Dear Husbands-to-be

The Quran, our holy book, clearly states – “And of everything we created a pair, that perhaps you may remember.” (51:49). However, I am quite sure most of us have witnessed so many seemingly happy marriages ending than evolving over time. It could either be this generation, it could be the rush of both the individuals in order to get wedded due to family pressure or it could even be the nods of ignorant heads and parents’ plain decision-based.

There are going to be things you’ll and the potential-wives wouldn’t know about each other because of course, one’s family would never disclose the not-so-appealing sides of their children. Not so appealing as in the “Big mouthed, stingy, big-headed, ambitious, independent” sort of traits which are seen as too foreign in today’s South Asian society. Yes, I do believe in compromising certain things, but one wouldn’t definitely like the idea of entering a marriage right with the intention of “Compromising” isn’t it? It simply means we are not compatible. In my point of view, if compromising components are greater than the agreeing components, we are not compatible. We’re either stupid or doing it for the sake of family. Which we should avoid straightaway. For the betterment of both of you’ll, the couple and your bright-red future.

Many say marriage isn’t just about two individuals, but about two families. Well, if the two individuals aren’t getting along well, how are the two families going to matter? This has been the biggest concern of the majority of unmarried women in their 20’s ever since we grasped the concept of marriage and its chemistry. The two individuals are the base of two-combined successful families, which is the building comprised of different people, different views and different mindsets. However, I am sure you’ll or even us, women, wouldn’t be able to comfortably sit around among the elders and explain them this, it’ll just turn into another exaggeration of “We’re elders, we know better!” lecture.

We may not have first-hand experience, I bet, but for the best of my knowledge we may, we my at least have an ounce of enlightenment about how forward the generation we both grew up into was. Although we may have never studied at the same school, the same syllabus and read the same majors, we for sure have a taste of what today’s actual society is. A woman has long-term goals, ambitions, wishes and of course, she possesses great knowledge about her rights unlike the women of our mothers’, grand- and great-grand mothers’ times. I hope you’ll do. Besides how forward the society we grew up was and as a result how our mindsets have developed, there is this completely new term that needs a lot of thinking, from both of our ends. Finance. Without any doubt, differences in the money-management styles of two partners is what often leads to many divorces due to financial stability and budget boundaries.

Have you heard of the saying – “You attract the right things, right people when you have a sense of who you are” by Amy Poehler? I guess both, men and women should know who they actually are, what they want and how they want to achieve them. Many might call it being stubborn, but I believe it is standing up for whatever one truly believes in. One’s morals.

Besides, knowing oneself is the first key towards a successful marriage because if you don’t know and respect yourself, how are you going to respect and validate another individual, your own significant others’ feelings and mindset right?

There are so many things to proper discuss before concluding whether or not you two are compatible. Not just parents’ approval, family’s acceptance and society’s “Oooh, what a grand wedding it was!” comment.

Featured Image: Sterling Ballroom

The Unheard Voice of a Mother

We plan one. God plans another. Eventually God’s plan is what works at its best for us!

Not all best lessons of life are learned through experience, pain and patience. Some of the best lessons of life are learned through marriage, family and children, and such kind of best lessons of my life were all what I learned after I got married. To begin with, I was such an introvert during my teenage years of life. As soon as I was aware about how my parents were finding me a groom, I stopped schooling. I dropped out of school early as I couldn’t handle the questions from my classmates and friends regarding my early engagement. As time went by, after just a year I got married and settled with my husband at his house.

Like I mentioned previously, I was an introvert back then. I rarely interacted with people nor did I have a lot of friends who paid a visit to talk, laugh or even go out with me. My husband’s encouragement back then was all what molded me. It was all his ideas and tricks about how little by little he helped me bring the real me, my-true-self out, talking to people, teaching me how to interact and go out to places, ordinary places I never really went to before as a result of my extreme introversion.

One fine day, I was pregnant and that’s when I felt I had a proper meaning to my then meaningless life. It was a girl. When my girl was only 2 years old, we immigrated to Kuwait which was quite a turning point of my life. It is then when I actually realized that there’s a lot more to life than just marrying as a woman.

My husband, being the breadwinner and the only one to provide for our family with financially, worked really hard every day and night. I always had a feeling of guilt regarding how I could never give a hand in supporting my husband financially since I couldn’t get into any decent job for I was only a school-leaver who dropped out right after grade 10. Yet, my husband’s hard work and my prayers went well together, Alhamdullilah, he was able to bring up our small family really well. Years later, I gave birth to another baby girl. We were happy as a family and were doing really well by God’s grace. It was only about how I had an empty feeling inside of me filled with a lot of questions and guilt about how being the woman of the family, I couldn’t do anything to provide for the growth, development and success of our family. I was only able to cook, clean and do the regular house chores along with taking care of the kids.

This was the only reason to why I had that urge, thirst and goal to educate my daughters to such an extent where when their times come, they could support their husbands since not being able to support mine made me feel like I was nothing, but just another burden for him to carry around although he never really mentioned anything as such till today. I had that strong feeling of wanting to discontinue the practice and tradition of getting young girls married off or even engaged at an early age. I changed my mindset and thought to myself, “No, I am not going to get my daughters married off at an early age like they normally did back in our homeland”. This mindset was the starting point of me finding my voice.

My eldest daughter completed her school successfully with amazing grades. We had a tough time between wanting her to follow a small course and going for a bachelor’s degree. My husband and I came to a decision of sending our daughter to a university in which she could pursue a degree in the field of her interest. I was amazed about how differently things started changing from good to better for us, Alhamdullilah. By that time, my second daughter was in grade 8th and there was another little addition to our happy family, another baby girl.

3 daughters it was, as a result of which people and far relatives always mentioned the fact about us having just daughters highly in a mocking way. I wasn’t sad, I was happily calm, thankful and patient. I believed in God’s plans then and I believe in it now too! The fact about how I had just three daughters and no sons never actually bothered me to such an extent of “Uffing” towards my girls. I only wanted the best and by best I mean, the best of everything without any gender-based differences for each of them, equally,

My elder daughter majored in BSc. Accounting and Finance successfully and started working as an Accountant. My second daughter is reading BSc. Economics and Finance at a reputable institute affiliated to University of London. My last little daughter is now in grade 5, following the footsteps of her sisters and wanting to be as equally successful as them. All thanks to God, Alhamdullilah, for giving me the patience and ability to help raise three of my daughters by giving them the motivation, encouragement and help I, myself never received until marriage. I was dependent on one man alone, but my daughters don’t have to. Instead they can give a hand in and support their husbands sharing any burden as equally as possible.

I was introverted to such an extent that I wasn’t an outgoing, ambitious, or even a goal-driven person but my daughters are. I wasn’t able to find my voice when I was young as at that time, I couldn’t and didn’t bother speaking or standing up for myself and wanting to have an own identity but now, my daughters do!

The only message I am wanting to deliver to all other women is: no matter where and how you are, don’t ever will or work to wash away your responsibilities by getting your daughters married off at an early age. Get rid of this mindset. Stop viewing girls as a nothing, because then, that’s all they will ever become. View them as everything better and best in this world and notice how big of a transformation it will have upon them and their lives!

My Visit to the Grand Mosque of Kuwait – مسجد الكبير 

السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ

May Allah’s (SWT) peace and blessings be upon you.

A week back, I visited  the Grand Mosque of Kuwait, المسجد الكبير.  Which made me awe in astonishment to how beautifully it was constructed and on the other hand about the hidden history behind how each part of the masjid was built and various other minor details which made this tour quite interesting for me. 17 years of me being present here in Kuwait and out of million other visits I’ve done to many other places, I’d pinpoint about the fact of this visit being a real worth it one. I learned so much about it, within just one day. Thanks to my Guide, Miss Madawi who made sure I did understand everything she explained and took me on a mini tour around the building and feeding me the interesting informations about how and why regarding its construction. And clicked a few pictures of me too. Well, I’m not a professional photographer but I did manage to click some decent pictures in order to be able to make it easy to understand to those of whom didn’t/ weren’t able to pay a visit to this wonderful place.

Beginning with the details of The Grand Mosque of Kuwait: “The Grand Mosque“, the grand, the huge and the official mosque of the country Kuwait. The main reason to why it was constructed was because, back then, there were just a few small mosques at which during the Friday congregational prayers and the grand prayers such as Taraweeh and the two main Eid prayers, some worshippers had to pray outside the mosque due to no space being available for huge crowds of people and congestion. The mosques built back then were small as a result of which all the people didn’t fit inside the building and this made it very inconvenient for the worshippers. Hence, the Sheikh, may his soul rest in peace, took great care of this issue and from his very own budget he put 14,000,000 Kuwaiti dinars into the construction of this Grand Mosque which now has all the facilities easily available for the worshippers without even the tiniest bit of inconvenience, Alhamdulillah. May Allah (SWT) bless him, the Sheikh, for his kindness, generousness and care towards all his people and the ease he offered to all of us by constructing Masjid al-Kabeer from the day it was constructed till present.

Masjid al-Kabeer. (Right side, outer view.)

The picture in the right is the view of the mosque from the outside. Just the right side. The construction began in 1979 and opened in 1986, after completed. The area of the building is 45,000 sq meters out of which the building alone covers 20,000 sq meters.

I entered the mosque after successfully being checked by 2 lady securities and trust me, it was just amazing, the view not the security checking obviously. There was a Diwaniya/ Majlis (a place of sitting) where I was told to be seated and wait for my guide to come and guide me around the mosque. The very first place I was taken to was the main prayer hall. ماشاء الله.

Main prayer hall. (Inside Masjid al-Kabeer)

It was quite wide. It was about 72 meters wide from all the sides. It had 144 windows and doors made from pure teak wood on various corners. The most important thing to be noticed about the main prayer hall was, around 10,000 worshipers could fit inside it, ماشاء الله.  It was that wide and had a few TV’s attached on the walls and pillars for the convenience of people sitting behind so that they could see the Imam clearly while delivering sermons or during a question and answer event which was held often for the worshippers based on variety of religious topics. There are Qur’ans with the stands on every corners.

Dome. The center of attraction in the main prayer hall is the dome. The dome is 26 meters in diameter and was 43 meters high from the ground. The inner part of the dome is decorated with the Asma al-Husna (the 99 names of Allah SWT). And the lower part has verses of Surah al-Ghafir (7-9) sculptured on it. The verses are :

الَّذِينَ يَحْمِلُونَ الْعَرْشَ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهُ يُسَبِّحُونَ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَيُؤْمِنُونَ بِهِ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا وَسِعْتَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ رَحْمَةً وَعِلْماً فَاغْفِرْ لِلَّذِينَ تَابُوا وَاتَّبَعُوا سَبِيلَكَ وَقِهِمْ عَذَابَ الْجَحِيمِ

رَبَّنَا وَأَدْخِلْهُمْ جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ الَّتِي وَعَدْتَهُمْ وَمَنْ صَلَحَ مِنْ آبَائِهِمْ وَأَزْوَاجِهِمْ وَذُرِّيَّاتِهِمْ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

وَقِهِمُ السَّيِّئَاتِ وَمَنْ تَقِ السَّيِّئَاتِ يَوْمَئِذٍ فَقَدْ رَحِمْتَهُ وَذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

7. Those who bear the Throne and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord and believe in Him and ask forgiveness [of God] for those who believe [saying]: “Our Lord! You comprehend all things in Mercy and Knowledge, so forgive those who repent and follow Your Path and save them from the torment of Fire!

8. “Our Lord! And make them enter the abodes in gardens which you have promised them and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their offspring! Indeed, You are the Omnipotent, the All-Wise.

9. “And [O Lord!] save them from the sins [and the recompense of their evil deeds], and whomsoever You save from the sins that Day, him indeed, You have taken into Mercy.” And that is the supreme deliverance.

Lower part of the dome where the Ayahs are sculptured.

The interior of the dome which is designed with Asma al-Husna.

In the main prayer hall, there are just 4 pillars, holding the dome. Around it. You must have noticed how in other tall buildings, there will be more pillars in order to hold the building firmly and to balance the upper floors too. But here, at Masjid-al-Kabeer, the pillars are just four in number leaving a lot of space for the worshipers to fit in without congesting the area with more pillars. The AC is constructed inside these pillars and the walls, camouflaged like the designs of the pillars and walls in order to maintain its elegance. There are also just 4 Italian chandeliers around the dome. Per chandelier contains 102 lamps and weighs 1 ton each.

The next were the Mashrabiyas (projecting oriel windows). These windows were built on the top floors of the main prayer hall through which the women can view any sermon, Quran competitions or any other events being held in the main prayer hall without being visible. Therefore, the main purpose of these Mashrabiyas are privacy for women.

About the designs of the pillars and walls, I was surprised! Astonished to learn that these designs were handmade. Every part of it were done by hands using a small piece of stone as a print. The architects from different countries such as Morocco, Iran, India, Syria etc were involved in designing these beautiful designs on the pillars, making it look the same, and even in shape too. Imagine the time and patience they would have had while designing them, Subhan Allah!

The pulpit from which the Imam delivers khutba (Sermon) was well constructed. Normally, mosques have staircases through which the Imam has to climb and reach the pulpit right at that moment. It has one door and a visible staircase but here at Masjid al-Kabeer, there were two doors that looked alike on both, left and right side. Left door is where the Imam has to walk into in order to walk through the stairs located inside to reach the pulpit that was located on the other, right side. It was well covered, making it easy for both, the Imam and worshippers, again with more space and no congestion.

The Amir’s Diwaniyah is located on the right corner of the main prayer hall. This hall is where the Amir (Sheikh) of Kuwait and even the other ambassadors are normally welcomed during any important meetings. The Amir usually offers both the Eid prayers in congregation along with the other worshippers standing behind the Imam at Masjid al-Kabeer. This is an example of how the rich, the poor, the black and the white has no difference in the sight of Allah (SWT) and so all kinds of worshippers offer the prayers together following the sunnah of our Holy Prophet (PBUH).

The replica of the Qur’an used during the reign of the third Khalifa, Uthman (R.A) is kept on the center of the Amir’s hall. Also the calligraphic pens used, ink bottle, knife and thread are kept alongside the Qur’an. This Qur’an contains no Damma, Fatha, Kasra or Sukoon making it hard for today’s people to recite it. Hence, nowadays the Qur’ans which are available comes with signs and is easier to read than those used during the olden era. Anyway, there are people who can still read and understand the olden day’s Qur’an, I believe. However the contents are unchanged and same so it doesn’t really make any difference except for the ease to read and understand every word of it.

The women’s prayer chamber is on the second floor of the building. It contains an ablution taking area outside the chamber. The inside of it was wide too. Around 950 women could fix in and offer prayers. There were Qur’ans with the stands, prayer cloths and also chairs for the old aged people who couldn’t sit on the floor.

Women’s prayer Chamber

The courtyard. The courtyard is wide and it often contains numbers stuck on the walls in order to avoid confusion during Ramadan and or Taraweeh prayers, when huge number of worshippers will be present. There will be volunteers who will be helping help worshippers to reach the right prayer hall without taking wrong turns on the courtyard and getting late for prayers. On the right and left sides of the courtyard contains the toilets for men and women located separately. There are colorful chandeliers around the courtyard that looks really bright and elegant after sunset.

These informations mentioned above are just about the few pictures I was able to click during my visit but there’s a lot more one can really discover inside Masjid al-kabeer. It has a library filled with Islamic books. And also a number of separate halls besides the main prayer hall where debate, quizzes and Elocution competitions were often held for various school teams. These same halls were also given to the mothers with small babies while Ramadan and Taraweeh prayers were held so that the other worshippers don’t get disturbed by the bawling babies. There are different sections such as the visitors section, ladies’ section and the men’s section where the staffs belonging to their respective sections are busy with preparing for one or the other upcoming events. Like for example, the ladies’ section has been planning on holding an Arabic course for just the women every two days a week. There is also a Fatwa center in which two scholars are available during working hours.

Apart from all other visits of mine, this one was a real worth it one! It was quite interesting to explore the history of the official mosque of Kuwait and study the details, even minute details of each and every part of it. For everyone who lives in Kuwait and out of Kuwait as well, the visit to the Grand mosque of Kuwait is a must! At least once. //-N.N

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