Worthiness

I’m reading the Greatness of Imperfection.

I didn’t even know I had an issue with not accepting myself and feeling unworthy. I assume that stems from the messages I learned from my mother.

I had accepted that if I didn’t get what I prayed for or worked for, it was because there was an error somewhere.

An error in my dua,

An error in the perfection of my work,

An error in myself.

Therefore, with those errors being present, I didn’t “deserve” what I asked/worked for anyway.

I was unworthy.

I’m single because I don’t deserve to be happy, and I’m not “good” enough, or worthy (for example).

So I have to relearn everything, and it’s very hard because I held these beliefs for so long.

The thing that stinks the most is that my thought process interfered greatly with my iman. I was “unworthy” of any blessings because there were errors in my character, so Allah would not bless me. This is actually a concept some Muslims believe, but it’s an unhealthy concept that I can’t practice. Yes, if we want Allah to bless us with good things, we should do our best to obey His commands. But to suggest that we are unworthy to ask of Him, due to our sins, that is a Christian theory (the reason they think they need an intercessor to hear their prayers).

And Allah knows best. I hope I get better. I am trying very hard.

Zoloft

I’m so serious right now.

The year & something that my blog was dead, I suffered a grand bit of anxiety and depression. It was lingering under the surface for a while, then the bottom fell out.

I couldn’t get out of bed.

I was late for work eeevvveryday. (Illegal parking saved me).

Sometimes I prayed, sometimes I didn’t.

When I didn’t have to be at work, I got up only to eat or use the bathroom.

But that ain’t the worst part!

People tried to talk me out of it.

“Don’t say you’re depressed.” “You need to stop that.” “We’re not gonna use the D word.” “You’ve got to get ready for marriage; depression is bad for that.”

Thanks! I feel so much better.

The idea that mental illness is not real and is a matter of changing your mind is stupid. It is just the epitome of ignorance.

Don’t ever accept blame from anyone about your mental illness. Never accept the idea that you should SIMPLY change your mind.

I changed my mind and realized how much I was hurting people, AFTER I got help. I went on zoloft for 2 months and saw a therapist. I then started the process of setting boundaries and making good choices. Guess what? Even depressed people have large egos. I’m proof.

Get help. You’ll know when it’s time. No one can make you or tell you when.

So excited!

I’m SO excited!

One day I was at work and I was smiling ear to ear, and a loser hater cocked her neck and was like “wha’chu so happy about?”

I was like “Ain’t nothin’ to be upset about!” and left her lookin’ CRAAZEE!

I’m so excited, lol!

Blending in is easy

I learned early that being vivacious, energetic and ambitious was offensive.

At least that’s what I was made to believe. I was made to feel like all my ideas, dreams, goals, etc were so far fetched. That the real tract my life was going/supposed to take was:

1. School

2. Job

3. Marriage

4. Kids

I did the first two, and the last one by proxy (raising my niece). Everything should have been ok, because I did what I was supposed to do. 

But it wasn’t. I had let the world mold me, I became silent and learned to blend in. I blended in by being like everyone else, MENTALLY. Anxious, depressed, overworked. I blamed the government for me not getting ahead because they tax half my earnings; that’s what everyone else did. I blamed my boss because the work was too much for the least possible pay; that’s what everyone else did. I complained that no one was helping me get my life situated perfectly; that’s what everyone else did. I self pitied because I wasn’t good enough; like everyone else.

I’m so done. 

All my zeal, pride, curiosity, desire for life, lack of fear, all of it! I didn’t realize that not everyone had it, and I was a target for ridicule utter mental destruction. Because I had all the traits of a successful person.

Wow.

I guess I’m gonna stick out like a freakin sore thumb now! And RISE!

Working

When I first started my job, the two songs that played in my head every morning as I watched people walking in droves from the parking lot to the hospital were:

“Good morning” by Kanye West. (“don’t look around, just read this…ok look up now, they stole you’re streetness.”)

“Marching ants” by the Dave Matthews band.

It was official. I was an ant. But I didn’t want people to know that I thought we were all ants marching. So when my classmates whom I graduated with asked me if I liked my job, I smiled and said “yes.”

I’m a liar. I like taking care of people, but really, I accepted the role of being altruistic to protect my ego. 

I’m a natural born hustler and the only person who believed in me was my dad. Why wasn’t that enough? 

Now I’m just an ant, but not for long. 

The old Sakeena is back.

Clean up

In sha Allah I’ll be cleaning up my blog. It’s a bit all over the place, and In sha Allah I want to focus more on future/current experiences and how they relate to past experiences, rather than simply reflecting on past ones. 

My past experiences have shaped, and unfortunately perhaps skewed my perception of the world at large. I don’t know if I want to change that, or if it will change. We’ll all find out, I guess.

Marriage: Moving Forward as a Community – Part 1 – Navaid Aziz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jIYOetQKlc
I watched this last week, and had to wait til another day off to take notes. One of my fav bloggers does notes on lectures, and I thought it was better than just posting a link.

As a disclaimer, some of this lecture follows stereotypical desi life structure/culture so to speak, in that there are assumptions about the progression of life that doesn’t fit everyone. However, this lecture was really interesting and beneficial. In sha Allah I’ll do part 2 later.

The main topics will be plain text, while specifics of the topics are in italics.

Why marriage is legislated in Islam
1. Maintains chastity
2. Halal means to fulfil desires.
3. To procreate
4. Cornerstone of Muslim communities

  • In societal hierarchy, married couples/families are at the top, while singles are at the bottom.

5. Companionship

  • Developmentally the final step in establishing relationships after parents and friends.
  • Companionship is an issue downplayed by brothers.
  • Sisters assume that their husband will be their best friend. – Become distressed/confused when assumption not fulfilled.

Ruling on obligation of Marriage

1. Not fard (obligatory)

2. Recommended

  • Rasoolullah salallahu alaihi wa salam said “Marriage is from my sunnah, and whoever rejects my sunnah is not from me.”

3.  Becomes haraam (not permissible) when:

  • The man already has 4 wives
  • The two spouses were breastfed by the same lady
  • Criteria of marriage not fulfilled i.e. one person is a mushrik, no wali involved, verbal consent not given

4. Becomes makhrooh (not recommended) when:

  • Financially unable to support spouse/family
  • Prospect is weak in faith

5. Is mubah (not sinful or rewarded) when:

  • Marrying 2nd or more wives

What to look for in women

  • Rasoolullah salallahu alaihi wa salam said, “A woman can be married for 4 things: Her deen (way of life, faith), her beauty, her wealth, or her lineage. And deen is most important.”

Most important characteristics in akhlak (manners) in a women are:

1. How grateful she is

  • The number 1 complaint from husbands is that their wives are ungrateful.

2. How respectful she is to her parents

  • [Uthman?] Abdul Aziz said “look for the friend that looks after their parents. If they look after their parents, they will look after you.”

What to look for in men

  • Rasoolullah salallahu alaihi wa salam said “If a man approaches you and you are satisfied with his deen, marry him, or there will be great fitnah in the world.”

Most important characteristics in men.

1. Generosity

  • Wife is happier when their husband spends on them and is not miserly
  • Generosity is a sign of gratefulness
  • Wife is psychologically happier with a generous husband i.e. spending on her, paying zakat, sadaqah (charity)

2. How he controls his anger

  • Anger is a natural defense mechanism in men
  • Is something that must be tamed 

Deen is the most important recurring theme

  • If a person doesn’t fear Allah, it’s easier for them to abuse people
  • If a person is void of iman (faith), manners and ethics will not be upheld.

Meetings and discussion topics.

  • Major reason for divorce is incompatibility
  • Minimum of 10 meetings recommended

Topics to discuss

1. The past

  • The object is not to expose sins
  • Discuss things that may be a negative part of your past
  • Explain how you got to where you are now
  • Ask about past/current spouses – Sisters often assume a brother is single

2. The future

  • Do you have a bucket list?
  • Discuss relocation plans
  • Is Hajj or hijrah in your plans?

3. Role of Islam in the family

  • Does the person accept or reject Islamic advice?
  • Does the person pray, fast, pay zakat?
  • Does the person refer to Quran and Sunnah to resolve issues?

4. Wealth

  • How will wealth be obtain?
  • How will it be handled (saving, investing, etc)?
  • Who will be working? – It is the man’s duty to maintain the household, and he should not take on the western concept of “splitting the bills.” The wife spending on household finances should be discussed fully, and not expected.

5. Health

  • Major diseases (diabetes, mental illnesses, heart disease, etc)? -Discuss illnesses that run in your family.
  • How will the both of you stay/get in shape? -Join a gym or play a sport.

6. Education

  • Does the person have the desire to grow and improve?
  • How much will be spent on books and tuition?
  • Does the person want to increase their Islamic knowledge?
  • Avoid persons who don’t want to/don’t think they need to grow or improve -Persons such as these tend to be arrogant

7. Family

Joke: What’s the difference between outlaws and inlaws? The outlaws are actually wanted.

  • Will you be living with the inlaws?
  • Discuss when to visit your parents and inlaws (assuming they live far away?)
  • Do you expect your wife to take care of your parents?
  • How many children would you like to have?
  • Men should be present and active in the upbringing of their children. -Men should not assume a “back home” role of only working and not helping with the children. 

8. Hobbies and pastimes.

  • Discuss both yours and his hobbies
  • Are they expensive and/or very time consuming? -Video games now something of an epidemic amongst adult men
  • Will your free time be spent with friends or family?

9. Pet peeves.

  • Number 1 fear of women is that their husband will snore. – Instances where women have asked for khula over snoring

10. Career.

  • Are you open to your spouse going further in his/her career?
  • Will both spouses be able to advance their career?
  • Who will see after the children if both spouses are working?
  • Look for an ambitious person

All these topics should be discussed in 10 separate meetings. The wisdom behind having so many meetings is that you will get to see the person go through good days and bad days. The first day, the person may be dressed immaculately, then by the 7th or 8th meeting they will be showing up in their pajamas. You have to learn to be comfortable with the plain, dressed down version of your prospect.

Establishing a reference point

Establish in advance what you will reference and who you will seek counsel from in moments of dispute. 

Istikhara

Istikhara should performed after making the decision to marry the prospect, not during the time you are trying to make a decision. A dream or feeling will NOT come to you, as is often assumed. If the affair is easy for you, then you should continue. If the matter becomes difficult, then it is best to step back and reevaluate. 

Istishara

Istishara is seeking advice from people. There are three types of people to seek advice about a prospect from.

1. Family

  • Speak to as many family members as possible. 
  • How did the prospect interact with different members?
  • How did they handle various situations?

2. Friends

  • Does the prospect treat his/her friend(s) to lunch, etc?
  • Do they give gifts?
  • Is she/he there for their friend in times of need?

3. Colleagues

  •  Does he/she show up to class/work on time?
  • Is she/he respectful of deadlines?
  • Do they respect authority?
  • How do they problem solve at work/school?

Is it appropriate to contact your prospects’ previous spouse? It is recommended to take the due diligence of contacting previous spouses. Some ex’s may be bitter, so it’s best to take what they say with a grain of salt. But surprisingly, some ex’s have positive things to say.

It is said by our predecessors that the one who makes istikhara will have no regrets, and the one who make istishara will not be disappointed.

Engagement

  • Engagement means that is has been agreed that the two prospects intend to get married. 
  • Reciting Al Fatiha is common, but not Islamically correct. 
  • While engaged,  it’s not permissible for women to entertain other proposals –It is not permissible for men to propose to a woman whom they know is engaged.
  • An engagement ring is not Islamically correct – A general agreement among ulema is that it is suitable if only for the purpose of showing that the person is spoken for.

How to propose

  • Do not show up unannounced at a man’s house asking for his daughter! Shocking advice.
  • Go through a good referral
  • Bring gifts
  • Dress your best – Humans are very judgmental and make judgements based on appearance very quickly. 
  • Positive body language

Integrals of a marriage contract

For the contract to be valid

1. There has to be a bride and groom!

2. The bride must have a wali

  • There is no marriage without a wali
  • The default wali is the brides father. If the father has passed or isn’t capable, then the brother. After that, the next closest male relative from the father’s side.

3. There has to be offering and acceptance of the contract (verbal consent).

Wajibat (obligations) for nikkah

1, Mahr (dowry).

  • Rasoolullah salallahu alaihi wa salam said “the best of marriages are those without financial burden.” This includes the mahr.
  • If not given, the nikkah is valid, but the couple is sinful.
  • The mahr must be customary for the woman’s status.
  • Not a million dollars!
  • Not stingy – Not an iron ring or memorization of a surah
  • The mahr should be an amount that shows love and concern

2. Witnesses

  • The nikkah is not invalid without witnesses, but the couple is sinful
  • The nikkah must be publicly announced – It’s should be announced so that people will not assume something evil when the couple is seen together

Stipulations in the contract

The bride and groom should discuss limits and conditions of the nikkah.

Can polygyny be stipulated? In general, any stipulation should not go against the goal or objective of the marriage. For example, if one stipulates that they will marry but they won’t have intercourse, that goes against the objectives of marriage. If the bride stipulates that she would not like to be a co-wife, and this does not go against the objectives of the marriage, then yes it is allowed. The groom can either accept, negotiate, or reject.

Facing difficulty finding a spouse

Finding a proper prospect and getting married is a long process. 

  • 10 meetings may take weeks to a year

Physical maturity does not equal mental maturity

Persons looking to get married should have a minimal amount of college completed.

Must be ready to be responsible for someone else (he meant this for brothers, but sisters have to be responsible for their husbands too. No time for princess mentality.)

Having a wealthy family and owning a car does not make a brother stable enough for marriage.

A brother should be able to hold down a job for at least a year and also show that he’s able to save money.

Sisters Education

Attempting to earn a high degree (masters, Phd) and planning to work and accumulate a good amount of savings before making an effort to get married will being older in age.

The older the sister is, the more difficult it is to get married. – She is typically set in her ways, her youthful excitement is no longer there

A sister should prepare for marriage in their first years of college. She should seek a spouse that will be supportive of her ambitions.

Ideal age combination

Psychologically, the ideal age combination for compatibility equals:

  • Half the man’s age, plus 7.
  • For example, a 26 year old man will be most compatible with a 20 year old woman.

Solutions for difficulties finding a spouse

1. Discuss it

  • Can’t be handled alone.

2. Use resources

  • Imam, families, technology
  • Recommend purematrimony.com and halfourdeen.com

3. Tawakal on Allah

  • Istikhara, praying at night, du’a.
  • Help others get married – Rasoolullah salallahu alaihi wa salam said “Allah will be the aide of His slave if the slave is the aide of his brother.”
  • Be encouraging and helpful