Diary Of A Broken Girl

Author: Nabeela Kaprey Noorani.

Life was tough growing up. My parents were introduced at a young age to each other when my father’s family proposed to mother for her hand in marriage. Believing my father to be the man of her dreams, my mother accepted and prepared accordingly for her new life with her soon to be new husband. But his family’s intentions were impure.

The wedding day arrived. My mother made her new parents in law proud. She was a vision, the most beautiful thing anyone had ever seen. Being Arab, that says a lot, as Lebanese women are known for their physical beauty. As the bride and groom’s eyes met for the first time since bound in matrimony, she noticed that he did not share the joy she felt.

*end of part one*

Diary of a broken girl

Within a few days shy of 10 months of marriage I was brought forth into the world with, as I have been told, a very long and painful birth process by my young (then 19 year old) mother. I was the coolness of her eyes, and the apple of my equally young father’s eye.

My paternal family were of a socially elite class. So was my mother’s. I was conceived, born and brought up on all the finest that Beirut had to offer. I was short of nothing.

My mother had given her whole heart to her husband. But he could not do the same, for before my mother entered his life, someone else had already laid claim to it. He did care for her though, and a great deal too. My mother made peace living with a man who could not love her. He provided her with everything, and sincerely did all he could for her comfort and pleasure.

One day in my infancy, my parents took me along for a little outing. As we proceeded to enter the mall, my father caught sight of an attractive young woman walking toward us. She met his glance, and as their eyes met, the world stood still.

**end of part two**

Diary of a broken girl…

It was as if no other person existed between them. My mother herself could feel the electricity that was amiss.

Finally it all made sense. This woman was the missing link. She was the answer to my father’s buried sadness. For before my mother came into the picture, this woman shared something remarkable with him. It was established that he intended to marry her, but because she belonged to the lesser half of society, their hopes were immediately shut down. My mother was an afterthought, an excuse. His family thought that by marrying her to their son, he would forget his lover.

My mother’s heart ached. Not for herself, but for the pain my father had to endure. Her heart ached for how, despite all this, what a good husband he had been. Her heart ached for the fact that she had driven a wedge between something so powerful.

She knew what she had to do.

She immediately set to work in arranging their marriage.

**end of part 3**

Diary of a Broken Girl

Later that night, my father revealed all to my mother. She listened with an open mind and an empathetic heart. Allah bless her. Once he had completed relaying all the details, she asked him with a face as serious as war, “Habibi, you know how I feel about you. I would sacrifice my happiness for yours. Do you wish to terminate this marriage?”

On hearing these words from her, the thought was as hard to fathom as an arrow piercing through his heart. This woman had given him everything she possibly could. Every part of her that could be sacrificed had already been done so. With teary eyes and a trembling voice, he replied, “By Allah, the thought of living without you is too hard to cogitate. Like you, I have always believed that the love you have for me cannot be returned. Today you have proven me wrong. Not just for the pleasure of Allah, I love you because you are a part of me as she is a part of me.”

Those three words that my mother had yearned to hear for 3 years were finally spoken and resonated throughout her body. She thanked Allah for opening her heart up to Khulood, the other woman. For in opening up her heart towards accepting her, Allah had opened up my father’s heart to loving her.

**end of part 4**

Diary of a Broken Girl

3 days later their nikaah was performed. My mother’s unselfishness knew no bounds. Her actions and intentions were beyond anyone’s comprehension abilities. Khulood was in utter awe of her. It was she, and not my father, who had contacted her and sent for her.

That morning as my father prepared to depart to meet his new bride, she assisted him by packing his bag and proceeded in picking out his garment and fastened the buttons of his thowb (Arabic for kurta). My father’s sorrowful eyes met hers. Reflected in them were no remorse, no pain, and no anger. He searched desperately, but nothing. The least bit of apprehension would have at least made sense, but she was nothing but courteous.

Only she knew in her heart that this was Allah’s plan all along. And in return, my father’s heart continued to swell with unconditional love and appreciation for her. As he departed, and kissed us both goodbye, she collapsed in a downpour of painful tears.

She would not allow him to see her crying, because if he knew the hurt she felt in knowing he was leaving to be in union with another woman, he would never go through with it. At the tender age of 21, she was ready to share her husband with someone else.

**end of part 5**

Diary of a Broken Girl

The following week my father returned home with her. They stood together in the doorway, uneasy and nervous. It was as though my father could not place his feet comfortably in his own house. I ran to greet my aba, but at 2 years of age, I was overly friendly and offered a moist kiss to her as well. This woman would later become my pillar of strength.

In walked my mother, and as she did so, the two stood up to greet her as if she was royalty. She beckoned at them to sit, and beamed a brilliant smile that was powerful enough to melt any heart.

First my father hugged and kissed her. What followed next was simply amazing. Khulood took my mother’s hands in her own, kissed them and embraced her as if it was the last time she would ever see her. Sobbing and stammering, she whispered into my mother’s ear, “Your pain is my pain; your joy is my joy. Whatever it is that you wish, tell me and I will not rest until it is fulfilled. Oh Nawwaal, Yaa miftaahu qalbee (key to my heart), you are more beloved to me than my own mother, and more beloved to me than our husband Qays. If you wish me gone, I will go.”

“No such thing. We are sisters now. Let us live in peace together.”

She looked at my father, smiled and said, “ For we are one unit, not only has our family gone from 3 to 4, but Insha Allah, by the end of this year, our family will extend to 5.”

**end of part 6**

Diary of a Broken Girl

There we all stood at the mercy of both my sets of grandparents that evening at the *(father’s family name)* mansion. As my father very calmly and succinctly related what had transpired over the past few weeks, all hell broke loose. My paternal family refused to have any connection with the working class, and my maternal family refused to have their precious daughter share her title.

Two of my mother’s brothers as well as their father took hold of my father, and my grandfather yelled, “She is the daughter of Hasan Wardi! She could have any man she desired, but you were chosen, and you do this?!”

They started punching and beating him, joined in by his own brothers. Both his wives watched helplessly, shattered. We were all powerless.

Qays and Khulood were thrown out, and my mother and I were escorted back to the House of Wardi, where my mother had resided before her marriage. We would only be released once my father had agreed to release Khulood from their short union.

With a heavy broken heart and drunken feet, my father took Khulood by her arm and went back home. There was nothing he could do, at least not in a half unconscious state. The next few days were bleak and dismal. Nothing was as it should have been. Qays was half delirious with worry, Khulood felt uneasy and guilty, and Nawwaal, my mother had cried out every last bit of moisture left in her tear ducts. She took to her prayer mat and cried out, “Yaa Rabbi, whatever I had done I did so to please you, so please reunite a daughter with her father, and reunite this heart with its keeper! Do not let this unborn child come forth into a broken home!”

**end of part 7**

Diary of a Broken Girl

We ran. In the dead of night she ran, with one child in her arms and another growing in her abdomen. One of the housemaids was compassionate enough to respond to her plea and left her door unlocked for one night. She ran until she caught sight of a taxi cab and yelled desperately for the driver.

With one last gush of energy, she knocked at the doors of her marital home, a knock of desperation, for she knew if her father had figured out that she had escaped, he would come for her. The doors sprung open, and there stood in bewilderment. She fell into him with me still in hers. She was the sight of sheer exhaustion. She had not eaten or slept in days, and she had the added load of pregnancy on her physique.

The following morning Khulood bathed her and forced her to eat. “Don’t let your baby suffer the consequences of the faults of others. Your baby is innocent. Nourish yourself so that it may grow healthy.”

“Habibi”, my father addressed her now, “I swear to you on our daughter’s head. I came every day to collect you, but everyday I was denied access to you.”

“I know. I saw you and I heard you. But my window was locked as well.” “Where do we go from here?” “We have to leave. We have to leave this place for good.”

**end of part 8**

Diary of a Broken Girl

My father was smart enough to have invested large amounts of many in various types of properties and investments. By making it clear that he would not divorce Khulood, his family had cut him off. He was disowned. At the time many people were migrating to America and making it big it seemed. My father thus decided that this would be our new home. With tears and sorrow, the 3 bid farewell to everything they had ever known. This was the price they had to pay. We moved to the most Southern part as my father felt it best to live amongst minorities. He set up freighting companies and chain stores and established himself well. The bond between Khulood and Nawwaal was stronger than the bond between 2 blood sisters. They shared everything. The house, the kitchen, their entire lives. When my mother’s belly grew to an uncomfortable stage, she was not allowed to lift a finger.

**end of part 9**

Diary of a Broken Girl

One night when my father was away on business, Khulood was awoken by a screeching scream in the middle of the night. She hurriedly made her way to my mother’s room where she found her sitting right up in her bed in a pool of blood.

She was not even 7 months into gestation, so the reason for concern was escalated ever so much more. 10 minutes later she was rushed into theatre. It was already too late. There was no longer a heartbeat detected. My little brother lay to rest before we could meet him.

My mother lay on the operating table, unconscious, and unaware that she had just lost her child. Khulood, sick with worry, makes the dreaded phone call to my father who was half way across the country.

“Qays, Nawwaal, the baby is gone.” He was at a loss for words. How, what, when, where, why? He wanted to ask all at once but sorely replied,” I will be on the first flight back. I will be there in a few hours. Please just take care of her.”

As she hung up the phone she heard a beeping sound progressing faster and faster into one unbroken piercing sound from the monitor.

She heard doctors and nurses mumbling things in medical jargon that nobody was willing to explain. She saw them start to administer shock treatment, frantically the whole medical team tried to stabilise the frail blood drained body back from eternal slumber. At last someone spoke, as she heard, “Time of death, 02:40.”

**end of part 10**

Diary of a Broken Girl

After 22 short years, Nawwaal Rouby abruptly left this world for the next. Nothing could have prepared the 3 of us that survived her what had just transpired. A lifeless figure now lay on the bed, her heart still full of love, and breasts filled with purpose (breast milk).

Khulood was hysterical. She kept going back to the team, yelling at them to try harder. She refused to give up on her. Eventually she had to accept what Allah had decreed to happen. After less than 6 months, she was now the sole woman in this family. She knew she had big shoes to fill.

“How do I face Qays?” She thought to herself. “How do I tell him that our beloved is no more? How do I say that I could not take care of her?”

Khulood wept bitterly as she left the hospital to the house. She entered my room, where my 3 year old self was still sleeping soundly, blissfully unaware of anything. Khulood felt the house suddenly changing from a warm, homely environment into a cold and empty house.

Of all the honours bestowed upon me in this world, I can firmly say, that I am most proud of being the offspring of Nawwaal Rouby. It is a privilege to say that I am her daughter. She was not human. Human beings are sinful creatures and have many weaknesses. Her only weakness was being mortal. It is said that ever so often, Allah sends down a miracle to remind us of his Oneness. I cannot help but think that she was nothing short of a miracle that we have been blessed with. Innaa lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raajioon. Ilaliqaa’ Yaa Ummee.

**end of part 11**

Diary of a Broken Girl

From that day on, my father was never the same. I cried for her, but being a young child, everyday I cried less and less until she was forgotten. 1 day my father noticed a bump on Khulood’s tummy and asked her, “Habeebi, are you pregnant?!”

“Yes, 4 months. I’m sorry for not telling you but it has been only 3 months since Nawwaal’s passing. It felt wrong overshadowing my happy news when we are all still sad.”

He was touched by her thoughtfulness, but was nonetheless happy.

4 months later she gave birth to a set of twin boys. My father lost 1 son and gained 2 more, subhaanallah. Life seemed to have reached normalcy once again. She treated me no different from my brothers. She raised me as her own and never ever made me feel the absence of my mother. If ever a woman could love a child more than one she had herself given birth to, she would be a shining example. I am her daughter, and she is my mother.

One day when I was around 16 years of age, I found a wedding album, but the woman standing alongside my father was not the mother I knew. I took it to my parents demanding an explanation. They looked at each other, and slowly started to relate the entire story. My father explained how he was sorry for at times refusing to look at me, but I just looked too much like her. I cried myself to sleep that night.

**end of part 12**

Diary of a Broken Girl

Suddenly things that made little sense before became crystal clear. Why did I neither resemble my mother nor my father? And why did my distant aunt and uncle insist on travelling each year to our home to see me? What was our connection?

I remember one day when they came, I was probably 3 or 4. They wanted to take me with them. An argument broke out between my father and ‘uncle’.

“You already stole our daughter; now let us have our granddaughter as compensation!”

Who was this grand daughter?

My ‘aunt’ hugged me tightly and promised to see me again. I did not think much of it.

The night my parents told me everything, they confessed that this aunt and uncle was actually the mother and father of my late mother. My parents hid their identity from me to protect me. I was upset with them; because I grew up thinking I had no grandparents. They were saddened by the news of their daughter’s passing and wanted to take me as I was her only child. I struggled a lot with all this new information. I then confided in my best friend, Husni. He had been in my home room class since I started school and we have been best friends ever since.

The only connection my father had to my maternal grandfather was me. They still hated each other. So after I completed my schooling, it was not a surprise when I informed my father that I wished to take time off and travel to Beirut to visit my grandparents. They were anxious to see me as they now knew that I was aware of who they were. To keep the peace my father agreed.

My mother Khulood was sad to part with me and was very uneasy about it. I promised to return soon and embraced her for what seemed like forever.

Parting was sweet sorrow. When I reached Beirut, I was welcomed by a sea of people I have never seen. They were all family of my mother. I met and greeted each one. Among them was a second cousin, Yusuf, a terribly beautiful guy. This man would later become the father of my children.

**end of part 13**

Diary of a Broken Girl
I fell in love with the country and its people. Even more so, I fell head over heels for Yusuf. He told me that he would be travelling to the states to ask for my hand. My heart refused to leave but my head kept reminding me of my family who eagerly awaited my return, and the promise I made to my father to complete my degree he enrolled me for.

Sorely I bid my new found family goodbye and returned home. It was a wonderful feeling being in the arms of my beloved mother once again. She, my father and my 15 year old brothers welcomed me with open arms.

I was delighted when Yusuf called me and told me that he was enrolling into Arizona State as a transfer student. His studies were just a pass time as he too was involved in family business. He did it just to be close to me.

As he landed in American soil, he was accompanied by his parents to come and formally propose. I welcomed them into my home. As I did so I noticed the strange look in my father’s face. When he came to learn of the intent of their visit, he looked at me, then back at them, “Over my dead body.”

**end of part 14**

Diary of a Broken Girl

To say I was in complete shock was an understatement.

“The wardi family have hurt us enough. It would be a regression to marry my only daughter back in to that very family. I am sorry; I cannot give my daughter to you. Please leave us in peace.”

Disappointed, Yusuf and his parents left. My mother was the only one who empathised with me. She tried and pleaded with my father.

“Qays, don’t you remember the agony we faced when your parents refused us? Will you really be the cause of your daughter’s pain and anguish? Please, I beg you to change your mind. She is your only daughter. Do not lose her!”

it was useless. I lost my zest for life. When my grandfather heard of this, his hatred for my father reached an all new high. My heart pined for Yusuf, but I would not give into zina.

The next step of my life I am not proud of. We eventually eloped under the guidance of my grandfather. My father and brothers cut me off from themselves. I remained in contact in secret with my mother.

Sad I was indeed that I had to let go of such a big part of my life. But I was nonetheless, the happiest I had ever been. I completed my degree as a promise to my father and sent him my degree script. I received silence in reply. My heart bled for Khulood. I know she felt the same. Ever so often we would arrange to meet somewhere discreet. I cherished those moments and savoured in her company. Soon afterwards, we departed to settle back in Beirut. I cried crocodile tears as I bid farewell to the mother I have known all my life.

**end of part 15**

Diary of a Broken Girl

Time heals all they say. The time I spent in Beirut was bliss. I remained in contact with my mother. She shed tears of joy the day I told her that she would become a grandmother soon, and like her I was expecting a set of twins. A boy and a girl.

We would wait until my father and brothers left the house and I would spend the morning video chatting to her. She stayed connected on skype as I attended by obstetric appointments too. She was with me every step of the way.

One evening when I was about 3 months pregnant, I heard a rush of noise at the entrance of our home. I heard my mother in law wailing. Something terrible had happened. Without celebrating my 1 year anniversary and 3 months expectant with twins, at 21 years of age, my entire world came crashing down as I was given the awful status of a widow.

**end of part 16**

Diary of a Broken Girl

I was frozen in shock. I couldn’t speak, couldn’t move, couldn’t make sense of anything. The pain of losing the man you love is beyond indescribable. It is a million times worse than giving birth. Trust me, I gave birth to twins. At least during child birth you know it will end. But this, it seemed I was swallowed in by a darkness so cold, I would remain there forever.

The pieces of my broken heart were shattered so aggressively, tiny enough to be passed through the eye of a needle. I was banished into a cold oblivion. Nothing and no-one could help. I would have sold my soul to the devil in exchange for having my Yusuf back.

Night and day my mother grieved with me. Every hour she would send me a text, trying to breathe life back into me. I started to feel like a stranger in my own house. My mother on many occasions was on the verge of coming to rescue me, but at the expense of losing my father, I begged her not to.

As time went on I started to feel the pitter patter of kicks and jolts from my 2 babies within me. It reminded me of my duties as a mother first and foremost. I willed myself to civilisation for the sake of my husband’s children. I did not have him anymore. But through these 2, I would always have a part of him in them.

Somehow along the line I came into contact with Husni again. He had heard from my mother about what had happened. He sympathised with me. He told me that he was engaged to be married. I was truly happy. Days went by, and it felt like only hours that I spoke to him. He was still the person who knew me best.

I knew that he had always wanted more than just friendship from me. But I never saw him in that light. I still didn’t. A part of me wondered what it would be like to feel that way about him but I quickly shook myself from the idea. One day out of the blue, I received a phone call from Husni, “Habeebi, you know I have loved you since the moment I saw you. You are no longer married. And your children will need a father. I broke off my engagement because I cannot love her while I love you. Please give us a chance.”

**End of part 17**

Diary of a Broken Girl

What was I to make of this? There I was, heavily pregnant, half way across the world, still mourning my husband, and he had the audacity to ask me to marry him? I was furious.

I don’t know if fury was the appropriate emotion, but as I was pregnant, hormones were flying. I felt as though Husni was being so inconsiderate at the time! I needed a friend, not a lover! All he could think of was his emotional needs! Typical!

The day of my twins’ birth arrived. I had been eating dinner with my in laws when suddenly my clothes were soiled, and it felt like urine running down my legs, but I did not even remember needing to tinkle. Minutes later, the contractions started, and progressed for a few hours until it became unbearable.

I was rushed to the hospital. My twins were born 8 minutes apart, all natural, and no drugs. At 11:47 Qays Yusuf Al Wardi was born. 8 minutes later his sister, Nawwaal Yusuf Al Wardi was born.

I had won my father’s heart back with a simple name selection. When he heard the names, he wept profusely on the phone, apologised and asked me to return home.

**end of part 18**

Diary of a Broken Girl

Words cannot explain the joy my heart felt by being welcomed back into my maiden home. My father eased into the role of grandfather proudly, and stepped up to play the father figure role as well.

I had the love and support of both my parents, which gave me so much comfort and security. Often my brothers, now 19 yrs in age would fight over which baby would sleep in their arms. I felt a weight slowly start to lift off my shoulders.

My father suggested a getaway for us all to a country we had never yet seen. Since South Africa gained so much popularity 1 year before with the world cup, it was agreed to be our destination.

It was here I met a few good friends and learnt of this page, amatullah abdullah. It was also the start and end, of a very significant yet ever so short chapter of my life.

**end of part 19**

Diary of a Broken Girl

I stayed on in this country. I thoroughly enjoyed soaking up the hot weather and friendly atmosphere. My family travelled back while I wished to stay a few more weeks with my children. It was winter back home after all, and the twins really enjoyed the sun.

I met some interesting people both on and off some local Facebook pages. One lady in particular was very intrigued by my story. This was around a year after the death of Yusuf. The last thing I sought was another marriage. I was told that her husband was looking for another wife. This woman seemed very sincere and noble in intention. When I spent time with her family I always got positive vibes from them.

My children were but young infants. Whatever I did was for their well-being. Sooner or later they would be needing a real father in their lives. With my father’s blessing, the nikaah was put through. It was the biggest mistake of my life.

**end of part 20**

Diary of a Broken Girl

The conditions were that I would not be financially maintained as I really did not need it. Also I put forward the condition that I did not want equal time. Just a few hours every second day with him and my children and only 2 nights a week with me. My then husband agreed to this condition and my sister wife was also contented as she still got the longer end of the stick.

The trouble started when he wanted more nights. I reminded him of the conditions he accepted. He used to become so enraged it would make my children. The following day I received a visit from his wife demanding to know what I had done. Physically I also had a problem. All I could see was Yusuf’s face. I would then just lay there like a lifeless doll. Which raised more issues.

I had no choice. The situation quickly turned sour. And I felt responsible for disrupting a once happy family unit.

I had to get out.

**end of part 21**

Diary of a Broken Girl

It was over in a heartbeat. To this day I don’t know why I did it. It unfortunately cannot be undone. I make shukr that my children were too young to feel the blow from a divorce. I sat my iddah out and returned to my family as I had returned to them before, a single mother.

During my days spent with my family I once again reconnected with an old friend, who appeared new each time, Husni.

I was over the awkwardness that separated us as first, because apart from my parents and my brothers, there was really no other person I cared to talk to. At the time he was still a bachelor yet to be wed.

Husni came by everyday, even if I was not there. At times he used to forget I was even a part of the family. He grew very fond of the twins, and they of him. His everyday visits cemented their mutual bond. They were hooked onto each other.

This must have been Husni’s tact, because I began developing feelings for him I had never experienced before.

**end of part 22**

Diary of a Broken Girl

Again Husni approached me with heartfelt words.

“Habeebi, baass, khalaas now. Can’t you see how irrevocably in love I am with you? 15 years, for 15 years I have loved you hopelessly. When you ran away with Yusuf I was broken. But I felt happy knowing that you were happy. When he then passed away, I bled because you bled. Not just you, but I love the twins like my own. I cannot imagine a life without them either. In these past few weeks I felt something igniting within you. For the first time I feel as though you are loving me back”

that hit me like a lightning bolt. It gave me such a lump in my throat, and I cried as if someone had turned the taps to my eyes wide open. Why? I did not understand my body’s response. The fact is everything he said was true. But something was holding me back. Something I was too afraid to admit. Later that night, as I lay in bed still weeping, my mother enters my room after putting the twins to sleep. She found me crying as she had left me earlier before.

**end of part 23**

GRAND FINALE – Diary of a Broken Girl

“Juwayriya, my daughter, I know why you weep. I understand. You bleed because you feel guilt. All this time you thought that you could never love anyone besides Yusuf. But you are proving yourself wrong. You love Husni, and it frightens you. You feel as though you are betraying Yusuf. Juwayriya, you are 23 years old. You have so much life and love left to give. You cannot go on loving a dead man thinking he will come back. He won’t. Do you think Yusuf would want this? He would want you to be safe and secure, the type of security only a spouse can provide. He wants a father for his children. Your father experienced the same emotions when he married your mother and i. You are not forgetting Yusuf. You are not forsaking him.”

More tears. This time, they were tears of relief. My mother had uttered the words I needed to hear. I cry into her shoulder, as she comforts me the way only a mother can. At 42 years of age, she looks more like a sister than my mother. Like my birth mother, she is an incredibly beautiful woman.

6 weeks later I stand at the top of the stairs overlooking everyone. I see Husni playing fondly with Qays and Nawwaal. I see my father conversing and laughing with my old and new in laws. I see my mother getting to know my paternal grandmother for the first time since 21 years of marriage. Everyone has come out in celebration of our walima. I raise my gaze to the heavens, and say Alhamdulillah.

**the end**

~my Name is Juwayriya Rouby; I am the daughter of Qays Rouby. I am the daughter of Nawwaal Wardi. I am the daughter of Khulood Zuheir. I am the widow of Yusuf Wardi and I am the wife of Husni Hammaad. Shukran for listening, for in telling my story, I have achieved the final step of letting go. May Allah reward you all, and grant you mahabbah and sukoon in your marriages, aameen.


Surviving At University

By a Muslim Brother

There were beer mats everywhere. The whole corridor was covered in an intriguing pattern of small cardboard squares called Carlsberg. There were eight rooms in the corridor but only one kitchen, one toilet and one shower. I had expected the place to be a bit more lively but my friend explained to me that it was always quiet on Friday and Saturday nights. ‘They invite me along with them as well,’ he said with a sigh, ‘but all I can do is laugh and politely decline.’

Welcome to the world of the university campus, the place where a significant number of Muslim students will spend at least the first year of their university life. Away from home and away from family and friends, the three years on average spent by most students pursuing a degree is a crucial time for the development or deterioration of one’s Imãn. All students whether they choose to remain at home or stay elsewhere experience the onslaught of ‘Fresher’s Week’ before they even begin their studies. Fresher’s Week is supposedly a week full of events designed to allow those beginning their university career to acquaint themselves with their new surroundings as well as with their fellow students. In reality Fresher’s Week is a hedonistic 7 days which the pubs and nightclubs utilise to attract their prospective clientele for the following year. Flyers and posters advertising nightclubs, bank loans, mobile phones and a whole host of other organisations, societies and clubs bombard students during these first few days. Even though the Islamic Societies of most universities make a determined effort to attract Muslim students away from such temptation, it is sad to say that for many Muslims the Islamic Society stall is last on their list of places to visit. Fresher’s Week is a severe trial and only those come through unscathed that have a strong bond and connection with Allah Ta’ala.

When I initially applied to university I remember being told at college that university was a place of experimentation, of experience and of widening one’s views of the world. For a Muslim this experience can be extremely difficult as many of the activities used for this social experimentation are either makrooh or harãm and illegal. Social experimentation and finding the ‘real you’ seem to be prime goals for many students. For Muslims, university can be quite a lonely time as many of the events and functions organised by their peers involve activities which are albeit legal under the laws of this country but illegal i.e. harãm from an Islamic perspective. Promiscuous relationships, ‘pub crawls’ (whereby a number of pubs are visited in one outing) and a whole host of other unbelievable activities are the order of the day. And all this is practiced by those who the rest of society deems as being ‘the leaders of tomorrow’.

I remember my disgust when I initially visited my university at the lack of scope in the lecturer’s jokes. Alcohol and the price of alcohol were the only two topics discussed. It was quite a disturbing experience to be the only sombre person in a room full of 400 laughing 18 year olds. It was not that I did not understand the jokes, it was the fact that drinking and in reality alcoholism were deemed to be an acceptable part of the student lifestyle regardless of a person’s belief. In my opinion, this is the crux of the difficulty for Muslims studying at university; the question of maintaining and retaining a distinct Muslim identity. This is the point where many of us fail as we try to reconcile our faith with the demands and pressures of the environment surrounding us. Do you pray Zuhr Salãh during your lunch hour or do you make it Qadhã and attend that lunchtime optional seminar which might look good on your CV? It is in such matters that students should turn to the ‘Ulamã in order to find out how to reconcile these differences.

And it is during these times that one realises the true advantages of having a spiritual mentor. Having a spiritual mentor or Shaykh to which one can turn to for guidance and encouragement can make all the difference when confronted with a dilemma.

However, many students are unable to do this, mainly because of the fact that the only contact they had with the ‘Ulamã was during their pre-teens when attending the evening maktab. No contact or relationship was maintained with the ‘Ulamã and in many cases with the Deen of Islãm after these initial few years. But, alhamdulillah there are still a significant number of students who do maintain contact, right until and after the time they enter university. Their knowledge and zeal for Islãm can prove to be a boon for others searching for the truth – and there are many searching for and returning to the truth. The number of student reverts and Muslims whose interest in Islãm is reignited while attending university and the existence of student Islamic Societies bears testimony to this.

Islamic Societies are voluntary organisations run by students to cater for the needs of Muslims who may be attending the university or living in its vicinity. They typically provide a prayer room with wudhoo facilities in most cases, and organise a variety of Da‘wah and educational events. Partly funded by money from the university’s student union and partly by private donations, Islamic Societies bring together Muslims from around the world. In my first Jumu‘ah prayer at university I was met with a scene which made me reminisce of how the times of the Prophet sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam must have been. The Imãm was an African, the mu’azzin an Arab, and the remaining rows a mixture of Muslims from almost every other country in the world.

This diversity however, can prove to have a weakness in the sense that it can provide an ideal cover for deviant sects bent on spoiling the Imãn as well as ideology of Muslims. Many students are unaware of these sects and are highly impressed by the seemingly knowledgeable and sincere words of their protagonists. Once again the lack of knowledge regarding our authentic scholars and their achievements causes quite a majority of us to feel inferior when faced with such people.

Another point which surprised me very much was the little effort that was being made on the Muslims at the University. It seemed like Da‘wah was to be practised on non-Muslims only. I attended one of the meetings held to discuss the organisation of the Islamic Awareness Week at the university. Even though I half expected the meeting to be mixed I had not anticipated what I saw. Many of the sisters wore scarves, but the way they and many of the brothers as well, were dressed, left little to the imagination. However most of these sisters were extremely sincere and it soon became obvious that they played a key role in the running of Islamic events at the university. On asking one of the brothers why this was the case he replied that most Muslim male students did not bother volunteering and consequently this void was filled by the sisters. In my opinion this was an extremely dangerous situation as many of the events that were being organised involved the free mixing of males and females albeit with a good intention. This is another point where most of us fail due to our lack of knowledge and correct guidance. We presume we are doing something acceptable in the Sharee‘ah based upon what little knowledge we may have of the Sharee‘ah ourselves.

The brother whom I quoted at the beginning of the article was a clean shaven youngster when he started university. He has since kept a beard. I asked him the reason for this and he replied, ‘I was looking for Muslims and I thought let me look for someone with a beard. The thought suddenly hit me that I myself do not have a beard, would anyone recognise me as a Muslim?’ There are many brothers and sisters who dress in full Islamic clothing when attending university and it can be honestly said that there is probably no greater form of giving Da‘wah to both Muslims and non-Muslims than this; the full adoption of Islãm. As many of us know Allah S has commanded us to enter into Islãm totally. This is what I think is needed for the regeneration of the student community. Rather than trying to unify with university culture Muslims need to be unique, unique both internally in manners and character and externally in dress and appearance, and be proud of this uniqueness. Simplicity coupled with the adoption of the teachings of the Qur’ãn and Sunnah and the ways of the Companions y, under the guidance of the ‘Ulamã, the experts in the field, seems to be the only way to achieve this uniqueness and in reality restore our confidence. Reliable organisations such as the Islãmic Da‘wah Academy and many others are already taking part in this regeneration by holding meetings with student leaders and trying to address their specific needs. More interaction such as this is needed at both school and college/university level.

For me university has proved to be quite a revealing experience in the sense that it has made me appreciate how little many non-Muslims and, in some unfortunate cases, Muslims themselves know about Islãm. For a significant number of non-Muslim students the only contact they have had with Muslims is via the TV or the newspapers i.e. they have never met a Muslim before. We, as Muslim students need to be trained and given the opportunity to learn how to practice and propagate Islãm adequately and to deal with situations which we may have not encountered before in our lives. Only recourse to the ‘Ulamã and the mashã’ikh can help to solve such dilemmas.

We need to take the opportunity to adopt the company of the pious, especially the ‘Ulamã and take part in reliable religious movements so that we gain the true understanding of Islãm. Only then will we become true individuals, independent and free from the shackles of a non-Islamic culture. And only then will we be able to, in the words of the Sahãbi Rib‘ee Ibne Ãmir t, work towards delivering mankind from ‘the slavery of man into the slavery of the Lord of man, and from the narrowness of this world to the vastness of the Hereafter.’

May Allah Ta’ala give the writer first and then the readers the ability and the inclination to practice what has been written. May Allah Ta’ala help all students whether studying in religious or secular institutes to achieve their goals and cause all of us to attain His pleasure and live and die as true Muslims upon Islãm. Ãmeen.

Courtesy: www.everymuslim.net  

The 3 C’s That Should Be Avoided

Peace of mind is something that we all crave for. We cannot achieve this state without putting effort. After all, peace of mind is not something that can be procured by spending money or by force. The mind needs to be balanced and in equilibrium before it can reach that state. For the mind to be balanced, we have several ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to follow. Given below are three ‘don’ts’ which go a long way to achieve that state. They are described as the three Cs.

Criticizing: The first C is criticizing. It is one of the most natural talents that we all have. Our minds seem to be tuned to find fault and spot blemishes. Many a times, we see problems where none exist. It is as if our minds have the uncanny knack of identifying a problem. At the same time, our tongues are eager to let others know of our ‘superiority’ in being able to articulate those problems. When we criticize thus, unnecessarily, we are unknowingly building resistance as well as enemies. These lead to unwarranted arguments and attempts to prove a point. Moreover, our minds which get clouded in negativity refuse to let us reach the state of equilibrium. 

Complaining: The other C is similar to the first C and yet more damaging.Complaining is taking criticism to a higher level and almost results in condemning others. As long as it is constructive in nature and comes with intent to resolve and rectify, it is still bearable. What takes the cake is complaining which sounds like whining. It is other extreme of appreciating. It creates a huge negative whirlpool from which we are unable to extricate ourselves. We also carry the feelings of hurt and annoyance in our minds which prevents us from experiencing bliss. 

Comparing: Another C which we seem to be unable to avoid is the comparison bug. It is almost like a virus which is in the air. Many of us are comparing all the time – ourselves with those around us. It could be about anything – wealth, friends, physique, job, dogs, appliances etc. It gives us momentary pleasure when we see others in a worse situation than us and also give us sleepless nights when we see others enjoying more than us. Comparison is a never ending maze where people get lost and unable to recover their bearings. It is a method of inventing joy / sorrow out of nothing. 

These three Cs are best avoided and conscious efforts taken to prevent ourselves from getting entrapped here. It would be a good idea to ask one of our close spiritual friends to help us in the process. If someone were to remind us each time we use these Cs, it will help us tremendously in making course corrections. Over time, we might become habituated to completely avoid them and progress towards the much coveted state of peace in our minds.

Courtesy: http://www.everymuslim.net