Tag Archives: Youth Club

EID FEATURE: Youth Club’s Celebrations

This Eid ul Fitr 2017, Youth Club Blog decided to catch up with the Presidents of Youth Club’s various chapters to know what is the significance of Eid in their lives…

1. Best Eid Moment?

Raja Zia ul Haq, CEO YC: Driving back from the masjid with my whole family, talking about how amazing the khutbah was and looking forward to a great breakfast that’s waiting at home, Alhamdulillah. We recall how every day of Ramadan we stopped ourselves from eating because of the command of Allah; and today we eat because of the command of Allah.

Fiza Khan, President (female wing) YCI: Meeting everyone right after Eid Salah. It’s like a sudden shift into another mode and world, all smiles and happiness…

Mohammad Ali, President YCL:  Coming back from the mosque and meeting the family, hugging them, eating with them. It gives so much energy.

Asma Inayat, President (female wing) YCL: For me, it’s the Eid prayer. The whole family makes an effort to get ready early morning and go to Eidgaah (prayer place). I look forward to that time two to three days before Eid.

Ishaq bin Sadiq, President YCK: Praying Eid Salah, which gives the sense of brotherhood and unity… Standing feet to feet… Shoulder to shoulder…

2. Favourite Eid Dish?

Raja Zia ul Haq: For me, it has always been the classic “Channa Chat” with imli sauce!

Fiza Khan: Channa chaat! That I eat every time I serve the guests. By the time it’s lunch hour, there’s no space for anything else!

Mohammad Ali: Sheer khurma

Ishaq bin Sadiq: Kabab Paratha, probably…

3. Any Funny Incident Related to Eid?

Raja Zia ul Haq: I remember a crazy story from Eid ul Adha once, where our bakras somehow got loose and my cook and other helpers were running after them all over the place. The scene reached its climax when one of my siblings, who was fleeing for their life (being terrified of goats obviously) came inside the house, only to have one of the bakras follow them in. Seeing so many people, the bakra panicked, jumped up on the coffee table and made quite a big mess of things. The reaction of my family members was priceless!

Fiza Khan: All those times I slept with my mehndi-fied hand under my face and had a pretty print on my face the next day..

Mohammad Ali: My cousin and I used to set out on a mission to gather Eidi from all the relatives. We used to go to every single relative, close or distant, greet them and sit and wait for Eidi. It used to be a funny and awkward situation..

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 4. How Do You Make Your Eid Special?

Raja Zia ul Haq: We get lots of gifts for everyone. Since we don’t celebrate any other days throughout the year, we make a massive campaign-style effort for Eid. This includes setting up camp in the living room at night where we all laugh, play, share stories and even sleep; my kids love this experience… We even decorate the living room with streamers, banners and buntings just to add a bit more flavour!

Fiza Khan: Being a girl, that question is already answered, no? 🙂

Mohammad Ali: By meeting people who have felt neglected.

Asma Inayat: Being Lahori, I think it’s the food that makes the Eid special 😀
Preparations start a day or two before Eid. My family is a desi food lover so nihari, halwa puri, biryani, chicken dishes are the things on my mind when I jot down my things to do list for Eid..

Ishaq bin Sadiq: By meeting my brothers in Islam and having breakfast with them.

5. How can Eid be made enjoyable for poor people?

Raja Zia ul Haq: We should make it a point to visit those less fortunate than us during the Eid holidays. Whether it is an orphanage or an old people’s home or a village environment etc. We encourage our kids to handover presents to the orphans with their own hands so that they can feel for these children, who are spending their Eid without their families.

Fiza Khan: There’s so much of happiness to share. Starting off by giving monetary gifts to including them in your smiles and moments; honouring them by serving them what you serve other guests. Especially​ before Eid, getting them bangles, mehndi, arranging barber trips for the young boys etc.

Mohammad Ali: We should give them charity before Eid and distribute gifts. We can start from helping those near us like our maids, servants, driver, guard, society guard, etc.

Asma Inayat: Our tiny little empathetic acts create a big difference by the end of the day. Even if there’s just one poor person whom we can help out with food in Ramadan and provide him with Eid clothes, it will have an immense impact over the society at large. Along with the food and clothing, if we take out time to share Islamic knowledge with him, we can help him with not only dunya but his aakhirah too..

Ishaq bin Sadiq:  By visiting them and giving them gifts, organizing a party for street boys of your area.

6. What Special Thing Do You Do for Your Family over Eid? 

Fiza Khan:  I like to make some Eid treats for whoever I can…

Mohammad Ali: Take them to meet other family members. That’s special in this age of social media.

Ishaq bin Sadiq: I give Eidi 😉


Do YOU have any Eid stories to share with us? Do tell us in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

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Youth Club’s 2016 – Year in Review

At the close of 2016, Youth Club reminisces its exciting new projects, the fun-filled activities, the laughs, the tears, the events, the tours and all those wonderful moments that it experienced throughout the year. Not being able to share everything in words or pictures, we bring for you a brief review of our year so you can have a share in our memories too.

 

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  • Youth Club established its HQ office in January!
  • Over 13 sisters of the YC team enrolled in a 3 year Quran course that started in January, Alhamdolillah!
  • More than 100 amulets were opened and destroyed by the CEO, Raja Zia ul Haq.
  • The YC sisters had their long-awaited first swimming event.
  • Youth Club launched its Telegram channel, telegram.me/youthclubpk
  • The team visited an old home to spread love and gifts.
  • Several classes were started under top-notch scholars at the YC office for the team, including Arabic, Usool ul Fiqh, Emaan (faith) etc. 
  • YCL launched its counselling services which were warmly welcomed by the public and catered to more than hundred young people.  
  • Youth Club Karachi had their biggest event, Crossroads, featuring many local and international speakers.
  • The brothers went on an exciting bike-trip to the northern areas.
  • The YCI team braved through the month of Ramadan in absence of the CEO, Raja Zia ul Haq, while successfully conducting 10 Ramadan exclusive courses.
  • YCK conducted 8 Ramadan halaqahs around their city while YCL conducted many in Lahore!
  • Youth Club Lahore launched its video series “Reminder series” on social media.
  • Several team members, brothers and sisters, observed aitikaf during the last ‘ashrah of the blessed month!
  • The sisters formed a special team and conducted dawah stalls in several institutes across the twin cities.
  • #JagoUthoBadalDo, the YC hashtag trended locally on Twitter before the event day!
  • The first ever youth conference was organized at Kunri, Sindh. 
  • Youth Club Karachi had its exciting dawah stall for 2 days at Talent Expo Karachi, the expo being attended by 30,000+ people.
  • YC raised the benchmark for its biggest ever female event, by holding the highly appraised “Being Her” event in F9 Park.
  • YC collaborated, hosted and worked with AlKauthar, Azaan, Live Deen, Role Model Institute, Alhuda International, Burooj Institute, IOU Speakers and many local scholars across different chapters. 
  • Youth Club Lahore launched a unique campaign “The Ultimate Role Model”, to educate the youth about the character and attributes of Prophet ﷺ
  • The brothers initiated spiritually enriching Fajr sessions at masajid!
  • YC acquired a drone phantom 3 for media productions.
  • The YCI team bid farewell to their longest standing president and the last of the founding sisters of YC, as the Karachi team welcomed her into their chapter.
  • Instagram competitions were held with many participating in it.
  • YCL conducted two mega events for the year 2016 which were attended by 300+ youth!
  • YC conducted its first ever major online event, Back on Track.
  • YC’s Facebook page hit the massive 40k likes milestone!
  • The teams successfully (well, almost) pulled off surprise parties for the ex-president YCI, ex-operations manager YCI and the standing CEO, Raja Zia ul Haq.

 

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  • YC conducted a whopping 600+ talks throughout the year.
  • More than 42,000 lives were touched and inspired.
  • Approximately 50+ institutes were visited by Youth Club where life-changing workshops were held, including LUMS, EME, NUST, FAST and IBA (among others). 
  • YCL alone conducted 30+ workshops catering to various problems of the youth.

 

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Sidra Naz of the Social Welfare department said:
“I must say I have totally transformed into a new person, I was crawling before and #YCTaughtMe to walk and then run towards the Deen of Allah”

Sana Aslam, a valuable member of YCI who shifted to Lahore a few months ago, shared her feelings:
“YC is my family in which I have my sisters, my friends, my teachers and they supported me to take new initiatives, maintain balance in life and have fun….
…Side by side or miles apart, we are sisters connected by heart!”

Ishaq bin Sadiq, President of YCK, shared the following words:
“As the president of Youth Club Karachi for the past 2 years, I have learned a lot. I consider it a blessing for myself to be a part of Youth Club and at the same time a big responsibility. Youth Club is my passion and everything for me. For past 2 years, Youth Club Karachi is becoming better and better everyday and the team is working dedicatedly in changing the lives of youth. May Allah accept our efforts and help us in the cause.”

Sana Azaz, the Decor Manager and a dedicated member who currently resides in the USA, had to say:
“My best moment of 2016?
Every moment, where I learnt something and I felt like my faith elevated at that point…

…YC has expanded especially this year, this is what I observed and that’s an amazing thing, welcoming new people. And it’s YC speciality that it has people from every field, and they are very special on their own.”

Hajrah Khawar, Ex-President of YCI who left in October of this year, said:
“Looking back at my 5 years spent in YC, and seeing it grow from an idea to this inspiring and happening organization, all I can say is YC gave me a lot! It taught me many lessons; in relationship and dealings with others, in what true friendship really is, what living for a purpose is like, what spreading love and hope means, what working in the way of Allah is, what absolutely loving your work means, how without dawah we can lead empty lives…
…a big thank you to the amazing people of Youth Club, may you always remain this amazing and be rewarded amazingly”.

Mohammad Ali, President of YCL, said:
“…Despite all the difficulties …Youth Club Lahore stood up, adopted wisdom and kept the da’wah work alive in Lahore. Youth Club Lahore inspired hundreds of youth towards the deen, through its regular workshops, courses and street da’wah.
…YCL is looked upon as a source of guidance for the educated youth as to how to be a Muslim in the 21st century. We were approached by several institutes, to name some: University of Punjab, LUMS, UET, AIMS, SIMS, as well as Akhuwat – the biggest microfinancing organisation – to conduct sessions and workshops. Hundreds of students and professionals got inspired and expressed desire to become part of Youth Club.”

Sana Taha, an amazing new addition to the YC team, shared the following:
“I just joined YC this year and it has been amazing. I’ve always wondered what it’s like to work with a motivated group of people who don’t get competitive against each other. YC showed me that it’s possible to be positive, upbeat and still give your best to your work…
… I am honored to have worked at YC and I am grateful to everyone at YC for showing me a better side of work ethics.”

Mohsin Cheema, an active and loyal member of YC, had to say:
“For me YC is not just an organisation, YC is a lifestyle! Every year we make new trends, set new records and achieve new milestones. We don’t settle for ordinary, we aim for excellence.
YC has touched many lives, including mine, and I am forever indebted to it. 2016 has been a phenomenal year for YC. We produced top-notch workshops, trainings, fun-filled activities, pizza parties, soccer camps, nights-out for boys and much more.
One thing that inspires me the most about YC, and that keeps me motivated, is the brotherhood that we share, it is beyond words. Simply the best company in town!”

Fiza Khan, the President of Youth Club Islamabad, shared her feelings with us:
“YC started as a dream, an aspiration for me. I remember making silly plans with friends to get our way into YC, after chasing around all their events around the city… YC was a motivation, a driving force for me when I was coming to the deen, a platform for me to channel my energies when I was trying to keep myself from channelling them for the negative… If I believed in their mission, I wanted to take it up as a personal responsibility and make my own little path. Never could I imagine, so soon will I get to be the one laden with the responsibility to manage the platform in such a capacity.
Youth Club has always been my happy place. It’s my go-to spot when I feel down, to work and feel that perhaps I’ve helped inspire a little positive change in the world… It’s where work feels rewarding, work feels fun, work always has room for creativity and experiment – and where work meetings feel like happy get-togethers because of the YC sisterhood.”

Zuha Bari, Social Media Manager of YC, said:
“The day I joined it, my life has never been the same!
Sometimes, I really wonder what would I’ve been doing with my life if YC wasn’t there!
…. YC has motivated me at every step. For me, YC is every thing…
My best moment of YC in 2016… when we gave a surprise to the world’s best ameer, And secondly (though it’s a bit sad too), we gave a surprise farewell party to our friend, sister and ex ameerah,… our hearts are always tied with the love of Allah, no matter how far we go from each other!”

Nadeem Ashraf, Ex-Operations Manager of YC who shifted to the UK in February, said:
“For me, the growth of YC in 2016 means the growth of dynamic style da’wah. In an increasingly doom and gloom world for the ummah around the world,the da’wah of YC comes as an increasingly breath of fresh air. As someone who is honoured to be in touch with many da’wah teams around the world, I receive glowing tributes from du’aat about YC’s unique style in the world of da’wah. 2016 has been a very positive year for team YC and as long as we are sincere, we can only go from strength to strength”.

Wrapping up YC’s 2016, in the words of the esteemed CEO, Raja Zia ul Haq:
“By the immense mercy of Allah, it is a matter of great satisfaction and joy to watch Youth Club, like a bright young child, growing bigger and stronger each year. I feel truly privileged to be a part of this wonderful organization; to be one of those who have dedicated their lives to bring about a positive change in society. Alhamdulillah, in the year 2016, we have visited hundreds of institutes, delivered over a thousand lectures, talks and workshops, and inspired countless individuals to transform their lives for the better.
May Allah accept from us and may He grant us the ability to continue on stronger.
In short; It’s been emotional!

I request you all to remember us in your duas. For indeed, some of our greatest achievements never make it to the internet.”

 

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This is not the whole story, it is only the first page. But it is the beginning of a beautiful journey, amid hopes and prayers, leading to what’s best out there inshaAllah :’)

Youth Club inspiring positive change!

 

 

 

My Ummah!

We begin our days with warm cups of tea. Our lives are full of luxuries. Our needs and wants are lavishly fulfilled. Our days swirl through with smiles and end on comfortable beds, cool rooms and cushioned confines.

Busy with our daily lives, we forget that somewhere a child cries because his parents have just been brutally killed.

Somewhere hearts are filled with terror because they don’t know if they would survive the night or not. These are hearts which testify to the same ‘la ilaha illallah’ as you and I. These are our people, our brothers and sisters in humanity and in faith.

Some days, your heart might be torn by an image or a video, and demand:

“How can you just let this Ummah die? The Ummah is suffering and crying. And here you are not even asking ”WHY”?

We were created to be THE BEST of nations, but today we seem to be at our lowest ebb, totally lost and confused.

We are the Ummah of Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam), who cried for us even before we were born!

The Prophet (SAW) recited this verse:

“My Lord, indeed they have led astray many among the people. So whoever follows me – then he is of me; and whoever disobeys me – indeed, You are [yet] Forgiving and Merciful.” (Surah Ibrahim, ayah 36)

and said:

“O Allah, my Ummah, my Ummah.”

Allah said: “O Jibreel, go to Muhammad, although your Lord knows best, and ask him why he is weeping.” So Jibreel went to him and asked him, and the Messenger of Allaah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) told him what he said, although Allah knows best. Allah said: “O Jibreel, go to Muhammad and say: “I will make you pleased concerning your Ummah and not displeased.” (Sahih Muslim)

This is the time for us to feel the same pain and sympathy for the Ummah, to feel the sense of belonging, to know that this Ummah is Our Ummah, Your Ummah, My Ummah!

This is the time to utilize our skills and stand up for the Ummah. Let’s learn the correct attitude to be adopted in these turbulent times. Let’s learn how exactly we can play our part, and how little drops can make an ocean.

With this spirit in mind, heart and soul, Youth Club’s theme till Sep 14th will be #MyUmmah.

Use the hash-tag #MyUmmah and make the posts viral on FB and Twitter. Help us make a difference! Because this is the kind of Now-or-Never time where you just can’t continue pressing the ‘Snooze’ button and slumbering on.

If you would like to express your thoughts on the topic, we’ll be happy to be the mouthpiece! Send us your articles at youthclubblog@gmail.com

Peace!

Peace! The whole world’s hankering after it. Today we have peace conventions, peace rallies, peace slogans, and yet, there is no peace. We are insecure in our own minds, in our own homes, in our own homeland.

Amazing though it may sound but we don’t really need to go into that much hullabaloo to get peace in our lives. That is because its perfect recipe was given by a great leader years ago. A new state had just been formed, he entered it and said,

Spread Salaam...” *1

Just like that! So simple.

Yes, you guessed it. The great leader was none other than our beloved Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wassalam.

Salaam is the salutation that Muslims greet each other with, when they meet. In effect, they say: Assalam u ‘alaykum, which means ‘peace be upon you’.

This great leader didn’t just state, ‘say’ salaam, rather he said, ‘spread’ salaam. Do you see the depth in his choice of words? Spread means to disseminate widely. Imagine that! Imagine us wishing peace to any and everyone we met. Would there be any discord or bad feelings left, let alone insecurities? Because if you just had to wish peace to everyone, you couldn’t hate them at the same time. That would be a contradiction in and of itself. Today we’re scared of our own neighbors. We don’t even know them. Why? We never talked to them. If we followed the rule of saying salaam to everyone, we’d come to know them, right? Communities would come together and unite peacefully. But alas! Where does salaam stand today?

According to scholars, it is obligatory to reply to the greeting of salaam. If you don’t reply, it’s a sin. Because we have been ordered in the Quran,

And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet [in return] with one better than it or [at least] return it
[in a like manner]. Indeed, Allah is ever, over all things, an Accountant
.”  (An-Nisa 86)

Etiquette of Salaam

> When you meet someone, it is the right of the other person that you initiate it.

> Pronounce it properly. Do not mumble.

> Say it loudly. It should be loud enough to wake a sleeping person.

> Don’t say it as if to show arrogance in front of the other person. Mean it.

Benefits of Salaam

> One of the best things is that you get reward just by saying such a simple thing as Salaam. Isn’t that cool? You get 10 or 20 or 30 rewards depending on how you say it. *2

> You can enter Paradise! Isn’t Paradise our ultimate goal? Imagine getting the thing you strove for and wanted all your life through Salaam, forever and ever. *3

> Through Salaam, you come to love one other. Lovely, yeah? ❤ *4

Know that Salaam is one of the Names of Allah. You’re taking His Name! It should connect with your heart. Say it beautifully. 🙂

Salaam

*1 “O people! spread Salaam, feed the hungry, be in touch with your kin, and pray while people are asleep (at night), you shall enter paradise peacefully.” [Tirmidhi]

*2 Imran bin Husain (radi Allahu anhu) reported: “A man came to the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and said, ‘As-Salamu Alaikum’ (peace be upon you). The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) responded to his greeting and the man sat down. The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, ‘Ten’ (meaning the man had earned the merit of ten good acts). Another one came and said, ‘As-Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah’ (peace and the mercy of Allah be upon you). The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) responded to his greeting and the man sat down. The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, ‘Twenty.’ A third one came and said, ‘As-Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu’ (peace and the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you). The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) responded to his greeting and the man sat down. The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, ‘Thirty.’” [Tirmidhi]

*3,4 Abu Huraira RA narrated: Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wassalam said, “You will not enter Paradise until you believe; and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not guide you to a thing which if you do, you will love one another? Spread (the greeting of peace) Salaam amongst yourselves.” [Muslim]

Century Special: A Look Back (In Pictures)

A picture is worth a thousand words.  As a part of our century celebrations, here are some totally random Youth Club memories, with captions from the Blog Team. You can read “Century Special: A Look Back (In Words)” here.

Some prominent people whose interviews/stories etc. have featured exclusively on the blog include:

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Youth Club CEO, Raja Zia ul Haq  (obviously! Read here)

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The Pakistani Greek, Hamza Tzortzis (Read here and here)

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Yusuf aka Timothy Chambers (Read his journey here)

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John Fontain’s reversion story (Remember his beautiful azaan?)

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The inspirational Imran ibn Mansur aka Dawah Man (Read his interview here.)

One of our most popular themes remained:

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 Nazrein Neechay

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Even Batman got involved!

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And: LoveStruck! If you feel there’s too much love or too much mention of love here, that’s because it’s the YOUTH Club Blog. Makes sense?

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We don’t judge people, but sometimes they make their intentions all too clear 😉
Do you want to join Youth Club? This is for you.

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Ever seen our Dawah Wagon roaming around in your area!?

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Big or small, boys will be boys!

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Never a dull moment with the Youth Club Brothers..

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..Neither with the Sisters!

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But some moments are truly surreal!

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And some memories are simply beautiful!

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Brotherhood- The name of the restaurant says it all!

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Shoulder to Shoulder
One Master we serve,
One Mission we have

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The Street Dawah Team (Read some of their amazing articles on Islamic weddings, love and life)

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Heaven’s edge!
That’s Youth Club’s new basecamp in Pir Sohawa seems to be a writer’s haven and the perfect spot to get creative juices flowing.
Bloggers, rejoice! 😀

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Readers, your comments and feedback matter. Keep them coming!

Century Special: A Look Back (In Words)

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I’m sure all bloggers can relate to this: We feel excited every time we press ‘Publish’. Every time we do the tiny bit we can to inspire positive change. Every time, we add another drop to the ocean. Every post is reason enough to celebrate!

But when you reach 100 posts, that does call for something extra-special. TAKBEER!!!

On achieving this milestone, we at Youth Club Blog, express our gratitude to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala . We also thank all our talented writers and amazing editors for bearing with us and meeting deadlines (most of the time!). And of course, how can we forget to thank you, our loyal and interactive readers? Without you, we might as well be speaking to the walls!

As our Century Special post, we present for you excerpts from blog articles that you liked and appreciated the most. Tomorrow, stay tuned for “Century Special: A Look Back (In Pictures)” as we refresh some random Youth Club memories inshaAllah!

Imagine seeing people of all ages and from various backgrounds smiling, crying and laughing all together. Imagine them realizing how each and every one of them has truly had a rich learning experience and many awe-inspiring moments by listening to world-famous speakers! Now imagine all of that happening in Pakistan!

(Ali Naqash, Winds of Change)

——

There were days when the Quran spoke to my heart. There were days when I felt infinitely blessed to be on this journey. There were days when opening the Mushaf would bring tears to my eyes. There were days when I felt that I could trade the entire world to continue with and complete my hifdh. Yes, there were beautiful days and nights. And then, there was that day- which is yet the happiest day of my life- when I finally completed the hifdh. I cannot even try to describe that day in words.

(Anonymous Hafidh, Slow and Steady- An Incredible Hifz Journey)

——

Sometimes when I’m alone, I let my imagination run wild,
My mind wanders through deserts, I let the sand be my guide
I hear the hooves of horses, impatiently stamping the ground
They wait for the command of the leader, awaiting just a sound

(Hajrah Khawar, Gone with the Wind)

——

However, no matter how long and bushy a brother’s beard is or how high he wears his pants, very few of them actually compromise on beauty and age of the girl, though they might eventually compromise on wealth and nobility, and even piety. Everyone wants to marry a Cinderella or someone who looks like a beauty queen from Hollywood.

(Fareed Ahmad, Looking for A Spouse: Great Expectations)

——

As I write this, the marquee next door reverberates with Bollywood beats accompanied by sounds of cheers – obvious signs of a wedding. It makes one wonder whether it is really worthwhile to spend one’s life savings on a circus show without giving deeper thought to the actual union between the two people?

(Mariam Riaz, Ramblings of a Closet Feminist)

——

That small, secret smile that was for your eyes to see, that subtle speech you thought only you could feel the ‘depth’ of, the preference for you over any other talking companion… we all like that, don’t we? Only, we don’t realise how short-lived such crunchy bits of life are, and how endless the pain they leave behind.

(Maryam Qadeer, “CHARGE,” says the Devil, and we do!)

——

When this man, who has waited patiently for a fulfilling gaze on this one woman, looks at his wife and when he sits with her, and talks to her; who can explain the incredible emotions that this person is feeling? I find it hard to believe that such strong and pure emotions can be felt by a man who has always been in company of non-mehram females, holding their hands, hugging them, talking to them, joking, and playing around with them.

(Mohammad Ali, The Barakahs of Islamic Injuctions)

——

15. Go camping in the woods
16. Teach for free
17. Do archery while horse riding

(Nasser Ijaz Moghal, 20 things to do before you’re 25)

——

Rest of my life? That’s a joke right? Because I’m 40 and my body has started to become weak now. I get tired easily. I can’t do the things that I “dreamed” of doing. What was the ease that I was looking for? Where is the “whole life ahead of me” that I was promised I would be able to enjoy?

(Omer Shahid, Work Hard for the Rest of Your Life)

——

I do truly believe that at some point in your life, you will map out a new constellation in the sky. You will meet a person who will make you feel whole again. Who will make your world go bright and starry. The one person you would want to sit with on the patio all winter and drink coffee. When you can talk about anything and everything. Or maybe not talk at all, just being with them gets you through the day. Your outlet for crazy fears, wildest obsessions and nonsensical string of babble. Your impossible plans and initiatives, and this person will dream your dreams.

(Saadia Humayun, Broken Hearts and Picture Frames)

——

Scene 3:
Slave: My Master! I love you so much, I can do anything for you.
Master: ((slaughter your son))
——————–
Slave: Son, I have been ordered to slaughter you.
Son: Do as you are ordered to do, Abbi!

( Umm ‘Aisha, Sacrifice Lovingly)

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Hahaha! Some of the things I’ve been learning and having fun with (with my Hijab on) include cycling, dune-bashing, fishing, jet-skiing, yachting, camping, rifle shooting and hiking. I love to explore and travel across the length and breadth of Pakistan, as well as other countries. The hijab doesn’t restrict me from having the time of my life.

(Umm Ibrahim, 8 myths about my Hijab)

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It was like a gigantic wave of blood gushing in my aorta when I came close to him for the first time. I couldn’t resist the appeal to hold him close, embrace him against my chest, feel the raw aroma coming out of his body. I was feeling a unique warmth in both of us.

(Zaki Imtiaz, That strange little meeting..)

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Gets to campus.. Meets his mates! High fives as if they are Americans – accidentally happen to be in Pakistan(!). Gets invited to a party or 2.. Then talks about cricket.. “What a shot, what a chakka!!”.. Followed by “The government is so messed up man..” Followed by “Did you see that girl in that lecture?” ..

(YC Street Dawah Team, The 2013 Youth!)

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I flee from anything that would reconnect me to things from the past that were displeasing to Allah. I would rather be boiled in oil or shot in the head three times than go back to that lifestyle. Wallahi, I’m not even kidding. So I have absolutely zero regrets for the things I left behind.
(Blog Team, Point Blank: Interview with Raja Zia ul Haq)

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Is there anything worth watching in dramas? Seriously, you tell me. I don’t watch dramas because it’s a pure wastage of time, and a believer’s time is too precious to be wasted in useless stuff.

(Blog Team, Exclusive Interview with ex-Actress Sara Chaudhry)

Fun, Love, Money.. Or is there more to life?

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By Nadeem Ashraf

NOTE: This article was based upon a few lectures that I gave at some schools in Faisalabad, including LGS, City School & Educare Academy. The article has purposefully been published in a lecture format so as to be of use to other brothers and sisters that would like to deliver a lecture at a school based upon this.

I’m not a preacher. Not a scholar. Not an imam, just your everyday guy. Just another Muslim struggling through this life to achieve the pleasure of our Creator.

I am an English language teacher by profession. Born and raised in England, I emigrated to Pakistan in 2011, to live amongst the Muslims (this is the point where people raise eyebrows – crazy eh?). Yes: to those who view the world from a worldly point of view, this choice would be perceived as crazy. However, those with real vision, those with the vision of getting past the hurdles of the Hereafter, would sympathize with this move.

I was at one point someone who used to look up to British hooliganism – I was a slave to my desires. I wanted to become a gangster! I used my intelligence for my own selfish, evil needs. But Alhamdolillah, I was guided to the truth. I have since been involved in multiple projects aimed at changing society for the better, and have been with all sorts of organizations that want to make the world a better place. I have had the immense privilege of being around people of great stature, people with great wisdom, sincerity, clean hearts and big visions.

So now I want to reach out and share a few points with you, my young readers, with the hope of inspiring serious thought. These points will, God willing, do the following:
(a) make you think about life,
(b) make you take life a bit more seriously, and
(c), make you a successful person in this world and in the next.
Now that sounds like a formula one should stick to, doesn’t it?

So here goes…

There are a lot of ideas that people hold onto in the world, and live their lives according to. In my experience, however, people’s ideas about life revolve mainly around three key themes: fun, love, and money. Especially at your age. You don’t want to have worries or concerns – just pure chilling, yeah?

Fun…

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First off, let’s discuss the likes and dislikes of your average Pakistani teenager. (I will also touch upon the average UK teenager’s likes and dislikes.)

Ask the audience: Which celebrities (musicians, movie actors, entertainers) do you admire and look up to? Which celebrity posters do you put upon the bedroom wall?!

In my time, we used to look up to Dr. Dre. Who else? Here’s a few:
Tupac.
Warren G.
Madhuri.
Aishwariya Rai.
Oasis & Robbie Williams!

So what’s the in thing these days?
One Direction?

And what do you Pakistani kids do for fun?
(Get some shout outs from the audience)

Okay, so that’s actually not bad – but maybe there are Pakistani kids in 2014, that smoke cigarettes? Take drugs? Have “special” friends among the opposite gender? Yeah?

Now, that being the case, my question is: why do you do these things? Have you ever thought about it? Or is it just because everyone seems to be doing it? Well if that’s the reason, are you sheep? Are you sheep that follow each other and go wherever the herd goes without thinking for themselves?

Let me put in another way.

If all of your friends, teachers, and everyone in the society around you says, hey, let’s all follow this particular path, and at the end of this path there is an edge. And they jump off, and there’s a huge fire below – would you still follow them? I don’t think so!

Why not? Because you are someone who is sane. You have a mind of your own. Right? So why are you letting people tell you what to do with your life? Because, wake up, that’s exactly what is happening with you right now – you are letting other people dictate your life!

Second, consider this: what if all this entertainment – those music videos, Pakistani and Western, Bollywood movies, the magazines, the commercials, the morning shows – what if this is all being fed to you just so that you DON’T THINK? What if it’s really just a distraction from really thinking about the reality of life, and about that one matter which every human has to experience: DEATH!

These celebrities, will they help after you die? They don’t even know you! And if you just indulge in these things because it makes you feel good, then think again: really, does it? I doubt that. In fact, I would argue that it’s a very fake and temporary buzz. It. Won’t. Last!

Think about it. Now, next.

Money…

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The world is mad about it. We have been fed the idea that we cannot survive without making tonnes of it. And sure, it helps. Sure, you should try and work hard at your studies and become successful businessmen (and women), teachers, IT professionals, and accountants, and so on. Of course it’s good to have big salaries – but just don’t make it the only thing worth living for.

My philosophy is: Do not chase money. Chase the worship of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. And money will follow.

Think about it. The whole world is chasing money – but is the world a good place to live in right now?
Oppressive wars. Acute poverty. Family breakdown. En masse greed. The problems go on.
What does Allah tell us?

“..And whosoever is conscious of Allah, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine…” (Surah at Talaq: 2,3)

Center your life on taqwa (God-consciousness). Make it about Allah. The world will follow. Allah is in charge of it – how can He not take care of your affairs when you focus your life on Him?

The Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) said:

“Miserable are those who worship money and fine clothes. They are happy when they are provided (with things) and upset when they are denied.” (Bukhari)

Think about that too. And finally *drumroll*

Love!

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Ahhhhh – love! I bet everyone has either fallen in, or wants to fall in, love.

Our good old friend Bollywood, with Amir Khan, Shahrukh and Hrithik jumping around flowers and over Swiss mountains, has made sure you become hopeless romantics! And we just carry on watching that nonsense and we let it take over our minds and hearts.

So tell me if I am wrong: when you are at the bazaar or the shopping mall, or at the school functions or at weddings, do you not try to get a glimpse of the opposite gender, and hope to fall in love? Bollywood style? Admit it!

Is this the definition of love? Look beautiful/handsome, hopelessly pine after the man/woman of your dreams, hide it from the world, break your heart and walk away? Says who? Again, have you ever stopped to think about it?

Real love is something much deeper and purer. It is when the person takes your hand through the sacred and honourable covenant of Nikah, and stays by your side through thick and thin.

In conclusion..

We, as da’wah-men and women, as Youth Club members, have real fun. We talk and laugh and eat out and travel and make friends. But we strive to do it the only way that makes sense. We strive to think about why we do what we do.

Our real wealth is not to stress about money

We are slowly falling madly in love with Allah. That is serenity personified.

“And surely, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Surah ar-Ra’d: 28)

You can have fun. You can earn money. And you certainly can fall in love. BUT.
Do it the right way. Do it the way that makes sense.
Don’t let other pieces of creation dictate to you who to love and HOW to love.

Who created your heart? Who created feelings? Who controls the time of your death?
That’s right: Allah!
So does it not make sense that you take heed of the ONE that created all these rather than the limited, flimsy creation?

In a practical sense, I would advise you to do the following:

Study the names and attributes of God. That will make you want to love him. And when you really love Him, it will be easier, even pleasurable, to follow the limitations placed by him.

Then read about Paradise. You can have your dream hunk/princess! You can own your own Ferrari to take you to (a much better version of) Dubai or Paris or NYC for shopping. Unlimited shopping. Unlimited fun. Unlimited wealth. Unlimited love. You can have all this and whatever your mind can imagine – and more!

Just be patient, for a while. Listen to your teachers. Listen to and respect your parents. Establish the prayer. Keep away from what is not allowed. Get away from the corruption of the music and entertainment industry. Take time to reflect about your life. Obey Allah’s commands — and it’s not hard, trust me; just avoid the haram. Before you know it, the dunya will be gone, and the akhirah will be the only reality. The eternity. Work on making that pleasant!

So here’s your homework:

Go home, switch everything off – your iPhone/Android, laptop, iPad, TV, radio, mp3 – everything. Close your door and for ten minutes, think about Allah, your Creator. Think about what he provided you with. Think about your return to Him. And pray to find good strong company!

Study the deen. You really will find peace, and love, and fun and money – believe me. Allah does not let you down!

I leave you with the inspiring promise of the Quran:

“Whoever does good-whether male or female- we will grant to him a goodly life, and We will reward them according to the best deeds that they did.” (Surah an-Nahl: 97)

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Theme of the Month: #StayStrong

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So the incredible Winds of Change tour has rolled to a halt, and the local da’wah scene isn’t quite as hip-and-happening as it was last month. This time last month, we were all geared up to be brand new people, to transform society and to take the world by storm. Winds of Change infused us with the spirit, the energy, and the conviction that we, the youth, will make a difference.

Then came the stillness that prevails after the storm has passed. And now, we still have the spirit and the conviction, but we suddenly don’t know what to do with it, and the energy level seems to be dropping fast. The world is suddenly a different place, one much harder to change than it seemed a few weeks ago. Da’wah isn’t all that easy anymore, or as fun as it was when everyone was doing it. Is it really that important to “change yourself, change the world”? It’s suddenly hard to remember what the hype was all about.

What happened here? Well, what happened is that we just discovered two fundamental facts of life: one, that it’s easy to swim with the tide, and very hard to swim against it. Two, that good deeds are easy to start, but incredibly hard to maintain!

So the important question is, now what?

Well, the good news is, Youth Club won’t abandon you to struggle on alone. We know how hard it is to maintain the spirit after an incredible boost, and how exhausting it can be to swim against the tide; we’re here to struggle with you!

And thus we introduce this month’s theme: *drumroll* #StayStrong!

The idea is to remind ourselves that steadfastness is critical. Remember that it is much better to do less and do it regularly than to take leaps and bounds for a couple of weeks and then go flat for the rest of the year!

How do we know that’s better? Here’s how:

Allah’s Messenger (Sallalahu alaihi wasallam) said,

“The most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even though it were little.” (Bukhari)

Together, we will provide each other the motivation and energy boost to keep going even when we just don’t feel like doing that good deed, even when that sin is just too tempting, and even when difficult times hit us hard and our world seems to be going topsy-turvy.

So, #StayStrong and battle on. Bring on the articles, videos, posts and tweets that can help us be streadfast, and as always, don’t forget the hashtag: #StayStrong!

Point Blank: Interview with Raja Zia ul Haq

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Youth Club Blog presents to you some very candid Q & A with our CEO Raja Zia ul Haq. These questions were asked at the WOC 2014 event ‘Around the Bonfire’. Raja Zia ul Haq talks about his relationship with his car, his family and his wife, and his inspiration behind the popular workshops ‘Lovestruck’ and ‘Qabool Hai’.


YOUTH CLUB: A lot of us have seen the video about the change in your lifestyle (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4cdc7Hpirk).  Sky diving, theatre, partying, fancy cars- it seems you had it all. Do you sometimes miss the lifestyle that you left behind? Don’t you ever feel tempted to go back?

RAJA ZIA UL HAQ: I don’t miss the bad bits but I do miss my car. I really, really, really miss my car. I had a Dodge-Charger, an American Muscle car and I lost it in an accident. She was my baby; we had a very good relationship alhamdolillah!

My wife can tell you how much I miss it. Sometimes when she says: “Where have you kept the charger?”

My response is: “Ohhh! Don’t say ‘The Charger’. It just breaks my heart every time I hear that name.”

However, I don’t miss those things which were taking me away from Allah. I flee from anything that would reconnect me to things from the past that were displeasing to Allah. I would rather be boiled in oil or shot in the head three times than go back to that lifestyle. Wallahi, I’m not even kidding. So I have absolutely zero regrets for the things I left behind.

There’s nothing wrong in enjoying life and having a nice car or good clothes. But, if your wealth or luxuries or entertainment take you away from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, then this is a massive problem.

Alhamdolillah, I still have a lot of fun with sports activities or games. Allah loves the strong believer. Practicing Islam does not mean you stop having fun. You can have fun; you can enjoy life; you can chill out with righteous friends; you can entertain yourself. Just don’t indulge in haram things. You can eat and drink whatever you like, except for the very few things that are haram. If you want to have fun, you can do it in a halal way. You want to have a relationship, you can have four as a brother, but it has to be halal!

I make dua for Allah to increase His love in me, because that makes you enjoy a very fruitful, wholesome and holistic lifestyle.

YOUTH CLUB: Your workshop ‘Lovestruck’ is a super hit. What was your inspiration for choosing this topic? How did you put together the content?

RAJA ZIA UL HAQ: The people of Rawalpindi and Islamabad were my inspiration behind the ‘LoveStruck’ workshop. Visiting different schools, colleges and universities, I realized that a very common problem the youth are facing is: love affairs. This is a recurrent issue everywhere. When we ask young boys and girls what is the hindrance between them and Allah, it turns out that many of them are deeply entangled in haram relationships. They get really motivated and buzzed up by talks and lectures, but these relationship issues become a barrier between them and Allah.

So, I met one of the top scholars in Lahore, and I discussed this problem with him. He recommended the book Dawae Shafi by Ibn al Qayyim. I went straight to the bookstore and bought it the same evening. Little did I know that this book was written in very difficult Urdu. I made it a mission to understand and absorb its content, because the Sheikh had convinced me that this book contains the solution to the problem. I tried reading it twice, I kept on going back and forth, reflecting over it. In the end, I had developed three workshops out of it: Sinless, Lovestruck and Qabool Hai.

I realized that our classical scholars have done a lot of work in terms of tazkiyyah (spiritual purification). We don’t need to look anywhere else. I was surprised at the gems I was extracting from this book. It contains things that are relevant even today; it contains some very deep philosophical stuff that people can benefit from. That book really changed it for me.

YOUTH CLUB: People who start practicing often face opposition from their families. How is one supposed to deal with his/her family and make Dawah to them? Tell us about your own experience in this regard.

RAJA ZIA UL HAQ: When someone doesn’t know your past, it’s easy to give Dawah to them. But your family knows your past; they know you inside out. It’s very tough to make Dawah to them but it has to be done- it has to be done with wisdom, love and patience. Initially, I made a lot of mistakes. I would be quite aggressive with my family. When they would challenge my Deen, I would sometimes shout back at them. When they saw me attending a lot of halaqahs (study circles), they expressed the fear that I would become an extremist. It got to the point where I wondered if I had told them I was a homosexual, that would have been easier for them to accept than to know that I was becoming a practicing Muslim.

I soon realized that my hostile approach with my family was totally wrong and it was not working. In Islam, it is not permissible to say ‘uff’ (the slightest word of irritation or contempt) to your parents. You have to be patient and kind with them. You have to show them through your actions that following Islam has made you a better person, a better son and brother. Before you give Dawah to your family or to anyone else, you need to smash your ego. Do it purely for the sake of Allah. And you will find a million and one ways to do it inshaAllah. Just don’t give up on them.

YOUTH CLUB: Your workshop ‘Qabool Hai’ (which is a sequel to ‘Lovestruck’) is also a very popular one and lots of couples have benefitted from it. It seems like you are some kind of a relationship guru. How is your relationship with your wife?

RAJA ZIA UL HAQ: No, I’m not a relationship guru and I don’t have perfect relationships. I married in my days of jahiliyah (ignorance). Ours was a love marriage, though I don’t endorse love marriages. From the beginning, I had a very good chemistry with my wife. We had mutual respect. The thing that I laid down from the start was that we would always address each other with words of respect, even in fights and arguments. Even in those situations, we would never lose our dignity. Whoever lost it, the other person had the right to remain quiet and walk away. Otherwise, we wouldn’t walk away until the problem was resolved.

So even in our fights, we would say, “Aap aisay hain, aap aisay hain”. It actually seems very polite and courteous when you’re using the “Aap” word in an argument. Because of this attitude, we overcame a lot of hurdles and obstacles.

When I started to research Islam, properly and come towards it, that respect, love and mutual agreement made it easy for me to talk to my wife about Islam, and for her to talk to me. Alhamdolillah, I’m very blessed that both of us entered Islam together. We learnt from each other and we gave each other good advice. Being on the Dawah scene, sometimes I would also lecture my wife a bit more than was required and my wife would say: “This is a lecture, isn’t it?”  And I would say: “No its Naseehah, its good advice.”

A lot of my Dawah techniques were honed by giving Dawah to my wife. I would always be gentle and convince her that the only reason I was giving her Dawah was because I cared about her and wanted the best for her- there was no other perspective. That love and mercy became part of my Dawah style.

25 things I learnt from Winds of Change 2014

By Umm Ibrahim
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February 2014 has been an exceptionally beautiful month so far- owing to the Winds of Change Tour which hit Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Peshawar.  I tried to attend as many events as I could- each one seemed to be better than the previous. So, the past 3 weeks were mostly spent waiting for one event after the other! This was the first time I was attending the events of Winds of Change, and it was also the first time I was actually listening to some of the international speakers: Imran ibn Mansur, Hamza Tzortzis, Yusuf Chambers, John Fontain, Adnan Rashid and Musa Adnan.

As I smile to myself, sifting through the photos and cherishing the memories made, reality hits me like a ton of bricks: the Winds of Change are over, but has the change begun? Can I declare with Imran Khan’s confidence level that “Tabdeeli aa gy hai?” Will I be able to cherish the newly-planted intentions and sustain the newly-replenished Imaan level?

 I have made notes upon notes of the lectures; I have saved video recordings, but I realize that it is actually the things which penetrate your being and engrave themselves on your heart that can actually change you. So for my own benefit and for that of the readers, I’m going to list in no particular order, the lessons that have stuck with me, which I heard, learnt and/or experienced during the Winds of Change events.

1-      The Azaan is a beautiful call.  Don’t take it for granted. Cherish it, listen and respond.

2-      Whatever Da’wah work you are doing, you must read a minimum of 1 juzz of the Quran (with understanding) every day. Don’t let your Islamic work fool you or harm your spirituality.

3-      There are no friends as awesome and cool as the ones you make for the sake of Allah.

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4-      You have to do Da’wah. You just have to. There is no other way around it.

5-      Every person you meet has problems on their plate. Every person is fighting battles you know nothing of. Be gentle.

6-      In matters of the Dunya, look towards those below you. In matters of the Deen, look towards those above you.

7-      The battles you fight for Deen are worth it, in this word and the next. Taking U-turns is difficult, but it is possible and it is worth it. Ask for Allah’s help.

8-      Don’t judge by appearances. There is so much goodness and softness in our people. Talk to them about the Deen. Empathize with them. You might be pleasantly surprised by the response.

9-   Marriott has the best gulab jaman in Islamabad.

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10-      Learn the rational foundations of your Deen seriously. You are facing an ideological onslaught.

11-   There is something heart-warming about a hall resounding with Takbeer. It makes the clap-clap-clap sound so abysmally pathetic.

12-   No matter how bad your situation is, no matter how broken or messed-up you are, Allah can still fix you. There are examples all around you. Don’t give up. If you are alive, you have a chance.

13-   Listening to music can facilitate Jinns entering your body. True Story.

14-   Jannah is beautiful. Meeting Allah is the best moment of your life. It is worth it all.

15-   Youth Club has the coolest badges in town.

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16-   Don’t mumble the Salam just to fulfill the routine obligation. It is a beautiful gift. Treat it that way. Give and receive it with love.

17-    Words are just words. You can talk the talk all your life. Nothing will change until you walk the WOC  walk.

18-   Humility is a beautiful quality. It makes you dignified. Slash your ego. Take it easy. Learn from the beautiful life of the beautiful Messenger (sallalahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

19-   Tell your loved ones that you love them often.

20-   Youth Club also has the coolest cupcakes in town. (I’m not being paid to write this, I swear!)

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21-   Allah is the Best of Planners. Trust Him.

22-   Dua is such a powerful tool. Allah works miracles. Have faith in Him. Talk to Him as much as you can.

23-   If you don’t pray the obligatory prayers, you seem to be on a one-way road to Hellfire. There’s no way to put this lightly. Start praying. Just do it!

24- Our ultimate quest in this world is happiness. Even if you have everything in the world, you will still not be happy unless you have a true connection with Allah. The void in the heart can only be filled by knowing and loving the Creator of the heart.

25-   You have too many slave-masters- from your parents to your peers to the fashion industry. True liberation is only in accepting the honour of being a slave to Allah.

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