The first time I heard them was as a newlywed. We were meant to be stepping out for a small gathering in our honour and as a new bride, I was more than thrilled to dress up in a carefully chosen outfit and shimmery make-up. But, despite my best intentions and planning, we were running late… no, I was making us late.
The slippery hijab kept escaping from my fingers, the eyeliner kept smudging and each glance at the clock increased my agitation. My husband, completely ready to leave, would check in – find me still fighting with that hijab and say nothing, eventually taking a seat to wait and in the process making me more anxious still. Finally, I heard his voice from the armchair in the corner,
Don’t stress, it’s okay. Take your time.
In hindsight, it seems like a ridiculous thing for me to have stressed over anyways but in that moment those words were transformative. Take your time. I immediately relaxed. The hijab pins fell into place, my cat eyes flicked upwards at just the right angle and in a matter of moments, I was done. I didn’t know it then, but these three words were destined to be amongst the most romantic I would ever hear. A permanent fixture in our own personal love lexicon.
You see, I was a slow child.
Not academically, nor even athletically but in the everyday rhythm of life, I’ve always functioned at a more ‘relaxed’ pace. Growing up, I was consistently running behind the family schedule – the last to get ready, the last to finish eating, the last to leave, the last to come inside.
My Mama, fastidious in her punctuality, was constantly reminding me of the time. An hour till we have to leave Aiysha. Thirty minutes. Fifteen. Five. We’re leaving!
And despite my best attempts at starting extra early or organising myself better, I was still always rushing at the end. And I hated it. The countdown. The inner panic. That knowledge that I was holding others back. It was an ever present low level stress. And of course, the more I rushed, the more clumsy and forgetful I became, and the longer I took. It was a sad, seemingly never-ending cycle destined to be repeated in every circumstance of my life, from home to school to work to social engagements and beyond.
Eventually I met my future husband and, since ours was a transatlantic romance, he was, thankfully, saved from my leisurely everyday nature as our courtship avoided having to weave in and out of a daily schedule – being instead a more dramatic, jetsetting type of thing.
That is, until we actually were married and, needed to do things according to schedules and plans. Oh no. As the proverbial weakest link, I knew what this meant for me. I would need to finally overcome my slowness. Which brings us to my initial frantic getting ready and Husband’s calming words.
In that moment, those words felt supportive, thoughtful and kind. I had rarely, if ever, been encouraged to be slower than I was by taking even more time. But the effect was immediate and I thrived in all they conferred upon me.
It’s a funny thing, romance. We expect it to be big and obvious and you know, sometimes it is! Just like in a novel or a movie. But other times? Well… if you’d asked me, a decade ago, what romance ‘sounded’ like, it definitely wouldn’t be take your time and yet, as the years pass, those magical words reappear and each time, their meaning deepens.
A few years after our wedding would see us busy setting up house as working professionals. Our days felt impossibly full and hurried and I was often scrambling through one prayer and then another – constantly overestimating the time between them during the dark UK winters. Then, one evening, with a hand on my shoulder:
Take your time.
And it meant I love you more than this world and our life in it. In an instant, I was centered. Reminded of first principles – that nothing was more important than remembering the One who created time and that giving this moment it’s due would make the rest of our tasks easy. It was an encouragement without judgement, a suggestion without censure and ultimately a reflection of a love that is Sacred.
Some years later still, we became parents and in addition to all the usual changes, I was dismayed to realise that my new role as a mother had little value in the society in which I became one. And so, as I struggled to feed this new tiny being while still trying to entertain visitors and seem “normal” and “recovered”, I heard it again:
Take your time.
Tears pricked my eyes. Sitting for an impossibly long time, with a wailing infant while guests waited in the other room, it meant I will hold this space for you. We are in this together. Your efforts are worthy. You are enough.The time I was taking was the time I needed to take to nurture this baby. No apologies would ever be necessary.
And these days? Well, as we snuggle up onto our sofa, Husband looks at me over the cups of tea he’s made. Just one minute I say, attempting to speed read my way through the latest book, I’m almost at the end of this chapter. He always smiles at this explanation,
Take your time.
With those words a deep warmth emanates from my soul – like a hug from within. I hear them and know that they mean everything they have before and also this: That exactly as I am, in this precise space and at this precise moment, there is no place more important and no person more cherished. And truthfully, could anything be more romantic than that?
Source of Inspiration: Mamanushka
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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.
My husband and I got married last week! I wanted to share our story with you. Jarred and I started talking earlier this year and had an instant connection.
Jarred is from Connecticut and I'm from Texas. He was in Arkansas for school and recently graduated and was interested in meeting someone so he downloaded muzmatch.
We started talking and realized how much we had in common and quickly became serious about each other. We complimented each another in so many ways: prioritizing our deen, family and wanting to make a positive difference in the world.
Jarred then drove to see me. After that, we were certain we wanted to get married and decided to have our nikkah before Ramadan. We've been married almost a month now and it's been a wonderful adventure!
We're so happy! Jazakallah khair for connecting us!
Alhamdulillah, thank you Allah and the muzmatch team!
I'm from Indonesia and my husband is from Germany, but he is Russian.
What a blessing it is to have a mixed raced marriage!
I knew my husband from muzmatch since May 2017 and then he visited Indonesia in November 2017. I didn't believe he was serious until he visited me and my family.
Months later, I flew to Germany and found work there because I wanted to be close to him.
I was in love.
Finally on 28 Dec 2018, we had our nikkah which fell on the last Jumu'ah of the month and in March 2019 we got officially married.
Thank you to the muzmatch team!