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Top 6 Da’ee Killers

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blade-trinity_snipes.jpgHey there MSA superstar, how’s it going?  You’ve survived daw’ah table dramas, brothers vs sisters power struggles, fast-a-thon, IAW, and some shady thing online facebook behavior from your peers.  Activism was amazing, and now it’s time to graduate and continue on in the MSA at…?

Oh yeah, that’s right – there is no MSA (or whatever acronym your rebellious student org chose) after college.  It’s time to step out in the real world and make your way.

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But something happens along the way, doesn’t it?  All those memories of MSA, they become just that – memories.  You get together with your boys (or girls), reminisce about how things were, maybe even occasionally keep in touch with the new leaders at your school and give them advice on how to hold down the fort the way it was when you were there, but your activity level kinda sorta drops from bouncing off the walls to dead as a doorknob Marley.

What happened?  Here’s my suggested list of areas to check out, you may have one or more of these issues.

  1. New Job:  You’ve just graduated, possibly moved back in with mom and dad.  While they’re (hopefully) scouting out a spouse for you, you do your duty and starting bringing in the Benjamins.  The problem is that for the past 4 (or 5 [maybe 6]) years of undergrad, you really didn’t have a schedule, and you weren’t really under anyone’s thumb for 8 – 10 hours a day (not including commuting).  Now, all that time when there’s nothing to do, you can’t sleep, hang out with friends at the student union, or much of anything else except surf the web and go on coffee quests.  By the time you get home, you’re burnt out and ready to go to sleep.  Related to that, specifically for sisters is…
  2. Parenthood:  Or, maybe you’re a sister, and your new full-time job – super mom!  Your boss is a whiny baby who demands your attention all day, and when the person who comes home to relieve you walks in the door, he says, “I’ve been working all day, I need to relax,” implying that you haven’t really done much of anything all that warrants his attention. Welcome to the rat race.  See you in 40 years superstar MSA person.
  3. Marriage:  From personal experience, this tends to impact sisters more.  When our second ameerah for AlMaghrib Chicago was announced, I very nearly said on the mic that no one is allowed to marry her for at least 4 years because I know like all of you do, once sisters get married, they are goooone.  And that’s bad because in most cities (Chicago being one of the exceptions in AlMaghrib, but not in other orgs), sisters drive the daw’ah, and brothers follow their lead.  Generally speaking, once active brothers and sisters get married, they tend to be joined at the hip, and once the kids show up, and you add the job on top of it, there’s no room for anything else in life (except endless amounts of family parties throughout the years).
  4. Frustration from Politics:  Your MSA could have been an Emmy-nominated soap opera (Guiding Light?), and that masjid board of uncles struggling for what shreds of name recognition that pass as status in your community ain’t looking too promising either.  Isn’t it time you hung up your daw’ah six-shooter and rode off into the sunset old-timer?  Or, shouldn’t you find one of those communities or organizations that has no politics?  Yeah, that’s the ticket.  Related to that is…
  5. Crazy Religious People:  Aren’t the religious folks, the one who are so into praying, growing their beards, and maintaining a suicide pact with their fiqh opinions supposed to be best in understanding of the religion somehow?  They look religious, anyway.  But, they’re all in their own clusters, and they have this, “Us vs them” mentality, and if you want to do any daw’ah with them, it’s like, sorry, the head guy of our group said everyone is off the path except us, and we don’t work with outsiders?  Huh?  Aren’t we all Muslim?  (and funnily enough, you may think to yourself, “I know which group he’s referring to, it’s group X,” but in fact this problem plagues many groups, local and national, many of whom are diametrically opposed to one another in ideology).
  6. The “Shari’ah” Compliant Home Trick:  As time in marriage continues, kids multiply, and your income grows, the conversation among your peers evolves to what seemed like a joke among you and your friends, but which has now become the topic du jour.  One day, you’re sipping chai at another family gathering and one guy inevitably asks, “So, what do you think about those shari’ah compliant mortgages?  My family really wants to move into a house, and I’m giving it some thought.”  By this point, your friend is just looking for peer approval.  And somewhere along the way, you get pulled into it, and now you are the proud new papa (or mama) of a shari’ah compliant loan that has likely been sold off to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae (now run by the government), and now you can pay more money for your bills, taxes, and Allah knows best what other complications.  And, the pressure is always on to pay that mortgage or get foreclosed on.  Wow, that sounds pleasant, kinda like getting your wisdom teeth pulled with no anesthesia.

Here are some suggestions which you might consider to keep yourself on track post-graduation:

  1. Your Perception of Self:  There are many roles you have in life – Muslim, parent, sibling, child, worker, etc.  One of those roles should be da’ee.  No, you’re not the person who volunteers to help out with daw’ah work occasionally, you indeed are and see yourself as a da’ee.  Therefore, even if your time is limited, the ambition is there to find opportunities when they present themselves.  At work, your beard or hijaab will automatically label you a Muslim – without even proactively calling them to Islam, your attitude, your personal ethics, your work ethic, your behavior are all potential daw’ah opportunities.  At home, especially moms, you’re not just a parent, you’re a da’ee.  You ought to be finding ways to educate yourself, even if it’s just playing a lecture in the background, even if it’s just reading a book for 10 minutes, get what you can and then spread that in the house – teach it to your spouse and kids if they don’t know, and remind them if they do know what you’re talking about.If your mind focuses on something, it will find opportunities for what it’s looking for, so focus on perceiving yourself as a da’ee for the sake of Allah subhaana wa ta’aala, and you’ll find yourself habitually considering each situation in light of its daw’ah impact on a person, insha’Allah.
  2. Life Management:  A problem that many people have, not just Muslims, is that they don’t know how to manage themselves well, and as a result, it translates into imbalances.  Poor health, poor marital relations, no community involvement, and so on and so forth.  Other times, people live out scripts programmed into them without questioning the status quo (an unconscious type of social taqleed), scripts which are damaging to that personal happiness people are always in pursuit of and never quite achieving.  One simple suggestion (which can be expanded on greatly, but I’ll just touch on) is first breaking your life into categories and then viewing each category in terms of input and output.  For example, a business (this is very simplistic, I admit) might say, we want to make money by bringing in profit from selling product and cut costs on the way we do business.  Do the same thing with your time.  Relationships?  Spend time with people who bring you the most satisfaction in terms of your religion, camaraderie, and so forth, and cut off time with people who waste it or harm you.  Spending?  Ditto.  Essentially, work on finding ways to free time, even if that means paying money.  I pay for groceries to be delivered to my home ($10 delivery fee) because that means I don’t have to wander the grocery store for two hours with my family and can put that into better quality family time or another daw’ah project, or something entirely personal like physical fitness.  Three books that I use for my own personal life management are The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The 4 Hour Work Week, and Getting Things Done.  Using the philosopies taught in these books in combination with my Outlook Calendar and cell phone personal organizer, I’m able to accomplish a lot more in a lot less time, and I’m not talking busy work here, I’m talking fulfilling life objectives, alhamdulillaah.  I may write about it in more detail one day, insha’Allah.
  3. Challenge the Status Quo:  I’m sure you’ve all heard the taqleed vs non-taqleed debate that goes on often in Muslim circles.  Guess what?  It happens outside of them too, in the scientific vs laypeople community as well, or the government vs the people, or corporate america vs the people, and so forth.  If a enough people complain about the status quo, the market will find solutions to fulfill that niche, or at the very least, society sets its sights on it and has to address it either socially or legally.  Enter organic foods, the atkins diet, the anti-vaccination initiatives, the 8 hour work day, the abolishment of slavery, and so many other established norms that were broken for the betterment of mankind.  You don’t need to be a lock step robot and take the defined path set for you by others who have an interest in you taking that path.  Why do you have to work a 9 -5 job?  Who says you can’t start your own business?  Why is owning a house a great investment (hel-looooo, can someone say mortgage crisis?)?
  4. Marry the Right Person:  Do your best to find someone whose passion is Islam, and if you can’t find that, then at least make it clear that it’s yours and that it’s very important to you, and if marriage interferes with that, the marriage goes.  Seriously.  Say this upfront, and you’ll filter out the people who will make your life miserable by cutting you off from what fulfills you on so many levels as a da’ee.

There are many other ways people get sidetracked, and there are other ways to keep yourself on track, I’ve only listed a few – what have you seen and heard?

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Siraaj is the Operations Director of MuslimMatters as well as its new lead web developer. He's spent nearly two decades working in dawah organizations, starting with his chapter MSA in Purdue University, and leading efforts with AlMaghrib Institute, MuslimMatters, and AlJumuah magazine. Somewhere in there, he finds time for his full-time profession as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. He holds a bachelor's in Computer Science from Purdue University and a Master's certificate from UC Berkeley. He's very married and has 5 wonderful children

51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. zfnd

    November 18, 2008 at 2:09 AM

    whoa. now that got my attention.

  2. OsmanK

    November 18, 2008 at 2:20 AM

    the first half of this article was amazing!!! the solutions were a bit boring but still good.

  3. AbdelRahman

    November 18, 2008 at 2:46 AM

    Good job on the article mA!

    I felt all of it was really beneficial, but I also felt that “The Shari’ah Compliant Home Trick” was kind of irrelevant to the discussion. Forgive me if I’m mistaken,but I felt that the artciel is about things that may slow someone down or even stop them from continuing to be part of the active community once they’re done with college – I don’t quite understand where Shari’ah compliant home-loan-critiquing comes in here.

    It kind of sticks out as going against the tone of the article (general tip, general tip, general tip, general tip,specific opinion of author on a fiqh issue?).

    Other than that, good advice.

  4. Muslimah

    November 18, 2008 at 3:07 AM

    Ditto

  5. Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

    November 18, 2008 at 8:42 AM

    Double ditto.

  6. MJ

    November 18, 2008 at 9:22 AM

    Jazakallah; very good article.

  7. Amad

    November 18, 2008 at 9:41 AM

    salam.. a few points:
    1) What’s up with the image for the post??? must be a ABD thing ;)
    2) I didn’t quite get the shariah compliant thing too… if it isn’t a mortgage, it’d be rent… are you saying that mortgage takes away the barakah in time? I could buy that.
    3) I TOTALLY agree with the marriage killer. Here’s my experience: guys disappear for about 6-24 months, and then they come roaring back IF they were the dai’ type. They find dawah to be energizing and doing something for themselves as individuals (and for the sake of Allah too), and sometimes its a good escape from the family :) However, with sisters, its like they disappear for good. It’s almost like, “our responsibilities for dawah are over, and now we have to serve our husbands full-time”. That is such a huge loss. In fact, the best time for sisters to be really active is the first couple of years of marriage, or before children, especially if they don’t work. There is a HUGE amount of downtime from 8AM to 5 PM when the hubby’s away. There is only so much cleaning and cooking.
    4) Another dawah killer is facebook and social networking. And again the married sisters who have suddenly no time to “waste” on dawah seem to have the most time for social networking.

    Am I wrong?

  8. abu abdAllah, the Houstonian

    November 18, 2008 at 10:17 AM

    bismillah. subhanAllah, Amad. :) be careful: if Siraaj’s list and that vampire slayer in the photograph do not finish you off, some sister probably will!

    the picture — just from the point of view of the article:
    • maybe it could be an example from category (7) on its own — shaytan’s multimedia arsenal — in this case, testimony that people are willing to rearrange at least a few hours of their day to catch the “hottest” movie. and to the extent that any of us can recite the plot of a movie from memory, with anecdotes about the stars or even production notes, we should take ourselves to task if we cannot say the same about events from the seerah and the khulufaa rashidoon. not to mention how we could have spent those two or three or even four hours (counting travel time, lines, etc) engaged in dawah ourselves, or supporting dawah of others through our time, prayers, dua, and other means.

    • speaking of time, once upon a time shaytan’s arsenal was powerful but limited in how many ways it could assault the senses. then man embraced the printing press, radio, and television — but still shaytan had to fight various censors who forbade much evil from reaching mass audiences. now we live in an age when censorship has more to do with advancing political agendas than with forbidding what is evil. and the internet has all but the most vigilant censors back on their heels.

    • so is he slaying daees — which would be evil in many ways, not the least of which is equating daees with vampires…

    • or is his sword raised against the so-called “daee-killers” — which sounds cool at first… but none of the first three listed “killers” is inherently evil. (and arguably none of the six as such…)

    the sixth “daee killer”
    • makes sense to me: it’s peer pressure that encourages a daee into what he or she should know is wrong. “wrong” can include an openly riba mortgage, or a “shariah-compliant” mortgage, or “let’s go watch the new Bond movie!”

  9. MR

    November 18, 2008 at 10:22 AM

    Thankfully my blogging has not be killed after my marriage. But pretty much everything is dying. I’m trying to revive it though.

  10. AnonyMouse

    November 18, 2008 at 12:26 PM

    Amad… # 3 and 4 better not be targeted at me! :)

  11. fais

    November 18, 2008 at 1:22 PM

    BLADE!!!!

  12. none

    November 18, 2008 at 1:51 PM

    excellent post.

  13. Shirtman

    November 18, 2008 at 1:53 PM

    Well thought. I agree with this, Insha’Allah I have a solution….stay tuned.

  14. Nahyan

    November 18, 2008 at 2:42 PM

    nice article bro,

    Jazakallahukhair

  15. turquoise

    November 18, 2008 at 2:45 PM

    Great Post MashaAllah and much needed.
    The first paragraph is quite an attention grabber. (Where you there in the background at my MSA? lol)

    I always hated how sisters disappeared…
    but really, i think its because they weren’t very available even before they got married…

    I think we need to strengthen our sisterhood and brotherhood ties so that no matter what milestone we reach, we could still be there for each other and for the ummah

  16. moadnins

    November 18, 2008 at 4:02 PM

    Very nicely done. I’m already waiting for the details in the Life Management.

    My opinion on things is the whole “time prioritization” thing may take a really huge learning curve. There’s a lot of new factors: work, spouse, parents, kid(s) – btw, I think this has an exponential effect or domino affect creating you to re prioritize again with every instance. With that, someone could totally make some money creating a “bootcamp” experience/timeshare with some older, but not way older, “professionals”, so that the youngSTARS coming out would know what they’re in for…and handle it better than us :)

    Oh yeah – the factors weren’t in any particular order!

  17. AI

    November 18, 2008 at 4:05 PM

    Bismillah ArRahman ArRaheem

    While community involvement is a good thing, I believe there are times when motherhood demands 100% attention (basically from the last trimester of pregnancy till the time the child goes to school/kg). If some sister still manages to find time and energy for community work during this phase, kudos to her, but as a norm, this should not be expected of mothers who are bringing up children of the pre-school age group. It can be argued that these mothers are already serving the Muslim community by nurturing its future members.

    If that means no MSA, ICNA, CAIR, etc., during this time, so be it. I see no reason to not take a mother’s word for it, if she says that she cannot handle both at the same time while still doing full justice to each (their child & the da’waa work). Not every person has the same capability and temprament, and to make one sister feel guilty for leaving external dawaa work by citing the example of another sister who successfully combined the two spheres of work is not very fair.

    Wassalamu alaikum.

  18. Siraaj

    November 18, 2008 at 4:26 PM

    Whoa! Didn’t realize this article was going front page today =)

    To everyone who enjoyed the article, glad you found it beneficial. Specific and longer responses:

    AbdelRahman
    Running a home on any type of mortgage is simply a major time killer, especially when you’re first starting out, and you have a young family. No fiqh opinion is being shared in the article whatsoever, and the word “shariah” in quotes in no way signifies nay or yay (although I am personally nay) on permissibility, just my thoughts on its practicality as it relates to a da’ee’s time management.

    Amad
    See my response to murphy about time wasted on fully owned homes. As for the sisters comments, er, well, I’m not sure, most sisters I knew that got married just plain moved away, and I think a lot of that facebook time was because they had to move away. Could also be because she’s living with her in-laws and they’re making her take care of the house (top asked question by newly married ABCD sisters at Chicago AlMaghrib seminars – do I have to serve my mom-in-law?), so there could be more than one sees on the surface.

    Abu Abdullaah
    Don’t read too much into the picture =) Yes, you got the other part of it, that full-on social pressure plays a part in the idea that people believe owning homes are “necessities”, but when you prove that it’s not a necessity (you can rent), the answer then becomes, “But I’ll lose money,” and the real reason for owning comes out.

    One of my points was that you don’t have to follow the “Become MD –> Get Married –> Live in Mom’s Basement –> Buy a home ASAP” path, as a matter of practicality.

    moadnins
    I’d really love to do a Life Management Boot Camp. Maybe one day, insha’Allah.

    AI
    Check out my suggestion in “perception of self” for that very point and tell me what you think about it.

    Siraaj

  19. AI

    November 18, 2008 at 4:38 PM

    Siraaj,

    I agree with you 100% on what you wrote in “perception of self”, but this talk of “sisters disappearing” [after marriage] in this discussion thread is what I am trying to address. This kind of talk overlooks or belittles the great contributions that these supposedly “disappeared” sisters are making day-in and day-out, away from the limelight, building the Muslim family with full devotion, and at great personal sacrifice.

    Wassalam.

  20. Amad

    November 18, 2008 at 5:05 PM

    “Al”, don’t misunderstand me. I am sure there are sisters who have no time left because of their personal circumstances, and focusing on children (like in home-schooling, etc.). The sisters I am referring to are the ones who have become lazy, because they think pleasing their husbands is sufficient for jannah. So, they have lots of time to spare, but don’t think it is necessary to be part of the community activities any more. And trust me, there are lot that fall in this category.

    Also, what I dont understand is that guys are able to take time out to be involved in their communities, even though they are working full-time, but somehow sisters can’t take time out beyond house/children responsibilities. I know that many are doing it… and I think if sisters just put their mind into it, and have cooperative husbands (very important, the lack thereof is another da’i killer), then the sky is the limit for what they can accomplish…

    wallahualam

  21. All08

    November 18, 2008 at 5:05 PM

    Marry the Right Person: Do your best to find someone whose passion is Islam, and if you can’t find that, then at least make it clear that it’s yours and that it’s very important to you, and if marriage interferes with that, the marriage goes. Seriously. Say this upfront, and you’ll filter out the people who will make your life miserable by cutting you off from what fulfills you on so many levels as a da’ee.

    ____
    what kind of advice is this?

    “if marriage interferes with that, the marriage goes”
    seriously? this is the advice you want to give all the people reading this?
    what kind of deen are you practicing if you cant even be bothered to have the patience and time to give dawah to your spouse??

    edited – no insulting language please.

  22. AnonyMouse

    November 18, 2008 at 5:29 PM

    A couple things about sisters:

    Before marriage, we’re often held back by our parents… fathers don’t want their daughters “going out” all the time (even if it’s w/ other sisters or at the Masjid!), mothers want them at home to help around the house.

    After marriage, husbands often request/ demand that the wives stay home because “that’s where your place is” (or they use other similar arguments such as, you’re supposed to be a wife/mother first, the home is better for you, you should spend more time with family, or even “I have too much gheerah.”). Even if they do let their wives continue to be involved in the community, it’s nowhere near as much time as the brothers themselves spend doing the same thing (before and after marriage).

    I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: If we want our sisters more involved in the community, we have to make the leaders of the household (the men!) realize and recognize the need and worth of their womenfolk in the Da’wah. Unfortunately, some men consider themselves too “jealous” or even afraid (of being overshadowed? Allahu a’lam) to let their daughters/ sisters/ wives pursue a more active role in Da’wah.

    Although a lot is said about learning to balance personal roles and priorities, it’s a lot harder than it seems – not only because the individuals themselves are too lazy (of course this is one factor in many cases), but because as women we are bound by what our guardians stipulate. Ideally, all men would encourage their women to educate themselves and join the Da’wah movement, but the truth is that this isn’t always the case. Many talk the talk, but who are the men (and women) walking the walk?

  23. AnonyMouse

    November 18, 2008 at 5:34 PM

    @ All08

    I think you misunderstood. I agree 100% with what Siraaj said. Giving Da’wah to your spouse is great, it’s something that should definitely be happening, BUT if you choose a spouse who’s on a totally different wavelength as you, then you’re bound to come across incredibly frustrating obstacles that will just make life difficult and compromise everything – in your marriage and in your Da’wah work.

    Personally, I think that if Da’wah is really a huge part of your life and something you’re determined to be dedicated to, then you MUST make it clear to a potential spouse… this goes for brothers AND sisters. Make it clear that although you recognize the need for compromise and change in your life once you get married, you will NOT totally give up on something so dear to your heart. Inform the potential spouse that you expect their encouragement and support in pursuing your Da’wah activities, and that they won’t unnecessarily try to stop you or hinder your efforts.

  24. abu abdAllah, the Houstonian

    November 18, 2008 at 6:04 PM

    bismillah. another set of possible solutions to “resurrect” those daees — and the article does focus folks on people who were active in their MSAs or at least BM (before marriage). :)

    (1) for the family-focused — become active in your child’s school(s). if your child is in public school, the PTA. if your child is in a non-Muslim private school, the PTA-equivalent. Muslim-full-time school, you may even have to start the PTA-equivalent! Muslim-weekend school, become teachers, seriously — teach the youth.

    (2) for those who want their opportunities in easily-scheduled bite-size quantities — find a group like Crescent Youth and volunteer to become an occasional speaker for them. CY is a great organization — of course, here in Houston! — that should be modeled in every major city with Muslims. Many CY speakers are college students or recent grads, but almost all of them are daees to some extent. Don’t have anything like CY? You could move to Houston. :) Or you could get some unmarried MSA guys to contact CY and start up something similar in your neck of the woods.

    (3) the solution with dividends all the way around — Muslims Mentoring Muslims (MMM) — no, it’s more like www upside down. :) this would be a bright future, folks, if people who have been there and done that took a more active role in mentoring the generation that’s going there and doing that. right now i see a huge gap at the top of the pyramid — the generation of MSA alums from the 60’s-80’s whose advice would still be of benefit to the alums from the 90’s to low ’00’s. that second tier is in a position to offer useful advice to the rest of the ’00s. and eventually you would want more stratification, and more clustering within certain professional fields, etc. — just because like attracts like. but there is so much benefit to mentoring and as an ummah, we just waste most of those opportunities in my opinion.

    i suggested to the good folks at TDC that they offer mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs in the community for those looking to get out of being employees. it would have been a bit of work, but there was time back when i made the suggestion (shortly after TDC ’07).

    maybe if we ever have an MM-con (hey, if TDC wants to vacate the field, why not?!), we can consider launching MMM there.

  25. fais

    November 18, 2008 at 6:13 PM

    @ anonymouse
    giving da’wah to your spouse IS da’wah work. How can da’wah work interfere with da’wah…?

    I’m sorry, but this article is a very immature read… contrary to what the author implies, da’wah does not comprise solely of promoting MSA activities and AL Maghrib classes…

  26. ibnabeeomar

    November 18, 2008 at 6:41 PM

    i think you missed what the article is saying.

    one example of dawah work thats directly affected by this is even dawah work at the local community level. as much as i hate to admit it, it does play a role in the fact that our masaajid are almost overwhelmingly run by the elder uncle crowd. btw i think siraaj’s post was fairly general. msa is just the main highlight as an example of the primary dawah activity most people engage in before getting married.

    also i think anonymouse clarified the comment abt dawah to spouses

  27. umm sakeenah

    November 18, 2008 at 8:10 PM

    Bismillah.

    I enjoyed reading this article as I had been contemplating this myself for some time. As a married sister that been’s out of college for over five years now, I can totally relate to this and although I do not have children as of yet, I still find myself wishing for more hours in the day. And although I married a person who seemingly was practicing, after marriage things can change! When you have a husband who’s mentality was that of his father’s and he always wants you to be at home, cooking for him, serving him, attending to his every need, it makes one wonder if arguing with your spouse for doing what you would like to do is better than just being obedient to him and fulfililng your role as a Muslim wife (even if you’ve tried talking to your spouse about what you’d like to do, sometimes men can be the most stubborn of creatures and there’s no way of winning!)

    I do agree that sisters end up disappearing, but as someone else mentioned already, I don’t know why people are even expecting sisters to be around like they used to in their single days.

    Also, I don’t believe a woman has to leave her home and go out in the real world in order to give Dawah. If she has a computer/internet, if she has Muslim friends, if she has non Muslim neighbors, then there are tons of things a sister can do to put her time to good use.

    I for one, try to incorporate the following as much as possible:

    * Have halaqahs for my friends once a month and since I take some classes online, I share what I learned from those courses or even from the books I read.

    * Conference Calls! These are absolutely amazing because it doesn’t even require a sister to change out of her pajamas! She can attend or even give halaqas over the phone to any given number of participants. I know MSA National has been doing these, but you can even create your own group and have these calls weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly.

    * Go out and meet your neighbors. There’re right next door and down the street! No driving involved. If you’re a sister that’s home all day, even if you have kids, why not go over with some food/sweets and do your part in reaching out to this very neglected group in society. And the two Eids don’t have to be the only time you go out and give Dawah to your neighbors.

    * Believe it or not, even Facebook can be used as an excellent Dawah tool! Why not write a quote on your friends’ walls or share something that you learned recently and give them that indirect Dawah for the day? And you can create a list of people per week that you do this for, and change it every week so that you’re not driving people crazy either!

    * If you live within the same area of your former college/university, why not be asked to be added to their email list and try to attend some of the events they put together throughout the year? And if you’ve moved, find a college with an MSA and even offer to be a speaker at one of their sister’s social or any other event, even if it’s only once.

    * All of us have relatives who might not be practicing….sooo….why not pick up the phone and get connected with them? And if you have cousins that live overseas, why not send them a letter or an Eid card and try to slip in that Dawah there?

    * Giving Dawah to your spouse, parents and siblings. Just pick up the phone and share something with your loved ones. If you want to invest in a small blackboard or dry erase board, you can also write your *gems* of the day and hang this board in a place you know your spouse will see. And if your parents/siblings/friends come over, they’ll also get that knowledge without you seeming annoying!

    The possibilities are ENDLESS but sisters just need to have more discipline and yes, even though serving your husband and observing your obligatory duties can earn you Jannah, if you have that extra hour to spare in a day, why not use it for the Cause of Allah?

    Sorry for the long post, I just thought I’d share my own experiences in how to catch up with the world once you become married. It’s hard to go back to your usual life after marriage, but you don’t have to let it completely die. Thanks Br. Siraaj again for bringing up this topic.

  28. Nihal Khan

    November 18, 2008 at 8:51 PM

    haha…im loving that picture :P

  29. Mana

    November 18, 2008 at 9:33 PM

    Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatulahi Wa Barakatu,

    Bissmillah,

    MashaAllah Siraaj, you couldn’t have said it better. Now I don’t know what some of the sisters are complaining about, but marriage does take you away from a lot of the dawah work you did before you got married. For example I know some brothers that don’t want their wives to have anything to do with almaghrib or any other dawah work they do. There are those those brothers from my community which I won’t mention, because I don’t want to be made an outcast that ask their wives to give up volunteering with almaghrib after marriage. Now How is this fair? they themselves want to stay and volunteer with almaghrib but they want their wives to become naukrani (maid). And the wives blindly follow them. Now don’t start quoting hadith about how to the wives job is to fulfill their husbands needs whatever that might be. But remember it goes both ways and Allah will reward you greatly if you did something for the ummah. No one said the wive has to be cut from the dawah scene after marriage.

    Now let me say this, all brothers aren’t like this but many are. I myself will have to reach an agreement with my future hubby about my work with almaghrib after marriage and also anything I do for my community. At least in my community the majority of the brothers that do this are desi, at least what I’ve seen. I am not saying they’re all like this but majority of those around me are.

    Now those of you that don’t agree with br. Siraaj fine, but there is not need to make a big deal about this. He’s telling the truth, maybe not about you specifically, but there are those sisters that want nothing to do with the dawah scene after marriage because hubby doesn’t want that. The truth hurts and we don’t want to hear it, but don’t attack people that do.

    I am a sister and I agree with everything he said. It happens in my community. Sisters disappear after marriage because their new hubby or MIL doesn’t want their bahu seeing around.

  30. Olivia

    November 18, 2008 at 11:47 PM

    Mana, do I know you? =) …

    Good post Siraaj, masha’Allah. Kids can seem like an obstacle to doing dawah, but I prefer to consider them a challenge. There is so much you can do from home, whether its taking classes, memorizing quran, blogging, conference calls, running an online high school *cough* =)

    But even away from home, just bring the kids! I rarely ever have a sitter to leave my kids with, so they’ve always come with me. I can almost always make it work, whatever I’m doing. I think sometimes we mothers overthink it too much and then back out. It can be tiring but in the end it’s usually worth it. I also think its good for other people to get used to having young kids around. Its essential for mental and spiritual health that young mothers don’t feel isolated or rejected because they have small children with them. Frankly, I’m always shocked at aunties (who were once young mothers themselves!) who go off on young mothers for bringing their kids to the masjid! Kids will be kids, and that doesn’t mean you don’t try to keep them mellow, but people really need to lighten up.

  31. Mana

    November 18, 2008 at 11:55 PM

    Yes Liv You know me very well sister.

  32. Umm Reem

    November 18, 2008 at 11:57 PM

    Frankly, I’m always shocked at aunties (who were once young mothers themselves!) who go off on young mothers for bringing their kids to the masjid! Kids will be kids, and that doesn’t mean you don’t try to keep them mellow, but people really need to lighten up.

    Ah…tell me about it!
    seriously these aunties need to take it easy. I never felt their “pressure” when I was in houston. ALhamdullialh people knew us and someone would always volunteer to watch my kids (even brothers sometimes!)…but ever since I moved I realized how frustrating it could be to go to the masjid and spend the whole time trying to make sure that no one is getting upset with your kids…i used to be very sensitive about it but I realized that it is pointless and so i started ignoring the “looks” of aunties. They need to become a bit more child friendly…

  33. Mana

    November 19, 2008 at 12:09 AM

    Don’t even start with aunties when it comes to kids. I sometimes take my little cousins to the masajid and aunties are always asking me why I brought them. I am at a point where I get upset with them because they get so annoyed with the kids. I mean come on, be patient and help if you can with kids but if you can’t then let it go.

    I love seeing kids at the masajid because I love them and I work with many of them. I try to keep them entertained every time I see them at the masajid. Even when we have almaghrib seminar, if I hear a kids crying I take him/her away from the mother to get fresh air. InshaAllah let’s remember this next time we’re getting pissed at young mother at the masajid because they brought their baby with them. Make them job easier and help. If the kids are crying help. Take candy with you at times because kids love them.

  34. Siraaj

    November 19, 2008 at 2:07 AM

    Daw’ah to spouse peeps – nowhere in my article do I say not to make daw’ah to one’s spouse – read my article in full, and you’ll see that I explicitedly say (see perception of self section) that one should make daw’ah to one’s spouse and kids. Read some of the other responses in the articles defense, they cover what I said really well, no need to rehash that.

    Sisters, this article (or maybe Amad’s comments) seem to have touched a nerve about sisters involvement in daw’ah after marriage. I think Umm Sakeenah had some great suggestions, and I like that proactive approach, the same with Abu Abdullah.

    And to everyone who asked, yeah, I liked that picture too, very cool pic, will remember to find pics like that for future articles ;)

    Siraaj

  35. SF

    November 19, 2008 at 2:45 AM

    Well, the comments about how sisters disappear after marriage and having kids grabbed my attention, and I totally agree that more than the babies taking up their time, its the detrimental attitude of husbands and in-laws that is the reason behind sisters’ disappearing. Even the most liberal of people change their attitude with their wife or daughter-in-law after marriage – each time she wants to go out on her own, they feel like she is undermining their importance in her life. It’s so sad, I know so many friends who have this problem. The saddening part is that the same people (her inlaws) initially promised her that she could do whatever she wants after marriage, but then they go back on their words. May Allah help all such sisters. Amen.

    The importance of staying at home to rear babies in their first 3 years of life is unarguable. A mother’s attention and love can never be replaced by even the grandmother’s or aunt’s. However, a mother can do so much while staying at home in terms of da’wah, or self-learning via books, CD’s, and the Internet.

    I for one turned to writing, and within a short span of 2 years, so many people have been positively affected by my articles, alhamdulillah — all praises for this are solely for Allah. My online articles, especially, have generated much feedback from non-Muslims. I have realized that there is tremendous Da’wah potential in the Internet if only one taps into it.

    Sadly, many of my married friends who studied the Quran with me at Al-Huda Internaitonal in Karachi 8 years ago, are today spending most of their time watching movies or socializing. May Allah keep all of us guided and on the straight path. Ameen. What I find suprising, though, is that they are shocked to learn when I bump into them every year or two, that I am still struggling to teach part-time at my alma mater, or that I am writing, or doing somethingin the way of Allah [wa ma taufeeqi illaa billah]. To not maintain one’s involvement in Da’wah is one thing, but to undermine its importance and lose sight of it as a duty in one’s life is totally another. The disdain I face for not being more ahead in terma of “duniya” is what disappoints me a lot.

    So I appreciathe the author pointing out how sisters disappear and become lazy in Da’wah after marriage and kids, not taking it up again after the kids are older, but instead using their spare time for socializing or “aunty”-partying only. I also agree with how the author has pointed out the cliques at masjid’s and religious gatherings, each of which preaches exclusive admission into only their own group.

  36. aboo saleem pheku

    November 19, 2008 at 3:49 AM

    Whats up with the wesley snipes pic? Is he supposed to exemplify the perfect husband??

  37. usman

    November 19, 2008 at 2:17 PM

    Salaam, i think to solve the sisters not being involved much after marraige problem is for the sisters to marry brothers who will encourge them to be involved with a good organization like al maghrib or icna..or somthing like that…
    their r husbands who want their wives only for cooking and cleaning and their is nothing wrong with that…but if we want to be on a higher level than picking the right spouse is key.

  38. Siraaj

    November 19, 2008 at 3:07 PM

    It’s too bad so many guys and families are insecure about wives getting more involved in daw’ah and simply wanting them to serve, serve, and serve. I know from a lot of the brothers I talk to now looking to get married, a lot of sisters want to be able to do more than just be at home cooking and cleaning.

    For my part, I made it a goal that I wanted my wife to study (she’s completing her arees degree this year, alhamdulillaah), and also go out and do daw’ah. I guess it goes back to being a da’ee – what’s the best way to spread Islam as much as possible? I see my wife as a partner in that.

    In the home, I’ve dropped a lot of expectations for her “service” to me by becoming more independent and taking care of my own stuff. If food is cooked, great. If not, I make something for myself. the same with things like laundry / ironing – I pretty much do it myself, but I do appreciate it if she does it, but the key for me is that I don’t *expect* it. if it’s not there, no harm, no foul. Even so, my wife takes care of those things anyway, and I help out where I can when I see opportunities.

    Siraaj

  39. Amad

    November 19, 2008 at 3:24 PM

    Siraaj, you are a good man… no wonder your wife’s ok with sharing you ;)

  40. Mana

    November 19, 2008 at 5:03 PM

    LOL @ Amad…. MashaAllah br. Siraaj, the brothers need to learn a lot from you inshaAllah. If only brothers weren’t expecting a lot from their wives. Many brothers aren’t looking for wife only. They’re also looking for maid, sorry brothers, but it’s true for many young brothers.

  41. LearningArabic

    November 19, 2008 at 7:23 PM

    Jazakallahu Khair Br. Siraaj for the interesting article. iA, I’m getting married soon and so I will definitely try to take some of your advice into consideration. But I did tell my wife-to-be beforehand, that I do want both us to try and learn Arabic together :).

    I agree with you on the part about education, especially when it comes to studying the deen. I can’t see why some folks want their wives to only cook and clean, but then somehow expect their children to become intelligent, strong, and pious Muslims on their own.

    And about marriage being a Da’ee killer, isn’t marriage supposed to have the opposite effect? I mean, aren’t people supposed to become better Da’ees afterwards.

  42. Alima

    November 19, 2008 at 11:06 PM

    This is an amazing artice!!! Masha’Allaah.

    Jazaak Allaahu khayr for taking the time to write this br Siraaj!

    It gives me a great insight into a lot of things.

  43. Siraaj

    November 19, 2008 at 11:06 PM

    Amad
    LOL!

    Mana
    I grew up doing my own chores, so it’s easier for me to do. Part of the problem is that most brothers are raised as spoiled brats by their mothers in our culture. It’ll require some patience on the part of sisters as finding that one guy who wasn’t spoiled and meets all other criterion may be difficult to impossible. I wouldn’t recommend sisters looking for that – I’d recommend they try to educate their husbands over time with indirect advice and move them in the direction they want slowly but steadily.

    LearningArabic
    Marriage is primarily a time killer, as your time is no longer your own – someone else is depending on you, and by the way, you inherited the in-laws as well ;) So while you’re completing half your deen and protecting yourself, other areas of life go out of focus either partially or (very often) completely, like daw’ah.

    Alima
    Glad it benefitted you, don’t forget to share any unique insights or experiences you have on any of the issues discussed!

    Siraaj

  44. Mana

    November 19, 2008 at 11:27 PM

    Jazakallahu khair br. Siraaj. Many brothers don’t like hearing advice from their wives. Mummy dearest is the only women they actually listen to. So it’ll be very difficult for those sisters that are trying to change the mentality of some brothers. I hope people in our generation will change and raise their boys differently. Many parents didn’t do good job at raising kids. While they were busy looking down on other Muslims their boys became so much like them, which at times can be really bad.

  45. umm sakeenah

    November 20, 2008 at 1:05 AM

    Bismillah.

    I didn’t want to change the topic but just to address Sr. Olivia and Sr. Umm Reem’s concrens about those “aunties” at the masjid always complaining about the kids…..well, I’m no aunty and though I do adore children, I just get annoyed at those sisters whose children are out of control, running around, yelling, screaming, kicking the worshippers while in Salah and say ABSOLUTELY nothing to their kids!!! That’s what gets me! So you can’t possibly get annoyed at the children, because as Sr. Olivia said, kids will be kids….but it’s the mothers who need to teach those children the proper manners of behaving at the masjid. If you bring an infant and he starts crying, that’s obviously no big deal. But it’s those toddlers and other ankle-biters that need to be taught some discipline and sisters should be able to control their children not just in the masjid, but in any public setting. I mean, you don’t see sisters letting their kids loose in the supermarket or mall, so why be so lax when it comes to the masjid!

    Sorry I just had to get that off my chest :)

    And Sr. Mana, I totally agree with what you said about men listening only to their mothers! The worst is when your husband asks you to DO things the way his mother used to do them! I mean, no wife should be compared to one’s mamma…that’s just wrong.

  46. Mana

    November 20, 2008 at 8:12 AM

    SubhanaAllah. I am not married, but inshAllah when I do and my husband asks me to do something like his mother will be very bad day for him. Men in m family like comparing everything their wives do with their mother. May Allah give the sisters patient. I don’t know if I would be able to handle that. It would really hurt me. May Allah give the sisters men that follow the quran and the sunnah. Ameen.

    Brothers, you should never ever ask your wife to do something like your mother did.

  47. turquoise

    November 20, 2008 at 10:44 AM

    It’s too bad so many guys and families are insecure about wives getting more involved in daw’ah and simply wanting them to serve, serve, and serve. I know from a lot of the brothers I talk to now looking to get married, a lot of sisters want to be able to do more than just be at home cooking and cleaning.

    For my part, I made it a goal that I wanted my wife to study (she’s completing her arees degree this year, alhamdulillaah), and also go out and do daw’ah. I guess it goes back to being a da’ee – what’s the best way to spread Islam as much as possible? I see my wife as a partner in that.

    In the home, I’ve dropped a lot of expectations for her “service” to me by becoming more independent and taking care of my own stuff. If food is cooked, great. If not, I make something for myself. the same with things like laundry / ironing – I pretty much do it myself, but I do appreciate it if she does it, but the key for me is that I don’t *expect* it. if it’s not there, no harm, no foul. Even so, my wife takes care of those things anyway, and I help out where I can when I see opportunities.

    Siraaj

    Allahu Akbar!! Br. you need to have your own pre-marraige institute in which all those single muslim brothers need to enroll!

  48. A Sister

    November 20, 2008 at 12:25 PM

    Sister AnonyMouse…I couldn’t agree more…

    A couple things about sisters:

    Before marriage, we’re often held back by our parents… fathers don’t want their daughters “going out” all the time (even if it’s w/ other sisters or at the Masjid!), mothers want them at home to help around the house.

    After marriage, husbands often request/ demand that the wives stay home because “that’s where your place is” (or they use other similar arguments such as, you’re supposed to be a wife/mother first, the home is better for you, you should spend more time with family, or even “I have too much gheerah.”). Even if they do let their wives continue to be involved in the community, it’s nowhere near as much time as the brothers themselves spend doing the same thing (before and after marriage).

    I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: If we want our sisters more involved in the community, we have to make the leaders of the household (the men!) realize and recognize the need and worth of their womenfolk in the Da’wah. Unfortunately, some men consider themselves too “jealous” or even afraid (of being overshadowed? Allahu a’lam) to let their daughters/ sisters/ wives pursue a more active role in Da’wah.

    Although a lot is said about learning to balance personal roles and priorities, it’s a lot harder than it seems – not only because the individuals themselves are too lazy (of course this is one factor in many cases), but because as women we are bound by what our guardians stipulate. Ideally, all men would encourage their women to educate themselves and join the Da’wah movement, but the truth is that this isn’t always the case. Many talk the talk, but who are the men (and women) walking the walk?

    Jazaakallahu khairan Br. Siraaj for writing this.

  49. Siraaj

    November 20, 2008 at 1:01 PM

    Heh, the last time I wrote a post with marriage advice on it (my old blog, seems to have disappeared), it was more about how men should deal with their wives so that they could stay out of their crosshairs, but it seems that something more serious is needed. I’ll consider writing something like that one day, insha’Allah, but I don’t want to tread into Shaykh Yaser Birjas’s territory =)

    Siraaj

  50. aideh

    December 3, 2008 at 11:00 PM

    Mana-“Jazakallahu khair br. Siraaj. Many brothers don’t like hearing advice from their wives. Mummy dearest is the only women they actually listen to. So it’ll be very difficult for those sisters that are trying to change the mentality of some brothers. I hope people in our generation will change and raise their boys differently. Many parents didn’t do good job at raising kids. While they were busy looking down on other Muslims their boys became so much like them, which at times can be really bad.”

    Yeah, alot of people recommend not to go into a marriage expecting to change your spouse…I agree with that. I have men in my family, I know.

    I know many mothers wish they could raise their daughter’s husbands into the mold they want..iit sounds wrong, I know! but, you cant blame the mothers for worrying granted all that they see-or don’t see. Not to say that they expect perfection, but do they expect a certain standard and its difficult, not impossible, to have that standard met. But, I think things are changing, so insha’Allah, we see these issues now and we’ll be more prepared to know what to do when we are ourselves parents, insha’Allah.

    Our parents did the best they could. Lets not discredit them so fast. Its not the easiest thing in the world for parents to understand their children right off the bat especially when they were raised with a different overseas mentality. Its hard for them to adjust to the differences in culture that their children have so easily adapted/ So lets give them the benefit of the doubt insha’Allah.

    It should be easier for us when we’re parents, because we were raised in the American culture so we will be able to relate and understand our child better…but thats not to say there won’t be a gap/ change between us and our kids. Look at how drastically the American culture has changed from the just 50-60 years ago, when the man was required to ask the dad’s permission just to take out his daugher to a movie or something and nowadays dads are not clued in at all till after the daughter said ‘yes!’ Thats only approx half a century ago, the times are changing quickly. We have to learn how to adapt quickly. I believe that as long as we keep our Islamic morals, and make the effort to spend quality time and listen to each other and understand one another (parents and children) a lot of issues between the generations can be reduced a whole bunch, easier said than done and it takes alot of time, effort, and A WHOLE LOT OF SABR on both sides…iimho..Allahu A’lam.

  51. Arabian Mare

    December 4, 2008 at 12:36 AM

    Aslamu-alaikum:
    btw i really like your “cartoon” up there with the sign……………ITs too funny. seriously its too funny. My younger sister and i had a really good laugh.
    salam

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