May 29, 2009 - for muslim women    46 Comments

Whatchu momma never told u…(Advice for Muslim girls)

Recently I was talking to some of you younger girls (than me) individually about various topics like marriage, career, life, etc. and I realized:  YOU GUYS!!! You’re making the same mistakes my generation made!! Bad bad bad……. So that reminded me that ever since starting this blog I’ve wanted to write down some thoughts for you young’uns… you know who you are… a lot of you just graduated too in a nice little koinkydink!…. I mean the GIRLzz BTW… (boyzzz y’all can just stop right here and tune in next week for the next topic specifically for guys, because here I’ll be talking about things like periods, menstrual cycles, feminine hygiene products, etc!!)

muslimgirls

…So Watchu Momma Never Told You….


On choosing a major:

Don’t look at the predictions for the ‘hot jobs’ or ‘best industries’. Back when I was choosing a major, IT was said to be the ‘wave of the future’ and indestructible, and of course look at the dot com bust and the current recession! Even if you want to be… say… a doctor (M.oney Doc not a P.oor H.ungry D.oc hehe) what if in the future the economy gets so bad, the middle class rises up and insists on universal health care and every doctor gets paid the same as teachers!! (SACRILEGE!!!) So there are tons of predictions and waves and whatever so you can’t really choose the best industries or what’s going to happen to the economy in the future, the important thing is to find something you’re really interested in and like.

When you start working you’re going to be working from 9am to 5pm almost every day of your life doing the same thing over and over again. It’s going to be your life! It’s important to find something you really like and love to do and could do all day every day! It would be good if you could go and follow someone who’s doing that job also before you decide. So volunteer at an office, hospital, work part-time in your industry. That way you can see how things are every day for that job and decide what you want to do! This might sound sexist but as women and later on in life you may wish to work part time or have something that’s more flexible. So being an architectural engineer (yeah I made that job up!) working in the field 7 days a work may be great now but how’s that going to work with your future family life? (iA) Think about these things. You never know what life will bring but at least you can try to be somewhat happy careerwise. I’ll add something here about encouraging you all to look into fields besides the usual engineering and medicine.  As a Muslim we should be making Islam a part of our daily life and wouldn’t it be great if our job was part of that, like in journalism or education or counseling or political science or the arts or social work. You can make a living doing other things!! Believe me, hating your job and waking up every day at 6am knowing you hate your job, your boss, your work etc etc really kills someone’s soul and Muslim spirit.

On thinking about marriage:

It’s a good idea to start looking for someone right after high school during your college years. YES I SAID IT. This is the time when there are the most single good Muslim people around that you can get to know personally in an active environment. After college it’s extremely hard to even MEET any other Muslims and you’re just so busy and all the good ppl get snapped up! So don’t sit back, and don’t wait. Make it a priority! You don’t have to get married right then, you can always wait and get engaged or get married later or whatever, but it’s definitely the best time to find someone or at least establish some good friend networks that are very helpful in the future. The #1 way people get married is through friends. (not counting arranged marriages)  Nowadays people are getting married much later and it’s normal for people to get married in their early 30s even but believe me when I say a lot of factors make it much, much harder. Especially for sisters. More on this later.

Soulmate idea:

Ok I know some of you girls are all into this “soulmate idea” and that it’ll “happen when it happens” so why should I do anything I’ll just sit here and look pretty and wait for it to happen. Uhhhhhhhhm. Ok. We should have Tawakkul and we do believe in Qadr and it will happen when it happens, but we have to tie our camel too. Take an interest at least.  When your parents give you “the talk” about marriage for the first time make sure you’re ready and tell them the 4 most important things you’re looking for. When someone mentions someone for marriage don’t refuse them outright. Take a chance and see if it’s something possible. If it ends up not to your liking, that’s fine and ok too.

Maybe we all watched too many Indian movies or something but what is wrong with marrying someone who is not your soulmate (if you believe in that concept) but still makes you happy. Does that not mean that other person is really your soulmate? So why are you focused on ONE, The ONE as some girls say.

On that ‘ideal spouse’:

So this is what happens every ‘generation’. There’s always that ONE girl, the pretty, cute, smart, religious, sweet one. (or so it appears to guys) and EVERY guy likes her. Why is that? Cuz’ guys are stupid. :) (I’ll get into this more in a later post… maybe one specifically for the guys so they can think about some things!! Hey girls are stupid too sometimes I’m equal opportunity here!) But it always happens without FAIL in every group. So this one girl gets hundreds… ok a handful plus more proposals and she ends up accepting the AWESOMEST guy. The guy who has everything… comes from a good family, is young, hafiz-like, yet still can tell a joke like azher usman, is msa president, has the perfect education/potential job setup and is gorgeous to boot. After the most beautiful, extravagant wedding of the season, within a year she’s living in a beautiful place and has the PERFECT LIFE. (or so it seems to us) So…….. what happens when that guy that hasn’t finished his degree shows up at your door? That guy who’s a little older? That guy who’s kinda fobby? That guy who’s in school but works at the pizza shop right now. That new convert guy? That guy that doesn’t really have a perfect 5-10-15 year plan.

We as girls just always have this ideal in our minds that we’re always looking for and… we’ll never find. Sometimes we think we’ve found it like when we observe ‘perfect guy’ or that one guy we’re infatuated with. But no one is ever perfect. Ask every girl that has gotten married, even before she gets married, she will tell you the same thing. Every girl who gets married has compromised in some way to marry that guy (except ‘perfect girl’ of course!) because people are not perfect! So my advice here is to take every guy as a separate entity and evaluate his strengths and weaknesses.  You can even take out a piece of paper and do it… advantages column/ disadvantages column. Do istikharah a lot too. You’ll find your answer, but the sooner you understand the difference between your “ideal” and “what you’re looking for” the better.

‘Talking’ with boys:

Let’s move on to the main thing I want to talk about – a very important topic:  the ‘talking with boys’. (Meaning not just ‘talking’, but hanging out with, flirting online and in person, having relationships with, etc.) Yeah remember when your Mom was like ‘no talking to boysss!’ and the Arabic Shaykh guy who got this anonymous question on a folded-like-origami-piece-of-ripped-out-notebook-paper at the Mosque answered ‘Haaaaaaaaaaaraaam’. Yeah and remember when you were like maaan they are so dumb and old fashioned and you continued to aim/facebook/twitter/text (whatever you guys do nowadays!) the guy.  Let me tell you something… do you think you guys invented talking to boys?? HAH!! We were doing it wayyy before you, when you were still like 12 or something! (BTW one time we tried to explain this to you girls at a mosque sleepover but I don’t think you guys understood and one of the older girls said to me “They’ll never listen. They’ll just make the same mistakes we did.” To which I quote Luke Skywalker-like, “NooOOOoooooooooooooo” We have to break the cycle somehow!)

Our Nature:

Anyway what I’m saying is that I know you guys do it, as we did, but there are some inherent things in this ‘talking to guys’ thing that is totally not beneficial for you, especially as a girl. First we have to understand that as human beings Allah put something inside us all that makes us have this inherent need for a spouse, for companionship with the opposite sex.  (not talking about sex here, companionship) So we are always looking for this, especially in our 20s. (See Maslows hierarchy of needs for any of u psych majors) As desis, arabs etc and how today’s world works makes us wait many many years before we are actually given this. So in the meantime this need is fulfilled in these ‘platonic’ friendships with guys. So what’s wrong with this you’d say…. I can’t tell you the countless countless needless heartbreak, drama, issues, friend problems, family problems that develop from this. Again this is going to sound sexist, but I really believe that Allah put something different in a woman’s heart. For us the more we get to know someone the more we develop feelings for them. Guys are more easily able to block their emotions. They can be ‘friends’ with a girl for years and never think anything of it.

Abdullah Adhami talked about this in his tape set where he said girls are very vulnerable because they are looking for this friendship and love and many guys are looking for fulfilling their need of companionship with a girl but are able to separate that from considering her for a serious relationship. I’m not saying these guys are using you, but I’m saying they do a lot of these things unconsciously like you do and while you can tell yourself ‘we’re just friends’ all you want and make up all these excuses like ‘it’s for the sake of finding out about marriage’ or ‘i can be friends without developing feelings’, I’m gonna call u a liar. Cause you have girl friends, what do you need him for? There’s something that keeps you talking to him.

So for us, our hearts are vulnerable just by it’s nature.  I know many girls who continued ‘talking’ ‘being’ with a guy for long periods of time, even years, even through engagement but in the end the guy changed his mind, or found someone else,  or in the end couldn’t convince his family or go against his family, or married his cousin. Where does that leave the girl?? With a broken heart. And I’m telling you I can tell you almost EVERY girl in my generation has gone through this. There really is a reason why Allah puts these boundaries here for us, it’s not to keep us from “physical contact or sex” but it’s there to protect our hearts which I’ll argue is the point of Islam in all it’s aspects.  Throughout the rishta process and even if people are engaged there are still rules and limits there. Allah is protecting us, but of course we never listen.

Talking and TALKING:

So I’m not saying never talk to a guy but you know the difference between ‘talking’ about business or msa or whatever and TALKING. I know you know the difference, but let me tell you the line there is as thin as a hair and a slippery slope, so easy to pass before you know it, so you have to be constantly on your guard. You should be clear about the reason why you’re talking to a guy. Is it unconsciously for the purposes of marriage? If so, why is it so shady, why doesn’t your family know about it? Why aren’t his, and your intentions clear? If these are all ambiguous, you’re in trouble. There’s no need to discuss your every day life with a guy for hours. There’s no need to talk to a guy late at night online or on the phone about this or that.  There’s no need to discuss what you’re looking for with him unless he’s a real rishta. There’s no need to text a guy. I mean why do it? A real guy who is interested in you will be above board about everything and take you and your family’s concerns to heart. He will be open about things and do things in a decent way. The guy you marry will NOT be shady about things. Do you really think the guy that writes “‘sup u look hot n dat pic” on your facebook wall is a decent guy that’s going to marry you? [Furthermore, what exactly are girls advertising when they put up pinup pics of themselves that would do Playboy proud?] A real relationship will never be an ambiguous “does he like me? do i like him?” Pop quiz:  Do Muslim guys go against their families to marry someone other than what their families want? No they don’t. Some girls might, but guys never do. Do you know how many drama Indian movies have gone on in this and other communities over trying to change parent’s minds. Also another aspect of guys  (or girls) being stupid :), if they think they can get something better they will. AND they will often keep girls in ‘reserve’ just in case something else doesn’t work out. AND they will often exploit a girl for her companionship, to not feel lonely and to feel good about themselves. (unconsciously of course)

An interesting thing a modern shaykh said way back in the early days:  He was talking to a girls only MYNA group and suggested that as an exercise girls should wear hijab while talking online to brothers. Now think about why he said that and how your interactions would be different if you did and why they’re different when you don’t.

I was going to tell story after story of heartbreak, pain, family drama and disillusionment here to prove my point of how these things come to bad ends, especially for girls, but I think the examples won’t matter unless you’re willing to listen. (And they might be too recognizable and some people would kill me!) Also, I feel that these things are some ugly past secrets of my generation and I don’t want to break that trust, but if you really need to be convinced because something’s going on right now, come to me in person and I guarantee you’ll be shocked by what you little ‘uns dont know. You might think it’s ok to have a shady relationship as long as you actually marry the guy. Well, I’ll posit that it’ll negatively affect you, your future marriage and your family. After all, more couples who live with each other before getting married get divorced than those who don’t. Ask yourself why.

Again, we have all gone through it before, you’re not doing anything new and good luck if you think your result is going to come out different.

I am the first person to say you cannot control who you fall in love with, but you can protect your heart, like I said above, until you find someone decent and deserving of it.

Anyway enough said, you’re probably in denial and will realize this all on ur own one day, but here’s hoping.

NEVER burn your bridges:

Never burn your bridges in anything…….  As people we like to feel we are progressing so when we leave that old job or that old school or old city, we want to just cut off all ties and move on. But see, having those ties are EXTREMELY helpful later in life. Need a place to stay or a guide when you go somewhere… no prob you have friends everywhere. Trying to expand your ‘potentials’ database…all those college friends will come through for you. Need a reference for a new job, need to look for a new job.. your old co-workers/boss are there to help. Don’t insult or abuse or break off ties with anyone on purpose even if you have reason. There is a reason why Allah makes such a heavy emphasis on never cutting off the family ties. It’s because you need them and they need you, the same as other people you meet throughout your life.  There is an extremely wise Hadith that says (paraphrasing) don’t ever love or hate someone with too much passion, because one day you might come to love the person you hated, or hate the person you loved. And seriously this happens in life. People who I absolutely hated when I was younger have ended up as close supporters, people who I really loved ended up hurting and disappointing me the most. As Muslims we should always learn from the Prophet’s (s) example and treat everyone with Ihsan. Leaving people with a good memory or impression of you, trying to get over grudges and rectifying things with people. These are Islamic concepts and in the end they also end up helping us in life.

Stop being ‘too nice’ :

Since I run my own website I’ve had my share of stalkers over the years. One day iA I’ll write a whole blog post that will make your hair stand on end. With the world becoming more and more online including social networking it’s just increased the amount of crazy guys, or maybe the easy access and being online made them crazy! Either way it’s so easy to become a victim. But you don’t need to be. If you’re not interested in someone tell them outright and be clear. Use your parents if you have to. It isn’t fair to you or to him to keep someone on a string like that because you’re too “nice to hurt someone’s feelings”.

There’s two kind of stalkers, the good ones… who just follow you around and try to keep talking to you in hopes of something, and the bad one that doesn’t really like you or was rebuffed and has a lot of animosity but does the same as the first. And incredibly enough stalkers can be of your own gender too! So besides taking preventive measures like never revealing your last name or knowing someone in person first before interacting too much with them or keeping everyone on limited profile, if someone does try to get too close, just cut them off. Seriously, it’s for their benefit as well as yours.

For the freaks, every email service, facebook whatever will have a way that you can block that person or report them. Use those and if you’re still having problems find someone who knows how those things work and can help you. Fight back, you may be helping some other sister down the line. Unfortunately some forums and other online things take harassment and stalking lightly, but others don’t, like mine — we have a zero tolerance policy. You don’t need to put up with it and you shouldn’t have to. Not just cuz stalking is the biggest precursor to crimes, but for Muslims girls they result in other wack things. And believe me, some stalkers will do everything they can to ruin your life, including stealing your data, making up lies about you and spreading it, ruining your relationships. Even for the ‘good’ ones, the guys need to learn that their behavior shouldn’t be tolerated from the beginning and they need to figure out how to interact normally with girls. I’ve seen some girls just be casual about it or let it go on like forever ‘cuz you’re too nice. But it’s not right for you or him so break it off as cleanly as possible. This goes for in person or online.

Don’t make decisions with ‘what if’:

Don’t live your life making each decision thinking ‘what if’. ‘What if’ could happen but ‘what if’ could not happen. So just take your time and do all those things you’ve always wanted to do in life. Travel, buy things, invest, climb mountains, whatever. I wish 10 years ago that I bought this new car. I was going to, but then I thought ‘What if I get married…I might need this or that’. (Yet I still coulda kept my car or sold it at a good price or whatever) A friend of mine recently said, ‘I wanted to travel overseas right after college but then my Mom was like you can travel after you get married! and I thought I should be responsible and stay home and work and socialize with people. But now I’m locked into my job and can’t leave and a friend of mine just met someone in a desert somewhere!’ Yeah so as girls we’re always trained to sacrifice our own selves for others, and now we’re sacrificing ourselves for “future what-if concepts” like marriage, family whatever!!

Haters:

I have a lot of haters.  It’s ok I’ve gotten over it. I learned a long, long time ago that if you’re going to do anything at all in life besides sit there and do nothing, someone is going to disagree with you, criticize you, be jealous of you or hate you for it. You’ll simply never be able to do anything in life without having someone not like you for it. Guys or girls. Heck, even some of these blog posts have caused some “friends” to “de-friend” me!! What can I say.. people are very insecure and there’s a lot of drama out there in the world. Ever read that bumper sticker “Well behaved women rarely make history”? Yes, it’s true. All these revolutionary ladies from non-Muslim and Muslim tradition have all had major detractors and haters. Don’t you remember as far back as the Prophet (s) where people didn’t like Aisha [ra] because of the ‘power’ she held over the Prophet(s). I even heard some sisters called an organizer of an Islamic event a sl*t. Jeeez Why???!!! There’s always naysayers, people who are jealous, or just plain people who disagree with what you’re doing. But don’t let that stop you. The way I look at it is if people are against what you’re doing or don’t like you, that means you’re actually doing something noteworthy, standing for a principle or trying to change and improve something. If you believe in something, keep going. And if you can smile at the haters all the better.

Shopping:

Ok finally the good stuff ;) Here’s some tips (that I wish I could follow too). When you shop  try to buy nicer quality maybe more expensive items that are more classic. Nicer coats, shoes, clothes, jewelry, bags.  Buy only one at a time and build up a nice wardrobe. These last longer and look nicer. You can always have a few new trendy type things every season but there’s no point in buying all these trendy cute clothes every season and then by the next year they’re so out of date they sit in your closet or you’re throwing them out! The recession has made people really careful about buying stuff on sale, using coupons, keeping an eye out on stuff you like till the price goes down, going to outlet malls, comparison shopping online. Buying good quality out of season. Try to learn y’all!

Going out to restaurants. I don’t think you guys do this much but for my generation this is all we did! And it can seriously break the bank! Again try to go to the moderately priced type of places, patronizing Muslim places is always a good thing because you are supporting the families even if the food is not as good. For the more expensive restaurants try limiting your outings and here’s a tip:  share a meal cuz they’re usually huge anyway and don’t buy a fancy drink!! Drinks can cost upwards of $4.95 in certain places now! There’s nothing wrong with water and hey it helps your diet too :D

Clutter yes, why do we all have so much junk? Do your best to keep things light and give away things you aren’t using to people who could really use them.  Even things like useful books and CDs. As Muslims we know none of this stuff is going with us, so why hold on to it? There’s always those sentimental things we just need to keep, but do your best. It’s just healthier for you as a person. Do I need to mention exercise here? (Most girls are already weight obsessed.) Just try to exercise and eat well… you know all that good stuff :)

Anyways there’s hundreds of other money saving and life tips, like going to a library regularly instead of buying books all the time, spending time in Dhikr everyday. You don’t have to become an ascetic! Just live a moderate  Muslim life that’s a little spiritual and cut out things that are not necessary (and haram! lol) and trust me you’ll be a much happier person.

Periods, Menstrual cycles, Feminine hygiene products:

Ok I have no advice. They sux and we have to live with it, but always think of it as a mercy given to us from Allah. We don’t have to pray and we don’t have to fast woohoo! Hopefully I scared the guys off with the mention of it at the beginning though ;)

Allright………. please comment… (let the denials begin)

Peace out

Don’t forget to check out the Advice for GUYS!!!!

:D

J.

P.S. – You can subscribe to this blog by clicking on that big flower up there^ or use your favorite reader!

muslimgirls2

46 Comments

  • Assalamu alaikum wr wb

    JazakuAllahkhairun. All true. :)

  • I really love your blog since the very first time I stumbled upon it and I totally agree especially with people having an impasse in our opinions and thinking..I really like the hadith you mentioned above and it is absolutely true. Keep writing.I really love your writings. By the way, we have the same name and passion(poetry).lol

    Assalamualaikum and take care

  • That was interesting, and fairly accurate. Especially sections 1-4. I hope the younger ladies take your advice.

  • Assalaamu ‘alaikum wrt,

    Dear J,

    Loved the 1st to bits. It’s definitely the approach all sisters leaving high school should be thinking about. Wished someone had even given me the same lowdown when I came out out of high school. A definite note-for-the-fridge-magnet-don’t-forget-it advice.

    On talking to boys, thank you for the clear dissection of the issue. Been there, done that. Here’s hoping our younger sisters are willing to listen, Ameen.

    Jazaakillahu kahiral jazaa’.

  • jannah!! what about my generation, lol! why didnt you give ME this advice like 10 years ago…I guess while you were going through it yourself :-) awesome stuff, mashaAllah…may Allah grant you all that you wish for in this life and in the next. ameeeeen :-)

  • salaamz Jannah!

    This is a great blog…This is exactly the speech i give to those girls that come and are like…”why cant we find a man”.. It’s all about how you do it..and making sure you protect yourself first. I think we know the right thing to do now..because like you said…we did it wrong. We got hurt and we learned. I really hope that with your blog some girls will not be hurt..will listen and actually do it right!

    May allah reward youu….

  • Good advice. JazakAllah.

  • Thanx guys :) Waiting for the younger girls to post hmmmm… suspicious about their silence… ;)

    wa iyyakunna hina & suhaila & nassiba & sakina

    shaari i’m glad to hear a guy’s point of view, i didn’t want guys to read it in case they were offended by my calling guys ‘stupid’ so many times ;)

    soumaya u were the girl all the guys wanted to marry, u didn’t need any advice ;) lol! but i’ll take ur dua ameen!

    nuruljannah join our forum there’s a lot of cool people on there you can interact with, would love to get to know you better its http://www.jannah.org/madina

  • Assalamuèalaikum,

    Thanks Jannah. MashaAllah sound advice :)

    Just a few comments though –
    1) No news is not good news.
    If a guy takes so long to decide if he wants to marry you. He most probably would not. So end it before it’s dragged and the scar becomes deeper.

    2) Fill the vessel
    Marriage is a big thing with us. But don’t let it fill our mind so much so such that every neurotransmitters in our brain is filled with it. (eg. marriage is an hourly topic). This is the time to fill our hearts with Qur’an and understanding our existence. You won’t get as much time as you have now then later.

    3) No long engagements
    Engagement is one of the most trying time for couples. So, keep it short. Protect your heart and his heart.

    I’m eagerly waiting for your next advice column :)

  • J. Are you kidding? Men are silly, certainly. If the fact that they’re “stupid” is a shock to them, perhaps they need to do some introspection. Especially regards the aforementioned “one girl”, it’s so true. There’s always a line around the block for her. Most of us know there’s no chance to be the perfect guy, but we still can’t help it. On the other hand, I think your comments about women looking for “soul-mates” is also spot on. In some ways, I think that’s the more dangerous of the stupidities, as it were. Marriage is very much about compromise and about loving the person, as they are. Expecting someone to be perfect, or worse, to “change” is a lost hope. Knowing who your spouse is, for both their positive and negative aspects is a much more rational viewpoint, in my opinion. I’ll cease my comments there, lest I ramble more than I have.

  • Wow, it’s really refreshing to have someone in the community talk to so bluntly about all of this! I’ve come to figure out some of it throughout the years (does that make me old now?) but it’s awesome to hear from someone more mature and wise mA. I feel like I need to talk a WHOLE lot more with you because every time I read this blog or speak to you about a subject I learn so much =). Thanks for still caring about us (even though you’re not our teacher anymore!) and inshaAllah your efforts will not be in vain.

    My favorite parts: being able to make a living doing the not-so-traditional, defining a soul mate, not burning bridges, and the truth about haters hahha. And I’m going through the “you can travel after you’re married!” situation as we speak.

    Jazakillahu khairan =).

  • aww thanks for writing this! us recent grads need to have more in depth discussions with you soon inshaAllah. I just got one thing to say; I was TOTALLY not in “marriage-minded mode” after high school but I have learned a few things since then!

  • your timing with this subject is amazing. just the other day, my friend and I were discussing how we could have used a guidebook to surviving the past couple of years. so thank you for this! :)

    ps. i love the cartoon hijabi! they are so cute!

  • The soulmate idea is an interesting one that may have some basis in the following hadith about two souls:

    Rasulullah (saw) once said -
    “‘al-hamdulillah, souls are like drafted soldiers: the ones that recognize one another will get along, and the ones that reject one another will separate and not get along.’”

    He said this following an incident:
    Aisha (ra) speaks of a Makkan woman who, even before Islam, used to go visit the women of Quraysh (Makka) and get them to laugh. She says that after hijra and when things became relatively stable the woman came to Madeena.

    Aisha (ra) narrates:
    “She visited me. I said, ‘So and so, what brings you here?’ She said, ‘To come to you.’ I said, ‘So who are you staying with?’ She said, ‘So and so, a woman that (also!) used to get the women of Madeena to laugh.’ At that time the prophet, may God’s peace and blessings be upon him, entered and he recognized the woman. He asked, ‘So and so?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He asked, ‘Who is she staying with?’ I said, ‘So and so the comedienne.’ [He then replied with the above hadith]

    I had a blog-flashback when you mentioned “The ONE (guy)”, “that ONE (girl)”… use to follow-up on the adventures of Br. Quest(for the sweet ONE), here:
    http://muslimquest.blogspot.com/

    It’s a little centric, but 2007 had some good posts… i hope i’m not sounding like a hater… :-x

  • we are talking about this right now….

  • RE: the concept of soulmates

    What of the person who marries twice or more in their lifetime? Who is their soulmate? How about the man with multiple wives? Which one is the soulmate? How about Rasulullah (saw)? Can we say Khadija (ra) was his soulmate or was Aisha (ra)? There just seems to be a problem with saying that only one specific man and one specific woman “belong together and were meant to be together”. We do believe in Qadr but I think in our case it’s after the fact we say “they were meant to be together” and if they divorce? we say “they were meant to be together and then divorce” so again I have problems with this concept of “soulmate” that’s out there.

    But if I mean by soulmates – n. One of two persons compatible with each other in disposition, point of view, or sensitivity – then I think every married couple should have this.

  • Also want to mention some clarifications brought up by some sisters today. By finding a job you like I do mean something practical as well, cuz’ yes you do have to pay the bills!

    Also, re AIM, it is very dangerous, especially after 9pm. A girl could sometimes spend hours on there talking to someone. So if you think about it you wouldn’t spend hours at night talking to a guy which is essentially spending the night with him! so we shouldn’t be doing it online.

    And when I say “generation” I don’t mean my kids! but the group of girls every 2-3 years kind of thing. :)

  • very good post mashaAllah

    I never know which group I fall into, the ones that should be receiving this advice or the ones that should be helping give this advice.
    I don’t know if I 100% agree with everything said, but you definitely brought up a lot of things that do need to be addressed and considered by the young sister’s growing up today.

    Either way, here are some things I think:
    You had a lot of good stuff in talking about male-female relations, and the difference between talking and TALKING… It is really tough to draw the line, and always be on the look out to make sure you don’t cross the line. It is waay to easy to get carried away. I also like what you said about being “too nice.” That can get you into more trouble than you realize.
    The never burning bridges part is something many people don’t consider, but it is really important, especially while you are young and don’t know where you’re going to end up.

    About the planning with “what if,” my advice is act and plan according to what information you have and you’re current situation, but keep in you’re plan room for leeway and realize they can change at any time. Remember: we plan and Allah (SWT) plans, but Allah is the best of planners.

    As far as hater’s go, I get that there will always be people who don’t like you, but there is no need intentionally rub people the wrong way. Do do your best to keep things civil with people you have disagreements with, and recognize that maybe, just MAYBE, you might be the one who is wrong. Or- even more likely- the truth or what is right is somewhere in between. Not that I think you were implying that everyone should create enemies for no reason, I’m just throwing that caution in there.

    And one advice that I’d like to add of my own is “befriend your parents.” This is probably the most valuable advice I can give anyone. The more you open up to them, the more they will understand you and help you make decisions that are best for you. Know one ever will wish well upon you the way your parents do. Maybe it is just my experience, but I feel the older I get, the more and more I agree with what my parents have told me, and more things I find that they were right about. This is definitely something I wish I had done earlier, because I now truly understand what amazing people they are.
    Plus always remember that you’re parents are human. And really think about that. Not in the “they don’t know everything way,” but in the, they’re human’s like me and you and that’s what makes them the way they are. So the little things you don’t get or the things that frustrates you about them start to make so much more sense

    Lastly- menstrual cycles: drink lots of water and heating pads help with pain in a non-medicinal way. And if it helps at all- you can take comfort in know that if it’s painful and symptomatic- chances are somethings working in there. :-P

    Once again, good post. I forwarded this to some even younger kids (high schoolers)… Let’s see if we get some responses inshaAllah.

    (ooo… and for sister’s wanting to go into medicine, I feel like I should counsel them before they start and let know what they’re getting themselves into.)

  • salams J

    Everything was good but there is one point I disagree with. You said:

    “Do Muslim guys go against their families to marry someone other than what their families want? No they don’t. Some girls might, but guys never do.”

    A lot of guys I know have married girls against their families’ will. Most often it was due to culture issues – arab & desi, and other times it was a guy against deeply ingrained cultural traditions that dictated he should marry a girl from his tribe only.

    I find that the kind of men who do this are usually the ones who have their aakhairah in mind. They insist on X girl because they know she’ll make a better mother and teacher to the kids than girl Y would.

    In my own family, we’re from a certain “tribe” and my father – on several occasions – said to me that if I didn’t marry a girl from the same tribe, then he wouldn’t attend my wedding. That’s coming close to disowning your own son. But me and my brothers and sisters [there's half a dozen of us] worked hard to get our parents to change their minds.

    On the other hand I’ve seen with my own eyes guys who I know personally who backed away from a girl after the guy’s mom became really crazy and emotional against his choice. In situations like that its no one except the guy’s fault – he didnt know when push came to shove, that he would have to go from being a male to a man.

    Oh well. You win some, you lose some. That’s life.

  • I thought someone might object to that :) Maybe it’s different way up there in the great north, land of maple syrup and hockey sticks ;) I know at least a dozen+ of these types of relationships that happened here, and about 65% they end up giving up cuz of the parental pressures, out of the rest maybe 25% convince the parents, and then the last few get married with the parents not liking it but being ‘resigned’ to it. But I have yet to see a single case of the guy marrying a girl and being totally disowned by his parents. He’ll give up the marriage first before being disowned is what I’ve seen by experience.

    There might be a case somewhere in the world of it happening, but I just want to warn the girls that it’s not that easy to go against parents and even if she’s willing, like you said some guys just can’t become men enough to stand up to their parents and they give up, leaving the girls heartbroken and in very difficult positions.

  • As everyone has already said, very good post and all 100% true. I wish I heeded a lot of this as I started college and up till now.

    Being in my 30s I think back on the years.. and I know in life what has happened has happened, it was our Qadr and we can not turn back time. What the best thing we can do going forward? I often think, or what if I had traveled abroad during college or after college, etc but for whatever reason I always thought, I have to be practical and I did not think about myself.

    I am in a job that I don’t like but it puts food on the table, and I am hopeful for something better, but its true, forcing yourself to wake up and go, then being there is very draining on the spirit. Don’t just major in something because you think you have to and talk to those who actually have those jobs.

    Finally, with regards to marriage, I think I am on the other extreme and am vary hesitant to talk to anyone, but I know I am not a spring chicken and according to desi culture, I have passed my time. Still, I don’t want to compromise and waste my time talking to losers or players.

    In our generation, we did not have this advice, because we were first generation immigrant kids and things have changed a lot. So I truly hope this current generation listens to this valuable advice.

  • Thanx kba for your message. So true I wish we had people back then to talk to and ask our questions to so long ago. Well as you said Qadr Allah ma sha fa’al, we can only move forward now. May Allah grant you, me and all of us khair.

    Thinking of the past (mistakes, hopes and dreams included) always reminds me of this poem:

    From the Doorstep to Heaven

    Now,
    With the sad rain
    Drenching my sad face,
    I dream of a ladder of dust,
    Collected from hunched backs
    And hands clinging onto knees,
    To mount to highest heaven
    And discover
    What becomes of our prayers and sighs.
    O my beloved,
    All the prayers and sighs,
    All the laments and cries for help,
    Springing from
    Millions of lips and hearts,
    Through thousands of years and centuries,
    Must be gathered somewhere in heaven,
    Like clouds.
    And maybe
    These words of mine
    Are now close to those of Jesus.
    So let us await the tears of heaven,
    O beloved.

    –Muhammad Al Maghut

  • Salam

    Mashallah great advice – May Allah swt bless you Jannah.
    I have to agree with the person who said that try to understand your parents – they are the most sincere people on the planet :) Also about the guys who dont go against their parent’s wishes – I think its the guys fault , everybody knows their parenst , why start a relationship and leave a broken heart when you know for sure that you will not take a stand. May be those guys are not sincere right from the begining.

    Wasalam

  • I don’t think any guys start out thinking they will break someone’s heart. There are a lot of guys who do really start out with the belief they are going to marry the sister. They “think” that they are their parent’s friend (that’s why I’m not too sure about the above advice someone wrote of being your parent’s friend. You’re never their friend, they’re your parents! And they may be sincere, but they do a lot of things to perpetuate their own beliefs on the next generation out of ‘sincerity’) (sorry i know ur a parent Tamseel ;)) And the guys think that anything they do will be fine with their parents or that they can convince them and their family.

    They just don’t realize the absolute pressure, emotional blackmail and pain their loved one’s can deliver in pursuit of a cause – getting him to drop the girl. I mean I’ve heard of threats of disowning, mother’s saying they’ll stop eating and die, telling the guy they’ve ‘killed one parent’ who recently passed away, calling and writing the girls family and telling them to drop it, calling the girl horrible names and spreading it around, trying to get him engaged to some other poor girl and piling on the pressure that he has to marry her now or else she’ll be ruined/crushed etc etc. I mean who’s to blame in such a situation? A nice brother who just wanted to marry a good sister, or the parents with completely unreasonable unislamic answers and completely ‘evil’ methods of making him break it off.

    Our own Prophet (s) said when two people love each other the best thing for them is marriage. I just know too many couples who wanted to marry each other and the parents are the ones who blocked it based upon their reasoning of culture/money/dunya/tribe whatever. So it’s not always the guys fault and I can’t always blame the guy for not ‘standing up and being a man’. I mean I do blame him, but can we really?

  • Asalaamu Alaikum

    Re the issue of soulmates:

    Abu Huraira narrated directly from Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) that he said:

    People are like mines of gold and silver; those who were excellent in Jahiliya (during the days of ignorance) are excellent In Islam, when they have, an understanding,

    and the souls are troops collected together and those who had a mutual familiarity amongst themselves in the store of prenatal existence would have affinity amongst them, (in this world also) and those who opposed one of them, would be at variance with one another.

    [Muslim]

    There is an idea here that those souls who were together in the realm of prenatal existence will have a similar affinity in this world.

    But to then say that there is only *one* soul which one has an affinity for could be stretching it a little.

    Allah knows best

  • I dunno bout the marriage after high school thing J. I mean I’ve gotten the “young guys don’t wanna marry at their young age” lecture from about every species on this planet, BUTTT I do agree with you.. building connections THEN is important.

    && Hey, ain’t nothing wrong with sitting & looking pretty! Hahah I kid I kid (maybe). I think the reason we believe that there is “THE ONE” guy that’ll be (almost) perfect for us is cuz.. thinking otherwise is actually really depressing. Thinking about settling for less or marrying out of convenience are things that put one in despair.

    HOLLA for the psych major shout out! :-D

    “There’s no need to discuss what you’re looking for with him unless he’s a real rishta.”
    ..unless he’s a real rishta, and not every and any rishta. It’s not fun being told to tell others what you’re looking for unless you really think they’re someone you could or want to consider. You mentioned in the career section that having a job you don’t like is something that can kill ones Muslim soul, and no joke, this thing also does 110%.

    Haha haters. It’s true, there really are a billion + one out there. But here’s something I’ve learned at my old age :-D, sometimes we are the ones that are doing hating and if we try to rectify and let go of some things, we can reduce the numbers. Plus, it really is no fun holding grudges.. it’s better to be on good terms with *almost* everyone.. then you can do more girl things with them!

  • brkhalid so the people standing next to each other on the “day of fitrah” must be soulmates!! :)

    anam you are way wiser than I on the ‘haters’ issue, as for “the one” I watch way more period drama movies than U, but still don’t believe in “the one” but I do believe in “the right one” (inshaAllah :))

  • salams

    Tamseel, there are plenty of families where the parents have ABC strong opinions on something and the kids have XYZ strong opinions on something else and often its the kids who are right.

    Case in point is those boys who WANT to marry a hijabi girl but the guy’s mother is like HELL NO IT JUST AINT HAPPENING!! So the guy goes ahead and marries the decent hijabi girl anyways, thereby “breaking” his mother’s heart. Are you really going to blame the guy? Or maybe the guy, who is a good Muslim and all, but he grew up here and his culture is North American, and he wants to marry a girl who is active in the community and she’s also grown up here, but his mom wants him to marry her niece from “back home”. Is the guy really comitting an inadvisable act if he marries the girl of his own choice?

    Keep in mind that the responsibility for choosing a good wife if pretty much on the man’s shoulders alone, whereas choosing a good husband is on the shoulders of both the woman and her wali.

  • J, listen to “the one” by the backstreet boys. THAT’S why all us girls ACTUALLY believe in all that. Those boys had us swooned when we were just 15.. if not younger. sigh.

  • lol anam… dudette how many girlfriends have the backstreet boys been through or been married/divorced…;)

  • hey most of them have been faithful & have stuck it out with their women! there’s always the nick carter’s, but who can blame em.. he’s young.. let him live a little :-D.

  • I should have mentioned something about watching too many movies/listening to too much muzaaak etc etc ;) It rots your brain you younguns!! Those aliens at hulu are right!

  • going back to what “hs” said

    I interpretted “befriend your parents” to mean talk to them frequently. Of coarse, they’ll always be your parents, but its so much easier to deal with issues like marraige if your already confortable talking to them. Ex. Your parents should NOT be having revelatons about your personality when your ready to get married.
    Allhamdullilah, I began talking to my mom frequently (conversations not unlike those which I have my freinds) pretty early on and I find that it is so helpful. If anything goes wrong or if there is something I want, it doesn’t come as a shock to her. Believe me, this is not such a far fetched concept. Parents really want this relationship with their kids.

    In the above scenarios, I feel like the son did not know pior what his parents did and did not want. If he had built this relationship in the first place, then he would have had a better idea what his parents were very much against. Going back to accepting our parents as people: its easy for us to point fingers at them while we pat ourselves on the back. Their notions and ideologies were not conjured from nothing, and it is important that we really understand where they come from. If you an see why they think what they do, even if you do not agree with them, you can communicate better.

    Keep in mind, although we are in the new generation, all these issues are still reoccurent; our parents may have very well went through similar stuations. (One of my favorite quotes from some poster I saw in school : “You can’t make all the mistakes yourself; learn from others.”)

    MashAllah, this was a very enjoyable post. I was disappointed when it ended :).

  • very good post, mA. About talking vs. TALKING, I think the easiest way to avoid falling into the second category is to watch our tone when we are speaking to someone of the opposite gender. Allah (SWT) tells women in the Quran to “not be soft in speech” when speaking with non-mahram males. Girls tend to very easily and, maybe unconsciously (or maybe not) become very smiley and giggly and relaxed when talking with boys. All qualities that can make us very attractive and interesting to boys. And when a guy similarly becomes relaxed and joking with a girl, this can also be (mis)interpreted by her as well.

    The best advice I heard regarding this came from Br. Nouman Ali Khan, who said that when girls are talking to non-mahram guys, they should make their tone sound almost angry. There would be absolutely no room for misinterpreting a girls’ intention if she removes any sweetness from her manner and replaces it with an abrupt, forceful, and business-like one. It would also serve as a check for the girl to not let herself slip into a flirty mode either. I think guys can benefit and apply this to themselves as well.

    The responsibility is there on both sides, male and female. But when Allah has created almost every aspect of a women inside and out attractive to men, we need to take extra care to safeguard our hearts and our honor.

  • Assalaamu ‘alaikum wrt

    Excellent Post. This is my first time visiting the site. Alot of down to earth advice on whats to come. May Allah(swt) bless your efforts to help younger Muslim women like myself. Looking forward to more of your writing!

    JazakAllah Khair,
    Wasalam Alaikum!

  • Assalamu alaycum warrahmatullahi wabarakatu!

    Hi Jannah,you can also call me Bea(don’t get confused! ^_^) I’m 14 years old, and I totally loved your blog posts from the moment I saw those cute cartoons of girls wearing hijaab.

    I like your approach on giving advice, I just hope there are lots of more young girls like me who open thir minds to this kind of stuff.

    In fact, I’m sort of llike going through your tracks in trying to let my friends understand the wrong things they’re starting to do.

    You know what, I totally want a friend like YOU. I just hope you have time, if you know what I mean, your managing so much at the time!

    I hope Allaah (swt) blesses you and continues to give you the opportunity to continue what your doing, I love you my sister in Islam!

    Jazzakillahu Khayran! ^_^

  • Asalamulikum warahmatullah,
    masha’allah i have learned sooo much from u. i just want to ask a question and insha’llah u can answer it for me. tayyib. I had this “relationship” with this brother. and of course i didn’t know back then we aren’t suppose to talk to guys even thought they consider to “only be friends”. but subhana’allah wen he added me as a friend, i of course accepted it. and the talking went by too far as he wanted to marry me. and i of course said no. and then he kept on making me feel bad so i said ok. and subhna’allah i wasn’t aware of all of these things. i tried to block him and all but still he wouldn’t give up. then wen i actually told my mother wat happened she told me to delet him and etc.. the talking has been for months. andit as my first time talking to a guy for a long time. and now i don’t know wat to do..can u please suggest to me wat else i can do??..
    jazakallahukhair!

  • Asalamulikum,
    am sorry but insha’allah wen u answer my first question i would like to ask another one..subhna’allah, i got loads of questions for u:D

  • wsalaam,

    thanks for your comments everyone :)

    sarah.. hmmm so let me understand.. you were talking to a guy for months in an online relationship with him and even agreed to marry him and now you’ve changed your mind, so you’ve just deleted him as a friend to try to get rid of him? wow… that just doesn’t sound very nice does it? sounds like the advice i give bros NOT to do to poor sisters. you sound like he’s still in contact with you. i’d send him one last email/message and tell him you made a mistake, that the wrong is all on your side, and you don’t want to marry him/have any relationship or friendship with him and are sorry. and then that’s it. and also stop talking to guys :)

  • sister, u think i haven’t done that. it has been a while and yes it was my mistake to even thinking to marry this guy. and i know it is harram to talk to guys as i wasn’t aware of that time subhana’allah. anyways i have emailed him telling it was a mistake and all, but still he doesn’t get it. i don’t know if some guys are like that or is it just this one..anyways. some what my sis have been knowing something has been wrong with me, and then wen she found out that i was talking to a guy and all that of course she got mad..and she herself send him an email to back off. and after that he didnt even said anything…but i am glad that happened or else i would have been misrable all my life…
    and forgot to tell u sis i have one more question for u, if u don’t mind. is it ok to marry someone younger than u?? i mean the brother is a year younger. just want an adive from u..wa jazakalahukhair

  • wsalaam sarah, i’m glad you sent him an email and were mature about it. :) yeah some bros don’t listen unless you get other ppl involved lol. about marrying someone younger.. i don’t know.. i’ve seen it work and not work and that’s only one part of a big equation.. Allah knows best.

  • I went through the guys thing with ease but this bored me lol.. Yeah I know I read the warning on the top but I’d to pass it on to my female friends (yeah they are just friends not the girl friends lol) so I decided to read first cuz I don’t want to be a victim of the sandals carnage.. But I SURRENDER to the boredom.. hahaha :p

  • Great article sister, great advice. Thank you so much and jazak Allah khair

  • OMG.
    Yuu Are Absolutely Right.
    I’m 14, And All The Things Yuu Have Written About Are SO Right. I’ve Learnt SO SO SO Much From This.
    Thanks SO Much Sister.
    xxx

  • I wanted to ask for some advice Jannah,
    These Days there are Only girl schools and well i go to a mixed school. I KEEP on trying to avoid these boys but i seem to keep on getting myself mixed in their trouble. No, i don’t go out with any of them, but i talk to them. I act COMPLETELY STUPID around them and wish i wouldn’t but it seems like i can’t stop myself. Help PLEASEE!
    Thanks, Jazzakallahhukhairan.
    xxxxx

  • Btw.
    Are Yuu From Europe? , Because i am. :)
    x