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Would you like it Blessed or Wretched?

Would you like it Blessed or Wretched?

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Marriage is a colorful artwork gifted to you by Allah, specially designed for you to find repose in.  It is an institution where real love is nurtured for the family to bask in its warmth and light.  It is the building where the foundation of future is laid in the present.  It is falling in love with the same person over and over again each day.  Yes, over and over again with that beautiful creation of Allah with whom you sign the contract under His Eyes while you say, “Qabool Hai” (“I do”).  And, this bond is meant to give you sukoon (tranquility) which in itself is one of the greatest blessings of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.

Well, isn’t it ironic then to see that most of the marriages that take place these days turn out with negative results!  All the dreams get smashed in one go and turn into a nightmare.  The number of couples who can say that they are living in sukoon (tranquility) has reduced drastically.  Every second person you bump into these days seems to talk about their marriage related woes.  The reason is often plain and simple: being away from the Qur’an and Sunnah thereby incurring Allah’s wrath in all the affairs including those of marriage.  How can a journey that starts with disobeying Allah and displeasing Him be smooth and enjoyable?

If you are among those who are already married but did so while having crossed the limits set by Allah then know that the doors of repentance are still open and Allah will make easy your affairs if you turn to Him in sincerity.  And, if you are among those who are either looking for a spouse or counting the days left to your wedding, and you want to see unlimited blessings in your wedding, then read on carefully.

1. Check your intentions

Is it for the sake of Allah that you are taking this decision i.e., to safeguard yourself from Haram while wanting your wishes to be fulfilled in a Halal manner?

2. Plan it simple

If you’ve already ticked the check box about your intention then receive the glad tidings of Allah’s promise and know that Allah never breaks His promise!  Now, plan your marriage and get your parents and the parents of your potential spouse on board for this noble cause of simple Nikah.  Be sure that it is going to be in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention).

3. Be strict and firm

When it comes to the limits of Allah, be strict and firm.  Don’t compromise with regards to the issue of inter mixing of opposite genders.  Ensure that there will not be extravagance.  You may already know that the spendthrifts are the brothers of Shaytan.  Say a big “No” to music.  Brothers, shaving beard isn’t a good idea either.  Sisters, be cautious of long hours of make up lest you should miss your Salah and you needn’t even boast about your Mahr.

4. Rely on Allah alone

If you are of those who have always lowered your gaze, given charity, offered voluntary prayers, fasted much then Insha Allah the time is near when you will peacefully lock your eyes with your spouse without any hindrance, get the provisions ceaselessly, find the absolute tranquility and enjoy the lovely relationship with her/him; but no matter what, you must always remember to rely on Allah alone without associating others for asking help in any of your affair.  You must trust His Perfect Planning and His Perfect Timing.  So, make sure that you begin the preparation for a journey filled with abundant blessings, a journey where the desired destination is always Jannatul Firdaus, and the eyes remain transfixed on the prize.

Let the journey begin! Bismillah.

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So you think Islamic weddings are boring?!

So you think Islamic weddings are boring?!

Amazing ideas brought to you by the Youth Club Street Dawah Team

There is an outdated cliche with regards to practicing God fearing brothers and sisters that because they are so ‘boring’, then obviously their weddings will be drab too!

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People would complain:

Where is the pumping loud Bhangra music?!

Bhangra and Dhol apparently being the ultimate expression of human bliss!

Where are the funky dance moves?!

Where is the intermingling?!

I mean, don’t we dress to impress?  Didn’t we buy the latest designer Versace suit or the latest Sobia Nazir lehanga to get noticed by the opposing gender?!

Marriage between two people is indeed an occasion of great celebration.  Islam, in its this beauty and perfection, guides us how to express this happiness within limits- like everything else in life!

If the feeling of joy and ecstasy is not checked, things can quickly get out of control.  It can manifest itself in outrageous parties where morality is thrown out of the window and extravagance is practiced on an unbelievingly extravagant scale!

To get things straight, there is no concept of dance and music (in the name of Mehndi, Mayun etc.) before the sacred rites of matrimony.  There’s no baraat in Islam, just an elegant Nikah (at the masjid, if you prefer) attended by both men and women in separate quarters.  The bride’s ‘rukhsati‘ can take place from there and there is no baraat reception afterwards.  Ah! The beautiful simplicity and refreshing convenience of Islam.  It is only the people who have shackled themselves to the yokes of tradition and culture who find this strange and awkward.

Then comes the Walima function on which everyone can enjoy the Halal fun.  Yes, Halal fun.  No sir, that is not an oxymoron.  These two go together quite well.  We need to provide halal alternatives to the usual haram stuff that goes on at weddings.

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Here we’ve compiled some ideas that we’ve witnessed at different Walimas in Pakistan and UK, and being the innovative and creative souls that we are, we’ve added our own ideas too (Hopefully, this should help you to beat the Indian/Hindu influence on Muslim weddings):

1- You can invite  brothers to display their vocal skills by reciting the Quran; Have a ‘Quran recital night’ .

2- Somebody with an amazing voice can perform Islamic nasheeds.  You could even make the venue all colourful and comfortable, use big floor cushions, dim the lights, create an awesome ambience!

3-Instead of blaring out trashy music sung by idol-worshipping people with shallow lyrics, put on a beautiful soothing Arabic nasheed or even an English one.  Perhaps even have a designated DJ who could mix  and match!  There are actually a plethora of nasheeds available for us to choose from.  Or don’t play anything at all; just let the people actually talk to each other!

4- Have a cool dress code for the guests.

5- Share light hearted, interesting personal anecdotes of Dawah.  This creates a  jovial atmosphere.

6- And why does the food have to be almost the same at every Pakistani wedding?  Why not explore the vast Muslim world cuisine and what they have to offer?  Perhaps humous and falafel or a signature Malaysian dish!  The guests will surely remember your wedding by your bold attempt at trying something different.

7- A brother actually held a quiz at his walima. This created great laughter and was very pleasant altogether.

These are just a few ideas.  I’m sure if you think outside the box, then you can come up with your own brainwaves.

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A wedding is not an occasion to show off and display your arrogance through your clothing or your vehicles.  It is not an occasion to gloat over your power or wealth.  Instead of trying our utmost to impress people or to live up to their expectations; we should be concerned about what our Lord is thinking about our conduct!

The style of weddings needs to change.  If you really want the marriage to be supremely successful, then keep it halal!  Why take away the blessings by indulging in doubtful or explicitly haram activities?   Would you expect smooth sailing on a journey that begins with displeasing the Lord?

There must be separate halls arranged for ladies and gentlemen; and female waitresses for the women.  Oh, and please keep the video people off the premises.  What kind of a Muslim bride sits on a pedestal only half dressed, decked up in all her finery with photographers falling over themselves to capture her from every angle?  And even telling her how to pose and behave like a shameless model?  And what kind of a wimpy Muslim groom is ready to tolerate this!?

This is a very small attempt at changing the traditional attitudes of how weddings should be conducted in the subcontinent. I hope other readers will pick up on this and expand on it.

I pray that the youth that are reading this show the mettle to go against the grain of traditions and be bold and trendy enough to try something unique, something approved by our Creator.

Do you accept the challenge of becoming pioneers of halal weddings?!
#QaboolHai?! 

 Let us know your ideas in the Comments section below.

Of Big Weddings And Small People

Of Big Weddings And Small People

“There are two types of gatherings: one that is surrounded by angels and one that is not.”

– From Half:Past:Midnight- What I’ve learnt so far, Saadia Humayun

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And that about sums it up when we come to weddings as we know them.  Ladies – near or far, close to you or not so much, related or a mere friend – all clamour to get you to shed that off, or put this on.  Then there are those poor, innocent, lost gents that keep sauntering between the tables, stopping here and there to chat with folks, making up for lost conversations, and instructing the waiter— wait a second, didn’t you say this was going to be a segregated wedding?

“Always the same,” said Mr. Weasley, smiling. “We can’t resist showing off when we get together…”

– From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K.Rowling

 Showing off.  The phrase doesn’t see as much use today as when we were kids, but it hasn’t been more in evidence than today.  People always remark how it is no use for you to be donning jewellery or taking pains with a certain dress if, well, ‘it is not seen and appreciated’.  In fact, one person even forced their parents that there be no purdah or partition so to speak, at their wedding.  Who shall we dress up for then, Mom!

 And really, why the need for tonnes of make-up?  So far, experience dictates that even if you go to the best of salons, you still end up just fiercely hoping it turns out well, and that little children don’t scurry for cover upon sight.  But then, who possesses the strong faculties to endure all taunts thrown their way by eminent guests?

وَالَّذِيْنَ اِذَآ اَنْفَقُوْا لَمْ يُسْرِفُوْا وَلَمْ يَـقْتُرُوْا وَكَانَ بَيْنَ ذٰلِكَ قَوَامًا

And [they are] those who, when they spend, do so not excessively or sparingly but are ever, between that, [justly] moderate. (Surah Al-Furqan: 67)

It all comes down to people then, doesn’t it?  To us all.  To you and me.  To how small our goals and how shallow our thinking is, yet how big our weddings are!  Eating in moderation and strictly keeping oneself from waste- be it food or money, lowering the gaze and hiding the ornaments, and then saying only the good stuff, are all that lack from our ceremonies today.  I wonder if the angels surround such gatherings..

يٰبَنِيْٓ اٰدَمَ خُذُوْا زِيْنَتَكُمْ عِنْدَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَّكُلُوْا وَاشْرَبُوْا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوْا  ۚ اِنَّهٗ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِيْنَ

O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess. (Surah Al-A’raaf: 31)

Top 7 things I dislike about Pakistani Weddings

Top 7 things I dislike about Pakistani Weddings

By Umm Ibrahim

The wedding season has begun in full swing.  All kinds of invitation cards are pouring in: the glamorous, the simple and elegant, the flashy, and the paindu (for lack of a better word).  As I mark my calendar for all the events to be attended this winter, I sigh at the thought of the top 7 things I dislike about Pakistani weddings.  Here they are, in no particular order:

1- The Timings:

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So, you arrive one hour late, (which you believe is late enough) only to be greeted by the hotel staff setting up the stage decorations.  You sit in the empty hall, twiddling your thumbs, playing Candy Crush, and counting the tables and chairs for an hour before the hosts come bustling in.  Only politeness and decorum prevents you from saying to them what you are feeling at the moment.

2- The Pesky Photographers:

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Just because you attend someone’s wedding does not mean that you have given your consent to be filmed and photographed from all angles.  I’m not particularly camera-shy, but the photographer who pops up out of nowhere and flashes blinding light in my face, while I comfortably sit there eating biryani, better run for his life.  Whatever happened to respecting someones’ privacy?  I thought these people were supposed to be professional photographers!  Professional ethics, anyone?

3- The Food Stampede:

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There is always enough food at a wedding.  In fact, there is enough left to have the hosts get it packed, freeze it and survive on it for a week!  Why the stampede then?  All pretenses of decency and sophistication are discarded as soon as dinner is announced, and the Homo sapiens push, shove and do whatever their primal instincts direct them to do.

4- The Music:

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After being bored for an hour, you finally strike up an interesting conversation with someone on your table.  But, you have to abandon all such attempts when the music starts blaring at ear-splitting volume.  Look, everyone does not love music.  I, for one, hate music.  It’s not good for my heart, says my spiritual cardiologist.  Plus, everyone does not share your taste in music.  To force people to listen to your favorite songs over and over again for three hours is very close to the kind of torture they employ at Guantanamo Bay.  As soon as the music switches on, I feel the need need to go to the restroom.  And stay there in peace and quiet till it’s time to leave.

5- The Nosy Aunties:

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These are the ones who inspect you from head-to-toe and make detailed inquiries about every piece of clothing and jewellery you are wearing (unhindered by the fact that they are complete strangers to you).  If you’re the bride, they want to know every single detail about which piece of jewellery came from your parents and which from your in-laws, and what every thing cost.

6-The Future Mother-in-Laws:

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These are the rishta-wali (match-making) type aunties.  The only gripe I have against them is that they make their intent all too obvious.  If only they could be a bit more discreet and tactful, they wouldn’t be in this list!  A typical conversation could go like:

How are you, Beta?
I’m fine Alhamdolillah
Nice dress.  And your ring is so beautiful. Is it your engagement ring?
Thankyou, Aunty.  No, it’s not my engagement ring.
Are you engaged?
No.
How old are you?
25.
Ohhoo okay Beta. Bye.

And she goes out looking for her next potential daughter-in-law.  Too bad your son is 24, Aunty!

7- The Doodh-Pilai:

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To me, this is simply an innovative and sophisticated way of beggary-cum-extortion.  The poor groom just can’t squirm out of it.  If he says that he doesn’t like milk, the girls are equipped with Ovaltine or Horlicks to suit his taste buds.  If I were the bride, I’d just tell them to buzz off and stop bugging my husband.  The only thing I dislike more that doodh-pilai would be joota-chupai and rasta-rukai etc.  There has to be some sense to the customs and traditions you follow.

So, what is it that you dislike about our weddings?  Let me know in the comments below.

And stay tuned for the top 7 things I like about Pakistani weddings.  Yes, there’s a lot to like about our weddings too!  Meanwhile, happy wedding season!

#QaboolHai – Theme for the Marriage Season!

#QaboolHai – Theme for the Marriage Season!

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Qabool Hai??
Qabool Hai!!

Winter is here, and so is the marriage season.  Nikah contracts are in the air!

For us at YouthClub, 2013 has been an extraordinarily beautiful year, with many of the YC brothers and sisters getting married! It sure is a promising prospect for the future of the Ummah when Dawah carriers, with noble ambitions and goals, say their “Qabool Hai” (“I do”) and settle down!

On the one hand, we have the pristine institute of marriage.  On the other hand, we have the non-stop onslaught of messages from advertisements, movies and social media, telling us to fall head over heels in love and have all the fun before marriage.  Even sex before marriage is now seeping into our society.

The propagandists of this agenda portray marriage as a drab ‘stuck-with-one-person-for-the-rest-of-your-life’ situation.  They fail to realize that every time they promote this way of thinking, they are slowly chipping away at the building block of any human civilization: the family!

Caught between a rock and a hard place are those single Muslims who are struggling to preserve their modesty and get married, in the face of unhealthy social and cultural practices.  How do you deal with a delayed marriage and ensuing social pressures?  What is the right way to find Mr. Right or Ms. Right?  How do you simplify things and tie the knot without creating a Bollywood extravaganza?

And after you get married, and the honeymoon ends and life starts, how do you keep the spark alive?  What are the tips and tricks to make your marriage a success?

This December, the Youth Clubbers, are utilizing their God-given talents to explore these questions, to find solutions, and to counter the unhealthy media onslaught by promoting the beautiful institution of marriage (all this while we also attend the Walimas and eat the biryanis)!

Let’s do this together! Let’s promote marriage for the beautiful Sunnah and amazing journey that it is.  Let’s curb this filthy and nonsensical trend of having boyfriends and girlfriends.  Be a part of our latest campaign.  Be the reason to encourage ‘halal love’.  Be a means to influence two amazing people getting together in Islamic matrimony and producing amazing Muslims for the next generation.

 Use the hashtag #QaboolHai in your articles, blogs, status updates, tweets and conversations at your campuses!  Enjoy the marriage season!

“Our Lord! Bestow on us from our spouses and children the coolness of our eyes, and make us leaders of the righteous.” (Surah al-Furqan: 74)

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