رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا
Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous. [Qur’an 25:74]
It’s a minute before midnight. January 1st, 2019… The palpable feeling of excitement of a new beginning, a fresh start sets in. Some wait for that moment to erase the mistakes of the past and start over. “This year will be different. It’s going to be great! I feel it!” some say, as they think up resolutions. This lasts for a few days at best, before we begin to make excuses and say,
Insha’Allah next year, 2020.
It happens to the best of us. Last night, my Social Media feed was covered in posts about change as my friends posted their new year’s resolutions varying from some form of weight loss or health goals to increasing organisational skills to spiritual goals. And though these are all great personal and individual aspirations, I thought to myself, with the growing rate of divorce amongst Muslims, why not create relationship resolutions?
There is no need to wait until the ball drops at midnight. Your new year begins when you decide to make change, be it January 1st or March 21st. So why not now? Today is a perfect time to sit down with your spouse and set some resolutions for revitalising and improving your marriage (or any other familial, social or professional relationship). These may be the most important set of resolutions you can make this year.
We need to know that it’s not going to be easy; like with everything else in life, if you want something great, you need to work for it. Remember that we are doing this for the sake of Allah and with the intention of gaining reward from Him. Insha’Allah we find the strength to overcome shaytan and our nafs (desires), as shaytan is determined to ensure you don’t fix your relationship with your spouse.
The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Verily, Iblees placed his throne over the water and then he sends out his troops. The nearest to him are the greatest at causing tribulations. One of them says: I have done this and this. Iblees says: You have done nothing. Another says: I did not leave this person until I caused discord between him and his wife. Iblees says: You have done well.” [Sahih Muslim, 2813]
That being said, below is a set of seven resolutions that insha’Allah may improve, and maybe even save, your marriage. No matter where you are in your marriage journey, whether you have a happy and healthy relationship or are experiencing some difficulty, these seven resolutions are for you.
Many studies have shown that people who forgive are happier and healthier than those who do not. A very wise person once said,
A happy marriage is a union of two good forgivers.”
The Messenger of Allah said:
All of the children of Adam are sinners, and the best of sinners are those who repent.” [At-Tirmidhi]
We all make mistakes so, starting today, overcome shaytan’s whispers and strive to forgive your spouse as soon as they apologize. There are so many verses in the Qur’an and sayings of the Prophet which encourage us to forgive. Don’t hold on to a grudge or bring up the past. Holding on to grudges harms your own health by acting as a chronic stressor. Just let go and forgive your spouse; do it for the sake of Allah.
Remember the man at the time of the Prophet who walked into the masjid for three days in a row and the Prophet said that he was from the people of paradise. Abdullah bin ‘Amr wanted to know what quality this man possessed that made the Prophet say that about him, so he spent three nights with that man. He noticed that the man did not pray the optional night prayers during any of these nights, but if he woke up during the night, he would simply mention Allah. So before he left, he asked him what he did that was so special that the Prophet identified him as a man of Jannah. The man replied:
My deeds are nothing more than what you saw.”
When Abdullah left, he called him back in and said:
My deeds are nothing more than what you saw, but the only thing I do is that I do not hold any grudge against any Muslim or envy anyone for what bounties Allah has granted them”
thereupon ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr said to him:
This difficult quality to obtain is what granted you this rank.” [Ahmed]
So start forgiving, as this will lead to a happier self, a happier marriage and ultimately Jannah, insha’Allah!
Unfortunately, many couples find themselves spending very little time together. Date night, breakfast together, cuddling on the sofa… All things which might have been something you did years ago, have now seemingly disappeared. Instead, you now sit in separate rooms scrolling through your phones/tablets/computers. It is time to turn off your gadgets (including the TV), and just sit, talk, and listen. Remember the key is to give your spouse your undivided attention. Whenever the Prophet spoke to someone or when someone spoke to him, he would turn his body and his face towards them, and give them his undivided attention. He would often touch them and repeat what the person said, so that they knew that he was actively listening.
Invest, invest, invest! Research shows that in most happy and long-lasting marriages, couples spend at least 5 hours per week of quality time together. No matter how tired you are at the end of the day or on theweekend, remember to nurture your marriage by making time for each other. Even the Prophet, with his busy schedule, made time every day to spend with each of his wives. Spend some time together every day. It can be doing something simple like going for a walk together, having a cup of coffee or tea together, going out on a formal date, or it can even just be a commitment to sit together on the couch and talk to each other without your devices for 15 minutes.
Whatever you do, make time for your marriage. Pick a day each week to do something out of the house, just the two of you. Make it a priority and don’t cancel that date. And if something comes up, take a moment to reschedule it. If you had an important meeting at work, you would do whatever it takes to move things around your calendar to ensure that you can make it. Make time for your spouse and, ultimately, make time for your marriage. The more time you invest in your marriage, the more it will grow and flourish.
Many times it is easy to assume that our spouse knows we love them. But there are so many different ways to say and show that you love them. This year, don’t let a day go by without saying it. Resolve to say, “I love you” in a special way every day. Before you leave to work, pair it with a kiss, send a text, leave a letter on your spouse’s desk or in their purse. There are so many ways to express your love… get creative and use your imagination.
It was narrated from Anas ibn Malik:
A man was with the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) when another man passed by and he said: O Messenger of Allah, I love this man. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to him: “Have you told him?” He said: “No.” The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “Tell him.” So he caught up with the man and said: “I love you for the sake of Allah.” The man said: “May the one for Whose sake you love me also love you” [Sunan Abi Dawud, 5125]. In some reports of the hadeeth it says: “Tell him for it will strengthen the love between you” [Narrated by Ibn Abi’l-Dunya in al-Ikhwaan]. The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “If one of you loves his brother for the sake of Allah, let him tell him, for it does good and makes the love last” [Al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 1199]
When it comes to criticism, most people dislike it immensely. No one wants to be criticized. Criticism can be hurtful when you spend a lot of time with someone. It becomes easy to overlook the things that are great about them and focus on bad habits. Unfortunately, that is when we start criticizing our partner and hurting them deeply. Instead of dwelling on your spouse’s bad habits and attacking their character, focus on what they do right and remind yourself of the reasons you fell in love with them. Then remind him or her! Couples who have been together for a long time tend to forget to compliment one another. Be generous in giving compliments. It’s amazing how a person will light up with kind words. Compliment your spouse on their looks, personality, and the things they do. When they do something right, let them know. That will bring out a genuine smile from your spouse. Try to reduce criticism and to compliment your spouse at least once a day.
The Prophet said,
He has not thanked Allah who has not thanked people” [Sunan Abu Dawud, 4811]
It’s natural to fall into habits in a marriage and forget to verbally express your appreciation to your spouse. We all tend to do this from time to time, especially when we get so busy and consumed by everything else going on around us. We start to just assume that our partner “should” take out the trash or “should” cook dinner, instead of remembering to appreciate the fact that they did. Using words of appreciation seems like such a simple thing to do, but it slips away in many marriages. Make a resolution together to appreciate the little things you do for one other. Do your best to show your appreciation for all the big and small things, and genuinely speak words of encouragement, thanks and love to your spouse.
There are many ways you can express your appreciation. Try a hand-written thank you note from time to time. Acknowledge them publicly. Give them a thank you hug. Make duaa for them.
One of the most beautiful and simple duaa you can make for them is “JazakAllahu khairan.” The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “He who is favored by another and says to his benefactor: ‘Jazak-Allah khairan (may Allah reward you well)’ indeed has done his utmost to thank him” [At-Tirmidhi].
Thank them with a gift and remember, it’s not about the material value but, rather, it’s about the thought that went into it. Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet (saw) said,
Give each other gifts and you will love each other” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, 594]
This doesn’t have to be something huge and extravagant. Small tokens of appreciation, like their favorite chocolate, a thank you card with a personal note, or even making them something, will have a huge impact. Tell them right away. Don’t let a good deed go unnoticed. For the best effect, recognize them and thank them as soon as possible. If you wait too long, they may feel overlooked and unappreciated.
Be happy around them, as nothing shows appreciation like a genuine smile. Smiling is an impactful way to let your spouse know that you truly appreciate what they’ve done and that they’ve made your life better somehow. The Prophet (saw) said:
When you smile to your brother’s face, it is charity” [At-Tirmidhi]
SMILE! Research has shown that smiling, even when you don’t particularly want to, will make you, and the person you smile at, happier.
Aisha, the wife of Allah’s Apostle reported that Allah’s Messenger said,
O Aisha, Allah is kind and He loves kindness in all matters” [Sahih Bukhari, 6528]
Happy and stable marriages have two key factors: couples treat each other with kindness and generosity, and they don’t keep tabs on each other. Don’t think of kindness as a trait you either have or you don’t; think of it as a muscle. We all are born with the kindness muscle, and though some are naturally stronger than others, strength is built by frequently and consistently using it. Although it is hard to be kind during disagreements or stressful moments, that is when it is most important for the health of your relationship. Be generous with your kindness, your forgiveness, your love, your time, your hugs, your kisses and your words of appreciation and praise. Not only will your spouse love you more, but you will grow to love your spouse more.
I know our schedules are busy and it’s challenging to change, but try to be mindful of things your partner generally does and do it instead. This can be really easy: take out the garbage, do an errand, help the children with their homework, or simply bring home a dessert next time you’re at the supermarket.
The Messenger of Allah said,
Every act of kindness is sadaqa. Part of kindness is that you offer your brother a cheerful face and you pour some of your bucket into his water vessel” [Al-Albani]
Whoever does you a favor, respond in kind and, if you cannot find the means of doing so, then keep praying for him until you think that you have responded in kind” [Abu Dawud].
So now you’ve made your resolutions and you’re excited to start. But I’d like to remind you of an important point that’ll save your good intentions from going to the Resolution Archives – keep it practical. Any expectation of your spouse turning into Mr. or Mrs. Perfect overnight is impossible! Make your spouse feel valued and important along the way. Discuss plans and strategies to implement the change you want to see in your marriage. Realize that, like with anything in life, you need consistent efforts over time to see any results; these aren’t magical quick fix solutions! The good news is that insha’Allah the changes you do see eventually will be long-lasting and well worth the effort.
Allah’s Messenger said,
Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little” [Sahih al-Bukhari, 6464]
وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهَا إِن يُرِيدَا إِصْلَاحًا يُوَفِّقِ اللَّهُ بَيْنَهُمَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا خَبِيرًا
…If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them…” [Qur’an 4:35]
Time to GET STARTED… make the intention, start today and know that Allah will help you along the way, insha’Allah!
If you would like to write for us, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.