Have We Failed Our Sons?

3 failed our sons

“Beta, your wedding is just around the corner. You are about to become a member of another family. Treat them like your own. Be patient if there is something you dislike about your husband or in-laws. Always be nice to your Saas (mother-in-law). When your husband returns home in the evening, take care of his needs, dress up for him, serve him a delicious meal…”

As daughters or granddaughters, most of us have heard such statements of advice from our elders at the time of marriage. And rightly so. The question arises: do the sons receive a similar set of instructions at the time of tying the knot? Experience and probe tells us that boys seldom receive such advice. Generally, the onus of keeping a marriage intact is more on the wife than the husband. And when the marriage passes through turbulent waters, the wife is the first to be held responsible for not being patient, grateful, dutiful… while not putting much blame on the one responsible for manoeuvring the boat. Have we placed too much of a burden on the daughters as compared to our sons when it comes to balancing relationships in a marriage? Are we, as their elders, to be blamed for not grooming our sons into responsible husbands and fathers? Do we only preach them to be dutiful sons, while neglecting their commitments towards other relations? Have we failed our sons?

An interesting aspect is that we want our son-in-law to be the most perfect husband, but when it comes to our own sons, we take a somersault. If our son-in-law is kind and affectionate towards our daughter, he is showered with praises and declared to be the best husband on earth. But when our son displays the same attitude towards his wife, we say he is a Zann Mureed (henpecked husband). Double standards!

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New Mommies: Beware and Prepare!

8 beware prepare

  1. Keep your energy level boosted.

Breastfeeding, sleepless nights, unexpected visitors, home chores, and tending to older kids’ needs is undoubtedly taxing. This might not be a very suitable time to crash diet or dream of fitting back into your wedding gown. Please eat nutritious home-cooked food, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and energy-boosting snacks. Keep them handy in your bedroom. An already fatigued mind and body cannot afford to starve. The outcome is frequent ailments, horrible mood swings, and strained relationships. Later, as you mature from being a new mommy to a veteran, you will manage your diet more effectively and shed the extra pounds, too.

  1. Let the Iman thrive.

A new mother has a myriad of emotions bottled up. They can whip up a storm of tears. At other times, they may send her on a guilt trip. The changing body and volatile hormones are no help either. And, of course, Shaitan strikes with full force seeding evil and negative thoughts about everyone and everything you care for. The best remedy is to play Surah Al-Baqarah daily. Keep your tongue moist with Allah’s (swt) Dhikr. Watch and listen to Islamic videos and talks for spiritual uplift. Recite to your baby, as the child is listening. After Nifas (post-partum bleeding), return to your prayers regularly. Read at least one page of Quran daily with its translation. Only Allah (swt) knows, listens to, and understands what a mother braves.

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Do You Yell at your Wife?

15 yell at wife

In order to get to Jannah, you have to make sure you are the best to your spouse. Do not shout at your spouses for mistakes they make. A Hadeeth says: “The best from amongst you are those who are best to their wives.” (Ibn Majah) Subhan’Allah! You have to be the best to your family members, best to your spouse, best to your husband – but how do you treat them?

Sometimes, the wife burns the food, which may be a test from Allah (swt) for you. Allah (swt) is watching, and, to be honest with you, the angels are writing what your reaction would be. That is all that’s happening, nothing else! She might never burn it again and we get up and yell: “Do you know how much money is wasted here? You know this food is rubbish; it’s rotten; it’s bad; it’s filthy; throw it out!”

Is that the attitude to have? Well, why did you get married? That is someone’s daughter – how are you speaking to her? Have a bit of shame. Your children are watching. It is one thing if you yourself are committing a crime, but think about it – you are teaching your children how to commit a crime that they will commit in a bigger way. For this reason, I encourage people to look at the parents of their future spouses. If their parents are living with beauty, respect, and honour, it would mean that the prospective spouse has learned beauty, respect and honor. But if their parents are fighting like cats and dogs, swearing at each other, and there is a relationship that is totally absurd, then it does not mean that the child is bad, but the child may have qualities like them, especially if it is a male.

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A Decade of Happy Marriage


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9 happy marriage

Being a young girl, I repeatedly had to listen to such statements: “Whatever you study, one day you have to get married and do the household chores.”

I used to ignore it as much as I could. After the bone-breaking study of medicine with all work and no play schedule, there came a time when I had to tie a knot with somebody and leave all my books. I had to start from scratch and set foot in the sea of entirely new experiences and learning. Anatomy and biochemistry that had become a part and parcel of my life got replaced by the study of kitchen management and hacks.

My married life is now ten years old, and a proud feather is added to my marriage cap. I have realized the deeper meaning of marriage – it is a pact of making your sharp corners round.

According to Mufti Ibrahim Desai: “There can be no doubt in the success of a marriage governed by the fear of Allah (swt).”

I don’t celebrate marriage anniversaries by parties or hip-hop; but I do celebrate by pondering over the lessons that I had learnt during that year and store them in my memory. Each year, I implement those lessons into my life to get more happiness and success. My secret of a blissful marriage is based on the following lessons.

  1. Silence is the best medicine

It is very usual to have differences, but to remain calm and composed is an art, which is achieved through excellent self-control tactics. Arguing at times of conflict can make the situation worse by letting the Satan enter into it.

Abu Saeed Al-Khudri reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “If anyone is humble for the sake of Allah (swt) by a degree, Allah (swt) will elevate him one degree, until he reaches the highest degrees; if anyone is arrogant towards Allah (swt), Allah (swt) will lower him one degree until he reaches the lowest of low degrees.” (Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani)

The very first thing that took me to the tantrums after my marriage was the late night schedule of my husband’s job. As my father was a government officer, we used to enjoy the evening tea with him at home. When I shared that with my hubby, I got a mind-blowing lecture of office responsibilities and problems. The best I could do was to pray to Almighty Allah (swt) and remain silent. The next year, my hubby changed the job, in which he had the facility to return back home early and could work from home. Silence helped me keep a peaceful environment at home.

  1. Conquer through love

Love is the language that everybody understands. Showing constant gratitude and love takes your hubby to the Mount Everest of his self-esteem. In turn, he showers you with the same.

  1. To err is human, to forgive – divine

Females have a 967432 GB of memory, and on any little issue, they open up the historical book of complaints, which ignites never-ending arguments. I used to avoid it by imagining the large number of women burning in hellfire, due to ungratefulness to their husbands.

It was narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas (rtam) that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “I was shown Hell, and I have never seen anything more terrifying than it. And I saw that the majority of its people are women.” They said: “Why, O Messenger of Allah (sa)?” He said: “Because of their ingratitude (Kufr).” It was said: “Are they ungrateful to Allah (swt)?” He said: “They are ungrateful to their companions (husbands) and ungrateful for good treatment. If you are kind to one of them for a lifetime and then she sees one (undesirable) thing in you, she will say: ‘I have never had anything good from you.’” (Bukhari)

  1. The foolish secret

I know this is difficult to apply for many of us, but believe me – it works. I used to surprise my hubby by listening to common talks with great astonishment. It is a secret, which I apply regularly and keep my relationship filled with joy.

  1. Invest in your relationship

Sharing lovely gifts and words adds strength to my life and fuels my passion to live together. A beautifully-wrapped present leaves a long lasting effect on the heart of your hubby – it will never be a waste!

  1. Out of sight wins the mind!

It sounds awkward but this is another secret to my fulfilling joyous life. Whenever I used to return from my mom’s house, I used to find a new spark in my married life. Being away for some time allows one to re-discover, and have some ‘me’ time. It helps both to settle and look into the disputes with an impartial aspect.

  1. Give credit

Your achievements and success must be because of your hard work, but transfer the credit to your hubby, as that success wouldn’t have been possible without his broadmindedness, compromise, support, and appreciation. Try to be more courteous and giving.

  1. Show gratitude

Thank your hubby often; it takes just a second but kindles the light of respect and love. Nothing big is required to admit his support – only a nice comment on his return from the office or shop can make the day wonderful for both of you.

  1. Share with care

Effective communication is the life and blood of a successful relationship. Not a single day of my married life has passed without sharing problems, asking or just telling the whole day routine. It gradually and slowly builds up the understanding between the two souls.

  1. Trust is a must

Last but not the least, trust is the key to a prosperous and ever growing married life. Hiding petty matters from the hubby may be of no value at the moment, but it will eventually shake the pillars of married life. Remember the key point that after your marriage, your hubby is the most worthy person in your life. Although ten years have passed, I am still striving to the best of my abilities, so that I don’t let anyone down. Insha’Allah.

Marriage is Love: What it takes to be in love and be loved?

vision for marriageWhen I say a love story, what is the first image that comes to one’s mind? A chick flick movie, a Disney fairytale, a folk love story, Romeo of Juliet or Taylor Swift’s old yet enticing ‘love story’ song?

Before we move on, we first need to clarify that this phrase ‘a love story’ is a lot more than just a phrase. It is a phenomenon or a concept in its own; and we usually hear this phrase in the context of ‘fantasy’ because we have been growing up in such an environment where the ‘unreal’ world is alluring to us.

Hence, this ‘unreal’ concept of love story has emerged in our lives from our childhood fairytales, when the prince used to rescue princesses, fighting all the monsters on the way; finally meeting her and kissing her and then they lived happily ever after. Then later came these movies or soap operas in which a boy and a girl meet- first they don’t like each other, then they fall in love; sing a song together, but suddenly, some barrier comes up; perhaps their parents. However, finally they get married and the end. But is it the end of the movie or the love story?

Nikah – The Miraculous Bond of Love

According to Islam, marriage that is Nikah is an emotional, spiritual, physical and social bond between a boy and a girl within the ties of marriage, as blessed by Allah (swt). As Allah (swt) says in Surah Ar-Rum, “Among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.” (Ar-Rum 30:21)

Hence, this attraction that Allah (swt) has put between a man and a woman is a blessing and a mercy from Allah (swt). And, the way one uses this blessing to please Allah (swt) is through the bond of Nikah. Allah’s (swt) Messenger (sa) said: “When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of the religion; so let him fear Allah (swt) regarding the remaining half.” (Tirmidhi) This is the importance of Nikah in our Deen.

At another instance, Allah’s (swt) Messenger (sa) said: “You have seen nothing like marriage for increasing the love of two people.” (Tirmidhi)

This further shows the importance of a love story beginning through marriage.

This might sound alien to us because love story beginning with marriage is not something we hear quite often; We are often told by the media that love story is before marriage and marriage puts a full stop to the love story, but that is not real. According to Islam, love doesn’t end with marriage, it rather begins with it; marriage sows the seed of love! I will prove this point through examples of not fiction movies, but real people and their real love stories.

Exemplary Relationship of Khadijah (ra) and Muhammad (sa)

My first example of true love, proving husband and wife to be a source of comfort, mercy and blessing from Allah (swt) is the real love story of Khadijah (ra) and Muhammad (sa).

She was one of the noblest women of her time from a very influential family. She was also beautiful and was running her own business quite successfully. Many prominent and wealthy men had asked for her hand, but she refused. As a widow, she had lost the desire to marry again until he came in her life. He was just 25-twenty five years old, but well known for his honesty and trustworthiness, and this is what attracted her towards him.

As she had been looking for someone honest to conduct her business, he started working for her. Experiencing his honesty, she was very impressed by his character, and that was enough to sow the seed of love once again in her heart. She sent her sister who asked him: “Why are you not married yet?”  “For the lack of means,” he said. When she proposed him, he amazingly remarked, ‘How can I marry her? She turned down many wealthy men!” To which her sister replied that, “She will take care of that.” And, it was the beginning of one of the most happiest and sacred marriages in the human history. They both were a source of immense pleasure and strength for each other. They put each other’s fear to rest. They were married for 25-twenty five years and they had 4-four daughters and some sons who had died in infancy. She was there for him when the times were hard, but they were separated by her death. However, even after her death, he use to send food and provide support to her relatives and friends out of the pure forever love for her. Once, years after her death, he came across a necklace that she once wore and he began to cry seeing that necklace.

Confide in Each Other

Their relationship fits completely in the verse stated below, when Allah (swt) describes the most beautiful relationship between a man and his wife,

“…They are Libas (i.e. body cover, or screen, or Sakan, (i.e. you enjoy the pleasure of living with them), for you and you are the same for them…” (Al-Baqarah 2:187)

What’s the purpose of garment? They are for protection from different climates, to adorn or beautify, and for covering out of natural modesty or covering any weaknesses of our body.

Hence in this relationship, man and wife need to protect each other and look out for each other; secondly beautify each other- they should be the source of bringing smile on each other’s faces and serenity in  minds; lastly to cover each other ‘s weaknesses. Moreover, just like the garment is closest to us, similarly our spouses should be the closest to our hearts.

The Prophet (sa) said: “A woman is married for four things i.e. her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her Deen. So you should marry a religious woman (otherwise), you will be a loser.”  (Bukhari)

As was in the case of Hazrat Khadijah (ra), Muhammad (sa) had no wealth; he was an orphan, but definitely very handsome.  His main quality that attracted her was his character, honesty and sincerity. May Allah (swt) bless them both! Ameen.

Allah’s (swt) Apostle (sa) did not marry any other woman till her (Khadijah’s (ra)) death, even when he could have; because he was young and it was quite normal in that culture to keep more than one wife, but he chose not to.

Ideal Love Story of Fatimah (ra) and Ali (ra)

Second love story is of the daughter of Allah’s (swt) Messenger (sa) and her husband Ali (ra). Fatimah (ra) was then eighteen years of age, and one day Ali (ra) came to Muhammad (sa). He kept sitting quietly for a long time, until Muhammad (sa) himself asked him whether he was there to propose for Fatimah (ra) in marriage with him, and he shyly replied in positive. After which Muhammad (sa) went to Fatimah (ra) and asked her opinion and she agreed.

This shows the importance of women’s choice and her consent for marriage. Forced marriages are not a part of Islam. A marriage ceremony was carried out in which Ali (ra) gave his own marriage speech and Prophet (sa) blessed the couple with supplications for their new lives. Fatimah (ra) and Ali (ra) were not well off, thus when they shifted together, they lived a very simple life and there was never a complaint from either of the two. They both were also quite young when they got married and thus were like friends to their children, Hassan (ra) and Hussain (ra). May Allah (swt) have mercy on all of them. Ameen.

Don’t Delay Marriages!

We talk about sexism, racism- but we are also discriminating people on the basis of their age for getting married and that is ageism, and we rarely talk about it. In Islam, there is no sexism, racism or ageism. If willingly a child or even a teenager wants to work and get married, then Islam doesn’t restrict them from doing so; unlike our materialistic society which teaches to get educated first, then work and finally get married.

The desire of love, comfort and warmth is to be used in a natural way which Allah (swt) has prescribed for us; and not in an unnatural way because we can’t really thrive going against the commandments of our Creator.

A gist of one of the narrations of Prophet (sa) was that marriage is from his Sunnah and whosoever leaves his Sunnah is not from him. (Bukhari)

There are many real love stories from the lives of the companions of Prophet (sa) too that we can learn from. We, in spite of claiming to follow Islam, say that these love stories were for that time period, and today, we can’t think or live like that in this day and age. But think; is not Quran there for all times? Isn’t Prophet (sa) a role model for all times? We, as followers of Prophet (sa), have the responsibility to revive back the true spirit of this prophetic tradition. We must follow these real people; they can be our love role models. Hence, marrying according to Sunnah, is the perfect ingredient of the recipe of our real love story.

Dua taught by Prophet (sa) from Quran:

“Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders of the Muttaqun (the pious).” Ameen.

The Best Husband; A Complete Believer

best husband

By Ahmed Faraz Khan – Freelance writer and student at Islamic Online University

Abu Hurairah (rtam) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “The most complete believers in faith are those with the best character among them. And the best of you are those who are best to your women.” (Tirmidhi)

Does it matter how much you earn, what car you own, or how big your house is, if you aren’t able to be the best friend or a source of security and comfort for your wife? She should feel protected, happy, and at ease in your company.

Here are five tips for improving your relationship with your spouse:


Respect is the most important aspect of a relationship, especially when it comes to marriage. In fact, most marriage issues are somehow related to the element of respect. You have to respect your wife as an individual. Respect her likes, dislikes, moods, interests, and personality. Give her space, and don’t criticize every little thing she does. Realize that she is a unique person who deserves respect for who she is.

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From Ms. to Mrs. – Expectations Versus Reality

Vol 4-Issue 3 Muslim WeddingsI’m getting married -Yay! There is so much to be done- designer dress, jewellery, footwear, bags, make-up artist, salon etc. How many days will the wedding celebrations continue? How many functions? Theme of the day? What about the dance preparations? Do we have enough time to rehearse the dances in-sync? Oh wait- I almost forgot, the photographer! ‘Capturing memories that will last for a life-time.’ I want my wedding album to be the most creative. I’ll update my face book profile pictures and cover photos every day. Why not share my happiness with the world?

Many of us start considering these things as soon as the wedding bells start ringing in our head. The fairy-tale we had been reading, watching and dreaming of since our childhood is finally becoming true. So what do I do to prepare myself for this life-altering event? Yes! I Know! I need the wedding glow. I can’t be a dull bride. Manicure, pedicure, whitening facial, skin treatments, weight-loss plans, gym programs (Obviously, I can’t be a fat bride. What will people say?)

But….What happens once we say ‘Qubool Hai’? The fairy-tale wedding, the excitement of the events, the food, the glittering dresses, and need not mention the never ending laughter. What happens when all of this comes to an end and a new chapter in our life begins? What happens when the first time we get into an argument with our husband? What happens when someone from the in-laws says something that hurts you deeply? What happens when misunderstandings arise? This is the time when it truly hits us that the fairy-tales always promised a happily-ever-after, but this is not what we had imagined. What does this ‘happily-ever-after’ mean anyway?

We are so focused upon the fairy tale wedding events and the preparations that we forget to make preparations for the real life drama that would follow-on later.

Expectation vs. Reality

  • Expectation: My husband will come home every day with a smile on his face.
  • Reality: Girls, sorry to burst your bubble, but this is not true for an everyday routine. Your husband is a human. He goes through different stressful routines and tasks in a day at his work. He gets tired, he has hunger pangs, he is uncomfortable with the work-place politics and there could be a number of other reasons which you are unaware of. At times, he would want solitude for a little while. Try to calm him down. Ask him about his problems, strike a light conversation to divert his attention, give him a light snack to eat, dress-up adequately for him and be empathetic. Don’t take it personally. His mood will eventually become better.

 There will be times when you face criticisms and you will feel that you aren’t appreciated for your efforts.

  • Expectation: I will live the way ‘I’ like.
  • Reality: Once you get married, for some initial months, you are new to the in-laws and your in-laws are new to you. Learn their living habits, likes/dislikes and make sincere efforts to adjust to the new lifestyle. Pray to Allah (swt) for an increased level of patience and Taqwa. In times of turmoil, recite the Quran and the burden will be lifted from your heart Insha’Allah. Seeking permission wouldn’t mean the end of your freedom. Your husband would like it when you seek his permission and value his opinion in every matter.
  • Expectation: I will be showered with compliments
  • Reality: There will be times when you face criticisms and you will feel that you aren’t appreciated for your efforts. This is the time when you require patience the most. Keep doing good anyway. Keep a clear heart and try to improve your short-comings. Allah (swt) is the All knowing and All seeing. Allah (swt) is the turner of hearts.
  • Expectation: I will never get into a disagreement with my spouse
  • Reality: You and your husband are two different people with two different minds. There are going to be many occasions when you would not agree with a certain behaviour of your husband, or when your husband doesn’t agree with your opinions or conducts. Satan becomes the happiest when there is disagreement between the husband and wife. So, whenever you see yourself lose control of your patience, remember to seek refuge in Allah (swt) from the Satan. Even the Holy Prophet (sa) once had misunderstandings with Hazrat Aisha (ra) due to the malicious rumours spread by certain slanderous people, while on an expedition against Banu-Al-Mustaliq (Ref: Book Enjoy your life- Deduced from a study of the Prophet’s (sa) life by Dr. Muhammad Al-‘Areefi) Have the utmost faith in the judgement of Allah (swt). Try to finish the disagreements as soon as possible. Don’t prolong them. Be courteous and respectful even in the state of anger.
  • Expectation: I will spend my husband’s money as I like
  • Reality: You are now the lady of the house. It is your responsibility to make sure that the house expenditures run efficiently. Well, who doesn’t like shopping? But, set priorities and be a helpful and considerate spouse, rather than a shopaholic spendthrift. Make efforts to strengthen your Iman and do not indulge too much in the worldly desires.  In Surah Al-Araf, we are told, “O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes), while praying and going round (the Tawaf of ) the Kabah, and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance).” (Al-Araf 7:31)

The Satan gives a big reward to the subordinate who has created differences and distances between the husband and the wife in the form of arguments, disagreements and fights.

My dear sisters, the relation of a husband and wife is the first relation to come into existence i.e. that of Hazrat Adam (as) and bibi Hawa (as). The Satan gives a big reward to the subordinate who has created differences and distances between the husband and the wife in the form of arguments, disagreements and fights. We, at times, have such high expectations from our marital lives that even a slightest issue disrupts the harmony which we had imagined; and we tend to give up hope. Marriage is a relationship upon which you and your spouse have to work coherently. Learn to adjust, learn to give-in, to forgive, understand each other and above all respect one another. May Allah (swt) guide us to the best of knowledge and Iman.

Ibn Qayyim said: “The (path) always starts with trials and tests, then comes the period of patience and reliance (upon Allah (swt)), and the end is enlightenment, guidance and victory.” (Shifaa’ Al-Aleel)

Make a Hijab Deal – Conceal, and Do Not reveal!

Picture courtesy: arabianbusiness.com

Picture courtesy: arabianbusiness.com

“I don’t understand the purpose of this piece of cloth,” says the voice over the phone. “It only covers the head. Everything else can be seen.”

“That is why I choose to wear the outer garment that fully covers the body, as well as, the face cover,” I reply, jumping through the loophole in his argument.

He immediately backpedals.

“You know who wears that?” His voice rises. “You don’t know the kind of women who wear that, you live a sheltered life.”

“Yes,” I say. “I do know. Prostitutes.”

He is surprised, not having expected me to know the answer. He goes off on a tangent, asking me how would I like it if I talked to him with him having a piece of cloth over his face, or how would I like it if I had “three other mothers” (his reference to the Islamic allowance for a man to keep up to four wives), and other spiraling circles of conversation. After an exchange of questions and answers, he said, “Well, then, it’s just a matter of faith.”

How I came to have this conversation over the phone with my father’s friend, who is a doctor, is irrelevant. What was said in the conversation is highly relevant, as it highlights the attitude of people towards the Quranic commandment for women to observe Hijab.

I would like to highlight some points about the girls who observe Hijab (whether it is just head and front cover, or with outer garment, or with face cover, or any combination of the three).

1. Hijabi girls are not allergic to males, or to marriage. I did not discover this opinion until one day, an acquaintance said out of the blue, “You don’t want to get married, right?” which is a way of saying, “You don’t find men attractive, right?” I observed head cover and outer garment then- not the face cover, and still she thought I was against marriage. Why? Not because of my dressing only, but because I did not talk about boys the way the other girls did. I did not discuss which cute boys I had seen when I went out shopping last weekend, I did not list my crushes, I did not share which actors I found attractive, I did not keep wallpapers of actors.

People do not know that this face cover, body cover and head cover is the legacy of the mothers of the believers. Yes! They used to observe it all.

As I know the state of my own inner thoughts only and not anyone else’s; here is a sneak peek: yes, I did see cute boys when I went out. I did have crushes on some of the males I interacted with during school (and later, on work). I did have celebrity crushes when I used to watch movies, and to tell the truth, even a photo shopped poster of a movie glimpsed while driving by is enough to plant the seed of a crush. I used to save wallpapers of computer animated characters from video games, and yes, some of them did feature attractive men. What I did not do was share these thoughts with my friends, because I did not want to give power to them. You give power to thoughts, and they rule your consciousness. I did not want to sit with my friends and cook daily servings of crushes and infatuations. What ruled my consciousness were my own daydreams of my own made-up characters in my own fantasy world. I used to think I was merely making up stories as a writer, until something I read made me realize that I was substituting my own imaginary “ideals” for the flesh-and-blood members of the opposite sex in this world. Yes, my imagination did include attractive male characters as well. Make of that what you will, but I eventually learned not to daydream so much. I didn’t want to take my own whims and desires as my God.

2. Hijabis have nothing to hide. Sure, there’s the girl who will use her head cover to hide her earphones while she listens to music in a packed college classroom. There’s the girl who will use the same method to cheat in exams. Yes, I am coming to the juicy part: there are females who wear face cover to hide their identity so that they can engage with males in pre-marital or extra-marital relations, or as I mentioned in the conversation in the beginning of the article, they do it in order to sell their bodies. People do not know that this face cover, body cover and head cover is the legacy of the mothers of the believers. Yes! They used to observe it all.

The words “Khimar” (head and chest cover) and “Jilbab” (body cover i.e. outer garment) come in the Quran. Whether face cover is included in the word “Jilbab” is the only point of disagreement between scholars. Yes, contrary to the public assumption that all Islamic dress code for females is open to question, there is actually no ignoring these two words, “Khimar” and “Jilbab”, in the Quran.

This brings me to an important point. Belief in the Quran is a pillar of Islamic faith. That means belief in every verse of the Quran, including the ones which spark social controversy today. Whether or not, you choose to obey a particular verse of the Quran or not, you cannot try to change its meaning in order to make yourself feel safe and comfortable. You cannot pretend that these words are not in the Quran. Even if you believe from the depth of your heart that the Hijabi sister you see is up to no good, you should create excuses for her in your mind. After all, it’s not your job to judge people, that job is Allah’s (swt). Good thing He didn’t give it to you and me, right? Our heads would explode.

Belief in the Quran is a pillar of Islamic faith. That means belief in every verse of the Quran, including the ones which spark social controversy today.

3. The default setting of a Hijabi is not “sexually frustrated”. Yes, there are holier-than-thou Hijabi sisters and they just have frowning, or sad facial expressions naturally; but that doesn’t mean that all they need is “a good make out”. If you claim to support feminine freedom and are against “the patriarchy”, consider giving your Hijabi sisters a break, too. On the inside, they are creations of emotions, thoughts and conflicts, just like you.

All this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to addressing assumptions about Hijabi Muslims. Whether this article gives you answers, or creates more questions in your mind, depends on your perspective. I will end this article, the way I ended the conversation with my father’s friend: “It’s all a matter of faith.”

Newly-wed? Thrive to Survive!

Vol 5 - Issue 4 A wedding to rememberIt is He Who has created you from a single person (Adam), and (then) He has created from him his wife (Hawwa), in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her. When he had sexual relation with her, she became pregnant and she carried it about lightly. Then when it became heavy, they both invoked Allah, their Lord (saying): If You give us a Salih (good in every aspect) child, we shall indeed be among the grateful.” (Al-Araf 7:189)

Allah (swt) has created men and women to worship Him; but besides this, Allah (swt) has created this Dunya as a test for us. Allah (swt) has established a really beautiful bonding between the husband and wife. Allah (swt) states in the Quran, “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.” (Ar-Rum 30:21)

It is quite clear that husband and wife are a source of peace and comfort for each other. When two souls meet, they might have differences- different nature and different life style.

Hence, it is quite necessary for a newly wedded couple to spend some time with each other, and try to understand each other very well. Honeymoon period is quite necessary for a healthy beginning of a married life. It helps to develop the feeling of love and care for each other. Both, husband and wife, should understand each other’s nature, likes and dislikes, and should deal with each other accordingly. They should expect less from each other and should focus more on giving.

Tips for the wives

  • They should try to maintain good relations with their in-laws, and should not complain about them to their husband.
  • They should get ready for their husbands i.e. wear good clothes, makeup and perfume, under the limits described by Allah (swt); although it might sound typical, but it really makes husbands feel happy and special.
  • They should understand their husband’s mood and concern, and should deal accordingly.
    They should make food of their husband’s choice- as it is said that the way to a man’s heart is through the stomach.
  • They should welcome their husbands with a smile.
  • They should protect their husband’s honour in their absence.

Tips for the husbands

  • They should praise and appreciate their wives’ efforts.
  • Their wives deserve love and care- as they are very sensitive and emotional; and also, they have left their parents and their loved ones for them.

Anas ibn Malik narrated that, a Sahabi named Anjeshe was leading the camels that were carrying the Prophet’s (sa) wives on the way back from the last pilgrimage. He was making the camels run with the rhythmic songs that he sang with his beautiful voice. The Prophet (sa) told him:

“O Anjeshe, ride slowly, do not break the crystals” (Darimi, Istizan)

  • Outings, long drives and shopping for their wives is equally important.
  • Taking their wives to meet her parents as well as respecting them, would make wives happy.

Thus, the conclusion is that marriage can’t be successful without the PTC tool i.e. Patience, Tolerance and Compromise.

And, don’t forget to make this Dua: “And those who say: Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaqun” (Al-Furqan 25:74)

Happily Ever After

wedding-ringsShe couldn’t see clearly through the thin film of tears, but she could make out her trembling hands; tremors running throughout her body. She had never felt like that before- not like that, but maybe similar. Flash backs from the past. And she was back at the assembly hall… assembly hall? Students standing in rows properly arranged as ever. Recognition dawned on her then. It was the assembly hall of her primary school when she was nine. She was confused though, why this memory? When the door beside the stage opened with a bang, bright light flooding through the doors, the brightest she had ever seen. What was that? Or .. who was that? She felt its sacredness in her heart. Was that an angel? Or Jesus?

Jesus? She snapped back to reality. She had dismissed that episode back then. . But then, that memory felt as real as ever. Maybe, it really was an unearthly entity. A moan escaped her lips.

The feeling was overwhelming. She could hardly keep herself together. All she wanted to do was to burst into tears and cry her heart out. When she heard the words again,

“There is no God but Allah, And Muhammad (sa) is His Messenger.”

And there was a silent explosion. All control broke and she fell into prostration;  the tears dripping faster than ever. She cried so much that she was tied up in hiccups.

She had lost the track of time by the moment she could gather herself again. When she got up, she finally became aware of the other people around. Her sisters, her friends in Islam. The sister after whom she had repeated Shahadah came into view. She had the sweetest smile playing through her lips and her eyes were wet. And, then was getting embraced by every sister in the mosque.

Oh, how her Lord has blessed her! A giggle of pure joy escaped her mouth before she knew. She covered her mouth realizing that she was sitting there for her Nikah. She had never been happier. It was the happiness that she had never really experienced before. She caught herself sighing out of happiness. She had been blessed with Islam, a whole bunch of sisters to help her, and a pious and righteous husband. She felt like the luckiest and the happiest person on the earth.

She looked back at the sisters who escorted her out- they were still giving her Duas. After the greeting, she turned towards the road. She could see him standing by the car, waiting for her. Her heart swelled with love that He had brought her to this day, and she could feel great days to come. She had finally found Him and she was ready to start her journey with her righteous man- the journey of getting closer to Allah (swt).  . Her story had a happily-ever-after that not even fairy tales ever had. Breathing in the air of determination, she started moving towards the car.

Illuminated Love

heartsThe ears have entangled the senses with romantic tales,

The eyes have caged the heart with the base desires.

The seeds of the beautiful tomorrow in the palm of hands

You’re the farmer and planter of these blooming buds.

There are two delicate and fragile relationships in life: marriage and parenthood. These two aspects of life involve radical turns of perspective: from being single to married; from being a couple to having a family. If we compare life to a drama, then these three beautiful stages are the three acts of the play, which can either earn hellfire or Paradise for you, with you being the sole purchaser of them.

Celebrating these relationships just a single day in a year isn’t what our beautiful religion teaches us. It is funny, how people think it’s their duty to love their fathers on Father’s Day, mothers on Mother’s Day and spouses on Valentine’s Day, forgetting about the remaining days of the year. For Muslims, every single day of our lives is a father’s day, a mother’s day and Valentine’s day. We aren’t taught to love one day; instead, we’re giving Muhabbat, which is so intense that it’s for a lifetime indeed; eternity, if you buy Paradise for your children and spouse.

Our vague criteria in the wind of modernism have taken away the essence of the right age of marriage, which leads to illegal relations. The heart cries a billion tears to see the Muslim youth going astray. How will we face the Father of the Ummah? The Prophet (sa) said: “After me, I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women.” In verse 26 of Surah An-Nur, Allah (swt) clearly defines who deserves what, when it comes to marriage:

“Bad statements are for bad people (or bad women for bad men) and bad people for bad statements (or bad men for bad women). Good statements are for good people (or good women for good men) and good people for good statements (or good men for good women), such (good people) are innocent of (each and every) bad statement which they say, for them is Forgiveness, and Rizqun Karim (generous provision i.e. Paradise).”

Men are from Makkah and women are from Madinah

MoM-Gender-Roles-1John Gray wrote a book titled “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus”. This bestseller sold over fifty million copies worldwide. It has some valuable stuff that has saved many marriages. It emphasizes the difference between men and women. It also lays failure of relationships upon not being able to understand these gender differences. We will reflect upon this book highlighting some points worth mentioning.

Firstly, it is imperative to understand whether the differences between males and females are innate or acquired. Are they biological or learned through social interaction? It is amazing to learn that babies react differently to certain stimuli so naturally when they have not yet acquired any behavioural characteristics. Hence, certain differences are inborn and inbuilt. Cultural expectations are different from the two.

How can we build a successful relationship?

For starters, a huge hurdle is the problem of generalization, even though every single human being is unique. We are always dealing with individuals. It doesn’t harm us to appreciate that men and women think and behave differently. A word of caution is that in spite of recognizing these gender differences, we do not fall into the issue of gender conflict. For Muslims, the basis of everything is Islam. In Islam, men and women are supporters and companions to each other. Their innate nature is meant to complement one another.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (May Allah exalt his mention and protect him from imperfection) said: “By Him in Whose Hand my soul is! You will not enter Jannah until you believe, and you shall not believe until you love one another. May I inform you of something, if you do, you love each other. Promote greeting amongst you (by saying As-salamu ‘alaikum to one another).” (Muslim)

What does love mean? It is not just a word or an emotion. It governs our behaviour. Your beloved’s well-being is connected to yours. You are unhappy, when your spouse is sad. You cannot relax, if he/she is distressed. For Muslim homes, mercy should be the pre-dominant emotion that ensures peaceful homes.

In Islam, interestingly, men and women have been treated equally and same. Women are considered to be twin half of men. Whenever Allah (swt) addresses believers, He calls out to both men and women, unless the Prophet (sa) has specifically mentioned something that is gender specific. In reality, men and women are from the same planet, and they have more in common.

Some ways that they differ could be their unique ways of reacting to stress. Men retreat to their cave. We have a supreme example in our own Messenger (sa) of that. Perturbed about the despicable state of Arabia’s affairs, he spent solitary time in Cave Hira. Men value competence and like to figure out stuff themselves. The last thing a man needs in times of stress is intervention from someone.

Women, on the other hand, like to discuss things. When they work very hard, they expect men to automatically understand what’s troubling them. And when they have no clue to their feelings, women get upset.

The Prophet (sa) used to tend to his own clothes and help at home by serving his family. He didn’t wait for his wives to break down. He acted proactively.

Similarly, when the Prophet (sa) was shocked by his experience with angel Gabriel (as) for the first time, he ran to Khadijah (rta). Men want to be trusted and appreciated. Look, how she behaved. She validated and assured him.

Lastly, it is important to note that men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah (swt) based on their worship.

Transcribed by Rana Rais Khan from a talk at Mercy Mission, Karachi.

Lessons in Love from Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (rtaf)

8 lessons in loveProphet Muhammad (sa) is the ultimate role model for all Muslims, men and women, as we are all commanded by Allah (swt) in the Quran to follow the Messenger’s (sa) Sunnah. We look upon him as our guide. He possessed the best of manners, the noblest of character, and was the best husband to his wives. I am sure every Muslim woman wants her husband to emulate the example of the Prophet (sa), and to experience the deep love and tranquillity of married life just as the wives of the Prophet (sa) did. Yet we have to remember that marriage and love is a shared responsibility. If we want our husbands to resemble Prophet Muhammad (sa) in their conduct, we ourselves should also strive to be more like the Mothers of the Believers. Every one of these great women has a lesson we can learn from. If we want to become the best and most loving wives to our husbands, we should learn more about Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (rtaf), the first and the most beloved wife of the Prophet (sa).

Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (rtaf) was born into a rich Makkan family. She inherited great wealth from her father, which she further multiplied by her successful business ventures. She used to send caravans with goods to neighbouring countries, and she would put trusted employees in charge of her merchandise. Having heard of the young man who was known in Makkah as al-Amin (the trustworthy), she decided to employ him. Khadijah (rtaf) sent with him her old and trusted slave, Maysarah, so that he could report to her about his dealings. The man she employed was no other than Muhammad (sa). Khadijah (rtaf) was so impressed by the success of his business trip, as well as by what Maysarah told her about him, that she became inclined to marry him.

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[Winning Story] An Escapist’s Version of Reality

Winning story of the 3rd Annual Short Story Writing Competition organized by Hiba

10 escapist version of realityI vividly remember the disastrous day my mom forced an Abaya on me. I was an extremely outgoing girl, the very opposite of what my mom wanted me to be. My life revolved around partying, hanging out with school friends, and especially socializing around the many social networking sites on the World Wide Web. One of my closest friends was an emerging musician, and although I did not have a knack for music, she was my source for the latest gossip relating to our school’s social scene.

It was after a parent-teacher meeting at school that my mom became adamant upon having me wear an Abaya: by hook or by crook. In normal circumstances, I would surely not have given in to her way, but back then, I knew that I had lost my ground as my teacher had informed her about all my ‘extra-curricular activities’. My mother was furious. However, it was not her anger that struck me the most; it was the fact that I had betrayed her trust that caused her to hurt most, and that made me reflect upon my character and the path of disloyalty I was treading.

The initial few days of being shrouded in an Abaya were quite miserable. The many times that I would run a critical gaze down my Abaya-donned body made me deeply regret my agreement to have it as an identity for the rest of my life.

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Waving Goodbye to Disney

The Old Walt Disney Castle LogoMariam experienced a dilemma, after going through the most popular Disney videos: Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Tangled and the like. Her daughter Hannah was a die-heart fan of the Disney movies. She was soon out of her ocean of thoughts, as she caught a glimpse of Hannah, who was flying with happiness after receiving a gift from her aunt – a dress that resembled the one worn by Cinderella, her favourite Disney character.

“Happily Ever After is Only in Jannah.” This expression, which she had recently read in an Islamic book, was banging on her level of consciousness and unconsciousness unceasingly.

“What am I teaching my girl? Am I myself pushing her in the world of deception and fiction? Will it not create a rift between the real and false? Would it not create a dissonance?” A series of questions flowed into her mind adding volume to her vulnerability.

Hannah, wearing that pretty Cinderella dress, was enjoying her meal with father, and for the first time, she did not seem to gain her mother’s warm look and praise.

“Daddy, see how pretty this dress is,” she was bouncing with delight.

Am I myself pushing her in the world of deception and fiction? Will it not create a rift between the real and false?

“My girl is the prettiest girl in the world!” Danial was overwhelmed to see her. “And she is fairer than snow white. And one day her prince will come and take her away from us to her palace, where there will be dwarves to serve my girl.”

“….and I will live happily ever after with my prince,” added Hannah.

Mariam used to be part of these discussions. She was the one who would always uplift and praise her daughter, show her hopeful dreams and a bright happy future ahead with her husband-to-be. It is a fact that mothers start to reflect on their daughter’s wedding the day they are born. They hope and pray for the unsurpassed, super perfect soul mate for their daughters.

After putting her daughter to sleep, she thought of sharing her recent thoughts with Danial. She tried her level best to phrase her words in such a way that they wouldn’t sound judgemental and cynical. “Dani, don’t you think we are communicating ample details of Disney stories to Mariam and thus leading her expectations to rise to a level of unmet fulfilments about her future marriage and husband?” she asked with a concerned look.

A widespread smile touched his lips. He said, “She is just seven years old; she does not know all this. It is just a story. Come on, you cannot be serious about it.” His statement caused her jaw to drop down in shock. Regaining composure, she said: “It is a serious matter. We are instilling falsehood in her perception and pushing her into the world of deception. We are making her believe that after getting married with her prince, she will have a happy life.”

“Do you remember Hijab, who was studying psychology?” she exclaimed anxiously.

He raised his eyebrow and paused for a while, as if he was sorting out her name from his long term memory. “Oh yes! That weird lady!” he exclaimed, with an outburst of laughter. He knew it very well that Mariam is very touchy about her friends, especially that one. He just wanted to make the situation lighter. But it did not make any change.

Ignoring his prank, she continued: “The other day, she was telling me about the subliminal cues these cartoons depict. She quoted that one cartoon named Lion King which was about a lion named Simba. According to a research, the wind that caused Simba’s hair to move had a message in disguise. With naked eye one cannot see, but mind being the master piece can absorb the meaning without any deliberate effort. When the wind was seen in slow motion, the word ‘sex’ was written.” She looked so stunned and worried communicating all this.

This information caught Danial’s attention, too. “Are you sure about it?” he exclaimed.

“She said so. Allah (swt) knows best. But we cannot deny the fact that cartoon nowadays are full of filth and sexuality. Apart from the ‘happily after notion’, they are also giving some really dangerous and unacceptable messages, which are gradually seeping into our culture and becoming a part of our norms.”

“And yes, how can we ignore that birthday party incident that took place in school, where kids kissed on lips after cake cutting ceremony. According to them, they were dating, and the Disney movies end by this kissing scene. We are making it so absorbent.”

“Hmm-mm,” he sighed. Lost in his thoughts, he uttered: “The discussion has reminded me of my mother. She used to say that this world is a prison for a believer. Life in this world will be full of pain, sorrows and tests, but the later life will be eternal, loaded with happiness, ease, laughter and tranquillity. It is we, who decide, which life to be treasured. If we keep our focus here then we are at a total loss as we are sacrificing permanent peace for temporary peace. We are so involved in this world’s deception that we don’t even consider the righteousness of our thoughts and actions, of our intention and preferences.”

Mariam was at ease now. It is an immense blessing, when both partners are on the same page.

We are so involved in this world’s deception that we don’t even consider the righteousness of our thoughts and actions, of our intention and preferences.

“So what can we do now? I mean, since we have induced so much love for Disney world in Hannah’s heart – how to detox it?” she asked him.

He said: “It will be difficult, but nothing is impossible, if we really intend to do it. First of all, together we should supplicate. Repent for our mistake and beg for Allah’s (swt) aid.”

“Divert her interest to such other activities as baking, for example,” Mariam added her suggestion. “Yes, this sounds good. In addition to this, we can talk to her about Jannah, its gardens and eternal life and will try to shift her idea of happiness to it. And make her greedy to do good deeds, in order to acquire Jannah,” he added. “Most importantly, we should tell her stories about the lives of Asiya (ra) and prophet Noah (as), who, despite their piety and spirituality, ended up getting bad spouses, which became a source of pain, not pleasure. This will make her realize that marriage is not all about ‘happily ever after’; likewise, that your goodness will not guarantee you the pleasures of life in this world.”

She concluded by saying: “So true! It is our trial period. Our real home is Jannah, and its pleasure and happiness should be our sole aim. In this world, bad things can happen with good people, too. This all has brought the negligence in us towards reality.

As the clock struck two at night, they finally retired to bed, having discussed their vision and formed a firm strategy to follow with the help of Allah (swt).

For the Unwed Muslimah: Single is Serene

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter / CC BY-NC

  1. Everything is decreed

The only sober way to change your perspective is to know that you are where you were destined to be. Allah (swt) is Al-Muqtadir (The perfect in ability) and He is the Creator of the Divine Qadr. Your destiny was written by Him even before you came into existence. Customarily, we find people pinning blame or ill-omens to single women for being single. Nothing can be more ignorant and farther from the truth. If you are single right now, you are living out what has been written for you and the rest shall come to pass too- if that includes a husband and a family then rejoice; if it doesn’t, then rejoice some more. It is your Creator’s (swt) wise plan.

Ask any married individual and he/she mopes about having no time for self-growth and development.

  1. Marriage – a non-mandatory blessing

Our lives, our time, the air we breathe are some blessings that have been granted to us by our Lord. But, who said that a spouse is included in the deal for all? Each and every one of us enjoy a different set of bounties when it comes to our share of family, friends, Rizq, intelligence, talent, beauty and opportunities etc. You are not bound to have a relationship; so stop thinking that you are deprived. Your Creator is Al-Wahab (The liberal Bestower). You may have what many other married couples do not have. If being single was unfortunate, then Allah (swt) would not have destined Maryam (as) and prophets like Yahya (as) to live and die as single.

  1. Comparison is the thief of joy

Everyone is in a different chapter of his/her life story. If you decide to compare your life to that happily married cousin or the very wealthy and pampered friend, you will self-sabotage your own life. Understand that Allah (swt) has created every person and his circumstances unique. Any kind of comparison is the greatest insult one can do to that uniqueness in creativity. When we compare our life to others, we are always comparing apples to oranges. Regretfully, social media with couples flaunting their joy adds to the trigger of emotions; and single people often feel insecure, under-achieved and deprived. There is so much to life. A spouse may be a cherry on the cake, but not the cake itself. The cake is your relationship with Allah (swt); the rest is just the icing.

  1. Fasting ensures chastity and contentment

For many Muslimahs, marriage is simply a means to satisfy their natural intimate desire- as Islam disallows adultery. They are not mentally mature to handle a relationship; and neither they are committed and trained to bear and raise kids. If physical attraction would have been such a strong means to keep couples together, then we would not have seen spiralling divorces. Sexual need is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. The prophetic means to curb is to fast regularly. Also occupy yourself with something productive; refrain from viewing soft pornography and seductive imagery on media; try to hang around with friends and family members who are serious about developing their own talents, skills and pursuing community and welfare services.

  1. Self-appreciation and education

Marriage is a serious business. It comes with a set of heavy duty responsibilities that occupies your entire day and time for many years. Ask any married individual and he/she mopes about having no time for self-growth and development. If Allah (swt) has destined you to be single, then avail this opportunity to grow- educate yourself, develop a skill, pursue a hobby and take care of your health. We often hear comments like: “I need to lose weight so that I can get married.” The only reason one should maintain good health and care is so that he/she is able to worship and obey Allah (swt) effectively. Your self-esteem will rise automatically. Your looks and your decisions should not be fashioned to win a spouse; rather to keep Allah (swt) pleased with you.

May Allah (swt) bless us all with understanding of His Deen and contentment. Ameen