Weddings

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Setting: Wedding Hall. Stage in the centre and draped with soft silks.

Music playing in the background. Six hundred eager people conversing and anticipating the arrival of the bride.

Enter the bride.

 A dazzling young beauty, laden with only the finest and softest materials enters the hall. Glittery ornaments sparkling in her hair and diamond earrings hanging low, result in some favourable murmurs and nods of approval amongst the women and leaves others baffled at how she managed to grow double her hair length overnight. She smiles, walks down the aisle, and approaches her husband who carefully hands her an exquisite bouquet of the choicest flowers and takes her seat next to him on centre stage. She holds her head and shoulders as a proper bride should—high and elegant. Some start making their way to the front for family photos, handing over gifts, and congratulating the newlyweds. The slideshow on the wall project family photos over the years and the live DJs engage the audience with some heartwarming tunes to get the mood rolling.  Asian-Wedding-set-up

Amidst the clattering of forks and knives enjoying the five-course meal, eyes focus on the young lady who has taken the mike on stage. The bride’s sister says thanks the guests for attending, despite the big derby game, City vs. United, drawing some laughs in the audience, especially amongst the brothers. She says a few words to embarrass the bride, wishes her well on her life ahead and jokingly threatens the groom to make sure he takes care of her (not-so) little sister. She proceeds by adding,

“We pray Allah makes her a wife like Fatimah (R) and him a husband like Ali (R).  May they live the lives of the Sahabahs before us and follow in the footsteps of Nabi ﷺ …”

I tuned out, too busy looking around me. Everyone clapped and happily resumed their meals.

Exeunt. Curtains fall.

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Was I the only one who found her speech a little pretentious? Ameen to the beautiful Du’aas and Allah is the sole judge of our hearts, but to make a mockery of the Sunnah like that? I was offended. Couples want to court before marriage; they want to choose a best man for their wedding; brothers want the best cars to take their new bride home; sisters demand a mind-blowing Mahr and want a henna ceremony dancing to Bollywood tunes, an over-night hen party (the list goes on and on and on) and then they expect a marriage like the queen of the women of Jannah? We have functions of rife as a public challenge to Allah, inviting his wrath and then expect His Mercy and blessings in it as if we have a right to it? The audacity! My beloved Nabi’s ﷺ life and his families’ lives aren’t there to flower our events and to tick the box for the more “religious” in the crowd; or to balance all the wrongs in the event by adding a few Islamic lines; or to appease our guilt in carrying out such an event. The life of Nabi ﷺ and the lives of the Sahabah (R) and Sahabiyaat (R) are there as examples for you and I to emulate in EVERY aspect of our lives including marriage. A marriage is a sacred union between two people, and it is our duty to keep it sacred. My beloved Nabi ﷺ said,

اعظم النكاح ايسرها مؤنة      

“The most blessed Nikah is the one with the least expenditure.” [1]

When my Nabi ﷺ asked his soon to be son-in-law Ali (R) what he had as Mahr to present to his daughter Fatimah (R), he replied that he only owned  a sword, an armour, and a horse. [2] He sold his armour for four hundred and eighty dirhams which was then presented as a very simple dowry to Fatimah (R). For the wedding feast, Sa’d bin Ubadah (R) offered a sheep and some Ansar offered some corn. [3] The simplicity and ease of their weddings was what put so much Barakah and happiness in their marriages. Nabi ﷺ instructed,

“Hold a wedding feast, even if only with a sheep.” [4]

Nabi ﷺ himself, gave simple wedding feasts to mark his marriages. Safiyya Bint Shaibah (R) narrates, “The Prophet ﷺ gave a banquet of two Mudds (3.5 kg) of barley on marrying some of his wives.” [5]

To consummate his ﷺ’s marriage with Safiyyah Bint Huyay (R), Anas (R) narrates, “The Prophet ﷺ ordered for the leather dining sheets to be spread, and then dates, dried yoghurt and butter were provided over it, and that was the Walimah of the Prophet.” [6] If we tried to emulate these Sunnahs of our beloved Nabi ﷺ in our weddings, then we’d see them naturally turn into beautiful marriages In sha Allah!images (5)

[1] Bayhaqi in his Shu’ab al-Iman & Mishkat al-Masabih
[2] Kifayat at-Taalib, Bihar al-Anwaar
[3] Kanzul Umaal
[4] Sahih Bukhari
[5] Sahih Bukhari
[6] Sahih Bukhari

Zainab Bint Husain

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Television

Roald Dahl’s poem ‘Television’ – written in 1964 when there were only three black and white channels which stopped broadcasting in the night time.Copy-of-Poems-1-1

Even more relevant these days:

The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set —
Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotised by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink —
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK — HE ONLY SEES!
‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,
‘But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!’
We’ll answer this by asking you,
‘What used the darling ones to do?
‘How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?’
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
We’ll say it very loud and slow:
THEY … USED … TO … READ! They’d READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There’s Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start — oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They’ll grow so keen
They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

by Roald Dahl