Monthly Archives: February 2014

Guest Post!

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1463688_471068049665805_1591196164_nGuest Post by: Nabiha Siddiqui. Nabiha is in process of going to gradschool for a masters in public administration and sustainability, her interests include scientific, political, and islamic research. While her interests vary she is certain of one thing–she is always traveling.

Caution: this article is not for the faint-hearted and is intended to simply be a rant. It is not written to offend anyone…and if it does offend you then maybe you should ask yourself why.

Hi, I’m 25 years old, which in unmarried Desi years is about 55.

I have a profile on shaadi.com that I have never seen, and a marriage resume (bio-data) floating around that denote my hobbies as cooking, praying, and reading, along with some very unattractive photos that my parents decided were “shareef” enough to share, ie old photographs from my undergrad graduation and a couple others that would give the impression that I’m “fair, educated, religious, and thin but a tad-bit chubby at the same time–indicating that I know how to cook a decent enough meal for my own consumption.”

It never occurred to me how difficult the marriage process was until I hit 25 and realized that everyone around me was getting married through matrimonial banquets (a form of “halal” speed-dating), matrimonial websites, and rishta aunties…unless you were lucky enough to interact with a single-Muslim that you got along with at work or school and the brother was respectful enough to send a rishta (chances: 1 in 75,000), or you were betrothed to your cousin in the homeland and that pretty much gave you the freedom to do absolutely nothing with your life and gain 20 lbs in the process. No disrespect to those who marry their cousins, my brother married our cousin–but they are relatively accomplished and attractive…

Up until 5 years ago matrimonial banquets, matrimonial websites, and rishta aunties were looked down upon because you were probably “dark” or “fat” if you went through those means of acquiring a suitable life partner. Even nowadays people try to dodge the question “how did you meet?” And if asked, you know immediately to make up a lie like “Oh he saw me at an Al Maghrib class and he’s a very nice respectable brother who asked for my wali’s (male guardian) number right away because of the over-pouring noor on my face and blah di blah blah blah.”

Yeah, not likely.

It’s not all attractive profiles and speed-dating that makes this rishta business so entertaining, it’s the awkward meetings and inquisitions that are truly inspiring! From “how do you feel about music in television commercials?” to “how religious are you?” to “how do you feel about polygamy?” Yikes!

And then you have mothers of short, chubby, brown dudes that want “fair, tall, skinny, hijabi/non-hijabi, educated, valedictorian, chef, tailor, Dalai Lama-esque, housewife-material, and it’s good if she’s religious and cultured too.”

I’m not saying all aunties are like that and all rishtas are shallow phonies, there are a handful of decent people as well, and I’ve also seen my share of picky girls who have certain criteria that they will not overlook when considering a rishta: from having a minimum height requirement, to mandating a beard, to only considering doctors to marry, there’s shallowness everywhere! I swear, if I had a dollar for every time a friend asked me “how do I ask him nicely to lose weight?”…
Shake.
My.
Head.

But the point of this rant is that it’s just NOT fair! This system is terrible for those of us, brothers and sisters, who are simply looking for a decent life partner without compromising our self-respect and values. Oh, and God forbid if you find a good Muslim outside of your culture, or a convert…but that’s a rant for another day.

Because of such difficulty and an endless number of frustrated single sisters and brothers, I am forced to ponder time and again: what can be the solution to this problem? I have thought long and hard, but have yet to come up with an easier process of getting married. I don’t think the problem is only with Muslims; I have non-Muslim friends that have turned to online-dating and matrimonial banquets, set up through churches, synagogues, and temples that have joined sites like Chemistry and Match.com.

By the way, if you find my profile on shaadi.com, know that it’s not me and it’s probably my dad…

Signing off,

Single and scared to mingle.

PS- please don’t tell me you’re marrying for Deen if the basis of your interaction is due to the paleness of her skin or his medical degree. You know who you are…

How I Came About Hijab #ProjectHijab

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Guest Post by: Bushra Rashid. Sister Bushra is currently a third year in undergrad as a Psychology major at the University of Texas at Austin. Her hobbies include reading and blogging with a goal to inspire others and bring them closer to Islam. Inshallah, she is planning on going to graduate school for Clinical Psychology and one day medical school. 

The fact that I would represent Islam intimidated and frightened me because what if I couldn’t live up to those expectations? What if I was not worthy yet? But I was, I am, and I always will be – I just had not realized it yet.

The fact that I would represent Islam intimidated and frightened me because what if I couldn’t live up to those expectations? What if I was not worthy yet? But I was, I am, and I always will be – I just had not realized it yet.

Assalamualaikum my few readers,

I really don’t know where to start. It is the 26th day of Ramadan, the month of forgiveness. I knew this Ramadan would be quite life changing for me a few months ago…

I had a friend, more like an older sister to me, who I could share anything with. She was really beautiful mA, probably one of the most beautiful women I will ever meet. When I was in 7th grade, she started wearing hijab. I saw so many people look at her in awe as her face glowed with so much Noor. She looked even more beautiful than she did before. I myself looked at her with so much inspiration, admiration, and most of all respect. Here was a 15 or 16 year old girl who had so much courage and love for Allah that she decided to cover her body and hair for His sake. And there started my interest and love for the hijab.

Years passed, high school came and went; my love for Allah always there, but a little drifted at the same time. A close Muslim friend of mine and I would talk about Islam sometimes, and I remember there was a day where we both said that we would start wearing hijab in college inshaaAllah, because even then we loved it. I then started college, away from my parents…alone, but not alone. I bought my first translation of the Quran – The Meaning of The Holy Quran in Today’s English by Yahiya Emerick. A wonderful translation, mashaaAllah, recommended to me by a good friend. I became more involved with MSA, I made new friends, and went to new places. The summer of 2012 after my first year in college, Ramadan came. That Ramadan, I guess it was after I had talked to my friends a lot about Islam and after I had done lots of research of my own, I began thinking about wearing hijab again, very seriously. I did not start covering right then because I felt as if I needed to make sure I wasn’t going through a phase, and that there were a lot of things I needed to fix about myself first – like praying five times a day. I would discuss hijab with a few close friends, who would always give me the utmost encouragement. I would watch them put on their hijabs, I would notice how they behave, and for some reason, sometimes when they would do something unexpected of a “perfect hijabi”, I would be glad because it would remind me – Hey, they’re only human. Hijab or no hijab, they should still be treated the same way. The fact that they even wear a hijab is what makes them beautiful. Wearing hijab shows that they want to be close to Allah, that they do it only for Allah’s sake. Just because you are hijabi, does not mean you won’t make mistakes. They are human, why should we expect more from them than we do a non-hijabi? I was afraid that wearing the hijab would make people expect so much of me. The fact that I would represent Islam intimidated and frightened me because what if I couldn’t live up to those expectations? What if I was not worthy yet? But I was, I am, and I always will be – I just had not realized it yet. One day, I was told by a wonderful friend to “just start hijab, and the rest will come along with it.” May Allah reward her for telling me that, because I think those are the words that pushed me the farthest towards hijab. As the busy year went by, Islam would still be discussed almost every day when we would get a break from school work. My heart began to want to be closer and closer to Allah. I would see other people start hijab and wish it was me. Alhamdulillah for those thoughts… Allah was bringing me closer to Him. I even made it my New Year’s resolution to start hijab in 2013. I began watching hijab tutorials, videos about hijab, and preparing my wardrobe. My appearance wasn’t a problem for me. What I was most afraid of was what people would think and how they would react. “Would they think I changed all of a sudden?” I had to trust in Allah and hope they wouldn’t. After my sophomore year of college was over and summer came, I felt like I didn’t accomplish too much. Yes, I had remembrance of Allah the majority of the time, but it didn’t show as much in my actions as I had wanted it to. But what stuck in my head was, “just start hijab, and the rest will come along with it.” So, I decided to start hijab this Ramadan, because not only is it the best time to start,  but it is what will push me closest to Allah. To be able to be reminded of Allah constantly by wearing hijab is a privilege I no longer wanted to miss out on. To be able to do something – solely for Allah’s love and for His sake – can only be perfect and can only make me better.

July 19, 2013, just one Ramadan after I started to seriously think about it, I began my life as a hijabi. And it feels amazing. Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah! I told my mother I was going to start hijab, but she didn’t know exactly when. Alhamdulillah, she was very supportive. That day, I just put it on and went out without telling anyone for a few days that I actually started, not even my family. Then slowly, when I felt 100% ready to take on the challenges of hijab I began to tell people; family, close friends, and then Facebook friends.

I could have never taken this step without my amazing friends who remind me of Allah with their appearance, speech, and actions. I love you all for the sake of Allah, and I pray to Allah to be able to be with all of you in jannah. Please make dua for me.

My advice: If you’re thinking of hijab, make sure you do it with the sincere intention of doing it for Allah and for Him only. Don’t wait too long – who knows how many years, weeks, days, or even seconds we have left in the dunya. Aim for Akhira and pray that Allah guides you.

There will be another post soon about my first day and the different reactions I got. Please comment if you have questions and jazakallah khair for reading

You read more of Sister Bushra’s work at her personal blog here: http://bushrashid.wordpress.com