Saturday, 31 October 2009

Busy, busy and busy!

Subhaanallah, I can't believe how quick these weeks are flying by. Time is starting to become extremely scarce. University/Dawah is playing a huge role in my life and taking all my available time. I feel extremely exhausted/worn out and the year hasn't even started :)

Must persevere inshallah. 

Just a short reminder from me this week:

Be sure to check out more from the user. Great little reminders! 

'til next time . .

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The delusional image - I don't geddit?

I'm going to need some help on getting my head around this one folks.

I'm in the process of enquiring about someone who's been on the card for years. More to come on that after we make some progress!

This got me thinking - If this doesn't workout, where do I go from here?

How do girls pick guys?

Let me break it down a little. When you first see a girl you see how she's dressed. If she wears hijaab/jilbaab you get that insta-win feeling. If you find her mutually attractive. Another point. Based on these 2 preferences this is how most guys decide to go forward and enquire about them.

How else are we supposed to pick them? We go for the two factors most apparent to us when pursuing a wife.

Now how does this work for a girls picking a guy? Must he wear a jubba and have a beard the size of a fist? Well that's me off the cards.

I've noticed a common trend as of recent. I get a lot Asian girls making eye contact with me. Ya know . . the type to flirt/pick someone up. I feel embarrassed/shy, I can't maintain eye contact. No, I haven't got a chip on my shoulder and I don't think I'm 'it'. I'm just not what you perceive me to be. 

I'm not hanging up my gloves yet, I just feel that if this falls prematurely (looking likely). I'll lose motivation for a while.

It's a sad lonely battle. What are us guys supposed to do?

Friday, 9 October 2009


I encountered one of my childhood heroes. He showed me being a rude bwoi was for losers. He also showed me how Islam was the only way to live your life. I like to think his words inspired me for and kept me clean whilst growing up in the ghetto.

I met him yesterday at an event. We bumped into each other, and I got that warm, cuddly feeling you get of meeting awesomeness!

I drove him home and he gave me some food for thought about marriage.

I realised we all have a lot of expectations and misconceptions of marriage.

The brother gave me an analogy about how marriages are like natural resources. Coal is easy to get hold of. Diamonds on the other hand, are fairly scarce. This is evident in reality. You'll come across some couples who have amazing partners. Two people who know how to get on and work with things. You'll come across some who are just living through their marriage and taking it as it goes. Then there are those who hate each other. I'm sure we could do a tafsir on this and really break it down into 20 different categories, but lets just leave it at that haha . .

We must understand that not everyone will find a diamond. Those that do find diamonds won't have a flawless marriage either. What makes them diamonds are that they know how to communicate and deal with problems they encounter. They have an understanding.

We've gotten into this notion that "Hey I've read all the books on marriage . . . . . She's read all the books on marriage. Let's get married. We're ready! Thunderbirds are go go go go!!!!"

If only t'was that simple. In reality, it's different.Totally different!

A brother told me the following . . . .

Say . .  she does something inappropriate and you use wisdom and put your case across in the nicest possible way. She may not accept it and she'll give you some lip! I remember mine said to me, you think you're a sahabah now?  

 That really made me LOL!

We've all grown/been brought up in this society. We want to find a potential spouse who has similar understanding and values. By default you have to accept that we've all been corrupted in one way or another. We are humans after all. Now, you're obviously going to get lip if you tell her to do something which her own father didn't tell her to do. It's something you have to accept. Now how you deal with issues is where one needs to differentiate. One can choose to give lip back and have a never ending argument. Or . . one can choose to accept the circumstances and with things differently.

Now . . expectations. Ah . . expectations, doesn't it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Thought not.

Most have us have been placed with 'expectations'. Through television, school friends, society, colleagues, ads . .  you name it - we've been bombarded with all these fairly tales and images of how 'things should be'.

Take guys for example. Growing up we've been bombarded with semi-naked women in our faces. Over time we've got this warped image of bollywood figures, models and so on. This has become the benchmark.  We see women flaunting it  . . non-muslim and muslim alike. We've been exposed the charms of a women. Women don't quite dress modest as they once did.

Take an average looking woman. Slap make up on her, using a GHD hair straightner . .  give her smoooooth silky hair. She will look pretty. In the eyes of some people; the less she wears the prettier she'll get.

Now take a woman in hijaab. You don't know what to expect. In my eyes a woman concealing her beauty is a lot more attractive. You don't quite know what to expect.

In a nutshell. Every woman is beautiful in her own unique way.

Imagine being brought in the society where you haven't been exposed to lewd images/descriptions. You've never seen a women exposed before. How special would it be when he meets his wife?

I don't think she'd always ask "Does my backside look big in this?" and be so self-concious. 

Moving on . . when a guy is married, many of us begin to think we'll be in a position to say "Yes! That part of the test is over". Little do they know it ignites their sexual instincts more, once they're sexually active. Yes boys . . don't assume it's over, you must continue to lower your gaze and guard yourself. 

Marriage is hard. Don't have these expectations that she will be the answer to your life. That she will be like Khadijah. It's good to aspire and aim for the best. But don't assume for one minute it's going to go like your mind has played it. You have to work. And you have to work very hard. It's not meant to be easy.

Don't think for one moment life will become easier. A new test will begin. It's an experience I look forward to. Why? Allah tests those whom he loves. It never ends and a new experience begins.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Fight or Flight

I started writing this during the time I was looking for a wife, but never posted it because I couldn't finish writing it before I got engaged. Anyway, here it is!


In psychology, the term fight or flight is used to explain the biological responses our body makes in reaction to a threat - to either prime the body for fighting or to prime the body for fleeing.

Am I weird to say I experience the fight or flight response whenever I approach a girl to seriously talk about marriage? How hard should I fight to get a girl? Should I have an attitude where fighting to get a girl equals hassle... hassle that I could, frankly, live without?

These are all questions that I had to ask myself when I was looking for a wife. In the start of my search, I didn't think much of it. I thought that a girl would suddenly fall in my lap (not literally! lol) and we would fall in love and get married and live happily ever after. Getting married shouldn't be hard - being married is the difficult bit... right?


Rewards are always sweeter when you have fought a long, hard battle to get what you were aiming for. The amount of appreciation that you will have for something that you worked hard to achieve would naturally be much greater than if it were given to you on a silver platter.

Let me explain, by rewinding a couple decades ago...

When I was a young boy, my parents never gave me any pocket money. Didn't buy me many things, didn't get any birthday presents... didn't really get many material possessions. I used to envy my school mates who would get £5 a week for doing nothing. They'd all have cool games consoles, when I had a tennis ball. They went to the corner shop after school and bought sweets. I had no money to buy anything, so I just went home. The only time I got money was when it was Eid, or when I worked for it. And here was the standard list of jobs available to get money:

Wash the car inside and out: 50p
Clean all the downstairs windows on the inside: 20p
Clean all the downstairs windows on the outside: 20p
Clean all the downstairs windows on the inside: 20p
Vacuum one room: 5p
Clean my room: no money, cos i'm expected to do it anyway!
There was a time when I used to get 5p for each prayer I completed
Sometimes, I would get 5p for practicing reading the muqaddam (a book to familiarise myself with the arabic text and to learn how to read the Qur'an)
Washing the dishes: 5p
And so on...

And I remember when my siblings and I had worked really hard and we had all saved up lots of money (approx £2 each or so), so we would all go down to the local shop and buy multi-packs of crisps and chocolates and share it amongst ourselves.

MashaAllah, my mum taught us the value of money, and taught us how to spend that money in a nice way - by sharing it with others.

So I grew up really cherishing everything I had - even though I didn't really own that many things. Whatever I had for lunch, I would eat everything, even though I didn't like it sometimes (and as I was a slow eater, I would usually be one of the last kids to leave the lunch hall). I would see others throw away the food they didn't want to finish, just because they didn't like it.

I always compared myself to my classmates and I could never understand their rationale behind their actions. For example, whenever I had a bottle of drink, I would save the bottle and reuse it the next day. But I would see my classmates do stupid stuff like bite the bottom of the bottle and drink through the little hole they made with their teeth! What a waste of a perfectly good bottle! Obviously, they had to throw away the bottle after that since there was no way you could use it again. But I remember thinking "how can they not appreciate these things that they have been given?"

Simple answer: spoilt children. They've been given everything they asked for without having to lift a finger. They never did any chores. They never learnt to appreciate what they had and what they worked for. So they had no care for their actions and no love for their belongings. Whereas I had to struggle to get the tiniest bit of monetary reward.

Let's move forward in time back to the recent past...

I was sitting with my brothers and sisters celebrating Eid when the discussion came up about me choosing a wife. Big sis asked me if I wanted to fight for the girl of my dreams. My natural answer: "no, it should be simple - I don't wanna fight. If it's meant to be, it'll happen". My brother shot up and said, "nah, you never want to fight for your things. You just expect things to happen around you. That ain't reality. You're living in a dreamworld". My sis then proclaimed, "yeah *Hiro*, you should show that you're at least fighting to get a girl, otherwise, it would seem like you don't even want her"

That short conversation had such a profound effect on me. Could it be that I've lost all the values I used to hold as a child? What happened to the concept that I should work hard to get what I wanted? Had this dark dreary world corrupted me to the point where I have forgotten my mother's teachings?

As you can imagine, I didn't say much for the rest of that conversation. I was in deep thought for the whole evening. Maybe I should fight to get the girl of my dreams. Instead of just wandering aimlessly, waiting for her to fall into my lap. I mean... who do I think I am? Shahrukh Khan in some Bollywood movie? Things don't just happen like that in real life.

I decided on two things that night. Firstly, to cut down on the movies. Secondly, to adopt a new way of thinking when seeking a suitable partner in marriage.

This new way of thinking included many things. For starters, I'm not going to run away from the smallest problem I had with the next potential wife. I remember rejecting girls just because they had studied medicine and some twisted logic in my mind had made up the idea that because she was studying medicine, she probably wanted to make a career out of it, therefore, didn't want to have children. So I rejected her without even talking to her! I had rejected girls because they were from a different culture to me. Even though, we were both born in the UK and had grown up here all our lives. I had rejected girls I had never even met before because they were older than me. Or they lived in another country. Or were too short. Or knew my sister. Or she never used to wear hijab. Once, I even rejected a girl because she had the same name as my sister (but that is quite freaky for obvious reasons!). The point is, I kept choosing the option of 'flight' every time I saw a small threat that might materialise in the future.

What a moron I was. And I wanted to change. I had realised my mistake in all of this and I had decided that now is not the time for 'flight' every time a small minor negative thing gets in the way.

It's. time. to. fight.

Nobody is perfect; so I can't expect my future wife to have no flaws whatsoever. Which means that I can't expect an easy ride to get the girl of my dreams... right? In fact, I now believe that if we don't struggle to find 'the one', then it might come back and haunt you later in the future. Maybe through not appreciating the one you are supposed to love. Maybe that might lead to your future spouse reciprocating that feeling. Maybe that might lead you to fall out of love. Maybe that might lead you to end up in divorce. Now that's a scary thought.

I now hold the opinion that you have to expect to fight for the girl of your dreams. Sitting down and waiting for her to come to you is not an option. After all a marriage-seeker should seek. Not be sought. Cos then, you would be a marriage-soughter. And that don't even make sense.

So let me go back to my original hypothesis: "getting married shouldn't be hard". Maybe I should change the 'getting married' part of that hypothesis to something more appropriate like 'choosing a colour to paint your wall... shouldn't be hard'. That would be more fitting. Getting married is the hard part. That's where you lay down the foundations of your union. It's where you learn to appreciate each other and each other's roles in each other's lives. It's where you have to make a decision whether you think you can spend the rest of your life with that person or not. You have to consider the relationship that your future spouse will have with your family, if your future spouse is planning on moving in with your family. You have to figure out whether or not you both have the same direction in life; after all, one of you may be an extrovert personality, while the other may be introvert. And if one of you have to relocate after marriage, then what are the logistics of that happening?

Most importantly, you have to mentally prepare yourself for marriage. And that doesn't mean looking in the mirror and saying "I want to get married". Noooo. It means that you have to be at a pretty mature stage of your life, where you are confident that you can resolve problems. That you can foresee problems and eradicate them before they exist. And have the knowledge that sometimes, your wife just wants to talk (sometimes scream). And you have to listen - even though you really wanna just watch tv. lol.

All this requires a lot of thought. And a constant battle with yourself ensues. 'Can I live with that part of his/her personality? Would he/she be upset with my direction in life? Would I get support from him/her whenever I want to do something?'

If any of you have felt the same as me, please share it with us. A problem shared, is a problem halved.

I’m Crushin’ on you!!

Throughout my life, I have had many crushes on girls. Usually, girls who i regularly see, or work with, or go to school/college/uni with. Crushes developed on girls like Charlize Theron, Beyonce and Jennifer Love-Hewitt don’t count. That’s just too superficial.

But when discussing these crushes with other brothers (cos that’s what we do over sheesha, apparently) we always come up with the same answer; that these girls are not marriage material. Oh this reminds me of a game we used to play when we were immature: “sex, marry or kill?”. Highly obvious rules to the game – name a girl, and the other has to declare whether they would have sex with, marry, or kill that girl. Lol. What a stupid game.

Anyway, that game has no relevance to my post. So let me get back to my point.

Where was I? Oh yes, these girls are not marriage material. As I explained in a previous post, I have always lived in remote areas, where there are no masaajid, no halal butchers, and most certainly barely any Muslims. So naturally, I was not seriously interested in any of these local girls.

When I started college, I was amazed to firstly see so many Muslim girls, but to also see that so many Muslim girls don’t cover up or abide by Islamic morals kinda struck me.

When I started uni, I was even more amazed that there were so many sisters in uni, and that they covered up well, but was shocked that a lot of them were kinda flirty. I guess at least they are studying hard and not wasting their life away.

In fact, I remember sitting in a brother’s apartment and explaining to him why, of all the girls that were in uni, I had not started chasing any of them (in all Islamic manners, obviously). It was then, that I made the realisation that all good Islamic girls hide.

I am even more confused, after many of my friends started to get married, and after meeting their respective wives, discovered that they were all very decent women. Even the ones who didn’t wear hijab. Where have all the good women gone??! They are either married or in hiding!!

Guys like me have no chance then!

I started to lose hope due to these ideas, until i met these two sisters. Their real identities shall be hidden, so we shall call them Abidah and Anisah (these names rhyme, just like their real ones!)

Anyway, I met these lovely young ladies at work. They happen to visit my store all the time and I still remember the first time they graced the store with their visit.

Abidah walked in and all I could do was to stop and stare. A few moments later, I realised what I was doing and turned away. But found myself approaching her to greet her with the Islamic greeting of ‘Assalamualaikum’. Instantly, she responded, then explained to me what she was looking for. I went to the stockroom to look for it and came back to tell her we didn’t stock it.

“Sorry, sister. We don’t have it”, I told her. She gave me a confused look, then said “ok, then” and walked away. I was quite struck by that response, so I decided to forget about it by checking up on my staff. A few moments passed, and Abidah approached me again telling me “thanks for looking for me; you told my twin sister though, so she got a bit confused!”

I was dumbfounded! “There’s two of you?” I exclaimed!

“Yes, there she is, we are wearing different coloured hijabs!” and she pointed.

I looked across and started waving like a bafoon. Way to make a first impression, Geetar Hiro! Nevertheless, she must’ve thought it was funny, cos they both laughed.

They both continued visiting my store once every while – and on one instance, I actually managed to get Abidah’s number! Success? Not quite. She gave me that number because she was waiting for a particular item to be in stock; ie, she gave me her number on professional terms. Now, if I were to abuse that professional customer relationship by calling her up on personal terms, surely that would violate some sort of company regulation? So I used to just call her purely on professional terms.

That is, until mid-Ramadhan! They both came in and by this time, I found myself crushing on Abidah. So every time they came in, I found myself talking mainly to Abidah, while Anisah just walked around browsing.

Anyway, Abidah and Anisah came to my store during Ramadhan, and it was obvious they were not shopping. Instead, when they came into the store, they walked around until they found me and naturally, we started chatting. Just generally, about Ramadhan and how easy it was this year.

Then Anisah dropped a bombshell on me. She told me that Abidah and her would be going back home to celebrate Eid... because “here, we have nobody”.

Did you hear that?? ‘Nobody’, which blatantly means that they are not married! They’re going back home to see the rest of their family, ie their siblings and parents! They are not here with their husbands! They’re not here with their boyfriends! They’re here on their own! I’m sorry to be excited about how sad and alone they were, but that kinda works in my favour! Lol!

So I spent the next couple days devising a way to subtly let Abidah know that I am interested in her. After hours and hours of thinking how to approach this issue (you guessed it, I’m not good with things like this), I finally settled on sending her a text to invite her and her sister to my parents’ open house Eid party. Many of my friends and their wives were coming, my sisters would be there, and many of my parents’ friends on top of that. In fact, most people come to my parents’ open house invitations because they want to meet other families. It was the perfect venue – purely neutral.

Now, I secretly knew that they may not even be able to make it because they told me they were going to go back home for Eid, but I forgot to ask them when they will be back (I guess subconsciously, I didn’t want to pry too much into their lives). However, my parents’ open house Eid party would be exactly one week after Eid.

I made sure the delivery report on my phone was turned on when I sent the texts. Abidah’s text got through, but for some reason, Anisah’s delivery report came back with “sending failed”. No biggie. One out of two ain’t bad!

Hands started sweating, but after some thought, she can either reply or ignore. Here’s me hoping it’s the former rather than the latter!


Bad news... I write this update a week after the Eid party is over, and still no reply back from my text. Looks like Abidah chose the latter rather than the former.

Oh well.

The search continues...

But my earlier theory that good islamic girls hide (or at least are too shy to put themselves in the limelight) still holds true until someone proves me otherwise...

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Tying Your Camel – Part II

While my little sister was in college, she had this extremely good looking friend who was quite Islamic, apart from one thing. This girl didn’t wear a scarf properly – it would not cover her neck; just her hair. So I had mixed feelings on this one, back then. I can’t say that I wasn’t attracted to her, but the fact that she didn’t wear a hijab properly kinda put me off at the same time. I had only just started uni as well, so I was skint as anything. I knew I couldn’t afford to marry or to settle down with someone. So I didn’t think too much of marriage; nor her. Nevertheless, I still have a story to tell. From this point forward, we shall refer to this girl as Aisha.

Several years later, my mother suggested that I speak to Aisha regarding marriage (Aisha’s family were distant family friends of ours). I politely refused, since I remembered that she didn’t wear hijab properly. I didn’t want to lower my standards. And besides, I had not seen Aisha for several years either. The conversation ended.

A few days later, I was out walking with my friend, and I was telling him about Aisha back in college and how my mother was now so intent on getting me married to this girl, and about how funny this whole situation was. At that very moment in time, I noticed this stunning looking girl walking towards me. Dressed like an angel, covered from top to toe, gliding majestically towards me in full grace. My feet froze as she came closer and my eyes were fixated on her face, trying to figure out who this girl was. She looked familiar. She looked up. Avoiding eye contact with everyone and carried on walking.

That’s when I realised this girl was Aisha.

I waited for her to pass and get a distance away before I turned to my friend and asked him “did you see that girl? That was Aisha!!”. My friend looked back and said “wow, she’s pretty”. Hell, yeah!!

I immediately called my mother to tell her I had just walked past Aisha and declared that the only reason why I didn’t want to pursue her before (due to her not wearing hijab properly) was now void. And that she would make a perfect wife. Not that I have actually had a conversation with Aisha to know that. Lol.

My mother said that she would make some calls and see what happens.

Needless to say, I was sleepless that night. Ecstatic.

Turns out that my mother couldn’t contact the family straight away. It took a couple weeks to find out their phone number and by that time, they were away on holiday or something. So Aisha was pushed to the back of my mind so that I could concentrate on other important things going on in my life.

A couple months passed and my mother finally spoke to Aisha’s mother, who gave my mother Aisha’s email address. This was passed on to me, but the problem was I didn’t know what to write to her. She probably doesn’t even remember me. Or what I look like. And it certainly doesn’t help that we have never spoken to each other. The most interaction we had was when I was chairing an event in uni and she was one of the attendees. So every draft email sounded weird. After much procrastination, I decided to send the following message:


I hope you are well...

My mother gave me your email address a few weeks back.

Just wanted to make sure that I read it correctly”

I put my name at the bottom and pressed “send”. Immediately afterwards, I realised that if someone had sent me this email, I would ignore it. So I figured that I’ve probably lost my only chance with this girl and didn’t think much more of her or the situation.

Several months passed and (yep, you guessed it), I couldn’t stop thinking about Aisha. I kept picturing her face, how she walked, how she dressed, how she moved...

So I decided to tie my camel.

I know which mosque her father goes to on Fridays. Not my usual mosque, but also not very far from where I attend either. I am now on a mission. And I shall name this mission “operation target dad”; since I believe that the parents can make or break the relationship. Once I get him on my side, then I’m sure Aisha’s mother will be on my side as well. Then once the parents are ok with me, then surely, it would influence Aisha’s opinion of me for the better... right? Or would she think that I’m just a geek?? I don’t know. But the level of not knowing would be much greater if I didn’t act. At least, if I tried and she didn’t like me, then I would have some sort of closure. Then I can work to get over it and move on.

I found her father at the mosque. I gave my salam and sparked up a conversation with him. He started to ask me questions regarding my background – my work, where I live, etc. After my replies, his eyes sparkled. “Ohh, are you so-and-so’s son?”, he asked. Then my eyes sparkled. “Yes, yes I am!”, I replied. Luckily for me, my father has a good reputation in the community. Then we talked about how he had met my dad on several occasions, and even came to my parents’ house as well. Unluckily, I had not been there when ‘possible future father-in-law (Insha’Allah!)’ had brought his family over.

Subsequent weeks followed and conversations grew. That’s good. I could show my Islamic personality. Hopefully, when he thinks of marriage for his daughter, he will think of me as the most suitable man! Or maybe I need to grow a pair and just ask him the big question. Why the hell am I so shy when it comes to things like this?? I could easily talk to the girls I meet at work. Even real pretty ones. The pretty ones that make some guys stutter when they talk. So I’m definitely not shy. In fact, when I was thinking of a personal description for my online matrimonial advert, I was asking big sis for feedback – I told her I had described myself as ‘shy’. Big sis laughed down the phone. Then she made me change it.

So I’m definitely not a shy guy.

But I had cold feet every time I come near this topic of marriage. Oh! I just had a thought. Is my heart not in sync with my mind? Does my heart long for love, while my mind tells me I’m not ready?

Stop. I’m going off on a tangent again.

These thoughts will just drag me down. I want marriage. I need to do this. I need to bring up the conversation of marriage. Or maybe I can just bring my dad to the mosque and let him do all the work. Haha. I like the sound of that. Ok, now that the plan is set, I just need to execute the plan. Oh man. Cold feet again. Ok, baby steps. That’s how I developed my staff into the great people they are now. It’s how I taught myself how to do things like drive quickly, read Qur’an fluently, or read music with ease. Baby steps gradually increase your confidence until you come to the point where you can achieve anything.

So first baby step – to gain confidence – is to respond to the numerous messages (yay!) I got from the matrimonial website and see where that takes me. Apparently, the more often I log into the website, the more prominent my profile becomes.

In fact, I went all out. I felt like a playa! Haha! With several girls on the go. Shame they turned out to be non-serious people.

Except for one... :)

Hmmm... who would’ve thought that tying your camel actually works out?