This week’s guest blog is written by lifestyle coach and author Nasema Begum.
Whilst being single and looking for Mr Right, I had a synoptic checklist of what kind of person he must be, do and have. Sensible right? Well, that’s what I thought! How else was a girl to know when she meets Mr Right? I just wanted a practising, honest and trustworthy Muslim. So they would follow the basic Islamic rulings, fulfil my rights, treat me well, and not lie to me. That was amongst a long list of other things… Er hmm, let’s move on quickly…
Unsurprisingly there weren’t many men who met my checklist. I didn’t think I was asking for much! But clearly I was. So my on and off search for Mr Right continued. I got fed up and frustrated of being introduced to men who weren’t Mr Right and so I lowered my standards, finally I met someone – yippee! – got married (hooray!) … and then got divorced. Uh-oh!
So what went wrong? What happened to my checklist? After much introspection and many tears, I realised I used my checklist to meet Mr Right because I thought Mr Right would be the perfect husband and I’d have the perfect marriage. But in reality, the checklist was a way to protect myself from getting hurt, rather than meet someone compatible.
What are you using your checklist for? How does it protect you from having a catastrophic marriage? Ladies are you looking for a tall, dark and handsome man who will sweep you of your feet just like the Disney, Hollywood and Bollywood movies? Gents, are you looking for a tall, slim, fair-skinned supermodel who will laugh at all your jokes, get on with your mum and cook like a pro? So if you’re going to talk to any single they must tick off all the boxes first. Not only that, they just need to say one wrong thing and you’re quick to point out their mistake, and consequently they’re out of the running! Maybe, just maybe they were your soulmate and you rejected them. And not only that, you also came across as a total jerk! Oops!
Have you thought about why your ideal spouse would want to marry you? Are you the ideal spouse for your ideal spouse? Glup!
There are many ways to meet singles today: through dating apps, marriage events and introductions from families. You have access to singles from all types of backgrounds, professions and interests, and yet you still remain single. Why? Is there too much choice, especially on dating apps? You know full well there are thousands of singles out there and it won’t be long before you see someone you like. You hope and pray that they’re ‘The One’ but as usual they don’t tick all the boxes on your checklist and now you wait for the next one. The vicious cycle starts again.
Men, I can hear you from all the way over here! Yes, you’re vigorously nodding your head because ‘women are too picky’! Well guess what, men are just as picky! You may not have a long checklist, but that doesn’t mean you’re not busy looking over your date’s shoulder (literally and metaphorically) for someone better! Women know exactly what you’re up to!
I’m not picky I just have high standards…
Really? How much of your checklist consists of the way your spouse should look, the job they should have and the salary they should earn? Even when you do meet someone that ticks off your checklist and you go on dates, you’re left feeling disappointed. It’s because you’ve focused on physical and lifestyle attributes which doesn’t set the foundation for a happy marriage. Instead, a checklist should focus on the shared principles, values and interest; what you believe to be right, and the ethics and code of behaviour you live by.
Here are a few other ways to know when you’re being picky
We are bombarded with adverts in the media of the perfect people, in perfect relationships, experiencing amazingly perfect romantic dinners and holidays, like it’s the norm. It creates an illusion and expectation that regardless of how much (or little) effort you put into finding your ideal spouse, you will marry a flawless spouse and have the perfect, idyllic marriage without even breaking a sweat!
But you don’t have to look far to see what a real relationship looks like. It could be your parent’s dysfunctional marriage, that of a sibling, extended family or friends. You definitely don’t want to have a relationship like that and you will do everything to protect yourself from it, even if your actions keep you single!
Each relationship will have its own issues and you will experience your fair share too… Thump! Yes, that was reality hitting you right between the eyes! You will experience pain, disappointment heartbreak, annoyance and so on – that’s part of life. But what holds a relationship together is the shared principles and values.
Here are some key aspects to a healthy relationship:
Having a checklist when looking for a spouse is a good thing; it keeps you focused on the type person you want to marry. Just make sure you don’t use it to find Mr Right or Miss Perfect; rather use it to find Mr or Miss Compatible – a real person with all their flaws and imperfections.
While you search for your spouse, work on yourself to prepare yourself for a healthy relationship. It will help you both to cultivate a happy and wholesome relationship and be role models for the next generation.
Do you think singles’ checklists are realistic or they just protecting themselves from getting hurt? What advice would you give them?I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Since coming out of her abusive marriage Nasema has been trained by coaching giants in the Muslim and non Muslim world. As The Dating Coach Nasema helps singles to powerfully navigate the halal dating scene with ease. She helps singles meet and marry their soulmate and have a healthy loving relationship. You can download her FREE ebook Unstoppable Confidence: 13 POWERFUL steps to Happiness and Life on Your Terms at nasemabegum.com.
Get married, free, on muzmatch.
By Jennifer Dawson
Preparing for a date can end up being a stress inducing activity most of the time. Fixing up hair and makeup alone takes up nearly forty minutes of a woman's time on an average day. As new trends in fashion continue to pop up, it can seem overwhelming trying to maintain a consistent style and routine, while still being current with today’s fashion. Here are a few ways to enhance your beauty for contemporary styles, while remaining true to the fashion that makes Muslim culture one of the most beautiful.
Dating can be intimidating, and our own insecurities can creep up, preventing us from putting ourselves out there to meet someone special. But those fears can be overcome. We should take pride in the modesty of our culture and commitment to Allah, especially with how we wear our hijabs. It’s fine to cut loose and outfit your hijab in a way that expresses both your beauty and inner devotion. Muslim fashion continues to develop side by side with contemporary fashion, letting diverse appearance flourish within modern fashion.
Styles such as the “casual chic”, which involve letting both sides of your hijab hang loose over both shoulders, are great for pulling off an effortless look that emphasizes your natural elegance and modesty. As long as you stay true to the core principles of modesty found in the Quran, then the elegance of your fashion sense will also shine through.
Make-up is the most powerful way for a Muslim woman to express her beauty while staying true to her faith. Whether with or without a hijab, cosmetics offer the chance for women to emphasis the facial qualities that make them beautiful. Women like Asha Hussein are excellent examples of how beauty conventions of both contemporary culture and Muslim tradition can fuse to create a captivating and popular look. Taking the time to learn eye makeup application and trends, such as having bold colors or strong brows, can be completely complimentary to your visual appearance and upstand the Muslim code of Modesty.
Modern culture is more than prepared for accommodating the belief that supports the styles that support and validate Muslim cultural practices. The fashion world is embracing the empowering virtue to be found in Muslim modesty. Whether through makeup or clothing, the diversity and energy put into your wardrobe should be expressed with pride and confidence. The principles found in our faith are wonderful and should be recognized as such. Claim your style as your own and embrace the beautiful principles that enchant your dress and appearance.
The world around us continues to diversify in ways that are supportive towards the beliefs and attire of our faith. There’s no need to place unnecessary restraint on your wardrobe, as long as you adhere to the principles of modesty which already come so naturally us Muslim women. Trust in your faith and your own uncompromising beauty.
Finding Love After Divorce
By Jennifer Dawson
‘Grey divorce’ has come to be a catchphrase of the millennium, largely because in contrast to general divorce rates (which are declining), the divorce rate among people over 50 is on the rise. Longer life expectancies mean that those who are in their 50s or even 60s can look forward to many decades ahead of a healthy and happy life and for many, this is a quest they would not like to undertake in their current situation.
As noted in a study by Z. Mohamed, Muslim divorce rates, particularly in Western countries, have been on the rise in recent years, with a dramatic increase in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Australia.
Divorce can be liberating but also bring fear and anxiety. If you have been through a divorce and you are fearful about what the future holds, find inspiration in the Quran and consider online dating as a way to ensure those you date have the same life values as you. When you are ready, know that you can find love once again online and begin a new path in life.
Divorce is one of the highest entries on the Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale. In a way, it involves saying goodbye to many things – including (in some cases) one’s home, extended family and social circle. The Elisabeth Kubler-Ross model on the different stages of loss are also applicable to divorce. You may have to go through many stages – including sadness, anger, and regret, before you are ready to move on.
You will probably know you are ready when you feel that you need to be out and socialize. Positive ideas may pop in your head, such as the thought that you are young and have retired or have free time on your hands, you would love to try out a new hobby or sport, or you feel like dressing up in your finest garb and feeling appreciated as a man or woman once again. Check out what other singles are up to on muzmatch; what starts out as a friendship could develop into something very special.
Online dating has been a big boom for singles who may not have a huge social circle. Muslim men and women who do work and have a good professional network may not necessarily have a wide social one. This is especially true if most of your friends are couples that you only saw when you went out with your ex. As noted by the BBC, online dating is big, especially among Western Muslims.
In Islam, marriage is considered equal to half your religion. It holds great importance, so it is important to make the right decision. Online dating allows you to ‘test the waters’ beforehand, so to speak. For instance, if you are a Muslim woman with a firm believe in feminism, you can ensure the people you date think along the same lines. Because devout Muslims of a mature age may be reticent to go to bars and other establishments were others enjoy meeting,
online dating gives them the safety, choice, and discretion that is unique in the dating sphere.
You are indeed never too old to love or be loved. Muslim scripture espouses the importance of love and marriage in many passages.
“We not see for those who love one another anything like marriage,”
says Sunan Ibn Majah 1847, while Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 1322 notes: “When you love someone, you become infatuated like a child.” These and other words may inspire you to experience the beauty of love and marriage once again.
If you are a Muslim who is aged 50+ and who has just been divorced, you certainly are not alone. So-called ‘gray divorce’ is rising in numbers the world over, but that does not mean you need to be lonely.
Internet dating is booming for Muslims, especially those who don’t want to have to seek love in clubs and other establishments that can seem more about casual encounters than long-lasting ones. If you’ve never been online, sign up on muzmatch and go into it with a view to simply meet others. In time, friendships can unexpectedly bloom and you may find the love of your life.
Hey everyone, it’s Ayesha from My Big Fat Halal Blog (MBFHB)! MBFHB is one of the UK’s biggest halal food platforms where I share halal restaurant reviews, recipes and travel guides! You can find out more about what I do on my website or Instagram.
Today, I’m collaborating with muzmatch to share some of my top Ramadan recipes. We hope you try them out and we would love to see any of your recreations.
Here’s a simple recipe for this delicious, filling smoothie bowl packed with nutritious dates… the only dates you should be having this Ramadan! ;)
1 banana, plus extra slices to garnish
5 pitted medjool dates, plus extra, chopped, to garnish
250ml semi-skimmed milk
2 tsp cocoa powder
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground nuts, to decorate
Simply put all the ingredients in a blender, and whizz until smooth. Pour into a bowl, over ice, if you like, then arrange the nuts, extra banana and dates over the top to serve.
Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be Ramadan without fried treats! Below is a recipe for my spicy, moreish potato cutlets. They’re always a hit with everyone!
750g Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
11⁄2 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
Handful of coriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Chutney/spicy salsa, to serve
1.Put the potatoes in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then cook for 18-20 mins, until tender. Drain and set aside for 15-20 mins, until cool enough to handle.
2. Add the garam masala, chilli powder, ground coriander and fresh coriander to the potatoes. Season, then mash until smooth.
3. Wet your hands, then shape the mixture into 10 round patties, about 1cm thick.
4. Put the flour, egg and breadcrumbs onto separate plates, then dip each patty first in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs to coat.
5. Heat the oil to medium-high, then fry the patties in batches for 2-3 mins on each side, until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper, then serve with a chutney/ spicy salsa for dipping.
A feast would not be complete without dessert! Try out this delicious Egyptian bread pudding known as Um Ali. It’s made with croissants, nuts and condensed milk and it’s absolutely delicious!
850ml semi-skimmed milk
1⁄2 x 397g can condensed milk
1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom
1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra to serve
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml double cream
1 tsp unsalted butter
4 all butter croissants, roughly torn
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
2 tbsp flaked almonds
2 tbsp unsalted pistachios, chopped
2 tbsp seedless raisins
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4.
2. Stir the milk, condensed milk, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla extract together in a saucepan. Slowly bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2mins, stirring occasionally. Add the cream and carefully bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat.
3. Using the butter, grease a round baking dish, roughly 22cm in diameter and 5cm deep, and cover the base with half the croissant pieces.
4. Sprinkle over half each of the coconut, almonds, pistachios and raisins, then pour over the milk mixture.
5. Top with the remaining croissants, nuts and raisins, plus an extra pinch of cinnamon.
6. Bake in the oven for 20-25mins until golden and bubbling, then leave to stand for 10 mins before serving.
I hope you enjoy these recipes and will try them out! You can find more of my recipes at mybigfathalalblog.com.