Monday, 30 September 2013

20 Things That Can Instantly Make You Happy

     Here's a quick list to inspire a new definition of happiness in our daily lives. I suggest you write your own customized one and make a poster out of it for your room. You can look at it the instant you feel down to brighten your day. 

1. Sing The Duck Song

2. A good pun is its own reword

3. Make random laughing sounds


4. Watch favorite childhood cartoon

5. Shout Allahu Akbar!

6. Make silly faces in a mirror

7. Leave a questionable message on a friend's voicemail 

8. Tell a kid a story that has no beginning middle or end. 

9. Bubble wrap. 

10. Sip tea

11. Watch an old home video

12. Change your accent

13. Dance when no one's watching

14. Surprise a friend

15. Wear white or yellow

16. Do the Macarena

17. Smile for no reason

18. The word "sassafras".

19. Cat videos

20. When in doubt, one word; food.

None of these worked for you? Maybe it's time to get some time off.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Fantasy: a Powerful Tool or a Debilitating Habit?

    Ever caught yourself delving too deep into a fantasy? For a second it feels so real that you catch yourself smiling and feeling warm and content. That feeling could last a whole day and the images can be burned into your head forever. But how could a mere visualization of something have such a dramatic and real effect on you? Sometimes we can get so caught up in fantasies that we let them get in the way of our actual life which could make us feel miserable to wake up and realize how far we are from this ideal. So what's the solution then? Forget fantasies then. Let's keep it real.

     But wait, what if I told you that you can harness that creative energy to make a real change in your future?

     What if you could imagine sitting as yourself with your other future awesome self having a conversation about life? What your future self say? What will he/she be wearing and how will he/she be sitting?

     What if you could imagine putting your children to sleep with a book and a song? Or your grandchildren coming to your home in the tens for a family dinner? What kind of mother or father will you be then? How will you greet your grandchildren in your home? What kind of party will you host?

     What if you could imagine that job you've always dreamed of. What if you could imagine waking up excited to give back to the world? What type of energy will you exude?

    What if you were stressed out from the pressures of this life and imagined yourself sitting on a beach alone somewhere or in a endless field. Better yet, you could picture being taken off this earth and watching the starts and other galaxies until you're up in the heavens. Suddenly, your problems seem smaller. 

     So, I believe that fantasy is a powerful tool yet using it to make our own lives less colorful can be truly maladaptive and debilitating. So have fun and explore that thinking space! The possibilities are endless!

On a side note, from "20 Life lessons That Took Me by Surprise":

"What do you catch yourself thinking about on a regular day? Whatever neurons are firing in our cognitive space are a reflection of what we've stored and what we find significant enough for recall. Even if it is a novel thought, the recollection of it repeatedly in our areas of awareness causes increased reinforcement of that image.  So when we choose to complain and judge ourselves harshly, we reinforce our ideas of incompetence and thus reflect it in our daily lives. On the contrary, when we choose to pump ourselves with praise to nurture our confidence, we feel more ready to take on the world positively. Even our deepest fantasies are a reflection of our realities. Are we fantasizing about probable events which we could shape ourselves? Or are we choosing to repaint our lives in our fantasies to an alternate universe where we are better looking, more clever and attractive for example? I believe that when we choose to shape our fantasies further away from reality or expected reality, we actually impede our shot at growth and thus it becomes counterproductive to do so. Think, I can be the person I fantasize about, and live to that fantasy. What we choose to bring up to our awareness if a true reflection of who we are because it is a private act which we only share with Allah."

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Monday, 23 September 2013

What Being Grateful Feels Like

A dear sister writes:

     When are we happy? When we are out with friends? When we have just won some award? When we’ve passed an exam? Must we be happy only when something exciting is happening in our lives? We’re graduating, we just got a job, or getting married etc. Must we be laughing, grinning from ear to ear or jumping in joy to be happy?
     What does happiness feel like? What does it look like? Do we think laughing friends, pictures of people grinning from ear to ear, or people jumping in joy capture the look of happiness? Usually that’s what we think of when we think “happiness” and usually, we are right to think they are happy. 
     But what about those calm, serene moments, are we not happy then? Are you happy now as you are on the internet reading this post? 
     Now how about if something bad is happening in our lives, can it be possible that we can still be happy then? Must everything be going well for us to be happy? I mean hey, maybe you’ve got two exams coming up, or your friends weren't really your friends at all, or you’ve got only ten dollars in the bank, or there’s a big fight in the family, you can’t possibly be happy!
     See you’ve probably heard people say things like, “if I just had [enter desire here], I would be happy” or “she’s so popular, smart and pretty, she must be so happy. I envy her” or “poor him, he [enter tough living description here] it must suck to be him”. But the thing is, why have we become so reliant on the situation of a person to predict their level of happiness? Why have you become so used to accessing your level of happiness by judging your situation in life.
     It’s easy to be happy. Just be grateful. If you are grateful in every situation, you are happy in every situation.
     Now then, how can you be grateful? It’s not something you can be overnight. You can’t just snap your fingers and BAM! You’re a grateful happy person now. So the reason I’m writing this post is to share with you some lessons I’ve learned and something I’ve done to help me stay grateful.

One: a friend once told me, there are two types of people: people who remember bad things about their past and people who remember good things.
What you remember about your past says a lot about you. Do you remember mainly bad things or good things? The thing is, if you remember the good things in your life regardless of how many horrible things have happened to you, you can rely on the fact that you will continue to always remember the good things. This means that, say you’re going through a rough time, if you’ve built the habit of remembering good things, then say, in a year from now, you will remember the good that happened. This is a good thing and it’s very helpful because it tells you that you can smile now about your past and in the future you can smile about your now. 
     Now bare with me for a second, because I’m about to get really dark here. Some of you might be thinking, well I’ve had unimaginably horrible things happen to me, it’s not my fault I remember the bad. Some of you might have been physically abused by someone you loved, some of you might have been sexually assaulted, some of you might have been bullied, some of you might have experience a lot of death in the family. You’re thinking, with such horrible events like these, how can I possibly remember more good than bad? 
     But I’m here to tell you, you can, because I can, which means so can you. At first it will be hard, you’ll try really hard to come up with some good memories because the bad ones have taken up a lot of “storage”. It’ll take weeks, but you can sit down and write a few good memories in a small journal (if you like that sort of thing) or simply just remember them. What’s even better to do is to remember good memories that happened during the bad ones, or even to remember all the good things that happened because of the bad thing.

Two: When you fantasize about something you wish to happen, don’t be so inflexible as to think that is the only way you want it to happen. You might land the job you’ve always wanted a completely different way than you expected, or you might get you never expected to have! You might get married much earlier or later than you expected, and it really doesn’t matter! Lower your expectations (that’s something you’ve heard before) and don’t imagine the details of how you want something to happen, just let them happen!

Three: You might find this thing very silly, but maybe that’s because I came up with this idea when I was in grade five. So here we go:
    My Mom once told me, if you are thankful about something, God will increase it. Now, to my ten year old mind, I considered that to be my ticket to everlasting good things. I took a bunch of lined paper and began with “101 things I’m grateful for”. Once I finished I gathered up the family and got them all to say “Alhamdu le Allah” for each and every thing on that list. We literally sat in a circle and said Alhamdu Le Allah each time I went over something on that list. 
    Now, if you try this, you’ll notice something, and that’re mind will go blank once you hit a number somewhere between 15-50. Of course God’s blessing to us are infinite but not to your simple mind trying to think of them. But this is a good thing. Eventually, if you’re like me, you’ll hit a stage where you’ll start naming your dish washer as a blessing, and you might think it’s funny but.... it really is a blessing. You’ll start brain storming things like eye sight or a warm bed every night, and that's the whole point! 
     Now as for me, I continued doing these lists every year or so and I still have them. Every once in a while I go back and read them over as a reminder and as a bit of encouragement. There are plenty of things on those lists that have improved more than double and it’s nice to think that I was once grateful for something that is now a fraction of what I now have. It’s also nice because you can see how God’s blessings have grown over time and encouraging to think of how they will inshaAllah continue to grow. 

     Four: Don’t wait until everything in your life lines up perfectly and for everything to go right. You can be happy now. You don’t have to wait for that promotion, or for that exam to pass. You can be happy as you are studying for it (don’t believe me, well at least give it a try).

PS. Another way to be happy is to write your own death note. Sounds creepy but perhaps it's not so crazy after all. Click here to read more on why you should write one.

Subscribe to Random Rants to receive new posts via e-mail by clicking the third icon on the far right of the home page. Jazakum Allah khair.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

20 Signs You Might Have an Ego Problem

Here are 20 signs you may have an ego problem:

1. You don't play with kids:

     That's okay, Kids don't have much to offer anyway, right? Wrong. Your inability to see the potential for learning from those younger than you is preventing you from experiencing the most out of life as a result and is ultimately a reflection of arrogance. I wrote about this previously in "10 Reasons Why Kids Don't Like You".  Children have an extremely accurate ego detector and the fact that they don't gravitate towards you is their detection at work.

2. You can't maintain a conversation with an elderly person:

     Seniors have experienced a great deal of trials and have accumulated years of wisdom and lessons as a result of their long life. When they speak to a young one who thinks they've figured life out, they don't bother engaging in a meaningful conversation with them. Even if they do, it will be the superficial kind. They've met a multitude of diverse personalities and they know how an arrogant one should be treated, so they maintain silence and conserve their energy on more important matters. Point number 12 in "20 Life Lessons That Took Me by Surprise" elaborates on this subject further.

3. Persuasion & seduction is your best asset:

     You spend a great deal of your time looking up ways to convince others to fall under your control and to fulfill your desires and expectations. For example, you are interested in throwing compliments where necessary in a conversation to get on the good side of the one you are speaking to so they are more likely to agree with you. Your ability to manipulate others can be quite fascinating at times and may be working for you, but that doesn't mean it is the right thing to do. How do you react in the circumstances where it is unsuccessful?

4. You must win debates and arguments: 

      You have a deep desire to reach closure on matters which put your ego at risk. The closure must be oriented towards what you desire and what fits your world view. Even if you leave a conversation unresolved and an argument as a "loser", you will spend a great deal of time thinking and replaying the scenario so that next time, you will not fall as the subordinate in the debate. You might even spend a great amount of time researching and getting your facts straight so that you won't be shamed in a debate ever again.

5. You believe that you are a great judge of character:

     You've met enough people to generalize and tell others how they should act. You can even read people's intentions and you are sure you know what is in their hearts, subhanallah! You know the "religious" ones from the rest too. Check out number 3 in "20 Life Lessons That Took Me by Surprise".

6. You don't need to ask any questions: 

      You don't need to read much. Everything is redundant and not new to you anyway. If you have a question, you will find an answer through your own exploration or research. You may even be satisfied with an answer you come up with on your own. It would be a shame to ask for help anyway, right? Read point number 2 in "Top 10 Elements of a Charming Muslim Man" and number 3 in "Top 10 Elements of a Beautiful Muslima" for more on this topic.

7. You can always have more:

     You deserve more so you should have more. You wonder what you've done to deserve such a mess of a life sometimes. Special folk such as yourself deserve more than average treatment for their hard work and dedication, not to mention their undeniable attractiveness and charisma.

8. You must receive approval and compliments from people for what you do: 

    When you do good, you look forward to that compliment and approval to validate your efforts. It's best to perform the good deed in front of a crowd so they see you for the awesome person that you are. Your actions and always proceeded by an anticipation of a positive reaction from people, otherwise there is really no point. When you don't get this feedback, you usually lose patience and quit trying.

9. You believe there is always a right and wrong side:

    Everything is black or white and good or evil. There is no middle path; the middle path is for indecisive losers who don't know what you know. Fact are facts and they are as set in stone and are as true as the bright sun - there can be no diversity in approach. It's either right or totally wrong. You won't change your mind once it's made up either. Read point 11 in "20 Life Lessons That Took Me by Surprise"

10. You can't give a sincere compliment:

     You find yourself envious and wanting what others have. They have things which only a person like you truly deserves and you can't fathom how they have been given what you weren't. If no one compliments you then why should you compliment others and make their head big? Even if you do give a compliment, it doesn't feel right. Almost like you've put your ego at risk and did someone a favor they don't deserve. 

11. You are competitive in every situation:

    If there are eyes watching, you must compete to win. Even if the competition happens to be in something you are not skilled at. When you lose, you can usually convince yourself of all the other awesome things you're good at and that this skill is not important anyway.

12. You have to hide your true feelings: 

     Just face it, you are not happy putting so much effort into pleasing the world. It's costly, tiring and involves a great deal of faking your way through life. You are not familiar with any alternatives and can't imagine how your friends and the people around you will react to your true feelings and desires.

13. You expect a great deal from the world:

     The world has a lot to live up to according to your point of view. You are constantly complaining about all the wrong that is in it. The blame is always on someone or something else. Your advice is extremely valuable and others should take your word very seriously  Read point 15 from "20 Life Lessons That Took Me by Surprise" and point number 1 from part 1.
14. You are losing friends:

    Well, you think it's their loss anyway and everyone is bound to lose friends. They could be just jealous of you for all you know. You still have some friends and they're just awesome because they agree with everything you have to say and don't challenge your thinking. Most people don't do business or work with you twice unless they have an personal interest in the matter. Face it, you're a pain to be around. You think it's quite clever  to be a blunt person who speaks their mind so you tell others what you really think of them, even if you know it will hurt them. Be careful, the common factor in all of your lost friendships is you, not them.

15. You use the word "I" quite often:

     You just do. Everything revolves around you.

16. You won't share credit: 

     Your hard work can never be shared by an amateur. Most of the time you prefer to work alone anyway but when you're forced to be in a group, you are sure it was you who put in the most effort and who truly deserves credit for the work. It's difficult for you to relinquish your association with your work once it's complete. You'll bring it up in almost every conversation and rub it in everyone's face just so they know who they're talking to.

17. You take titles and positions very seriously: 

     A title of "president" or "director" is the one you want. And when you have it, you act as if it is your ticket to bossing everyone around. You are convinced no one can really replace you or take on your position the same way or better than yourself. 

18. You don't listen: 

    Or maybe you do, sometimes. But just so you can understand the person in front of you and prove you're right. If you don't, you're just quiet so that they finish what they have to say and you can continue talking about your own business - which everyone is expected to attend to. You're not boring like them anyway.

19. You think that if you tried hard enough, any man/woman would fall in love with you:

   The only reason the world doesn't fall head over heels for you is because you haven't given them a chance; you're just too "hard to get". You know all in ins and outs of seduction and will try to manipulate all of the conditions to suit your master plan of making that special person fall for you. When they don't however, you are angry and sometimes you can't hide it - or you just dismiss him/her as not knowing what's best for themselves and that you weren't really that attracted to them anyway, right?

21. You think you're "religious" enough: 

     Your character doesn't need any work. You have the right amount of religion to get you into jannah you're just so sure of it. 

UPDATE: I wrote a new post on 20 ways you can challenge your ego. Let me know what you think!

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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Why Calling Someone "Religious" is Problematic

  We've all used it before; the sacred "R" word.

   Used to classify people into two broad groups, depending on the intention and whom we are speaking to; and is almost never used when we are talking about someone similar to ourselves. One group comprises the holy sheikh(a) or imaam imagery - with a beard or higab, modest apparel and their constant reminders of the deen to others. This group is seen as "practicing" and can be associated with positive adjectives to describe them as guiding angels whom we would like to consider the sisters "like our mothers" and so forth. Some of us look up to them and see them as untouched beings with a raised status to an unattainable position; whereby no matter how hard we work on becoming close to these folks in character, we are bound to fail because of their years of experience and knowledge in Islam and our deterministic past and shameful history, not to mention the way they can dare to dress differently and own it.

     And then there's a slightly different association; one that involves themes of rigidity, bigotry, extremism and savagery. This can be seen in the most subtle of ways and will not be expressed directly by the user. This association is made by some who perceive themselves of those who highly value science and technology and the advancement of culture and cannot fathom or accept the merging of religion and modernity. These are not atheist per se, but those who see religion as a flexible and practical belief, rather than a solid book of basic standards. These same folk may consider themselves to be the "right" Muslims and with that belief they placed an imaginary line between them and other Muslims whom they believe do not fit their category. This is unrelated to sects in Islam, but I mean to shed light on our hidden intentions of our use of the word "religious" to describe somebody.

     Now, what is the problem with these associations if they are correct, you may ask? Well, the first issue is our cocky confidence in that they are. Our inability to relinquish control over the boxes which we've placed other people in leads ourselves to become the opposite of what we preach for others to avoid becoming; rigid and downright judgmental. We become extremely confident of our judgement - so much so we cannot accept a member we've placed in one category to fit into another. If a "moderate" Muslim begins wearing the higab or donning a beard, they are not being themselves, and we see them as being hypocrites; all while we watch them and remain stationary - having full satisfaction that the way we perceive our religion is the most righteous. On the other hand, when we look up to a person for their Deen, we forgive their mistakes more easily - or scrutinize and analyze them - and we grant them bigger and better opportunities at being leaders of the faith in our communities; all while forgetting ourselves and widening the gap between us and themselves. We must remember that Islam has only truly taken form in a person in the case of the prophet muhammed (peace be upon him); when we label others as "religious", we let them become our ambassadors of Islam and therefore their shortcomings can become an excuse for some to stay away from bettering their deen. They say:"look at what religion does, how can I follow in their footsteps?" We must never compare our deen to others and we must look upon our character as a constant work in progress. If Allah (swt) can forgive the biggest of sins, then why don't we begin by forgiving ourselves and following through and believing His promise? Ultimately, we will be judged by Allah (swt) in front of all His creations for our true actions and intentions, so look forward to that and don't hesitate to make those changes in your life to please Him and Him only.

     When we judge others for what we perceive is in their hearts, we hand over control and omniscience to ourselves and not our Lord- an illusion of it that is. We are indirectly expressing to Allah (swt) that we are just as capable or even more so than Him -istagfarallah- at figuring people out. We've also indirectly stated to the world how much of our time  is spent thinking about the business of others rather than our own selves. For wallahi, if each of us was to carry on looking inwards instead of out at others, we would find no time and no energy to place on anyone but ourselves. Keeping a critical eye and mind on others is also keeping a critical eye and mind away from ourselves. 

     Shirk is often seen as polytheism and nothing more. Yet, we fail to realize that our ego can oftentimes be worshiped and followed as a deity and perceived in the same manner. We must always practice modesty, humility and self-reflection in order to improve our deen. If you feel comfortable comparing yourself to the prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) in character, then go ahead and judge others. But you won't be I'm sure; and even the prophet (peace be upon him) himself told us to leave judging the contents of other's hearts to Allah (swt) and even in situations where he knew the ill intentions of those in front of him (from Allah), he was asked to be fair and to treat them based on their outwardly manner.

      Abu Ma'bad al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad said, "I asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, 'What do you think if I meet a man of the unbelievers and we fight and he strikes one of my hands with his sword and cuts it off and then takes shelter from me behind a tree and says, "I have surrendered to Allah." Should I kill him, Messenger of Allah, after he has said that?' He said, 'Do not kill him.' I said, 'Messenger of Allah, he cut off one of my hands and then said it after he cut it off!' He said, 'Do not kill him. If you kill him, then he is in the position you were in before you killed him and you are in the position he was in before he said the words he said.'" [Agreed upon]

     Usama ibn Zayd said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent us to al-Huraqa, a sub-tribe of Juhayna, and we came upon the people in the morning at their springs. A man of the Ansar and I overtook one of their men. When we descended on him, he said, 'There is no god but Allah.' The Ansari held back from him, but I stabbed him with my spear until I had killed him. When we arrived in Madina, that reached the Prophet and he said, 'O Usama, did you kill him after he had said, "There is no god but Allah"?' I said, 'Messenger of Allah, he was only trying to save himself.' He said, 'Did you kill him after he had said, "There is no god but Allah"?' He continued to repeat it to me until I wished that I had not become Muslim until that day." [Agreed upon]

     In one variant, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Did he say, "There is no god but Allah" and yet you still killed him?' I said, 'Messenger of Allah, he only said it out of fear of our weapons.' He said, 'Did you then split open his heart so that you know whether he truly meant it when he said it or not?' He continued to repeat it until I wished that I had only become Muslim on that day." [Agreed upom]

   Another valuable source to gain insight on judgement of character are the Sahabas (RA) whom after the passing of the prophet (peace be upon him), were left with no indication of the intentions of others from Allah. To understand the way they lived their days sheds light on the manner in which they were harsh on themselves and their own intentions first and foremost, and how they struggled to match up to the prophet (peace be upon him). If his companions struggled, then how are we so comfortable?

'Abdullah ibn 'Utba ibn Mas'ud reported that he heard 'Umar ibn al-Khattab say, "Some people were dealt with by the revelation in the time of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The revelation has ceased. Now we deal with you according to what is clear to us from your actions. If anyone shows us good, we trust him and honour him. We know nothing of his inward. Allah will call him to reckoning in respect of his inward. If anyone shows us evil, we do not trust him and do not believe him, even if he says that his inward is good." [al-Bukhari]

   During the prophet's (peace be upon him) time, there was one man who used to appear drunk to the public in the daytime and the companions at one point wanted to issue him a punishment. The prophet (peace be upon him) addressed them and said "Do not curse him, for I swear by Allah, if you only knew just how very much indeed he loves Allah and His Messenger." 

He then added:
"Do not help Satan against your brother."(Al-Bukhari)

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Monday, 9 September 2013

Sister's Speak: A Muslima's Common Boy Problems (Part 2)

6. How do I handle myself with him now that I'm engaged?

Random Rants of a Muslima:

     This really depends on your comfort zone and your engagement itself. So I can't impose the boundaries for you cause I'm not sure what you mean by engagement. However, it's important to know that this is the time for the both of you to truly get to know one another. So don't treat him like a stranger but don't forget he's not your brother either. Both of you need to begin challenging each other's thinking and to ask the tough questions which get you delving deeply into the way you each think of yourselves and the world. So focus on valuable conversation and skip the same old superficial matters. Questions that ask about the purpose of things he does and his opinion on the world around him reflect his outlook on life. You are looking for a father to your children, so it's important to get a good look into his character. On another note, the engagement is not marriage, so save the intimacy for later and be careful to maintain the necessary boundaries.


     Engagement is a time to get to know one another. Unless you are legally married, it is meant to be like a halal dating period, where you get to find out as much as you can about the person and their family, while maintaining Islamic boundaries at all times.

7. When is it time to speak with intimate matters with my fiance?

     Random Rants of a Muslima:

      I speak with nothing set in stone here, so just take some of this with a grain of salt and consult your own sources. Your fiance is considered a non-muhram in Islam until you are both married; this means you may speak only with a muhram present. So if you have something to tell your fiance before the wedding and you don't want others knowing, let him know to wait until you're both married and together to discuss these intimate matters and to ensure consent. That way he's aware not to make any assumptions on your behalf. As for when you marry, I believe that a mature and assertive woman should be able to state how she would like to be treated, especially with regards to the first time together. I say this because it's best that the expectations of both parties are known in order to avoid violating the other's comfort zone. If this is too difficult for you, then how can you act upon something you cannot speak of? If you don't express what you prefer, then what you prefer will be assumed by your partner, and you may not be on the same page. If you are shy, your silence is his permission according to the sunnah. Wa Allahu a'lam. 

It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "A previously married woman should not be married until she has been consulted. A virgin is not married until she is asked for her permission." They said, "Messenger of Allah, how does she give permission?" He replied, "It is when she is silent."
It is related that 'A'isha said, "Messenger of Allah, a virgin is shy!" He said, "Her consent is her silence."


     Once you have done your katb ktab, when you are legally married. (Shortly before the wedding) .

8. A guy who pursued my friend is now pursuing me. What do I do?

Random Rants of a Muslima:

    Hmm... just thinking about this question makes my head full of clashing arguments, so I'm going to say there is no clear answer. I'm trying to find some sources in the sunnah and I can't find any indication that this would be a prohibited matter, and it doesn't make sense for it to be, frankly. I can't elaborate further on the Islamic reference regarding this, so please consult your own sources.

    As for my personal opinion or approach to this situation, I would firstly consider what exactly constitutes this man's relationship with the woman before you. Because you wouldn't be asking this question if you did not have an inclination to this man, otherwise you would reject his proposal, which I am hoping it is just that and not an open-ended relationship. If this man pursued the woman in a halaal manner, then this is an indication that he may be true with his intentions towards you as well. It's a good idea to consult your friend to find this out and to see how she feels about this. What I find fascinating is men's obsession with the "bro code" and the phrase "bros before h*es" and Muslim men are not exempt from this practice. Some men choose not to pursue or consider a woman whom their friend found an interest in, so I'm not saying this is right or wrong, but that it's always up to you and what makes you feel comfortable.


    I have no idea. I'm curious to know what Random Rants thinks of this question.

9. I'm coming of age. How do I find my man?

Random Rants of a Muslima:

     This sounds like a funny question at first but has some serious dimensions to it. As human beings, we like to have control over things in our life. So much so, there is strong correlates between one's perceived level of control and happiness. However, as Muslims, we know that this is merely an illusion, and that control of all matters is first and foremost, a product of Allah's command and allowance. Here's a good source with verses and ahadeeth related to qadar (destiny). So all the good and bad that befalls you is written in the books with Allah. We've got to face the fact that there is no planning or persuading anyone to fall in love or marry another, and that if it happens then it is a result of guidance from Allah and not the product of any person's work. So instead of worrying about what you have no control over and risking to fall for fitna and other things that may sway you from the right path, just look towards Him. And if He happens to test you with no marriage in your future, then He tests you out of love and this is your jihad.

Narrated Abu Huraira; I said, "O Allah's Apostle! I am a young man and I am afraid that I may commit illegal sexual intercourse and I cannot afford to marry." He kept silent, and then repeated my question once again, but he kept silent. I said the same (for the third time) and he remained silent. Then repeated my question (for the fourth time), and only then the Prophet said, "O Abu Huraira! The pen has dried after writing what you are going to confront. So (it does not matter whether you) get yourself castrated or not." (Castration is forbidden in Islam)

     Now for what you can do as a Muslimah; work on your character. Learn from the prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) on the best of manners and work towards his example.


     Once you are sure you are ready, I would suggest having a serious conversation with your parents. Let them know you are now completely serious about finding a suitable life partner.
From there, inshaAllah you will be able to enlist their help and begin your journey. Through the help and guidance of your parents, you can look into the many different routes of finding a spouse; be it through mutual friends in the community, halal marriage websites, or maybe by getting your parents on board with someone you met at school or work.

10. He promises he'll marry me and I'm turning down proposals for him. Am I doing the right thing?

Random Rants of a Muslima:

     Oh man, that's a tough place to be in. But I'm not going to make things simple and rosy when they aren't, so forgive me ahead of time. A promise for marriage in Islam is the engagement itself, and in order for a marriage to be complete, one of the conditions is that the woman must not be engaged to anyone else. I'm guessing he hasn't approached your parents for approval, because if they approved of him then you are obligated to turn down other proposals until this engagement is settled and completed or broken off. That being said, his mingling with you and his promise is unacceptable and invalid. He should know this and shouldn't be obligating you to turn down these proposals. If you feel like you're turning down proposals for him and not for yourself then that's a problem. Although things seem to be in a perfect plan right now, continuing this secret relationship with this man may be clouding your vision for the future. Make no exceptions to your standards as a Muslim woman, regardless of what anyone tells you. Are we twisting our faith to suit others and ourselves or are we accepting and submissive to Allah's word?


     If you feel he is the one for you, is mature, realistic, has been met and approved by your family (maybe had an unwritten agreement), and is making a clear effort to stabilize himself financially and to settle down, then maybe you should consider it. Be careful and realistic though. His promise should soon begin to translate into action. If you feel he is slacking on his promise and seems to be very hesitant or unsure about it, you must have enough self-respect and common sense to know when to move on.

we'll make a part 2 to this post if we get requests to do so. You may post your question below anonymously and we'll try our best inshAllah.

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Monday, 2 September 2013

Sister's Speak: A Muslima's Common Boy Problems

     Istaghfarallah. Boy problems?! We don't have such thing in Islam!

     How dare I write about something so provocative, right?

   If I wanted to write about things that hint vaguely at matters then I wouldn't have bothered to establish this blog in the first place. We've covered topics from marriage proposals to racism to other realities within our Muslim communities and we're not about to stop there. We're here to discuss those issues that others pretend don't exist. And this one is important and here's why:

    Our sisters are going through a crisis of control when it comes to "finding" their spouse. With individualism and value of personal independence rising for the Muslim woman, she slowly begins to harness control in her life matters and if I must say, does an awesome job at it. Us women succeed in many areas in the social and professional world when we try hard enough. Yet, when it comes to marriage, Muslim women are expected to "wait" for "him" to come. This frustrates many women and so they seek indirect ways of showing interest and getting the ball rolling. 

     Unfortunately, that doesn't always spell halal. This is ultimately a personal choice and it's not up to me to dictate to you, or women in general, as to how they should go about this process. What we will try to cover, however, is areas where we are either 1) compromising our basic principles and values in this quest to find "the man" or 2) reading into a man's intentions in a different manner than they were intended. And frankly, I am tired of healing my fellow sister's broken hearts. I'm sure we all are.

Our good intentions do not justify the means.

 I feel my purpose as an anonymous Muslima blogger, is to bridge worlds and offer insight where needed in our communities. Addressing these issues might enlighten my sisters (and ultimately is a reminder to me as well) on the answers to common questions they desperately crave, yet cannot find on other sites. Again, I give my perspective and opinion and at the end of the day it's up to you. You can take it with a grain of salt or you can take it and run.

In order to offer a holistic perspective as much as possible, I answered these questions alongside a dear friend, she is referred to in this article as Your_fairy_God_mother.

Here's some of the most common questions Muslima's face in the quest to find "The One":

1. He's trying to talk to me online and we've never met or talked to each other before. What do I do?

 Random Rants of a Muslima:

   Well, perhaps before thinking of what you should do, first think of what you want to do. If you're asking yourself this question, chances are you're interested in him (otherwise you would have totally ignored this stranger) and if he's taking time to try and start small talk with you and get personal when he doesn't have to, chances are he's also interested. Whether or not his interest is based on good intention will not be known unless he tells you directly what his intention is. And even then, you can never be too trusting or sure. There's nothing wrong with sharing an interest but here's where you gotta be careful; the online experience doesn't compare to the real deal. When a man is truly interested in a woman for marriage, his first instinct is to make sure he doesn't lose this woman to anyone else (I call it the dibs theory). So this means he will look for a way to let you know as soon as he can. And if he can't find a way to you in person, he may do it online (especially if he lacks confidence in this field). However, if he can't get through to you online and has solid pure intentions, he'll find another way don't you worry. So if you want to be sure of his intention, I suggest steering away from online communication since it can also lead to fitna; not to mention, when you post online it stays in the web forever. Don't worry about him, he'll be okay. You won't hurt his feelings I promise (no I can't really promise but it doesn't matter cause pleasing Allah should come first and foremost).


I’m about to sound like your mom for a second BUT: First, be very, very careful when speaking to ANYONE you have only met online, regardless of gender. Never release any personal/private information you wouldn't be comfortable having the general public knowing, and always ask a parent or someone you trust if you are unsure whether someone looks sketchy or you feel unsafe by something the person said. Pay attention to your intuition, as your gut feelings about someone may be more correct than you think. Second, pay attention to the legitimacy of this person online. Which website is this person using to try to reach you? For example, if the guy messages you on your profile on a legitimate Muslim Marriage site, it seems much more authentic then him poking you on Facebook or inboxing you “wIlL U Mak Ze FrIenDSHip wIIzzZ mEe?” Third, consider what the person is saying to you? If he is keeping it all halal and formal, and is messaging you respectfully to ask for your father’s contact information, that might be okay. If he is asking you whether midnight behind that (insert local coffee shop) works with you as a meeting location.. uhm, RUN! Fourth, ALWAYS get a mahram or parent involved. DO NOT KEEP ANY SECRETS. Have your family read over all messages that are being received, and have them help you along the way. In conclusion, sometimes online meetings do end up being useful tools to meet a future spouse, but be sure to always keep it halal, use extreme caution, trust your gut feelings, and get your parents involved asap!

2. My friend is asking for me to connect him/her to someone he/she is interested in, how do I go about this?

Random Rants of a Muslima:

    Ooh, you're in a tough position now. Cause you gotta be the fair middle man, don't you? You know both parties and now you feel obligated. But let me tell you something: if you don't feel fit to do this, then don't do it. There's two ways to go about this and I can't be the one to tell you the right from the wrong way, but you can either 1) introduce them briefly and connect them and leave it at that or 2) do your research and invest your time and energy in the two first. All I can say is this comes with an immense responsibility. The responsibility lies not in making sure the two have a rosy picture of each other and fall in love, marry and live happily ever after. From where I see it, the responsibility lies in ensuring no one's rights are transgressed and that everyone feels comfortable with everything. This means consulting both parties on how they would prefer to be arranged before going about it yourself. It's very easy to follow through on your own timeline and manner because your friends (on both ends) might be ones you've know for quite some time now; which can give you the idea that you've got some flexibility with the process. But you don't. The truth is, people vary widely on how they would like to be connected to someone that even years of friendship cannot always give you proper insight on their preference . And ultimately, people change their minds as well with the passing of time. What you can do, which is what I would do for myself if I was in your position, is to speak to both parties on the subject of marriage as a whole and whether they feel ready to pursue someone seriously and take some time to investigate; are they ready to ultimately start a family and take on the responsibility of being a father/mother? It's not up to you to hold anyone back if you feel they aren't ready, but you can guide him/her and give your advice to the other party of the status of the proposee (can I call them that?) by keeping careful to maintain transparency and honesty. Honesty is the best policy when handling these situations. Make sure to inform both parties of the steps you will take (based on their preference) and to take on each step at a time. Then comes another question; when will your job be complete? This really depends on the situation really. Bottom line is, make sure you know your boundaries and that will be based on what their preferences - so it's key to consult them. Another important thing to keep in mind is to always keep the sister in question dignified. Our culture assumes that the man will pursue the woman, so your job would be to guide him to her family, rather than to do all the exploring of the woman's profile yourself. This way, you ensure no one's rights are transgressed and that the line of information is discrete, direct and accurate.


     First, this is a responsibility you have been given. Be sure to keep all information about your friend’s interest confidential, and be very respectful of your friend’s inquiry. Second, let the person being pursued know of your friend’s interest (respectfully and maturely), and urge them both to get their parents involved asap!

3. I've got a reputation for being too reserved. When is it time to let down my guard?

Random Rants of a Muslima:

     Congratulations. That's an awesome reputation to have. It means you're a proper woman who is comfortable and accepting of her boundaries with the opposite gender. Now whether or not you feel the need to change this, it's really up to you, I can't be the one to tell you how you should live your life. With regards to letting down your guard, it really depends on your definition of guard. If you feel that your shyness is impeding your movement and stopping you from pursuing your goals then perhaps you can practice slowly exposing yourself to more nerve wracking situations to lower your anxiety in the long run.  The best way to go about this is to practice public speaking. Truth is, many of us cannot just deny the existence of men around us. We see them at work and almost every place which requires social interaction so we must learn how to go about our day and fulfill our purpose without letting anyone stand in our way. But please do not allow anyone to enforce their standards upon you, it is ultimately up to you and what makes you comfortable. Those who speak of your reservation negatively are not the folk who hold the same values for you as you do for yourself, so don't worry about them. Letting down your guard will come naturally to you once you marry and that all depends on Allah's boundaries for us as women. This applies to men as well.

Having a reputation for being reserved is NOT necessarily a negative thing. Just make sure it is not inhibiting you from being an active member of society, or is making you seem unapproachable. In our present time, it has unfortunately become the norm for girls and guys to be extremely open, loud, and to mingle freely with one another. Anyone who doesn't conform is wrongfully labeled as “reserved, cold, or weird.” This is in fact untrue as the standards for what is normal behavior with the opposite gender have been completely pushed beyond the boundary of what Islam finds acceptable. In fact, being reserved with the opposite gender is the way we Muslims are supposed to conduct ourselves, as modesty should be practiced as a part of our character, and is not only meant to be symbolized as a piece of cloth on our heads. However, although being reserved and modest with the opposite gender is in fact a very positive thing, just be sure it doesn’t disable you from being active in your community. You CAN work with guys RESPECTFULLY and have healthy, halal relationships that allow you to contribute to your community and grow as a person. Dealing with guys respectfully is a very important skill that is important to learn and develop to enable you to become a strong, well rounded woman. My recommendation would be to join an organization that has a safe, respectful working environment, in which you are able to contribute to society, and remain comfortable at the same time.

4. Can I maintain a friendship with a guy?

Random Rants of a Muslima:

     Let me make this clear, there is no way I can sugarcoat this for you, so here goes:

No. Never. 

     Friendships with men are selfish. Truth is, if a man is taking an ample time from his day to involve himself personally with you, to him this is an investment in the possibility of a future together. Or in some cases, just his play-time really, let's be frank here. Maintaining this friendship implies that you're okay with making exceptions to your standards and overstepping the boundries that Allah (swt) set between men and women for your own selfish desires to fulfill a hole in your life that this man brings. If you truly want what's best for this man you consider a friend, then end it for his sake before he falls in love with you or you fall in love with him and someone in the end is bound to get hurt. Women around the world, make no exceptions on your standards for anyone, no matter how trusting you think they are. There  are ultimately things happening behind your back that you will not be aware of. For example, he could be telling his friends of this relationship of yours and bragging about how much you're into him, regardless of whether you are or not. Bottom line is, sooner or later you'll regret this friendship when you marry, but the social networks and its damage would have already happened. Another thing to keep in mind, if you feel like you need his friendship, then this is an indication of something missing in your life, so find it. Let me give you a hint, He's always there and wants to hear you out and give you all that you want, at any time of the day.


Easy answer: Don’t.
Let me elaborate here:
You can definitely be a FRIENDLY, pleasant human being to be around, but to be FRIENDS with a guy is much trickier. Friendship is an intimate relationship. Even if it starts off as innocent, and you feel confident with your boundaries and limitations, with time, these boundaries will slowly come tumbling down, and suddenly your friendship will progress like any other into a stronger, more dependent, intimate relationship. You will begin to know each other very well, enjoy and miss one another’s company when you aren’t around one another, and with time, feelings of attachment will begin to develop. This is only natural. It is inevitable that either you or the guy will start to develop feelings for one another, leading to confusion and awkwardness between you both. If you hopefully choose to end your friendship before it becomes on the verge of being a haram relationship, it will naturally cause you feelings of heartbreak and pain over losing a very important person in your life. If you choose to let it develop into a haram relationship, it will obviously only lead you down a wrong path. In the end, it will most likely end in a sticky, painful mess.
We are given a code of conduct to abide by in Islam, and it involves dealing with the opposite gender in a formal manner, rather than forming close friendships, I suggest we stick to that.

5. How do I know he's interested for marriage and not just playing around?

Random Rants of a Muslima:

   Sometimes it's hard to tell. But most Muslim men won't play around when they're interested in something serious. Or at least won't prolong this matter. Here's why; most men think of only one thing when they set their eyes on that girl who could be The One; which is that "I gotta make sure she doesn't end up with anyone else." So they will make the move pretty quickly and won't necessarily show any signs. Don't read too much into his actions you won't end up with the right conclusions. They will explain their true intentions pretty quickly either through a friend or to you directly. Now if he's been talking to you for months now and hasn't committed or told you why he's spending his time on you, then get out of it quick! You don't have the time to waste and you want to invest now for your future. He's just holding you back otherwise. 


There are certain signs, here are a few:
1. He does not flirt around with other girls, and he does not flirt with you – but instead, is formal and follows the Islamic conduct with all female interactions.
2. He has approached your parents to formalize the relationship.
3. He is trying to stabilize himself financially.

PART 2 Click here

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