Tag - Ramadan

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.

—————————————————————————————————————————-

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’s 2nd Anniversary!

Half our Deen turned 2 last week and we couldn’t be more excited! In fact, here is what Baba Ali himself has to say about this amazing milestone:

 

Since Half Our Deen launched in July 2010, no other Muslim Matchmaking site has been able to match the two features that we are known for; our Privacy and Price. With over 2200 active member using the site and over 320 success stories, Half Our Deen is one of the most successful Muslim Matchmaking sites on the net. It’s hard to believe so many success stories have come in just two years. Alhamdulilillah”

Two years ago we set out to create a Muslim Matrimonial website that was unlike anything else out there. We put our trust in Allah (swt), and made duaa it would be a successful means of bringing Muslims into healthy and happy marriages. While, we hoped for a great outcome we were happily surprised by how great of a response we had.

By the grace of Allah (swt), in this past year alone our number of matches have more than doubled to over 300, with new matches being made daily. The average time for a match to be found has also gone down to between 3-6 months. And with the number of active users at over 2200 and growing each day that time frame is bound to go down!

This past year has also been a productive one for us at Half Our Deen. Alhamdulillah, we were able to revamp and improve the website. We hoped to make it more visually appealing and functional for our users. So far the feedback we have received has been extremely positive. However, we are always looking for ways to make your matrimonial experience more convenient so if you have a suggestion on how we can improve make sure to let us know!

A new year of development is ahead of us and we couldn’t be more excited for what we have planned for this year. We couldn’t be happier that Ramadan is kicking off our new year. Ramadan is the perfect time for us to go back and re-evaluate our intentions and turn to Allah (swt) in duaa asking for his assistance in our our endeavours.

Ramadan is also an excellent time for all you out there searching for your other half! It’s a blessed time of renewal where duaas are accepted. It’s the time for you to turn to Allah in the middle of the night and ask for every specific thing you could dream of in a spouse and inshaAllah it will be granted to you when the time is right.

It is also the perfect time to break bad habits and build good ones With the hustle and bustle of normal life it is easy to continuously put off these goals of improvement. Ramadan, helps put what is important into perspective and gives you that extra push you need to start on your journey of betterment.

May Allah swt make this Ramdan a blessed and fulfilling one for all of us. Aameen!

Another Inspirational Half Our Deen Success Story

MashAllah a very inspirational story of a sister on Half Our Deen who found her other half a year after joining the site. Please be patient, and make dua. We have to put in the effort and leave the rest up to ALLAH!

“up00lam, I have a success story to share too. However I would rather use initials i.e. I would like my husband & my name to not be published. I was a member of HOD from Feb 2011. Exchanged a few messages in the site with a couple of brothers but none was the type of Muslim husband material I was looking for. In June 2011 I did Umra and asked Allah to grant me a rightful Muslim man for a husband. Months passed and Ramadan came in August. Still, there was no progress in my HOD account. And then… 2 weeks after Ramadan, I got a “Found You Interesting” click from a brother from America. I looked through his profile and I found him quite interesting too so I decided to answer his questions that he had included in his profile. Not to long after, he replied to thank me for answering his questions and that he would like to know me for marriage whether we are suitable. However, he told me that this would have to wait till after Eid as he was in Makkah for Umra. So weeks passed and on the 2nd day of Eid I replied to his message. Soon we found ourselves to be suitable and wirhin that week we prayed our istikharas. In early October 2011 he came to my country, Singapore, to meet my family and me. 6 days after we met, we had our nikah done in Singapore, alhamdulillahi Rabb al alameen!

with my parents blessings, of course. We’ve been married for almost 7 months now and subhanaAllah life has been very interesting as we didnt date before marriage, alhamdulillah, and get to know each other only during our marriage now. May Allah put barakah, love and mercy to all married couples. I can never thank Baba Ali enough for his iniative in setting up such a wonderful matrimonial website like HOD. Jazakum Allah kheir jaza’

Know each other only after marriage. I can never thankBaba Ali enough for hisiniative on setting up HOD. Jazakum Allah kheir jaza’

We have been getting so many success stories, we have built a page for it. Look for our new success stories page coming soon, InshAllah.

 

Happy Birthday Half Our Deen!

On July 18th, 2011 we celebrated our first birthday. One year later, we have over 1600 members spread across 47 countries, Alhamdullilah. Our website has been blessed with 706,347 Visitors and 6,133,176 Page views Mashallah!  And the best part of it all, is the flow of over 150 matches made on HOD. The little part that Allah (swt) has given us the privilege to play in people’s lives, means a lot to us Alhamdullilah. Hearing a member tell us “because of you I found the love of my life” is absolutely priceless.

What about all the other members who didn’t find their other half? What is written for us by Allah swt, is something we cannot measure. What someone might find in a week might take another 6 months or a year to find. We’ve gotten many members try the site and give up their search after 1 month, 2 months or 6 months. There are others who feel they can’t find the perfect potential, like Neo (from the Matrix) and there is an illusion that once found they’ll live happily ever after.

Unfortunately when considering a potential spouse we measure them to this ideal formulated from fictional characters. Often these dreams we project can be blinding to our judgment of compatibility with this potential. By the time we see the light of who this person really is, we might already be approaching a divorce. It’s important to look in the mirror and realize that we ourselves are not perfect. While some do find that ideal match sooner than later, others may not, which is alright. This shouldn’t put you down or be discouraging. Rather, it should better put things into perspective for us. It really means that ALLAH swt has someone better for you. Believing in that is half the battle and the other half is comprised of patience, prayers and being grateful.

We need to practice patience and understand that there is a time for all of us and this is only in the hands of Allah. its Ramadan and we can use this month to make lots of dua’a and pray for guidance. Always remember Allah swt chooses what is best for us, even if we’re too finite to see the infinite wisdom in His Divine Decree.

The good news is there is a light at the end of the tunnel! HOD is launching many new features, based on member feedback and requests, by October Inshallah. Our new features will include:

Email match preferences:  Our new email match alert  will give you the ability to set your personalized email match preferences to receive matches via email. Its LIVE now!

– New Settings Page:  Our new settings page will be more user friendly and organized giving you a wider array of options. Log in and take a look around!

– PayPal: The world’s most safest way to pay, will be joining our payment screen soon for those who feel more comfortable paying through it.

– New Edit Profile: more fun information to tell your potential matches about yourself. A much more user friendly and organized layout as well. All in all, FUN!

– Muslim Personality Test: what the buzz has been about at all the conventions we attend, is the Muslim Personality test. With a 97% accuracy rating thus far, we plan to introduce MP to HOD members in the upcoming months, InshAllah. Another way to find out more about your match.

Our goal is to give all our members the most effective tools to find your other half. We haven’t stopped working since we launched and won’t stop. All this won’t cost you a cent more. =)

Join us in making dua’a that as we embark onto our 2nd year, there is more hasanat (good) in HOD so we can see the fruits of our efforts in the hereafter InshAllah, Ameen

Jazakhallah Khairun for all your patience and support

RIS, Offline again and ISNA – A recap

In case you missed HOD at our last 3 events, here is a quick summary:

May 28-29th Baba Ali and the HOD crew introduced Muslim Personality at the RIS conference in Long Beach, California. Al Hamdulillah we had the busiest booth at the conference, and gave hundreds of Muslim Personality results. Check out the pictures on our Facebook fan page.

May 29th HOD conducted its 2nd Offline event for Single Muslims. With nearly 80 attendees, this event was just walking distance from RIS. This allowed us to unite singles from all over North America for the first time. Nearly 20 mutual matches were made, topping the first HOD Offline. We had a special guest Imam in attendance who gave some encouraging words to the attendees. Great feedback from this Offline, we hope to make the next few after Ramadan even better each time InshaAllah.

July 2-3 Muslim Personality hits a larger audience at the annual ISNA Convention. Baba Ali gets personality results from many famous Muslims, including the NFL’s Abdullah Brothers. Muslim Personality tests reached hundreds and closed with an in depth look of the motivation behind the project. Baba Ali gave a workshop to over 200 attendees on the benefits of learning about each others’ personalities and how it can help our relationships and communities. The workshop was a definite change from what fans expected of an on stage performance. By the end, the cameras recorded a packed room all celebrating the effort and cheering for another Baba Ali workshop next year!