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Dealing with Family Stuff the Islamic Way

I can’t help but reflect on how we’d all wish to have the perfect family: every member of the family being God-conscious, parents fulfilling the rights of their children and vice-versa, harmony between siblings, a marriage with very few conflicts and loads of happy moments, and delightfully obedient children. Indeed, I doubt that such a family exists on this planet, yet it cannot be denied that there are some families whose happiness radiates wherever they may be; they have strong connections of love and affection. May Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala exalted is He) preserve such families. The truth is, however, that most of us have conflict and strife within our families; with our parents, siblings, cousins, spouses, children, in-laws, etc. Some of this conflict is minor, while some of it has left stains of trauma and wreaked havoc in the lives of so many. Where I find stability and contentment, however, is in the realization of three important things:

  1. Every family has their issues.
  2. Pure happiness and contentment with one another is reserved for Paradise, and not the life of this world.
  3. Even within our own Islamic tradition, we find countless examples of great people who dealt with tons of stuff.

Consider the following examples:

Parent Issues

  • Ibrahim (Abraham) (`alayhi assalam – peace be upon him), the great man that he was, was threatened by his own father when he preached to him the message of Islam. Not only did his community deny him, but his own father did too. Imagine the pain.

Sibling/Child Issues

  • Qabil (Cain) grew jealous of his brother Habil (Abel) and eventually slew him. These were the first sons of our common ancestor, Adam (as). Imagine the turmoil of murder within a family, and the loss of a child for Adam and Hawa (Eve).
  • The brothers of Yusuf (Joseph) (as) conspired to get rid of him completely. For years, his father Ya’qoob (Jacob) grieved the loss of his son, and upon his eventual return, Yusuf’s brothers were filled with regret for what they had done. Imagine a grief that causes you blindness, as it did to Ya’qoob (as). Not only that, but Yusuf (as) was from a line of prophets (Yusuf son of Ya’qoob son of Ishaaq son of Ibrahim (as)) and was still not immune to such a trial.
  • Musa (Moses) (as) was furious at his brother Haroon (Aaron) (as) when he returned to find the Children of Israel worshiping a calf. He even dragged him by his head as mentioned in Surat Al-A`raf!
  • In Surat Al Kahf, we learn from the story of Musa (as) with Al-Khidr, who was divinely inspired to take the life of a child because that child may have been a fitnah (trial) to the righteous parents. Clearly, their righteousness didn’t lead them to a simple perfect family life; they suffered the hardest trial they could experience as parents and as a couple— the loss of their child.

Spousal Issues

  • Both Ibrahim (as) and his wife Sara, along with Zakariyya (as) and his wife had trouble conceiving a child. As well, Aasiya the wife of the greatest tyrant Fir’awn (Pharaoh) brought Musa (as) into her home after not being able to have her own child.
  • Maryam (Mary) (as) brought Isa (Jesus) (as) into this world alone and with no communal and spousal support. Imagine how we treat such mothers today.
  • Both Lut (Lot) (as) and Nuh (Noah) (as) were betrayed and left unsupported by their wives. They were prophets and still, they had issues in their marriages.
  • Aasiya was severely abused and persecuted by her own husband for merely proclaiming her belief in God (as).

Our Greatest Example

  • The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) lost his beloved uncle Abu Taalib before he accepted Islam.
  • He lost many of his children as infants, children and adults.
  • He lost his dearly beloved wife, Khadijah, and mourned her death deeply.

These are just a tiny fraction of the examples of family stuff that we can draw from our own Islamic tradition. Indeed, what is even more incredible is that those mentioned above were far more pious and sincere to Allah (swt) than we could ever be, despite their hardships.

Notice that their piety did not mean a life of ease and perfection – no! Instead they were tried with things that today, might bring you and me to our knees. Because Allah (swt) tells us that He does not burden a soul with more than they can bear. By testing them with such trials, the Almighty knew that they were capable of coming out purified and forgiven for their sins, inshaAllah (God-Willing).

Now, what about you and me?

I say, family issues are inevitable. Don’t look to the lives of others to escape your own problems – realize that Allah (swt) has placed you in the circumstance you are in because He (swt), in His supreme knowledge, knows you can handle it.

For me, I’ve come to see family strife as bound to occur. Although not easy in the least, my main concern has been managing it as gracefully as I can when it does happen. Our spiritual growth and purification is tied to the moments we want to talk back but don’t, or have been betrayed by a family member and don’t seek revenge. It’s certainly not easy, especially when we have depictions of the perfect family life crossing our sights at every moment. From television, advertisements, social media and other forms of media, we are inundated with false realities of perfect, happy families.

The truth is, we all deal with stuff. The greatest individuals who came before us did

and we certainly are not immune. The key then is, how do you deal with your stuff? With grace, or harshness? With acceptance or bitterness? With resolve or chaos? Consider the following verse:

“Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe,” and they will not be tried?” (Qur’an, 29:2)

The choice is ours – let’s figure this stuff out.

And Allah (swt) knows best.

Source article: http://www.virtualmosque.com/islam-studies/hot-topics/dealing-with-family-stuff-the-islamic-way/

2 months ago

Get married, free, on muzmatch.

Modesty in Modern Muslim Beauty

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.

Hijab and Fashion

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.

Beauty in Makeup

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.

Embrace Muslim Modernity

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.

2 days ago

Inspiration for Muslims Aged 50 And Above

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 Involves Going through Many Changes

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.

Cuando quieras ponerte triste,sonrie,aunque sea con lágrimas en los ojos.
Photo by Luis Galvez / Unsplash

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.

Why the Internet?

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.

Inspiration from Scripture

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.

21 days ago

muzmatch x My Big Fat Halal Blog

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.

DATE SUHOOR SMOOTHIE BOWL:

Here’s a simple recipe for this delicious, filling smoothie bowl packed with nutritious dates… the only dates you should be having this Ramadan! ;)

Suhoor Smoothie Bowl

INGREDIENTS

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

METHOD

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.

POTATO CUTLETS:

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!

Potato Cutlets

INGREDIENTS

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

60g breadcrumbs

3 tbsp vegetable oil

Chutney/spicy salsa, to serve

METHOD

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.

UM ALI:

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!

Um Ali

INGREDIENTS

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

METHOD

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.

29 days ago