"Love Notes: Marriage and Family Life"
taught by: Shaykh Yaser Birjashttp://www.almaghrib.org/ln.php
Ok I'm gonna try to write some thoughts iA....
For those who haven't attended... this is a VERY GOOD CLASS...more than good, i honestly feel sorry ie pity for the people who "chose" not to attend...to have a class like this in america for young people is like a karamah a miracle or something... it is soooo needed and it can soooo change how we all think, are, interact and affect us on all levels. so really... if it comes to your area GO... cds/tapes/notes whatever they are NOT THE SAME. Ever.
Ok so below are some thoughts for ppl who have attended the class... (other peeps i know you won't get it sorry...i'm not typing up my notes but someone else might if u ask them nicely Smiley ) and the things i didn't like were really very very very small on a few things compared to the overall 8 hours of class everyday, but i'm mentioning it here for discussion/thought)
What I liked:
* professionalism... this is almaghrib's theme song...but u can seriously see it... well organized...everything was prompt, announcement guy was always ready and prepared, everything had a good flow, everyone knew where to go, when to come back... beautiful books given to everyone.. the slides...the snacks, the fliers cards, the decorations, chocolates (did u try those brownies mmm)...the technology, i know some people are currently criticizing al-maghrib in various blogs for the amount they charge for their classes...but seriously... i mean seriously... muslims can afford it and all this stuff does cost money... they are not gettin rich or whatever for Allah's sake get over it this is the only way we're ever going to progress. once we get into this cycle of paying for stuff we will have better education, better classes, more scholars, more opportunities, etc.
* ok so, loved going over the theories of love by different scholars in islamic history, who knew islam had this stuff!!
* talking and philosophizing over what the definition of love really is... seriously priceless we can never get a discussion like this anywhere.
* loved when he said 'how many people heard a jumah khutbah on love?' and imagine going to your imam and saying 'i need ur help i'm in love'
* loved loved loved when he talked about RAS saw's love for a'ishah and the wives and all his stories... many ppl said this was the highlight of the class and i know many of the sisters were tearing up
* soooo needed... the islamic version of 'men are from mars, women are from venus'... the whole different languages of love...excellently done...totally probably just saved a whole bunch of marriages right there and made a whole bunch better!
* liked the discussion on homosexuality... it was about time someone brought it up
* liked that he emphasized polygamy was not a joke or a game but very serious and about responsibility
* OMG does he have a sense of humor... SO FUNNY... hilarious...everyone was in stitches
* the group activities really gave the brothers a chance to tell sisters their point of view and vice versa... i personally really learned a lot from it and was actually quite surprised too...veryyyy useful exercise to experience, u have to be there in the group and hear all the answers etc.
* list of loving actions that both groups came up with should be taped on everyones refrigerator....what a revelation
* very straightforward point he made over brothers marrying girls overseas... "for every guy that marries a girl overseas, a sister is left here unmarried... do the math". whoa... no one thought about it like that before.
* explanation of how love transitions and changes thru the various stages of initial meeting/engagement/marriage/after children very interesting
* discussion on marriage was done in a different way than the usual linear way it's talked about in islamic books...like starting with things like asking ppl what they thought marriage/the purpose of marriage is... almost like thinking/teaching about it outside the box...it was very refreshing
* answered the question of how much should you tell your prospective spouse
* liked the emphasis on marriage contracts and how it was halal and fine to put conditions and using examples throughout of things that could/should be put in by women otherwise such-and-such would happen
* like how he said 'be careful about going against ur parents, one day u'll need them...' soo true
* liked how 'sexual intercourse', 'physical pleasure' and other eyebrow raising words and things (bathing together?!, pda, menses) were talked about clearly and openly. i know euphemisms like 'relations' are nice for haya...but to talk plainly and openly here on these subjects was nice
* zaani for zaani hadith explained finally!
* showed clearly how islamic inheritance laws are very just and fair
* i could have stood up and said takbir when he said "if she doesn't answer the husband's call that doesn't mean he can rape her" and that "she also has a right to call her husband to bed"
* also liked when talking about nushooz -- that the man's nushooz was mentioned and explained as well, not just the wife's
* ar-rijaal qawamooona verse drummed in to everyone the right way and context
* last words about how learning about this topic/these interesting hadiths and learning that rasulullah saw was a human like us can bring us closer to him in a new way was very touching and inspiring!!
What I didn't like:
* the only real issue i had was in the "characteristics desirable in a bride and characteristics desriable in a groom". i mean really....after we just did an exercise where the question was asked why people are delaying marriage these days and one of the major reasons that kept coming up was that people were too picky and unrealistic in their standards/expectations, to then tell brothers and sisters they should be looking for all these things and should "not lower their standards" and only compromise when they absolutely had to??
* i also totally didn't find any affinity with the things that were listed that people should be looking for... like "beauty","fertility", "virginity", "big age difference", "easy mahr", "contentment". i think someone asked the question... what about all the sisters/brothers that have a sinful past, are not so young, not so beautiful, maybe not fertile (how do u know this before?), not so happy and go lucky, wants a decent mahr which is her right, etc. i know these are coming from hadith/ulema but i think each one really needed to be explained a little more, expanded upon and the reasons and conditions behind each one given... it would have been better and more acceptable. for example virginity because then both are new and learning together at the same level or beauty in the sense that ppl should have some type of physical attraction and this is good for the marriage. that way people understand the reasoning and exceptions. also this is important is so that people don't go back and say "well the sheikh said i should be looking for these 6 things" which may or may not be what he's looking for/produce a successful marriage for him/her. maybe talk about/add some things ppl should look for in this day and age which help produce happy marriages... like compatability in certain things.
* telling the brothers they should look for sisters 4-5 years younger than them because they are immature and have a desperate need to be in authority and control over her!? he later even mentioned that this was problematic because if men weren't marrying sisters their age, and since they were delaying marriage for various reasons and sisters were nowadays delaying marriage to finish their educaton then what was going to happen to those sisters? it's circular because then now we are implying that sisters should choose between marriage or education? because if they wait they'll be skipped over by the guys marrying girls 4-5 years younger than them.
* in discussing ways ppl get married...i think there are a lot more halal ways... ppl nowadays meet each other at islamic conferences, over the internet, at the university, at their job.. through halal speed-dating... all kinds of modern things... it's not just the traditional cousin marriage or arranged marriage anymore... so these other ways need to be added and discussed.
* did not like the emphasis that love is always physical and based on image before developing into anything else... are brothers so shallow? is it not possible for love to exist in any other way?
* discouraging brothers from marrying "career women". saying marriages with "career women" are not successful and also not defining what is meant by "career woman". also telling the sisters that all brothers are really looking for "housewives". true?
* am kind of on the fence about the emphasis on "celibate marriage" (having the nikah and being legally married, but waiting till later to have the wedding party and consummating the marriage)...i understand that this is a good thing for some people who are finishing school, have other reasons to wait... but i don't think it's a solution to the problem of 'ppl can't control themselves and would have gfs or bfs otherwise'. ppl who can't control themselves and fall into temptation are not ready to be married!!! the solution is not just to marry them off early into a "celibate marriage". they need to be educated islamically and learn how to control themselves instead.
* i know they don't want to change the mood of the course by talking about divorce... but i think a mention of it would be important for people to know what basic steps there are for working out problems before it gets to that point and if they can't, when should people get divorced?...how bad should their problems be so they give up?... when should they go for counseling? etc
* didn't think it was clear about the hanafi opinion on "forced marriages"... most ppl didn't hear the part where the girl can annull the marriage once she hits puberty!
* naqis/aql hadith not clearly explained and why was it brought up in marital rights?
* on the "rights of the husband"...certain things need to be defined more in-depth... what does it mean to say the wife has to "obey" the husband... what does "protecting his honor" mean...what does it mean he has the right to "chastise her"... when how? how does one "serve" a husband? more examples and conditions and exceptions perhaps.
* i enjoyed the categories of marriage... i think that was very very interesting... i think this should be expanded and described and people should understand that all the categories are halal and that they can choose one of them and they should recognize which one they are and look for someone who has the same category in mind.
* on the topic of wedding rings he said that it shouldn't be part of the ceremony itself because its part of the legal xtian marriage ceremony and then said its fine for sisters to wear wedding/any rings but discouraged brothers from wearing 'wedding' rings but it was ok to wear other rings? not sure about the reasoning...but one has to take into account it is the custom/culture here among muslims and non-muslims to use the ring as a symbol of whether or not a sister or brother is married or not!! and people do look for them so perhaps it is important if only to protect yourself and your spouse!
* the "extra session" on intimacy... needed to be part of the main even if very briefly...but maybe i say that because we had to catch our bus and could not stay!