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Live Call with Baba Ali…Coming Soon

Assalamu alaikum

Quick heads up.  Alhamdulillah we’ve gotten amazing feedback from the launch of the Muslim Marriage Movement and clearly there is lots of work to do.  I wanted to give you a heads up to look out for a special LIVE call Baba Ali that we will be doing very soon in shaa Allah. (more…)

Cultivating Healthy Relationships–Imam Khalid Latif

Imam Khalid Latif has a reflection series being published on the Huffington Post during the month of Ramadan. Yesterday’s post [Ramadan Reflection Day 14: Marriage, Dating and Cultivating Healthy Relationships ] discussed the importance of knowing how to cultivate healthy relationships. This is one of our goals here at half our deen. Not only by providing a service that allows you to find out information about your potential spouse and get them well in an Islamic manner but also through our educational videos. In these videos Baba Ali uses his own experience in marriage as well as extensive research on the topic to help us understand the other gender a little bit better.

After you read Imam Khalid Latif’s post below be sure to share your opinions in the comments section and let us know how Half Our Deen can do an even better job in this department.

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I find myself often having a familiar conversation with many young men who are about to get married. One of the first times it happened, I was approached by a guy after I had given a lecture at an Islamic Conference in the United States. He was pretty tall and well put together, but there was a certain anxiety about him. He asked if we could speak in private and when we were out of earshot of most he said he was getting married in a few weeks and needed my help with something. I congratulated him and said I’d be happy to help out. He said his upbringing was such that he never really had a relationship with a girl before and now, with his wedding coming up, he felt like he was expected to go from having no experience in even talking to a girl to being physically intimate with one. The only thing he knew for certain was that he didn’t feel ready or comfortable and had no idea what to do about it.

Most of us find ourselves in similar situations at some point or another. Whether it’s in the context of marriage or something more simple and day-to-day, it’s really confusing for a lot of us as to how we’re supposed to interact with the opposite gender. Questions that arise don’t really ever get asked because of an absence of people to ask them of. Those that do get asked tend to not really get answered in a way that takes away confusion. If anything, it just adds more to it.

I’ve found myself asked on many different occasions by young women, “Isn’t it haraam (religiously impermissible) for boys and girls who are not mahram (individuals that one cannot marry) to talk to each other?” I respond, “Aren’t you talking to me right now?” Usually the woman will follow-up and say, “What do you mean?” To which I say, “I don’t know if you realize it, but I’m a boy.” I’ll then ask her, along with the audience what the word haraam means and more often than not, most people don’t really know, resulting a in a big mess of misunderstanding.

For many Muslims, growing up, the idea is plain and simple — you’re not supposed to interact with the opposite gender unless there is a need. Words like “professional” and “formal” get thrown around in how gender interaction “should” be, which for a 13-year-old is probably not the best word choice. After we get older, it tends to not be so plain and simple, but by that time it’s more problematic because we were never really able to normalize an understanding, and are now in a place where we don’t know things that someone should have sat down and taught us as children. This is not just from the standpoint of not doing something, but helping our young people be smart about decisions they make. Many young women that I’ve spoken to who have had pregnancy scares or young men that have developed illnesses could have been avoided if in their learning process someone spoke to them about relationships in a way that was relevant to their lives, not just with a sweeping statement of “stay away from all boys.”

“And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends one of another…..”
The Holy Qur’an (9:71)

The fundamental component of our community is the family unit, and in order for the family unit to be successful and healthy, there has to be a solid communication between the husband and wife. Expectations of what I’m looking for and what I need in a marriage aren’t ever properly understood because I haven’t really figured it out that well. Lectures and classes that I attend on marriage, gender interaction, and things as such seem to not really take into consideration the reality of my life, but the speaker or instructor continues to talk as if what they are saying is what Islam definitively says. I just end up getting more confused.

I spoke at a conference once on a marriage panel in which one of my co-panelists told that audience that in finding a potential spouse, your family will always make the best decision for you and will be able to introduce you to people, so it’s not necessary to go out and find someone yourself. As I bit my tongue and gathered myself, I was approached by a young woman afterwards who said she herself was confused by what the speaker was saying. Her issue stemmed from the fact that her family doesn’t even like her being Muslim, let alone them knowing any Muslims. So how does she deal with what this man is saying in the the context of her life?

A lot of what we understand about gender and topics relevant to it comes mostly from a male voice, whether that male voice is coming from a female or male mouth. Adding perspective in can help deepen our understandings so that we realize the impact that our conversations actually are having on people day-to-day. What we need is more people to explain at all levels of development what gender means, and along with it how gender interaction works. Conversations that help men, young and old understand the overall experience of being both male and female, and similar conversations for women of all ages. That perspective can also be broadened by having more open discussions as opposed to lectures and panels. Talk to the people in your community about what it means to them to be son or daughter, a husband or wife, a father or mother, a professional, a student, a divorcee, a widow, a survivor, a leader, and everything in between. We can learn a lot from hearing other people’s stories — it’s a learning method we don’t really use so much.

Personal development seminars that speak to the needs of a growing population looking for help in simply knowing how to talk to the opposite gender would be great. These should be lead by someone who isn’t regurgitating ideas that I heard at 15 and now at 35 don’t make sense to me. Hearing from real life experience as well as individuals that can help me develop self-esteem and confidence in myself to keep moving forward would be helpful. Most of us don’t know what a healthy relationship is supposed to look like and what processes lead to the development of one. Some of us have come from homes where we didn’t have model relationship to learn from. We saw a lot of fighting, anger and stifled communication. We didn’t see expressions of love or giving of gifts. We saw double standards for how sons were treated in comparison to daughters. We didn’t know how to separate culture from religion and vice versa. As a result, we don’t know where compromise makes sense or where we should stand firm. We don’t know what we are supposed to be looking for or how to go about finding out. Simply put, we don’t know what we’re supposed to do or what challenges to expect.

This is not an issue that simply will work itself out, it has to be worked out. Healthy relationships are key to healthy living and healthy communities. If I don’t know how to interact with the opposite gender, I’m already starting out on a shaky first step. If you are going through this, it’s not your fault. Someone should be there to sit down with you and explain to you how these things work. Hopefully as we grow and learn from each other, we will be able to figure this out as well.

Check out The Huffington Post’s Ramadan liveblog updated daily with spiritual reflections, blog posts, photos, videos, and verses from the Quran. Tell us your Ramadan story.

 

Follow Imam Khalid Latif on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KLatif

Half Our Deen Offline Events Coming to a City Near You!

 

Here at Half Our Deen it is our goal to change the face of Muslim matchmaking both on and offline. We take a look at how things are normally done then come up with a way that makes it more efficient, private, and successful, with help of Allah (swt). Alhamdulilah, our past 4 offline events have been a great success and we are getting ready to launch a few more in the coming months. But before we get to that what is a Half Our Deen offline event?

A typical Muslim matchmaking get together is set up in the same was as speed dating. You speak to a person for 5 minutes, ask as many questions as you can, and then debate whether to give them your contact information or not. By the end of the night you might have a list of names and numbers of people you really don’t know much about. Not only that, the only way you can find out more about them is to get in touch with each and every one of them.

Half Our Deen offline turns these awkward matchmaking events into one that brings results, and here is how:

1- We keep our events private. Only people who have registered and paid are told the location of the event. You will have no drop ins or uninvited guests.

2- Everyone who registers is required to fill out a survey about themselves. This survey helps us place you with potential matches that are compatible.

3- One of the first activities we do at the event is a personality test. Everyone will get a sticker that shows what type they are to go on their name tag. This way you can learn about them without having to even say a word. There will also be more activities throughout the night to get to know each other better.

4- Everyone at the event is required to have a Half Our Deen offline profile. That way no personal information needs to be exchanged. If you find someone interesting simply jot down their profile and check it out when you get home. If you decide you don’t like them after all simply click the “I’d rather fast” button and you won’t have to hear from them again. However, if you are still interested you can take the next steps, answer their questions, ask them to answer yours, and see where it goes!

By the grace of Allah (swt), these factors have helped us bring together 1 marriage and 36 matches in our last 4 events. Add to that the over 320 matches made online in the past two years and it is no wonder why Half Our Deen is one of the top Muslim matchmaking sites.

InshaAllah over the coming months we plan on holding offline events in 5 cities:

  • Santa Clara, California – September 29 2012. Sign up here 
  • Southern California – November 2012 (Exact City/Date TBD). Sign up here 
  • Toronto, Canada – December 2012 (TBD). Sign up here 
  • New York City – February 2013. Sign up here 
  • London, England – TBD. Sign up here 

Spots will be limited so make sure to grab yours before they are gone. If you want to learn more about our offline events and what makes them unique be sure to check out this video:

New Video: What will the people say?

As-salam-alaikum,

It’s amazing how we focus more on pleasing the people rather than pleasing our Creator so I decided to make a video about this very subject. If my idea works, the the phase of “what will the people say?” will become so ANNOYING that it will be stuck in our heads, so the next time we hear it, we will remember the message behind this video, InshAllah. The reality is that I can’t change the world overnight but my hope it to make a positive difference within the Muslim Ummah….one video at a time – Baba Ali

What will the people say? – Baba Ali from Baba Ali on Vimeo.

For all the fans of the HOD Blog, I just wanted to give you something special. Please use Coupon Code: HODBLOG50 on www.muslimpersonality.com