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I actually love seeing young happy couples together. By couples I mean married of course. I don’t really mind seeing a 20 year old already in her home and happy with her life. What? Are you surprised? You expect me to condemn such ‘kids’ to have their own families? I won’t. If the two can sustain each other’s needs and are responsible enough then why not?

There is also another scenario of young girls who do not want to study. Who are not interested in studying. Who do not want to even get a job and do something with their life. If this was your daughter what do you do with her? Ground her for a month? Take her phone? Forbid her friends from visiting her? Drag her to school and waste your school fees? Force her to go do a job? You do this to an 18 year old then you are just making her become rebellious. Do that to a boy he becomes twice as rebellious. And you know what young people do when they become rebellious? They do all that would hurt you, annoy you, piss you off completely. They will join bad gangs, have bad friends, get into drugs, partying and illicit intercourse.

Of course as a parent you are to do your very best in convincing and persuading and advising and threatening if necessary to make them realize that they are wasting their life away but if worse gets to worst and you see the young man or girl has made up her mind to be and do nothing then give her something worthwhile to be. Let her be someone’s wife. Let her be a mother. Not as a punishment though cause that way it also won’t work. Don’t push her to get married to escape your own responsibility. Don’t let her frustrate someone’s son because you couldn’t handle her (same applies to a stubborn young man). Let her get into marriage if that is what she is interested in or perhaps she can do well in.

How many times have we seen very poor performing girls becoming best of house wives and best of cooks and best of mothers? Not all children are blessed in academics but they could be blessed in their ability to take up such home responsibilities; the home science. If she is capable enough then why not? If the man marrying her is good enough then why not? If they are both happy with the decision then why not? Isn’t it better than letting her waste away with men? Isn’t being a mother the most noble career of all?? Well of course we can’t compare the older generations (where our mothers could get married at 16 and still be exemplary women in the society) to the spoilt dot com kids who can barely do anything by themselves. But there are some few young girls who still carry that old gene of being responsible when it comes to home affairs. Plus, apart from that, we have those who got married at such early ages and still went on pursuing their dreams, studies and careers!

Okay, now that I have made that point clear, let’s come back to the main topic. That this is not the era to rush into marriage! Ironic right? Yes, let me explain why.

Nowadays, we no longer have love triangles. We have Bermuda love triangles. Correction again; the Bermuda lust triangles. I say Bermuda because it’s other name is called the ‘devil’s triangle’. Perhaps that is what defines what exactly is happening among’st us currently.

You know like A and B are a married couple. They seem to be quite happy. But A is also secretly dating C who is a co-worker to B. And B also ‘has a thing’ for D. And D is the ex of C. C on the other hand is also seeing F who is the cousin to B. Oh and before I forget, A also had a one night stand with G. F also had a thing with both H and I who apparently all are friends. You get the scenario? What’s all this mess of ‘we had a thing??’ Do people throw themselves over everyone just because they ‘had a thing’? What’s a thing anyway?! This is not love. It is lust and most of the times it is lust plus love of money. By the time these ladies finally get married their hearts are in such a pathetic state. They are wasted. Their hearts are as cold as ever. She will always be comparing everything to what all her ‘men’ offered her. Their touch, their outings, their money, their intimacy. She will compare, even if not loudly. As for the man, he is no longer fresh and green. He is rotten and a rainbow of all the dark colours that you know of. He will mistreat you because he doesn’t exactly need you. He is overwhelmed by all the women who have walked in and out his life. He doesn’t need you as a wife and partner, perhaps just as the woman in consummation.

There was a time back when being a mistress was such a disgraceful thing.  When being a side-chic was such an awful thing. Everyone was condemning it. Only cheap ladies standing at the street willingly accepted the position yet right now very young girls, teenagers, are vying up for seat. Pardon is it vying up or down? I mean, where are we really headed to? What makes us any different from prostitutes? That we wear fancier clothes and do all these stuff for fun and not for money? Or is this sponsor affair stuff okay now? Where is our modesty people? Our chastity?

I mean, look at us. Look at how disgusting our situation is. Young men getting married early…and we say ‘well done. He has done good to mature up, to abstain, to take what is rightfully his’ only to come and realize he was looking for someone to fill his emotional loophole (which is fine). He was looking for a punching bag (sooo not fine). Someone to comfort him (which is fine too) but at the same time, he is back dating his ex. He realized he rushed into marriage. That he was not over her. And what does this poor neglected girl do when his husband no longer gives her the attention? Seeks her husband’s friend. That same one who’s been eating on the same table with her husband. But do you get my point? Do you see how rotten we are? Now why are you rushing into marrying anyone?

I’ll tell you this. When someone proposes or when proposing to someone, do your research well. Even if you know them for eternity, still do your research. Do a thesis about them if possible. Employ a private detective if possible. Seek help from FBI, CSI, CIA, all these security forces. Ask about the guy or the lady like she is in the most wanted list. Don’t let that infatuation or love blind you. No one is what they seem. I mean NO ONE! Take your time with this. There is no deadline in this. It is about your life. It is a lifetime commitment so no one should hold a gun on your head. If someone is not up to your standards don’t just accept because everyone else your age is getting married. Have your focus. Marriage is not your final destination. Marriage is not everything in life. Marriage is not about the white veil or the full suit. It is you handing over your heart with both hands to another person. You wouldn’t want to do that just to later on realize that you married a womanizer, a batterer, a homosexual, a psycho, a cheap lady, a terrorist, a drugist, someone with all kinds of diseases and most of all, a betrayer …right??

Sweetheart, there is no rush. Be patient. Analyze what people have to offer in your life. Sieve them away. Be critical in your thinking. Again, don’t allow love to blind you. Yes, everyone has some flaws but some flaws are just unacceptable. Keep praying again and again. Ask God to grant you what is best for you then wait. Remember your fate is already written. Don’t panic. Wait. Don’t let the societal excitement of marriage overwhelm you. Wait again. Remember this, good things take time! 😊

 

To end this I will leave you some lyrics by someone (i don’t even know the name) but someone showed these lyrics some time back and I think the message is good:

 

Anayetoa ni mola wa pekee yeye

Kwa kila goti na dua anajibu yeye

Usije itaka harusi kwa pupa

Usije itaka harusi ukarudi na talaka

Usikimbilie mume ukaukondesha moyo

 

Mola amekuumba na sifa kedekede

Ukimuomba yeye atakusikia

Jiamini mama usiwe na mapepe

Ya nini tumbure angali mume majaliwa?

Kwanini ujichoreshe na mali yako yaliwa?

Utabeba vibovu upewe maradhi kukimbilia mapenzi

Uje upate tabu ukwaye mavazi uyachukie mapenzi…

 

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By: Swaleh Arif Sayyid Ali

Photo Courtesy: Salem_Beliegraphy

In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.
Praise and blessings be upon His Beloved messenger, Muhammad (pbuh).

Recently an article was posted, entitled ‘Dear Future Wife’. It tried to describe what men want from women during marriage. Consequently, the article received some backlash, understandably so. However, the criticism, to me, was too scathing and the approach made was not the best one. Admittedly, I did place myself in the position of current and future wives, thereby understanding their anger towards the aforementioned article. As a result, I have decided to write my own version of ‘Dear Future Wife’. Feedback is welcome, positive or otherwise. Bear in mind though, ninety per cent of what you’ll read didn’t come from me, I’m simply re-telling what’s been forgotten…

Dear future wife,

Before I begin, I’d like to give you salaam and may Allah’s Grace and Mercy be upon you always and forever.
As a man living in the 21st century, I have seen how marriage has been degraded to something that is almost worthless (thanks to our own forgetfulness and the emergence of western idealism). However, I’m not writing to you about the failings of society, I’m writing to you about what to expect from me as your future husband.
Marriage is holy and sacred. To seek guidance on something of this nature, one needs to look no further than the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh). One of my greatest wishes is to be the best husband a wife could ever ask for. The only way I can be that person, my beloved, is by treating you the same way the prophet (pbuh) treated his wives. I know I’ll never reach his level, but rest assured that I’ll do everything within my power to be the kind of husband that Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) will approve of.

I don’t expect you to cook for me. That’s my privilege and not your responsibility. Cook because you want to, not because you have to. I want to know that my dish was prepared with love and your only aim is to please The Almighty (by pleasing me). No matter how bad your food will be, I won’t frown, or abuse you, or even beat you (Allah protect me from such). Rather, expect me to smile and say it was the best dish I’d ever tasted. I’ll eat from the same plate as you, drink from the same cup as you and feed you from my hand. That is an act of charity before the eyes of our Creator.

You’re my other half. I won’t shut you out from my daily affairs, because I will want to seek advice and guidance from you about important issues. You may know something I don’t, there’s no shame in that. I’m willing to quit watching football just so I can spend more time with you. It sounds far-fetched, I know. But you’re my wife and you’ll always come first.

When you’re sad, I’ll be the first person to rush towards you and hug you. I’ll wipe the tears from your face and call you by all those sweet names that you’ll adore so much. I’ll exercise tolerance with love and patience,observe silence when you snap at me during your mood swings, and overlook your flaws while focusing on your desireable traits.

My beloved, there’s so much I want to say, but I’ll stop here. What I have left out, I’ll make sure to add on it through actions once we’re married inshaAllah. Words are worthless if they’re not backed by actions. I know what I’ve promised sounds unfeasible, but if Muhammad (pbuh) could do it, then there’s no reason why I can’t as well bi idhinillah. All I ask, is for you to do good and abstain from evil, in order for our marriage to prosper. For now, know that I have carved out a niche in my heart, waiting for you to fill it.

And Allah knows best.

IS BEING COOL THE COOLEST THING TO BE IN MOMBASA? Part 2

By Lubnah Abdulhalim

Photo Courtesy: Salem_Beliegraphy

The first thing any parent would ask you when you go ask for their daughter’s hand is, ‘what do you do for a living?’ of course it is their right to ask that. All parents want the best for their children and when you mention that your job is carrying cement, the first instinct would be that you wont be able to provide for their daughter and the children to come. Well maybe it would be your duty to prove them wrong by elaborating how you have a plan for the future. Parents easily get impressed when they see someone had previously arranged for their future; say, you have a saving account that was just for your wife-to-be and children and so on. of course it will be tough to convince them that carrying cement can make you sustain a family so maybe it is up to you to put in the effort to prove them wrong. But the question one should ask themselves is, ‘is it really worth it?’ Sometimes you may do all you can to show the parents of the girl that you can take up full responsibility, they will still put up walls to prevent you from marrying their daughter. But that is where we are always advised to marry/get married from people with same backgrounds as us because there will always be a time whereby the issue of class will be an issue between the two families. If you are hustling and you go approach a family whereby their daughter wakes up to find breakfast on her bed, then they will obviously not want any less than that. If their daughter is always in a prado, they will expect you to drive her in nothing less than a prado let alone make her board a matatu. As much as this is a wrong way of living and thinking but this is the reality. For you, providing ugali for both lunch and dinner may be what you consider as enough to sustain a family while for someone else, sustaining a family means being able to provide for their daughter a full meal from starters to the dessert. And this is how most people end up being rejected in families. I will repeat, it is not the right way of thinking or even living because this is definitely not what our prophet p.b.u.h taught us but nonetheless, sadly, not everyone is ready to follow his example. But still, we are taught to believe in qadar; which is our destiny, and if Allah has already planned that you marry this girl from a higher social class than you, you will still marry her by God’s will, even if the whole world is against the marriage.

So parents always have this notion of, ‘ah what will I be telling people when they ask what my son-in-law or even son is doing?! How can I say he is does a bodaboda business/sells vegetables in the market or that he is a carpenter?!’ Why? because to them this is not cool; not classy. And this is even why you rarely see Mombasa youth driving bodabodas or selling vegetables in the market; because they have always heard it from their parents criticizing such jobs, so they too grow up with the notion that it is not their standard to have such jobs. They would rather stay jobless and keep complaining about leaders who haven’t accomplished the promise of providing proper jobs. Truth be said here, we have jobs like the matatu industry, these people earn a very good amount of cash per day than quite some people working in offices. But there is also this perception of matatu workers being miraa chewers and drunkards and so on and the parents therefore wouldn’t really accept a matatu worker to join their family. We can’t really blame them for such a perception because this bad image exists but nonetheless, you won’t miss some of the matatu workers who are clean from any kind of drugs and may be all they have to do is prove it…but again, only when it is worth it and when you know your efforts can bring out a good result of being accepted in the family.

As much as we will blame the youth for only seeking what is cool in their eyes, the bigger blame goes to the parents. When they see that their sons can’t get an office job, then they would rather send them to Dubai or Suudiya or Qatar so they work there. Funny thing is, the jobs that they are given over there can still be done here but their hilarious notion is ‘I’d rather that my son sweeps the streets of Dubai rather than Kenya or Mombasa.’ Why? because to them it is really cool to say ‘my son works in an Arab country or abroad’ irregardless of what they are doing there. And the people being told this rarely ask ‘what kind of a job is he doing in Dubai?’ all that matters is that he is not here and he is there. Some would give the excuse that doing the local jobs in the Arab countries will be earn them more but hey, how do we forget to account for the lifestyle there? The high and expensive lifestyle there will end up draining the money just like the way the struggles of our country would have costed. And if there is any difference, we have to admit, it’s not really that big not unless we are talking of professional jobs.

Sometimes, working out there becomes the easy ticket of being accepted as a son-in-law. This is a stupid way of thinking honestly because it is just like those people who do business just so that they are recognised as business men even when they are not benefiting from it. As in kiswahili we commonly say, ‘yani bora wao wajulikane wana biashara tu! ata kama haileti faida!’ They’d rather drive a prado bought from lent money rather than own a bicycle bought from their own sweat.

Sadly, we have let our egos take over us and now all that matters is our outside image; how our neighbours will see us, our class and our standards, be seen driving a mercedes even when the petrol was bought from lent or even stolen money, even when in reality inside our homes we are dying from hunger. Just because it is cool? That is sooo NOT cool!

Photo Courtesy: Unknown

We are in the 21st century and majority of the youth are either in love, in a relationship, married, confused or totally lost. This is one of the worst realities of us; the current era youth. Whereas at our age, our parents and grandparents could not dare court a girl, or at least make it public; nowadays that is the trend and actually without it, you are considered out of fashion or old fashioned. This whole ideology of love is actually what branches to a lot of other fitnah like zinah, sometimes drinking, clubbing and drugs, sometimes rebellion against parents and much more. We as the youth have revolutionized the concept of love; some have commercialized it and some have made it seem the filthiest word on earth yet love was originally pure in its earliest form whereby love meant respect to oneself, respect to the girl, respect to the parents of the girl and even respect to the whole world evolving around her. Love originally meant taking the main path to her parent’s house and knock at the door but now the youth decide to take on the short cut and sneak out the girl from her home via the window. This is where all immorality begins and all principles are broken. The youth however have their own many ways of justifying dating and all the impunity related with it, with the Western justification of ‘You Only Live Once’ (YOLO) quickly forgetting the promises God has kept for us for the hereafter. Nonetheless, we can never refute the reality of existence of love. As much as it is controllable, it is, most of the times, unavoidable. But actually the problem of the youth isn’t love but how to deal with it. When a young person goes to their parents and confesses about their love to a particular person, most parents immediately camouflage and become annoyed at the words of their children especially when it is a girl. Our society has made it seem that it is totally okay for a young man to actually talk to his parents about a girl he loves even when he is still very young for the responsibility of marriage. Parents would listen to him and advice him on waiting and all that but now, change the picture, let the girl of the same family same say the same words to her parents and they would be angry and never trust her again etcetera etcetera. The reality is, it has already happened; parents should actually appreciate that their daughter or son didn’t take action in his/her own hands but instead approached them so they can help her out. It is high time parents realized that the technology world is ruining us and that they need to have more of these heart to heart talks with their young ones. When parents keep it formal with their children without finding wise ways of teaching them how to teach them deal with adolescence and peer pressure, that’s when the youth explore the world themselves; totally submerged into the world of fantasy and forever love and dating and all that they see on televisions, internet and social media. This just shows the importance of parents giving room to their children to talk and express themselves freely; this actually saves a lot of trouble onwards. Khadija, Peace Be upon Her was the one who requested for the prophet to marry her, even though she was much older. It is no shame when a girl asks for her parents to do the same for her. The shame would be when we don’t teach our children how to deal with their emotions and what are the limits that should not be crossed.

However, another sad reality is that some parents don’t care or simply don’t mind when they see their sons taking out girls for dates or when they see their daughters preparing to go out; our own parents, who are supposed to be our role models, are drowning along with us.

So in this era of fitnah, the few responsible ones decide to marry early so as to avoid falling in sin. Yet still, even as they marry, they still have the corrupted Westernized ideology of marriage and take marriage like the dating life they see their pals going through and this is how we have several young people are getting divorced as fast as they got married. However, for others who approach their parents so as to marry, their parents tell them it’s too early and that they should wait until they are more responsible or done with studies etcetera; which is true, but nonetheless, the parents fail to realize that stopping their children from marrying or getting married when they want to, may lead to zinah. This is why the prophet p.b.u.h. said that whoever amongst us can marry then they should do so and this is because he knew the amount of fitnah the young people have to deal with.

Our religious leaders have the greater duty as much as parents to help and advice young people on how to deal with adolescence and peer pressure. Most sheikhs actually give lectures about these issues but they rarely give solutions; in fact many just criticize the actions of the youth which in return make them become even more rebellious towards the rulings of deen. Sheikhs have to choose a more gentle approach on how to advise the youth but most importantly, show and teach how to deal with this kind of fitnah Islamically. They have to bring themselves down to their level and talk the same language as we the youth do so that there can be more understanding between the two parties.

The Muslim lady in her hijab is the queen of Islam; the image portraying the identity of Islam, she is mother of tomorrow and the daughter of today. Society has always had this misconception that being a Muslim lady means getting married, having children and taking care of your family, which is totally true. Nonetheless, it is sad that the society is against the idea that a Muslim lady should have dreams or ambitions. It is rather puzzling that the society has the belief that when a Muslim lady is attached to her deen, then she wouldn’t bother venture into the world of knowledge and working and creating change but would just be confined to her husband, children and home. Again, the society have the belief that when a Muslim lady ventures into the world of work, then she is not really attached to her deen which is also totally so wrong. It is by this that a lady with dreams is often found in a tag of war between two worlds; the world evolving her deen and her career. And many would ask this question, ‘how do you balance the two; how do you balance your career and your deen?’ Many think that in order to be an ambitious career lady with dreams then you have to give up your deen and vice versa; which is what challenges the Muslim lady. In the career world, colleagues expect the Muslim lady to dress trendily or shake hands with non mahrams etcetera while in the Islamic world, she is expected to only concentrate in her home and family affairs only. Yet they forget how the sahabiyaat; Aishah, Fatima, Khadija peace be upon them, amongst others were active in all societal issues. Khadijah peace be upon her was a very successful business woman, Aishah peace be upon her was known for her knowledge of deen and memorization of ahadith. She, together with Aishah, Umm Salim and Umm Salit were proficient at nursing the wounded. Different sahabiyat accompanied the prophet peace be upon him on his military expeditions and took part in battles both on land and at sea. Asma’ bint Umais was famous for interpretation of dreams while Asma’ bint Yazid was an expert in making speeches. Khawlah, Maleekah, Thaqafiyah and Bint Fakhariyah used to trade in the oriental oil-based perfumes known as ‘itar (As explained in the book ‘Great Women of Islam by Mahmood Ahmad Ghadanfar). These are but a few of the Sahabiyat; there are many more who took part in both religious and societal issues. It is high time that the society realized that being a career woman doesn’t make her any lesser Muslimah or mother or wife or daughter; the two can very well be balanced. Instead of treading on with such ideologies, the Islamic society should appreciate the Muslim women who are trying to create change in our world; both Islamic and secular world. Muslims should instead create more comfortable job opportunities and environments for Muslim ladies to work within. They forget; teaching a woman is teaching the whole nation yet teaching a Muslim woman can as well be as teaching the whole universe. Let the Muslim ladies explore their talents and imaginations; let them build the society.

The challenges of Islam and Muslim youth could go on and on to fill a whole book due to the seriousness and complexity of the problems. Nonetheless, the general solution for all the named and unnamed problems is for Muslims to come and find solutions on common ground. As much as we have our many differences, we can never miss something of common interest to join us together and join our brains in finding genuine solutions to help Islam and Muslim youth. As Allah (S.W) says in the holy qur’an in surat Imran (103): ‘And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah and be not divided among yourselves…’ Truly, Allah (S.W) has said it well