Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Finding A Partner

Marriage is highly respected in Islam and can be looked upon as a form of worship.
Indeed, brothers and sisters can complete half their faith through marriage, and marriage itself brings many benefits. Young men are encouraged to marry as soon as they are in a position where they can support a wife, and parents of young women are encouraged to allow them to marry as soon as a proposal is made by a suitable man. The Prophet (ṣall Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam صلى الله عليه وسلم‎) said,
Young men, those of you who can support a wife should marry, for it keeps you from looking at women and preserves your chastity.” [Bukhari]
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Taala سبحانه و تعالى) has given men and women sexual urges. Such feelings are recognised in Islam and are channelled through the institution of marriage. Indeed, procreation within marriage is considered a good deed, worthy of reward. However, sex outside marriage is strictly forbidden.

Sisters, choose a Wali

Wali is a guardian, usually the closest male relative to a woman (a father, or in his absence, an uncle or brother), who will advise, support and protect her in her search for a marriage partner.  A Walishould have a firm understanding of marriage and the importance of compatibility, and must be able act responsibly and give sound advice.
Men do not need a Wali as the Wali’s main role is to protect his guard from enquiries from men who may be unsuitable or whose intentions may not be pure. In this way, enquiries from males are first screened by the Wali, who is able to advise the woman according to his wealth of experience, although she retains the right to make the final decision.
The presence of the Wali will also be required at the Nikah, where he agrees to the wedding contract on behalf of the bride.

Finding a companion

Finding a marriage partner is a huge step – you are looking for a life-long companion, so no decision can be taken lightly. Traditionally, the family was responsible for searching for a suitable partner for the son or daughter and women often played a passive role, although, thanks to the Prophet (ṣall Allahuʿalayhi wa sallam صلى الله عليه وسلم‎), a girl has the right to express her views on a prospective partner:
"The permission of the virgin is to be sought. And if she does not object, her silence is her permission." [Al-Bukhari, Muslim, and others]
Modern life is quite different; Muslim girls now meet boys at school or at Islamic groups, and communities are no longer static as young people often move away to university or in search of work. This has led to the proliferation of more modern ways of finding a partner.
There are a number of methods, approved by Shariah law, which brothers and sisters can use to search for a partner. You may choose one or a combination of methods; however, you should ensure that your conduct is halaal. Remember: if one route proves unsuccessful, others may yield more success.


The most common way of finding a partner is still through ones parents. Give your parents as much information as possible on what you are looking for in a spouse and encourage them to  ask friends, family and acquaintances in the Muslim community if they know of a potential partner who is looking to marry. If you have a good relationship with your parents, they can be guided by you and you can have the final say.

Community leaders

Community leaders, such as the Imam or a scholar, will know of other brothers and sisters in the community who are looking for a partner.


Friends can also be of help in your search. Your friends’ spouses may have friends or relatives who are looking to marry. However, make sure that you choose a trusted friend, who will have an idea of what you seek in a companion, and ensure that you involve the Wali as soon as you find someone with potential.

Meeting someone at college/work/in the community

These days, brothers and sisters mix at college, work and at community groups. If you know somebody who you think could be a potential partner, arrange for them to meet your Wali so that the matter of marriage can be discussed. Meeting a partner in this way is allowed; however, both parties shouldbehave modestly.

Matrimonial agencies

There are many matrimonial agencies that claim they will find your “perfect match”. Ensure that you research any agency thoroughly before signing up. Find out about their reputation, how contact is made by potential suitors, and what it costs? Whereas some agencies undoubtedly provide a successful service, others are unmonitored and do not respect your privacy; they may give out personal phone numbers so that you are inundated with calls from unsuitable men or women.

Matrimonial websites

The use of matrimonial websites is becoming more and more popular. To many young Muslims, it’s the “new” way. However, it is important to choose a website that has sound Islamic principles at its heart in order to ensure that your search for a marriage partner is halaal.
Before registering, make sure that you read the website thoroughly; a good matrimonial site will publish a code of conduct, confidentiality and privacy statements, which will be easy to find, and the site will be closely monitored, so that any user that abuses the service can be removed from it. The best sites will encourage you to create a username that is different from your own name and will warn you about giving out personal information until you are sure about the person you are in contact with.
Some websites have a live chat facility. Use this rather than other channels such as MSN as it will be monitored and therefore safer. Check out the website’s success rate; the best sites will publish success stories. Read them and get a feel for the type of people who use the service.
When they find somebody who could be a potential match, sisters should encourage them to contact their Wali, and brothers should ask to speak with the Wali. The first meeting should be made with theWali present, although it is permitted for you to meet without a Wali if it is in a public place and the rules of modesty are followed.

 Trust in Allah

Put your trust in Allah, for Allah loves those who put their trust in Him.” [Qur’an 3:159]
Ask Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Taala سبحانه و تعالى) for guidance and make Du’a. Trust in Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Taala سبحانه و تعالى) and your search will be successful.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

16 ideas for simple pre-Eid planning

16 ideas for simple pre-Eid planning

While time is running out, you can still come up with a plan for Eid and prepare for it beforehand. Here are some ideas:

1. Talk it out with everyone
Make a specific Eid plan TODAY. Sit with the family and discuss what you will do on Eid day. Plan things step-by-step. Where will you go to perform Eid prayers? Where will you go afterwards? Will you first go to the local farm to sacrifice an animal (see point number 3)? Get everyone involved and listen to all suggestions.

2. Dress for success

In most Muslim countries Eid is a time for buying new clothing. Since spring is coming up, it's time to get rid of the heavy winter clothing and exchange it for lighter apparel. Shop for Eid clothes and some new items as well.

3. "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar...."
Involve the kids, especially the younger ones, in loud Takbirat while going and returning from the Eid Prayer.

4. Cool gift ideas
Givea gift of any of the above items if you don't already have them on hand.Check out this page for more Eid gift ideas

5. For the family's study circle
For the collective family study circle, get a good book about the life of the Prophet and find out how the Muslims of his time celebrated Eid.

6. Share Eid with the family and neighbors
Have two Eid dinners: one for the family on Eid day and one with neighbors. Or maybe you just want to share some dishes on Eid with your neighbors.

7. Take the car out for a...
Take a family trip to some place of enjoyment. Sing songs in the car on the way, eat and stop in between for prayers. Make this the family's first long drive after winter.

8. Make your Eid one with real entertainment
Please avoid TV or movies on Eid break. Eid is family and fun time, and you don't necessarily need films or television to have a good time. Check out our unTV guide for some interesting information on television, in specific.

9. Decorate the home for Eid
There's nothing wrong with decorating the home for Eid. It'll help liven up the atmosphere. Use balloons,banners, streamers, lights, and more.

10. Get everyone involved in a school presentation on aspects of Eid
The whole family can get involved in preparing a school presentation about Eid, especially since Christmas is coming up. Kids can see their Muslim classmates celebrating too.

11. Give gifts generously-give an Eidee
In some parts of the Muslim world a small amount of money is given to children as Eidee. You can do that or give a small present. Please avoid the commercialism (and please check out one perspective on why Eid gifts are better than Eidees).

12. Encourage the kids to make handmade gifts
Why not help children make gifts for one another? Not only is this inexpensive, handmade gifts tend to come from the heart, more than the wallet.

13. Start a family project
Why not mark Eid-ul-Fitr with a new family project? For example, start of a family library. Discuss the issue practically: how many books, which kinds, budget, where will the library be set up in the home, etc.

14. Share with needy kids
During Eid-ul-Fitr, children in need must be remembered by sharing something with them. Encourage a family donation from each member for needy children in a specific part of the world.

15. Discuss the Eid day menu
If you are the family member responsible for preparing the food on Eid day, consult other members of the family. Consultation may help you involve them in preparation and cleanup as well.

16. Hug your brother, hug your sister
At the place where Eid prayer is held, a lot of hugging goes. You will find some Muslims standing alone. They are either new Muslims or new immigrants without relatives and friends. Do hug them and greet them. If possible invite them to your home for a meal. Also inform them of any planned Eid celebrations at any community center.
Have a great Eid everyone. May Allah bless you with more and the best of this world and the real best in the everlasting life.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Reflecting on Our Roles in Ramadan

RAMADAN is the time of year in which we engage in a month-long process of introspection, repentance, and self-renewal. It is not only a time when we are to increase our commitment to performing various acts of worship such as fasting and prayer, but it should also be a time for reevaluating all aspects of our lives. As Muslims men, this process should include room for assessing our performance as both husbands and fathers.

For most people around the world, these are indeed strange and trying times. For Muslims, not much else needs to be said along these lines. Perhaps it is only knowing that this world is the realm of testing and that in one way or another in our lifetimes we will all be tested, that allows us to get up every day and face the outside world. For many family men, however, rigor and severity are not a reality only on the outside, but inside the home as well. For such individuals and their families, the abode of peace that the home is supposed to be is anything but that and many such families are living quiet lives of sadness, desperation, and rancor due to family relationships that are simply not working. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a very well-known Hadith was recorded as saying that marriage was equal to half of the deen [of Islam]. This profound statement by our master has spurred volumes of scholarly commentary over the centuries and from a layman s perspective, the Hadith is monumental in its meaning and importance for those who have embraced the way of marriage and family. Only through deep reflection on our lives as husbands and fathers can we begin to understand the essence of the Messenger s (peace be upon him) words and why marriage is awarded the weight of half of our faith as Muslims.

The life partnership and commitment that marriage entail should be approached as a spiritual undertaking that can be an important facilitator of individual spiritual development. Just as we are essentially spiritual beings in a human existence, marriage is a journey that if approached as such can be a rich source of learning and personal development for both spouses. As Muslim men, much of what we are taught about family life pertains to our roles and responsibilities as husbands, i.e. the X s and O s of marriage and family life.However, too often the spirit of marriage is ignored or missed. Too often, in the course of trying to manage our families, we completely overlook the nuances that make marriage and family so important a human experience. Often we overlook the patience, sacrifice, compromise, love, understanding, humility, strength, and so many other inputs that are needed to be a good husband and father.

These are the fruits of the dedication and hard work that go into family life that help us to develop into better and more universal human beings. Though certainly there is no magic formula for achieving a successful marriage and family life, selflessness, love, and service are a few key principles from the teachings of our tradition that, when applied, can have remarkable transformational qualities on our roles as husbands and fathers and subsequently, our families in general.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Giving without expectation of reward

One of the most important themes in the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the notion of meeting the needs and fulfilling the rights of others without any expectation of reciprocity. It is well-known that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) actively participated in household duties such as sewing, cooking, serving his guests and cleaning. The modern world often teaches us to expect reward for our work, time and efforts. Even as Muslims, it often seems as though we take these same expectations into our home lives. It is common to hear about Muslim husbands and fathers demanding to be treated like kings in their homes with their wives and children expected to act like servants rather than loved ones.

This phenomenon, despite going against the spirit of love and service that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) brought to the world, has many negative effects on families. For one, the distant father syndrome prevents children from fulfilling their divine role as a source of love and inspiration to their parents. As is commonly understood from the famous Hadith that all children are born in a state of Islam. Our scholars have told us that the greater meaning of this Hadith is that children come into this world pure and it is only what they learn from their parents and societies ( i.e. the world) that turn them away from this pure state. This purity of heart means that they are essentially beacons of mercy and love, a reminder of the endless blessings of the All-Merciful.

However, the distant father, the one who would be king in his own home and God-knows-what outside of it, himself a product of rejection, is not open to this divine blessing sent in the form of his children. The child, in turn, learns rejection early on and internalizes it, eventually manifesting his frustration in a multitude of ways including acting out, rebelliousness, mental illness, oppression, or simply the inability to open up to others the feeling of separation that typically goes hand in hand with illnesses such as depression and severe anxiety.