Sunday, 7 July 2013

New Blog

Assalam alaykum folks,

As promised here's my new blog:

See you all there inshAllaah


Sunday, 30 June 2013


Assalam 'alaykum,

3 months since I last wrote something *cries* Where did time go?
I've been feeling guilty (only a tiny bit) about not coming on here regularly despite people reminding me every now and then.

I've decided to open a new blog inshallah so that I can start a new and fresh page. I've loved writing on this one, it was a really fun experience but it is almost 3+ years old and I feel I need a change of "scenery".

A lot of people requested that this blog should try and have Islamic reminders, others have suggested that we talk about more sensitive issues and to be honest, I don't think I can do any of that! There are millions of wonderful Islamic blogs out there and I don't think I'd do a better job than them.

I'm not yet sure what the new blog will contain but I'm really excited about it ^_^  as soon as I set it up (which hopefully won't take another 3 months) I will post it here inshallah :)

See you all soon

PS: Ramadhan coming up soon...

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Violence & the Muslim home

Assalam 'aleykum all,

Today I will be sharing a slightly different experience, a painful experience for some sisters (and brothers).

Sometimes the marriage we all ever wished for:
~  the beautiful union of two souls and the completion of one's Deen doesn't quite turn as we expect. ~

Sometimes it will end in a divorce and sometimes it turns into an unstoppable vicious cycle of violence.

Sadly, this is a taboo within our communities and the victims are often too scared to speak about the domestic violence they are suffering from.

Too scared and unsure of whom to talk to, whom to turn to and what to say.

When do we know the line has been crossed? How much are we supposed to remain patient with our other half? Where do we go when all we know are insults and punches?

I will share one experience of a friend of mine who has been tested with this calamity.
Here it goes:

Sister S. is in her late 20s and she was married to Brother F. for a few years before I even met her. The marriage was arranged by people outside of family, they are actually from 2 (very) different backgrounds.

Sister S. left her family to come and live with her husband in the city and was thus cut off from her closest relatives. However, she quickly found a new family at the local masjid where we met and would often meet thereafter alhamdulilaah.

We clicked fairly quickly and we used to spend much time together.

One thing I noticed very quickly (which I misinterpreted at the time) was that Sister S. would almost go into a panic attack whenever she missed a call from her husband, even if that happened whilst she was in prayer.
I recall being surprised at her behavior but I simply thought that she must be a really obedient and dedicated wife.

Many times, I asked her to join myself and other sisters to attend classes or lectures at the local masjid (or elsewhere) and her response was always:

'Oh, I must ask my husband.'
 'I don't think my husband will let me'.

The other sisters always thought that was a bit strange but I, once again, thought that was a somewhat normal/natural response but time proved that I was wrong. After a while, we stopped asking her to join us because we simply knew her husband wouldn't approve of her going anywhere.

For a good few months, I did not see any sight of Sister S. nor did I hear any of her news.
Nobody saw her, nobody knew where she was, silence.

Then, she re-appeared but she was different.
She had become much slimmer, less bubbly, less happy, few teeth missing and generally appeared physically exhausted.

I bombarded her with questions because I was concerned but she simply said her house was very cold in the winter and that the doctor gave her some tablets.

Fast-forward another few months, the news of Sister S. & Brother F.'s divorce reaches me.

I get in touch with the sister and she invites me over to her flat, which, despite our friendship I had never visited before.
She lived in an old, rusty council flat covered with graffiti and scary people hanging out around the estate. The kinda place you would rather not live in.

I entered the apartment and she immediately double-locked the front door whilst telling me she had just changed all the lockers and the keys so that Brother F. wouldn't make a surprise visit.

My heart dropped.

I came into the living room and she showed me how she had packed all of his stuff into neat boxes: his clothes, computer, books etc.

We sat down and there she revealed the horrors of domestic violence.

She first showed me her hair, shaved.
He shaved all of her hair.
She showed me how he put her head in the toilet.
She talked through the punches, kicks, spits.
She explained the cold winters, he had refused to have double-glazing on the windows.

It was unbelievable to me that a Muslim man could harm and take vicious pleasure out of hurting a Muslim woman.

He had successfully managed to cut off the sister from her relatives, her family and reduced her self-confidence to zero.

Sister S. managed to get out of this hell by herself which was extremely brave of her, alhamdulilaah.
The physical damage caused will inshallaah repair itself over time, however for the psychological and emotional damage... there is no guarantee.

This is only one tiny bit of one story, there are hundreds and thousands of cases of domestic violence in Muslim homes.

So, how can we notice a violent man before marriage?

Firstly, sisters, do not rush to marry to the first guy who knocks on your door.
Do carry out a thorough investigation, give it some time, get to know him under different circumstances, feel free to test his patience

-If the guy gets angry for no reason
-If he wants to take you away from everyone and everything you know, especially your parents
-If he is paranoid and a control freak
-If he has a history of violence
-If he belittles women in general
-If he is not concerned of your worries and fears

These are a few signals that could alert you..

A man does not turn violent overnight, he probably had a past that had made him turn violent.. therefore families must also play their role in ensuring that their daughter is marrying safely.

I shall possibly extent on this topic a little more in another post inshAllah but I'll stop here for now.

SubhanAka Allahuma wa bi hamdik, astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk

Ma'salaam ~

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Am I too picky?

Assalam 'aleykum dear readers,

Here I am once again writing from a busy and loud computer room hoping no one catches me while writing this article; don't particularly like people especially my classmates knowing about this blog, no thanks.

What actually triggered this post is an email I received today from a sister all the way from Canada (shout out if you're reading this!) who was sharing practically the very same thoughts I had in mind for the past few weeks!

As I was reading her email, I kept saying (in my head of course): 'yeah, me too!' to almost every point she was making.

The question was: Am I being too picky?

Is it being too picky to desire to marry a devout Muslim man?
Is it being too picky to wish to marry someone who shares common interests?
Is it being too picky to wish to marry someone from a specific culture?
Is it being too picky wishing to marry someone with financial stability?

I could carry on ALL DAY LONG.. but you get the gist..

Believe it or not, some people out there would almost make us believe that we are in the wrong for wanting to know what we desire in a potential spouse!
 That's crazy.
There is no one worse than those guys and girls who don't know what they want in a spouse, those folks usually waste people's time and emotions for nothing.

Now Let's get up close & personal..

Few years ago, this whole topic of marriage would only get one type of reaction from me:

-red marks on my cheeks
-few giggles,
-intertwinted fingers,
-twisting feet
& just create pure awkwardness even when this was innocently being discussed amongst fellow singleton sisters.
I usually kept quiet but I can't deny those were entertaining and hilarious moments to say the least but reflecting back now, I also think this topic turned me speechless because -back then- I had a very blurry idea of who I wanted to marry.

I was quite shallow, all I wanted was: 'a brother between 19-25 who regurlarly prays in the masjid'

But some of the more outspoken sisters were even more precise: 'he must have large shoulders, dark skin, big hands and a beard. OMG the beard must be nice' ..

I mean try to beat that for shallowness -_-  ' *sigh*

However as the years passed, my blurry image has become so sharp [alhamdulilah for that] and this only happened through the various encounters I have had with 'potentials'.
Today, I could confidently list you: what I am looking for, in what order, why I want that ect.. and I think this is a process that takes time.

It takes maturity to separate from your list what is a must-have like:
-good aqeedah,
-good akhlaq & deen
-good family
-clean past..... whatever

From what is not-so-important like:
-large shoulders
-big hands
-nice beard
-small feet or what have you..

Sadly, some people have not yet reached that maturity level to be able to have a conscice and clear list.

For those of us who may be completely clueless as to what to include in 'our list' then no worries!

Our role model, ar-Rassul 'aleyhi salaam was told us in very famous narrations (everyone knows those ahadith) that for the man then he marries a woman for one of 4 reasons: her beauty, her wealth, her lineage and for her deen. Marry the one with deen, may your hand be blessed
& for the woman, he 'aleyhi salaam has told us that, if a man whom you are pleased with his deen and akhlaq then marry him. [rough translations]

Therefore, these criteria MUST and I repeat MUST be on the top priority.
Do NOT compromise on this ever!
And do NOT be led to believe you're being 'too picky' because these criteria are your top conditions...

Finally, do not worry if you're struggling to find a person who matches your desires a 100%. It's likely that such a person isn't actually out there (sorry if I'm breaking your heart </3), you may well need to compromise on a few minor things and as long as that doesn't throw you off then it's all good.

I may be wrong but I believe that this issue mainly concerns the sisters because from what I have seen, brothers tend not to be too picky.. any lady will do as long as she looks like one right?
They're also very shallow on this but hey.. that's another topic all together :/

At the end of the day, Allaah knows best who is best suited for each one of us and we shouldn't close doors on ourselves so if you happen to have a super long list of criteria, something tells me you should most likely reconsider it.. and guys, don't forget the du'as..especially the du'a in the last third of the night.

The pious of another generation used to say that a supplication made in the last 1/3 of the night is like an arrow that doesn't miss its shot.

Subhanaka Allaahuma wa bihamdik, astaghfiruka wa atuubu ilayk.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Hold up brother!

Assalam 'Aleykum !

This post may be offensive to my brothers in Islam so it is with extra care and no sarcasm that I will be writing today's article inshAllaah. I will , in this post, reflect some of the concerns most sisters have regarding our brothers in faith. However, these are not a one-size-fits-all and I am not trying to stereotype or point fingers (I promise) but I'm here to address issues  that I feel perhaps brothers are not conscious of and could possibly benefit from.

How's your Deen akhi?

It is known to everyone that MOST young people have returned to the Deen in the last 3 to 5 years and Allaah is praised for this, Alhamdulilaah! This recent phenomena has meant that we see more and more beards around, more swag like thobes and 'imamaahs but when it comes to asking the questions:

'So, when was the last time you prayed Qiyaam? Or, how frequently do you fast? What kutub or matn have you memorised?'

I mean apart from stutters, I haven't heard much.

You may think.. woaaaah, memorise kutub? This sista is havin' a laugh! Who does she think she is? 
Ok, give me a minute. 

What brothers need to understand is that sisters (at least serious & practising ones) require brothers to have -at the very least- a strong base in Deen. A strong base in knowledge and a strong base in practice. Now, of course, the level required will differ from sister to sister.
A sister may be happy to marry a brother who can just teach her how to read Arabic and another may desire a brother who can teach her Nahw (Arabic Grammar). For a lot of us, the main reason why we turn down proposals is because we are presented with fresh-in-the-deen brothers who perhaps struggle with reading Fatiha with tajweed and who perhaps don't even know halaal from haram ect..

Where's the seeking of knowledge akhi?

The majority of young brothers in the West think, out of good intentions, that they seek knowledge and when a prospective sister asks this question, they jump in to say:

'Yes alhamdulilah I seek knowledge'.

But, it doesn't take too long to dig before you realise that; LO! AND BEHOLD!
What they actually mean by 'seeking knowledge' is attending 2hrs of islamic classes a week for the most adhering ones.

It's possible that there are brothers out there who do genuiely seek knowledge for the sake of Allah (although I'm the first to admit that there's only a certain amount we can seek in the West) - the majority does not and this point alone can easily make a sister turn down proposals.

Now, do not think for a second that you should seek knowledge for you to get married, you'll stain your intentions.
Seek knowledge for Allaah, aim to learn your religion so that you can one day teach & benefit your family and Allaah (swt) will open the doors to blessings for you.

Where's the money at brother?

I had to add this one in.
I never understood brothers who will present themselves to a sister while they don't have the financial means to sustain a wife. Funny thing is that they also know they're not able to provide for her but still want to marry. LALA-land at its finest.

'ajib isn't it?

Perhaps more worrying is the lack of responsability (al-mas'uliyyah) from our brothers, marriage is a whole load of responsabilities for both men and women but men have that bit extra responsability.
How sad is it to see them unaware of their role? Ignorant of their duties? Careless of their responsabilities? ---->  Need i say more?  

 f.i.x         u.p          q.u.i.c.k

Where's the sabr (patience) bro?

They say patience is a virtue, I guess they were right.
Sometimes I feel like brothers have very little patience when it comes to the whole zawaj thing but some sisters also act recklessly at times (they'll have their own hold up post too).
I won't say much about this as it's quite self-explanatory (i hope) but patience in all situations is always a bonus and particularly in this issue. 

Don't rush to marry a sister simply because she looks fine or because she seems religious. Take your time to require lenghtly but don't take years and years, make a decision and place your trust in Allah.

 - ... - to be continued

Monday, 14 January 2013

Be happy.. & SINGLE

Assalam 'aleykum waRahmatullaahi waBarakatuh everyone,

Ahlan wa Sahlan after what seemed like years and years.. of not updating the blog but hey, I always get amazed to see how many people regurlarly visit this blog on a d.a.i..l.y basis.

I had never imagined in my wildest dreams that people from all over the world would be reading my articles on Zawaj and find them interesting or beneficial..

                             Aaaah, this blog will make me famous one day *dreams away*

Journalist: 'So, Umm Z., how did you get this brilliant idea of starting Zawajland?
Me: If you knew how this all started.. a night, a friend, an idea and BOOM a blog!'

It's been nearly three years since this blog was created, a few articles, some criticisms (oh well!), lots of encouragements (oh yes!), my anonymity lost (oh noo!) but it's still going on.

However, I am not that naive to think that most of you guys are reading this because you're interested in what I have to say but most of you read this blog because it's all about marriage (you know that I'm right)

I'm pretty convinced if this blog was aimed towards other religious aspects .. it wouldn't be so popular. Kinda sad really.

And this leads to today's article.. why can't we be happy and single?!

- Why can't we just be happy to be single?
- Why do we always have to talk about marriage in our gatherings?
- Why are we constantly thinking about marriage?
- Why are brothers always standing in front of the masajids?
- Why are sisters not lowering their gazes?
- Why are we not happy with the Qadr of Allaah?
- Why do I have a blog on marriage?
- Why do you read my articles?
- Why aren't we happy to live with our parents?
- Why do we idealise our future spouse so much?
- Why do we have unrealistic expectations?
- Why are so short-sighted?
- Why are we so confused about love?
- Why are we so afraid of growing old alone?

Why, why & why?

Because we are never happy with what we have (most of us anyway) and for brothers even when they eventually get married, guess WHAT? And sisters who constantly fantasise about a bearded prince if they knew how chilled out life is at their momma and daddy's house, guess WHAT?
No, actually forget it!

All I'm trying to say here is that we should concentrate on things that are more important like improving our ownselves, seeking knowledge, being dutiful to our parents, being concerned with the Ummah. Marriage is not something we control so leave it up to the One who controls all things *simple*.

Being single is a blessing in itself that most of us do not realise, we all want to rush towards something that were it not for the Mercy of Allaah, we could have flopped and messed up. REAL BAD.

Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't get married (come on, that would be contradicting my blog!), just that it's not necessary to worry too much about it or to have 1000 theoretical discussions on who you think is the ideal husband/wife.

I know that this advice may not sound very appealing to a lot of you because the shahaawat (desires) are burning you and taking over your rational mind at times, if that is the case listen to what the Lord says in Surah Noor; verse 33:

'And let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah enriches them of His Bounty'

Yes! Remaining chaste (physically, mentally) will help you be happy & single.

I will leave you with these last words to think about and ponder over:

Love is overrated. We are blinded by what we see from people surrounding us but if we were to open our eyes, we would surely see what real Love is.

I ask you by Allaah, have you seen a Love more pure, genuine, wholesome than the Love Allaah has for you?

I don't want to depress you but some of the greatest Islamic Scholars never got married, they had found the purest of Love.. they didn't need anything else...

Why do we?

Subhanaka Allaahuma, astaghfirullaahi wa atouubu ilayh.

Ila liqaa

Monday, 29 October 2012

Oh sister, is he threatened by your Degree?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
السلام عليكم 

Sisters who know me already know of my adamant position regarding education in general and especially Muslim girls/women seeking education. 

  ''Seeking knowledge is a duty of every Muslim, man or woman”.

  •  Islamic Knowledge

Many people have this erred belief that islamic knowledge is a property that is exclusive to men for men and khalas that is it. Added to this misconception, I feel that a lot of women/girls are lethargic (what an ugly word) when it comes to seeking islamic knowledge.

 Yes, I agree that there aren't a huge number of facilities allowing sisters to study in the West but if you look deeper, you will find in almost every city a center or a masjid or someone willing to teach you about Islam. This unfortunate attitude has translated in many sisters marrying brothers without having correct or complete knowledge of the rules of marriage, divorce, children and other topics dealing with zawaj.

I've mentioned this in previous articles, but I'll say it again: it is imperative that you know what you're getting into
Can someone pray if they don't know how to pray? No. Treat marriage as so because it is, after all, worship.
It has rules: you have rights & you have duties. He has rights & he has duties.

Sisters, learn your religion at the hands of trustworthy people: the well-know 'Ulama (scholars) of this Ummah. If you aren't married, make it your aim to memorise the Qur'an or have, at least, a plan for yourself before your marriage. 

Aim high and be proactive, no more complaining
If there aren't lessons taking place in your area, how about you begin by organising a small sisters' circle?
 Start small and built up from there.

A swift reminder on sincerity would perhaps be best here. It may be a very personal feeling but I feel that for many, seeking knowledge has become a label more than anything. A sticker you stick on yourself just because... yeah, well you attend the weekly duroos at the masjid. 
Be humble, be sincere.. easy words, profound meanings. 
I'll leave it here for you to think about it..

Now, don't let marriage or Mr.Sweet Eyes distract you from the path you've embarked! 
This is your path to Jannah by the permission of Allaah. I suggest you discuss this point in your meetings with your potential(s). Perhaps he can teach you at home? (lucky girl!) Perhaps he can find someone to teach you & the ladies in your area? Perhaps he doesn't want you to have more 'ilm than him? (yes, some are like that!)

PS: Remember, you can also add points like this in your marriage contract (Stay tuned for this article 'Tips on what to write in your marriage contract'  inshAllaah)

  • Other type of Knowledge 

I get thrilled when I see Muslim sisters who have finished their academic route whislt remaining steadfast on their deen. Sadly, it is not a common sight for me. Throughout my own journey on this route, I picked up the traits of those sisters and drawn some conclusions. We could all agree on 3 main types of girls: 

- the first type, by the Mercy of Allaah, has completed or is in the process of completing her education. She is a religious girl who has her intentions checked and knows why she is studying, she has her own plan and aims. She avoids the evils of mixed schools to the best of her ability (and.. that IS possible), she prays her prayers and wears the correct Hijab. She has the adab prescribed in the Qur'an & Sunnah and is a 'walking dawah' in her campus. We should all aspire to be like this.

- the second type has as Allaah [swt] describes in surah Fatir: '..khalatu 'amalan saleehan wa akhara sayyi'a..' They have mixed a good action with evil one (approximative translation). You may see them in the students bar, coming in the prayer room with tight jeans, possibly mixing with guys but they still identify as Muslims, they still come and pray. They could do well with a helping hand from the first type of sisters.

- the third type has unfortunatly, fell deep into the wrong side. 
We all know their characteristics, may Allaah make them & us steadfast.

Way too many people believe that education is not for girls.. 

what's the point? She'll get married anyway

So what? I feel the urge to say when I hear this statement.
How does the fact that 'she'll get married anyway' take anything away from her seeking education? Don't we all want female doctors, teachers, scientists, dentists, nurses, instructors, buisnesswomen, lawyers, accountants..? 
Even if, she chooses not to work later on, having an education background will definetly help her in her personal skills. 
What if she has no other choice but to work? Is she going to survive on a degrading job?

I will not deny that we also have among us the other extreme, the utra-super-militant girls who believe that unless you graduate, go on post-grad, pursue a PhD then you're just a loser with a big L. No need to push it neither extremes, keep it to the middle path. 

Ah! I didn't talk about those brothers who ... feel threatned to marry a girl with more knowledge than them (be it religious or secular). That was my title right?
This happens. It probably has a name like 'Im-scared-to-marry-a-sister-with-a-degree- Syndrome'. We also have sisters with a disease called 'He-aint-got-a-degree- what-a-loser Syndrome'.. this is also wrong. 

Ideally,  when one is looking to marry, you'd want to marry someone with a similar educational background as yourself. I mean, imagine a bedouin girl marrying a guy with a PhD in neuroscience.. Happy days they will indeed have! 

*SIGH* I feel like I'm rumbling away on this post, I don't even think this is how I wanted this post to go! Awkward. 

My final words: sisters, do seek knowledge. Islamic & Secular. Study something beneficial that you enjoy, become proficient in your area, develop expertise. Intent to help yourself, your family, your community, the Ummah with that degree. Work hard but do not neglect your deen, do not compromise on your beliefs, do not fall to the whispers of the Shaytan. Remain far, far from the opposite gender and work even harder.

The Prophet 'aleyhi salaam mentioned in a hadith that I cherish 

Allaah loves when any one of you does an action, that he perfects it

Subhanaka Allahuma astaghfirullaah wa atubu ilayk