BEING A MUSLIM WOMAN IS A JOYFUL THING.THE FRESHNESS Yasmeen & Anwar The love story begins at the wedding

Yasmeen & Anwar | Indian Muslim Wedding from D-CAPTURE STUDIO on Vimeo.

My Secret Friend
I may never see you,
listen, talk, or love you.
Maybe someday you will look up,
and find the sky like an empty cup*.


You and I are nothing more,
than pieces on a chessboard;
Parts of a puzzle design,
made by the same Divine.
Talk, shout, or whisper, let me know,
break the barrier and let it flow.
Ask me your questions, tell me your secrets,
Trust my heart and we will talk until the sun sets.
Hold my hand and let us embrace,
no matter what it is we’ll face,
no one ever said it would be so easy or hard,
Now come with me and let us go back to the start.
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The wedding is not the marriage. The wedding is a gateway to marriage, a formalised written commitment. Contractual agreements in personal relations are underrated these days. You wouldn’t buy a house or start a job without a contract, but we have romantic notions that a verbal declaration of love is sufficient to entrust our life, heart, emotional and spiritual wellbeing in another person.

Formal, written, structured agreements do have an impact on individuals. Harriet Baber says security is the main reason for marriage, but her argument is a negative one, giving security against what she sees as the minus points of singledom. But I’m arguing that commitment and contracts encourage a more positive state for the couple – otherwise why put in the effort? There is clarity of expectation and direction. There is a clear understanding of joining together in union. There’s the positive mental attitude that says you’re in it for the long haul – and positive thinking is mighty powerful. Marriage in this sense is for the private good.
Having structured units with parameters and responsibilities that society recognises is also for the public good – offering stability, respect and boundaries for that relationship. And marriage seems to be a good thing for children, too. Yet we have no training these days in how to initiate and manage relationships (sex yes, relationships no). It’s all Hollywood and Heat magazine.
Arguments about what marriage is for tend to focus on only one of the three components – the couple, society or children, but the fact is that it’s a little bit of all three. Marriage is a formal written commitment between two people, with clearly spelt out rights and responsibilities on both sides. (That’s the problem with the “expression of love” or “knees up” approach to weddings – instead of focusing on the relationship, it’s all about the party.) These rights and responsibilities are recognised by wider society and enforced either legally or socially. In our culture, one example of these things is usually fidelity. This is usually a clear expectation of both spouses, and wider society is expected to support this. Hence we have the greater (but sadly diminishing) social stigma of having a relationship with someone who is married. Happy, well supported and stable couples mean happier and more stable societies. It’s mutually beneficial.
Marriage has a central place in religion, and Islam is no exception. So, to cover off the religious aspect, here is what Islam says: that marriage is a divine sign in order that the spouses may find peace and contentment in each other, and that love and mercy has been placed between them. In its essence, marriage is for the benefit of the two people involved, creating a tranquil and loving union. But it’s more than that too: to get married is to complete “half your faith”, it is part of fulfilling the human mandate and achieving spiritual perfection. And only then do we get to procreation as the reason for marriage. Islam is big on clear, solid family structure, and children knowing and respecting who their parents are. And it’s also very firm on parents taking clear responsibility for the upbringing and long-term care of their children.
A few months ago I was rummaging through the fabulous second-hand bookshop Barter Books in Northumberland, when my eye was caught (as it is want to do, since I am a writer with a fascination for love and marriage) by a dusty tome entitled Wooings and Weddings in Many Climes. Mainly, I love the word “wooing” and wish we would use it more often. I also wish that as a society there was more wooing going on. First published in 1900, the author travelled through various cultures and brings us stories and pictures of how different peoples engage in marriage. (Particularly good is the one on “Wigwamland”.) The one constant she is at pains to point out is that marriage flourishes in all contexts. This abundance of marriage across time and geography is something that should give weight to this question of what marriage is for and its potential benefits.
More than a hundred years ago, she made an observation that would not be out of place today: “I have found the marriage customs of most peoples strangely alike. And I have found the marriage fact, wedlock itself, almost identical everywhere. […] The highest of all arts is the art of living with others – above all the art of living with those nearest and dearest. How many of our children are ever taught its alphabet?”
in a hollow hallway, in life’s way
He smiled at her,
And unto this day
She swears by that smile.
It took a few dates, a few words of amour
Till she felt love,
The kind he talked about.
She swears that it pumped her heart wild.
Love into marriage. A few seasons went by,
She had a few babies,
So much love, she could cry.
She swears by motherhood. Milky motherhood.
A few late nights, a few hotel bills
Unaccounted for,
No, not until
She flew into a rage. She broke down.
Many sweet words, promises to keep,
Fatty, thirty-something —
Lying in a heap,
From the pretty wife into being a pawn.

One head-banging fit, not a friend in the world.
She left her haven,
No more the girl.
A fifty-something, someone, insignificant speck.
Submitting herself to the world: her asylum.
You whisked away a part of me,
Skirting the issue day by day,
The little emo, the little glee
Was lost. I was on my way
To becoming something better,
To becoming something wise,
No longer tied by fetters,
No need to be Miss Nice;
And then in a moment
Of utter clarity
Was this search for a moment
Where total parity
Could be drawn between us —
I needed to talk.
You didn’t need to give me the “US”
We could just walk…
To tell you and I have to —
To bring closure to me
That as friends do
So shall we..


Wedding Night of a Muslim Woman

Wedding Night of a Muslim Woman

My secret locked, a tale untold,
The only key, within your hand,
Too sacred for them to behold,

Too pure for them to understand.
Tonight I tell that tale to you,

An open book for you to read,

Your book, I yearn to read it too,
And share each breath, your every need.
Gone the lonesome years, weeks, days,
For now our hearts have taken flight,
You look at me with longing gaze,
And I, at you with shy delight.
Love me; love all that I am,
Cherish me as precious treasure,
Teach me with gentle guiding hand
Endlessly seeking His pleasure.
Poem By Fatima Barkatulla
This poem is from Sisters Magazine
What did your wedding night mean to you? I wrote this a few days ago and tried to capture the feelings one has after ones wedding: that evening when for the first time I prayed with my husband, and spent my first hours with him. My wedding day and the early days or weeks after marriage were the dearest days of my life to me. Alhamdulillah since then Allah has given us even more depth to our relationship and has given us wonderful days too, but those early weeks, they are unique. And for a girl from a religious family, who had worn her hijab from the age of 9, it was a totally new experience. Alhamdulillah for the blessings of this life which give us a glimpse as to how wonderful the blessings of the next life might be…
Explanation of the poem: (just to prevent any misunderstandings!)
Well, actually it is about the beauty of Muslim Marriage in general, not just my own personal experience. And it is about how the Wedding Night is the first time that a Muslim couple get to really understand each other’s personalities.

“A secret locked” is supposed to mean, a Muslim woman’s beauty, which she has kept under her physical hijab, “A tale untold” is supposed to mean her personality which she has kept reserved with her inner hijab which is her sense of modesty.
“The only key within your hand”: means that the only person who has access to see her and to get to know her is her husband. The next two lines mean that the people around her, men and women who don’t understand hijab, can’t see the purity in it and are not allowed to see the precious nature of the Muslim women beneath.
“Tonight I tell that tale to you” is meant to mean: that tonight the Muslim woman is able to freely express her personality and tell her life-story to someone at last who really is interested and wants to hear.
The “open book” meaning the story of her life, her biography so far. And the next lines: That she too longs to understand her new husband and where he has been, what he has done and what experiences have made him who he is.
“For now our hearts have taken flight” means that it is on the Wedding Night that Allah puts true love between your hearts, as you get to spend more time with each other.
“You look at me with longing gaze, And I at you with shy delight”, well, there I tried to capture the fact that now the couple can freely look at each other.
The last four verses contain the message that a Muslim woman has for her husband about their marriage to come: to love her and all the good in her, to cherish her and value her, to correct her gently if she needs correcting, to teach her with wisdom, bearing in mind that their life is all about seeking Allah’s pleasure.
My intention for writing it was
1. A sheer sense of creativity,
2. To show to those people who think that the way a Muslim woman is outside her home: (reserved and covered), is backward, extreme, oppressive – that actually, because she reserves herself and covers herself, her Wedding Night is that much more beautiful for her.
3.To give people an insight into how beautiful marriage is for those who have kept themselves chaste, as opposed to those who have casual relationships and don’t reserve themselves with the opposite sex and freely mix with them.
Basically good PR for Muslim marriage!

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