/father was.
12. Amateur Astronomy
Ever wondered what those sparkly dots in the sky are? It’s one thing being told what it is, or watching it on TV, but another to sit and actually observe them. How about we make this a hobby? We discover the awe and majesty of one of Allah’s greatest signs: Space! A whole new world of its own, that makes you realise how small and insignificant we are. You’d be surprised what sorts of things you can see in space with a small telescope or even a pair of high powered binoculars. (If you really want to see deep into space, you’ll need to get a high powered telescope which of course will set you back a thousand dollars or so). By the way, the amount of good deeds you’ll get from constantly saying “SubhanaAllah..” maybe worth pursuing this as a ProductiveMuslim hobby.
13. Islamic/Arabic Calligraphy
The art of Islamic or Arabic calligraphy is one of the most venerated of Islamic art, it is sad though to see it dwindling amongst Muslims. Few Calligraphy masters are available today (even a mystery trying to find them!). And when I searched online for “Learn Arabic calligraphy” – found few relevant hits. This makes this hobby difficult to pursue, but let’s try and think of a solution to this: It is true that there’s a lack of Arabic calligraphy schools worldwide, and true – as with many traditional arts – that they can only be found in certain localities and communities, but can’t online sessions be arranged? Can a master artist not do 10 video series of the basics of Arabic calligraphy and share with the world? If you have contacts, e-mail me, I’m interested in facilitating this. This art must not be lost!
14. Islamic art
If Arabic calligraphy is too hard to pursue as a hobby, try out Islamic art! More books, courses are available on this, and since it relies on geometric designs with specific patterns, you should find it easier to learn. The beauty of Islamic art is how faith fuses with beauty to produce stunning work. I was once invited to see the work of a Muslimah artist who mixes Islamic art, with calligraphy and glass, the result is unbelievable. Islamic art is not impossible to learn, and don’t let people who say “you can never do that!” stop you from trying. Remember, it’s a hobby, not a career, so mistakes are allowed, and who knows? You maybe an artist after all ;).
Every Muslim should know how to cook! (Ahem, ok those who know me, don’t laugh!). The benefits of knowing your way around a kitchen is numerous -it gives you independence (no more relying on others to feed you), it saves you money over having to go out to eat or buy pre-packaged foods, it helps you stay healthy, and it’s just plain enjoyable. You’ve got to eat a few times every day, so you might as well get some pleasure out of it. Plus it’s a cheap and accessible hobby to take up. You can get fancier foods and tools down the road, but with the basics already in your kitchen, some groceries, and a few cookbooks, say Goodbye to chicken tikka Kebab with yesterday’s salad!
16. Learn a foreign language (Arabic)
There are few hobbies as useful as learning a foreign language. And I know many non-Arabic speaking Muslims who especially want to learn Arabic. But even if you know Arabic, learning a new language can only benefit you: How many times have you been in a situation where you wished you could speak the native language of a country you’re visiting but couldn’t? Learning Arabic or any other language is not easy, but with a good school (evening classes) and a couple try at-home softwares like Rosetta Stone it shouldn’t be too hard. The key is to commit, continually practice or you’ll never get better and retain what you’ve learned.