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Fighting for Our Youth: A Case Study of a Muslim Youth Group

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“I had a really hard day today”, Mariya explained to me over the phone.  “I see lots of overdose cases, but today I was shocked to find out two Muslim girls, around 13 years of age, were found helping each other in a double suicide attempt.”

Mariya was a toxicology fellow at the local hospital and took her job very seriously.  She dealt with rattlesnake bites, medication overdoses, and illicit drug use. It was the intentional overdoses that affected her the most, especially when they were Muslim.

“We have to do something!  We have no programs for the youth in our community and we are slowly losing them!” Mariya continued in a frazzled tone.

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The incident hit very close to home for Mariya because it reminded her of how she had felt when she first moved from Saudi Arabia to England as a teenager.  She explained to me how being suddenly thrust into such a foreign environment left her feeling hopeless, lost, confused, and overwhelmed.  She recalled a growing hatred towards school and family and an increased sense of despondency. The worst memory was her inability to share these emotions with anyone. She could relate to the feelings of the Muslim girls who had attempted suicide and remembered writing her own will at the age of 13!  The medical case had sparked a deep desire to create a safe, understanding space for Muslim girls and channel her negative experiences into a positive way to help others.

“Okay, so what are you proposing?” I replied.

Of course there had been attempts to address the needs of the youth.  As with most communities, this usually manifested itself into some kind of halaqa (learning circle) for girls, usually led by an elder auntie who spent the time telling them why they needed to wear hijab and obey their parents. Attendance usually consisted of those whose parents (being friends of the said older auntie) had forced them to attend. The result? A bunch of yawns and protests that “she just doesn’t get me.”

Mariya and I wanted to stray from this failed formula and instead help the young girls of our community in a way that was relevant and appealing.  We began to deeply analyze our own struggles as Muslim girls growing up in the U.S. and England.  We thought about the issues we dealt with and what type of group would have helped us through the hurdles, temptations, and pitfalls of adolescence.  We also researched other youth groups such as Crescent Youth in Houston in an attempt to build on our predecessors efforts.  Several conversations led to the eventual formation of a Muslim girls’ youth group for our community.

Our mission statement for the group is the following:

We seek to establish a Muslim Girls Youth Group that strives to provide guidance and support to Muslim girls in developing their identities as righteous Muslim women, daughters, wives and mothers through directed activities and discussions on issues specific to Western society.

Our objectives are:

  • To build confidence as Muslim women
  • To increase God consciousness in every aspect of life
  • To educate about the rights and responsibilities as Muslim women
  • To develop skills to cope with peer pressure from non-Muslims
  • To instill courage to speak about Islam to non-Muslims
  • To effectively communicate with parents in resolving issues
  • To create an Islamic social environment and increase sisterhood

We began by developing a simple formula for our activities.  We would have a once a month “peer event” that was topic-specific.  The events would last 3 hours and the format would include an ice breaker, free food, a physical activity, and a discussion period in which the girls would participate in defining the topic and discussing the problems they were facing. We would then explain the Islamic perspective on the topic, collectively explore solutions, and offer support to each other.

The events were held at an outside venue (a private home, community center or on the local college campus) to give it a “retreat” feel, and we put an age range to discourage very young girls as well as mothers and aunties from attending.  This was in order to create a safe environment in which the girls felt the freedom to speak openly.  We never prevented a mother from attending, but once the trust was built then the mothers naturally stopped coming.  We also made the conscious decision not to affiliate ourselves with the local Masjid or hold events there.  This was due to the fact that there was an unfortunate stigma in the minds of many of the girls towards any “Masjid event”.  We also did not want to worry about being censored or limited in what we could talk to the girls about because of how it would reflect on the Masjid.

We went through some trial and error in the beginning until things picked up.  Our first peer event was entitled “Miss Understood: Muslim in America”.  Attendance at this first event was low, around 9 girls whose mothers were, of course, our friends.  We attributed the low turnout to the “trauma” resulting from past attempts at addressing the youth, but hoped that if we stuck to the model, the tide would eventually change.  Nevertheless, the event was a success for those who were present.  We munched on snacks during an ice breaker in which each person had to tell the group something new about themselves. We then divided the participants into groups of 3 and gave them various scenarios of the culture clash between the first generation and their immigrant parents.  These scenarios included difficult conversations between a girl and her immigrant mother about her changing body and developing feelings as well as the various peer pressures a girl feels from her non-Muslim friends.  Mariya and I acted out the first scenario in a very humorous way to break the ice, and then each group took turns acting out their assigned scenarios.  After each skit, the group discussed similar experiences they had had and ways to solve the clashes from an Islamic perspective.  We then took turns giving each other manicures.  The girls loved it.

It was during this first event that the name of our group, Daughterz of Eve (DOE), was voted on and decided by the girls collectively. Mariya and I determined that this event was a success from the energy of the girls and the hugs we received as they were departing.

At the next Jummuah prayer, we tried to meet more girls and get their e-mail addresses so we could send them an announcement about the next event.

“Oh, are you the one that started Daughterz of Eve?  I heard it was cool!” one girl responded after I introduced myself.

“Yeah sure, you can take my e-mail address.  Let me know when your next event is,” another girl exclaimed.

Word was already starting to spread!  The buzz was building.  Now we were really feeling the pressure to make the next event fresh and exciting.

Our next event was entitled “Body Talk: Health and Beauty in Light of Islam”. We rented a large private room at a local community center and led the girls in a yoga stretching session with complicated poses that left the girls rolling on the floor in laughter.  After food and socializing, we discussed body image issues that teens face and why the modesty of Islam is key to accepting and protecting oneself.  We also gave nutritional tips and cautioned against junky food and its negative effects. We ended the event by making our own inexpensive homemade facial masks.  The turnout bulged at nearly 30!

An e-mail from one of the participants after the event really encouraged us and made us feel we were moving in the right direction.  It read, “I am proud to call myself one of the Daughterz of Eve. My name is Hadjer, I wanted to say that the Body Talk this past Saturday was so brilliant and such a success. We have been waiting for something like this to come along here. You ladies are such great role models and an inspiration to the young girls in the community. I know for a fact, that many girls after the discussion continued to talk about what we had discussed. Many girls after definitely got a confident boost, because I know I did. MashaAllah and Alhamdullah for this organization. I unfortunately missed the first meeting, but now I will try my hardest not to miss any of them. You ladies are wonderful and are definitely great at what you do. Inshallah the next one will be soon!!”

After the second event my sister, Sarah, joined our ranks and gave us a much needed image boost.  She created a visually appealing and relevant website (DaughterzofEve.com) to enhance the vision of the group.  She also developed professional, modern looking flyers to advertise our group and events.

Examples of other DOE peer events included:

  • “The Velvet Underground: A Discussion on the Drug Subculture”, complete with biryani, dodgeball and an obstacle course with vision impairment goggles to mimic drunk driving (borrowed from the state’s Dept of Transportation).  The girls were then divided into groups, read articles, and presented posters on the various effects and statistics of different social drugs.  The use of a strobe light, disco ball, and glow-in-the-dark sticks set the mood.
  • “American Idol: Role Models in Islam”, asking the girls to identify their role models, discussing the effects disbelieving role models such as actresses and athletes can have on one’s deen, and understanding the consequences of posting certain words and images on Facebook and other public websites. Frito Pie and kickball complemented the event.
  • “Lean on Me: Sisterhood in Islam”, in which we confronted backbiting, the rights Muslims have on each other, and bullying.
  • “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: Love and Relationships in Islam”, working with the girls in coming up with ways to deal with inappropriate situations such as being asked out and ways to deal with the sexual feelings Allah created us with.  We also discussed the concept of so-called “platonic relationships”.
  • “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.: How to give it and get it from parents”, in which we discussed the complicated relationship between a girl and her parents, and how to evolve that relationship into one of mutual respect and open communication.  We talked about the Islamic rights children and their parents have on each other, how to treat parents during a conflict, and the power of dua (prayer).

In addition to the “peer events”, we had some purely social activities such as bowling, Eid and henna parties (without music), and private swim parties including renting an indoor pool with a massive water slide.  We also encouraged social consciousness by showing documentaries, arranging for the girls to volunteer at a soup kitchen, participating in Project Peace Pals (an organization that arranges pen pals with girls in Afghanistan and other countries), supporting presentations about the French hijab ban at a “Human Rights in Islam” event (open to the public), and starting a youth book club.   The girls even organized bake sales in order to raise the money for our activities (which were almost always free).

One of the important ways that we connected with the girls and helped them to relax and trust us was the constant use of humor.  This showed the girls that we could be silly and fun rather than stiff and proper.  From the beginning we wanted the girls to see us as one of them, not elders talking at them.  We did this by constantly bringing pop culture into the discussions, making facebook pages that allowed us to be easily accessible to the girls, and relating to the girls by discussing our own struggles growing up.  This helped create a relaxed and accepting environment that allowed the girls to really open up, much faster then we even dreamed. Rather than having to drag them out of their shells, we found that they were actually waiting for someone to offer them an outlet and take the time to care about them as individuals.

As expected, there were many people in the community who welcomed the effort and there were many who confronted us with skepticism, denial, and condemnation.  One father took issue with the name of the group, claiming it was too feminist.  He believed his daughter was fine and resented the fact that thanks to (positive) peer pressure, his daughter was begging to attend our events, giving him an unnecessary headache.  We also had parents and educators at the local Islamic school that applauded our efforts to deal with the girls who attended public school and who had non-Muslim family members but denied it was needed for the girls who attended Islamic school.  Considering the Islamic school ended at grade 8, after which time the students were thrust into a coed non-Muslim high school environment, we thought they needed it just as much if not more.

Over time we won over the majority of our critics, Alhudmulilah, and are now seen as an integral, vibrant part of the community.

Daughterz of Eve has now entered its fourth year.  We recently began a weekly Quranic Arabic and Tajweed class that many of the DOE members are attending, and we are in the process of planning a 4-day Young Muslim Women’s Retreat in the summer (Daughterz of Eve Retreat).

The high school and college girls are begging us to have more activities and are stepping up to take leadership in the group.  We have watched as the participants have evolved and grown in their identities as strong Muslim women who fear Allah in their actions and have become examples for others around them.

I asked some of the girls to share their thoughts about DOE for this article. The following are their responses:

“I believe [DOE] is very important because it gives the youth something fun & educational to look forward to every month. I have personally benefited from DOE in the sense of learning so much about this beautiful religion that I am a part of. I used to just be content with what I knew, which was very little, but this made me hungry for more and I’m so glad I got involved. I’ve met so many girls who have simply inspired me to strive to do better in learning my deen. DOE helped me become a better person and I’ve gained so many wonderful friends from it.” –Shahira (age 20)

“[DOE] allows teenagers to talk about their feelings and pressure about school to people who understand. I have benefited a lot and I know others have too. I now have a better understanding of why my parents set boundaries.” –Sarah (age 14)

“DOE is very important to the community because it helps to build a sense of sisterhood in the community so we can support and help each other. [It] has made me more knowledgeable not just in Islam but many other aspects of life. I learned that there is always hope, no matter what you’ve done, as long as you turn to Allah (SWT). I gained confidence by helping the younger girls when we would do activities. [DOE leaders] are my role models and have helped me to better myself so that one day, InshaAllah I can help make a difference in someone else’s life.” – Saba (age 24)

MashaAllah, these girls have become a true inspiration for me and the other girls around them.  I now overhear them advising each other to wake up for Tahajjud (night prayers) when they want something in their lives, and they are the first to sign up for Islamic classes.  They are even influencing their parents who marvel at the changes they see.  It makes me wonder if I would have had their strength when I was their age.  The most amazing part is to observe the positive peer pressure that has developed among the group and how it has actually made Islam cool.  These girls have convinced me that our youth are definitely worth fighting for!

******

Many times we see problems in our community and wait for someone else to fix them.  Or we simply enjoy complaining, being too lazy to do something or assuming we are helpless.  I use to be one of those people, but then I realized that my energy would be better spent empowering myself and others.  I wrote this article in order to encourage each and every one of us to face our Ummah’s issues by thinking outside of the box, harnessing our personal talents, and becoming part of the solution.

And then share so the rest of us can benefit!

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Hebah is a Muslim American with a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from UIUC. She was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee to Egyptian immigrants. She currently resides in Albuquerque, NM with her husband and two children. Hebah is a social activist who works to dispel the myths about Islam and Women in Islam through community presentations and panel discussions. She also heads Daughterz of Eve, a local Muslim girls youth group.

74 Comments

74 Comments

  1. nayma

    March 17, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    So much energy Hebah! May Allah continue to give it to you and your helpers! May Allah also help me to have that much energy and creativity to reach out to our youth. Our youth just need to know that we care for them and are willing to take time out to spend with them.

    • Hebah Ahmed

      March 17, 2011 at 6:31 PM

      Ameen to all your duaa dear sister! I could not agree more…is it easy to look at the youth and assume it is hopeless but they are just struggling through life looking for role models and someone to “see” them and care about them.

      • al

        June 24, 2016 at 1:40 AM

        no, hebah we dont want to wear the niqab

  2. Ameera Khan

    March 17, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    Masha’Allah, this is so awesome to read about, I am sure it must be even cooler being there and participating in bringing such khayr to the community. May Allah put barakah and success in to your efforts, Sr Heba and reward you in this world and the next, without measure! Ameen.

    • Hebah Ahmed

      March 17, 2011 at 6:34 PM

      Ameen!!!!!! You are right, the best part is how much fun we have together. This effort really does not need a lot of time or money…just a little creativity and an opportunity for the girls to speak their mind and be understood.

      • Bint Alam

        March 19, 2011 at 1:33 PM

        What can be better than this??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 SubhaanAllaaah!!!!!!

        We were undergoing the same experiences and we attempted to open a similar youth club for young girls and we have started preparing for it when Allaah subhaanahu wa ta’la has shown me this!

        Allaahu Akbar! Allaahu Akbar! I have no words to express my joy, sister Hebah I would really love to know more about your activities so that we could get some co-operation insha Allaah. We are having our first event insha Allaah on 26th March, and Alhamdulillah the already practising young girls are taking lots of preps and maa shaa Allaah I can see how happily they are working, but we need things to get going for the sake of Allaah………may Allaah help us build a generation of sincere,purposeful, strong and focused muslimahs, ameen.

        No words to express my joy :D

        • Hebah Ahmed

          March 21, 2011 at 9:28 PM

          We Alaikum Asalam we rahmat Allah we baraktu Dear Sister,

          Allahu Akbar indeed…Allah seems to give us exactly what we need when we need it. I pray anything I have written will help you in your youth club. Let me know what more detail you would like or how I can support your effort Insha Allah.

          Please let us know how your first event goes…very exciting! :)

          Barak Allahu Feekee and may Allah reward you and put baraka in all your efforts Insha Allah. Ameen.

  3. Nabeel Azeez

    March 17, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    Wow, this is awesome da’wah.

    May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make it easy for you and continue to bless you in it.

  4. forever a student of Islam

    March 17, 2011 at 2:06 AM

    mashaAllah Hebah, in all honesty I am jealous of your iman, passion and determination to do this. I wish I could accomplish something like this too for my Muslim sisters in my country, as it is very difficult growing up in a catholic nation. You constantly have to explain yourself. mashaAllah and I wish I could do just like that, if only I had the imaan, passion and courage. Good job ukhti, may Allah reward you with Jannah inshaAllah

    • Hebah Ahmed

      March 17, 2011 at 6:37 PM

      Jazak ALlahu Khair for your kind words and duaa. Where there is a will there is a way. Your words show that you can do it if you put your mind to it. Just start small. Have a pot luck party and write some topics on pieces of paper that you can pass around and start the discussion! It may take some time for the girls to come out of the woodwork but if you keep holding such events you will be surprised at what can happen!

      • al

        June 24, 2016 at 1:41 AM

        bad girl hebah, niqab bad. secularism good. get it?

  5. HenaZuberi

    March 17, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    Hebah Love love love the effort – we have to share youth group stories and brainstorm sometime. I need more ideas too. I think not being a part of the masjid is key- the politics bog the creativity down. I learned this the hard way after butting heads for years.

    The youth kids definitely don’t want another adult telling them what to do. May Allah accept it from you and your team and inshaAllah when it is time for your daughter then some of these same youth can lead her.

    • Hebah Ahmed

      March 17, 2011 at 6:40 PM

      Jazaks Hena! Please share with us what things your have been doing with the youth in your community! I really wanted this to be a place to really encourage each other in starting youth groups and coming up with ideas for the existing ones. I really think this is the kind of grass roots dawah that can start small but influence entire generations Insha Allah.

      • al

        June 24, 2016 at 1:42 AM

        hebah we dont want idiots here in our country. read the hadiths and tell me if they are moral or not

  6. Hira

    March 17, 2011 at 5:18 AM

    Masha Allah- an amazing story. May Allah bless your efforts and make it easy for you. Ameen

  7. Cucumberr

    March 17, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    May Allah bless your efforts abundantly and make this a source of khair for all Muslim youth. Ameen. It’s refreshing to know programs like these are starting up alhumdulillah.

    • Hebah Ahmed

      March 17, 2011 at 6:41 PM

      I could not agree more…I DREAMED of something like this when I was a teenager…would have made the struggles so much easier.

      • Bint Alam

        March 19, 2011 at 1:36 PM

        I have dreamt this tooooo when I was younger……Alhamdulillah I don’t want the girls now to go through the same pressure as we went……may Allaah give us the tawfeeq to work, ameen.

  8. Amaal

    March 17, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    Salaam Alaikum Hebah!
    Mash’Allah, I can’t believe I was apart of all this. Just reading it brought tears to my eyes, and I realized how important and essential it is to have a Muslim girls group and be able to open up to them.
    We definitely need to have one really soon!
    I’m still so shocked at all the events you guys held and how much we benefitted from them.
    May Allah create more of these groups and leaders like you who really understand the youth. Insh’Allah!

    Love ya Sister :)

    • Hebah Ahmed

      March 17, 2011 at 6:44 PM

      We Alikum Asalam My Dear Amaal!

      I am so happy that you commented! As I was writing the article I could not believe how much we have done together. And to see how you girls have developed and grown is amazing!

      Go to the website and register for the Summer Retreat now! Should be a blast!

      Love you lil sis,

      Hebah

      • Amaal

        March 17, 2011 at 7:53 PM

        Hebah, the website you posted does not work.
        I believe it is just daughterzofeve.com (without the www)

        • Hebah Ahmed

          March 17, 2011 at 8:45 PM

          Jazaks I just changed it in the article. :)

  9. Saba

    March 17, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    Mashallah what an amazing effort to help your fellow sisters!!! I am going to do this in my community inshallah soon Jazkallahu khyair for the wonderful idea!

    • Hebah Ahmed

      March 17, 2011 at 6:45 PM

      We Ayaki…would love to hear how it goes! Anyone can feel free to use any of the ideas, events, flyers, and website from DOE if you think it would help…free of charge! :)

      • Saba

        March 21, 2011 at 2:24 PM

        Awesome. we just might do that! Jazakallahu khayir.
        We’ve been brainstorming the last week and we came up with some pretty creative/ funny ideas. Inshallah I hope we can put the wheels in motion ASAP!

  10. Abdul-Qadir

    March 17, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    Assalamualaikum,

    JazakAllah for the post.

    Do you only have these once a month and no more frequent than this?

    Does all of your funding come from the bake sales? Where did most of it come from?

    What types of documentaries did you show, and was there any concern that they would not be interested in watching them?

    You all never EVER hold events in the masjid? I can see that as an easy (and inexpensive) place to meet for everyone.

    • Hebah Ahmed

      March 17, 2011 at 7:06 PM

      We Alikum Asalam Br. Abdul Qadir,

      1. We try to stick to once a month and even that has been hard. Since the organizers are wives and mothers it is difficult to do more. Also, when we did try to have them more frequently the turnout dropped because the girls got lazy and knew there would be another event soon. It is better to have them begging for more then have too many events. A great result was that the girls became close friends and began to hang out with each other more frequently. We were also available through e-mail and FB if the girls needed to talk privately.

      2. Our costs are very low. We registered a student organization on the local college campus and therefore reserve rooms for free for our events. Supplies are minimal and the food is our main cost. The bake sales usually covered this or some of the moms would chip in to make up the difference. The main point is to create a context to generate discussion and that really does not take a lot of money. Even private fundraising can bring in a good amount if people believe in your cause or see some initially successful events.

      3. We showed “Occupation 101” about the Palestine-Israel conflict and “Prince among Slaves” about an African Muslim Prince who was sold into the America slave trade. Both are well made and visually appealing so no concerns about the interest. Keep in mind the documentaries do not have to only be on Islam directly. I would love to show “Who Killed the Electric Car” and other documentaries about environmental awareness, or “Supersize Me” for nutritional and health awareness. Make sure you pre-view to avoid a boring one. We of course had food and watched at someone’s home with a large screen so it felt like going to the movies…very casual and relaxing.

      4. We have not held official DOE events at the masjid although we have done halaqas there. Other than the reasons stated in the article, we found it would be very hard to maintain an open environment for the girls since people from the community walk in and out constantly and will join you and listen in on the discussion. This took away from the trust we needed with the girls. Also, the girls cannot take off their hijabs and laugh and play dodgeball in the masjid. We wanted the events to be fun and social rather than the feel of an Islamic halaqa or the worry of whether some community elder will disapprove.

      5. If you are creative you can find inexpensive or even free venue for the events…college campuses and local community centers are great places.

      Hope that helps!

      Hebah

      • A

        March 18, 2011 at 11:00 PM

        As Salaam U Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Hi Wa Barkatuhu

        Alhamdulillah, this is a great effort on your part sister. I just have to say one thing, and I mean this in no disrespect, but it happened to me when I was a teenager. The point I want to talk about is

        “We would have a once a month “peer event” that was topic-specific. ”

        Subhanallah, may Allah give me the strenght to even get involved in these activities and dawah as I do not even do it once a month (mainly sticking to home and masjid). What you are doing is commendable, and you should keep at it – Everything good those girls learn, the benefit will come back to you, it is like a never ending stream of hasanaat.

        Now back to the point – I am not telling you to change anything, just sharing my experience on these once a month, twice a month events.

        Everyday children (me having been one of them) go to school. Most muslim parents send them to public school. For 7 hours a day, for 5 days a week, for 180 days a year – these children are exposed to the agent of socialization – maybe the most important one – school. It is in this school that they form friends, learn a methodology from their teachers, and learn to (as their western friends do) disavow and rebel from parents. For every second of the 35 hours of the week, and more if they hang out after school with western friends – they are learning “un” islamic or even “anti” islamic ideals. And what do the parents mostly do to counter that? Actually, nothing. Son, as long as your grades are okay, I really don’t care is what goes through many muslim parents minds. This is the situation the muslims in the West are dealing with. They are losing their children left and right to the kufr, and the fasaad of the West and its values, and they do not even realize it. Heck many don’t even realize that they lost the way decades now – thinking now that it’s okay to pray once a week with their children at Sunday School, or at Jumaa – following the Christians to the lizard hole. This is the situation which we are facing, and which our parents unknowingly stumbled upon seeking the american dream.

        And now we have events. Islamic Events. We are seeing the revival of Islam – and not only in muslim countries, but also at the footsteps of kufr. We are seeing a revival in the Western World. On every street corner there is a following brother, a following sister, a following mother, and a following son.

        So now we have a conflict. On the one hand muslim children are slipping into this evil every day, and leaving the path. On the other hand we have people whom Allah (Azzawajal) has blessed with the one and only true blessing of hidayah. Allah has guided them. Now what are we doing to make those lost muslim children become like those Allah has guided?

        The once a month event. The dreaded, and yes I will say that because I once too was a teen – and I know my friends – they were “forced” to go, and they were bitter about it. Granted they hung out with their friends, but when two muslims connect and become friends not because of Islam, this deen, rather because of what new song artist – this justin beiber kid, or someone else – is doing….then this is not the purpose of these events. The purpose of these events is not being fulfilled if “Islamic” friendships, and an Islamic identity is the goal.

        I do not consider myself to be a complete muslim until my mid teens. Where I live they have a big quiz competition and muslims from usually 3 to 4 states attend. On that year, we got together 5 of us with a muslim teacher. We went to the masjid every day, and stayed for an hour and then some. We prayed 2 salah, and we left. Although I had been going to Sunday School for years, and had attended these events for years – it was not until that incident that I actually felt the peace Islam provided me with. From that point on (and I am not boasting, as no one here knows me, it’s just a story) I went to the masjid every day. For one year I went before maghrib, sat down in a corner, and read Riyaadus Saliheen, then Muslim, then Al Bukhari, then Nawawi’s 40, then the Sealed Nectar, all the while I went to sites like Islam-qa.com to get my question from those hadeeth answered. that was the year I read qur’aan in completion in English. And you know what? A couple of my friends did that too. We connected together. We would meet and leave for the sake of Allah, and I pray that Allah keeps us under his shade on the day there is no shade but his – for this reason. We became friends for the sake of Allah. Period. Now subhanallah, we hang out every day, they are well on their way to becoming hafiz, I too am trying. We truly found Islam. Frankly, the masjid is not even a second home to me, but it is more dear to me than my own home now. And I think this is what we are all trying to achieve.

        And this cannot be achieved with once a month meetings. Never. It’s a good start, yes, but it’s just not enough. And I sat and talked about this with my sheikh, and alhamdulillah managed to convince him to give us an hour lecture once or twice every week, and other people giving lectures and helping with tarbiyyah every day and that is still going on – and we see more children coming out of their own free wills. 16 and 17 and 18,19,20 year olds driving by themselves, coming and sitting, and learning. And then hanging out talking about what we learned, and then leaving – only to come back and pray a couple hours later – a routine that goes on every day. But again, I spent years in the once a month session things, as well as my friends, and we did not achieve all that much out of it in our personal lives. Sure, we acted like we cared for the couple hours we did attend – but we went home to listen to Lil John, Eminem, Dr.Dre…may Allah forgive us for dealing with the shaitan that is music. (Also in Facebook, I fell into a deep hole in that, and I am lucky that Allah saved me from the fitnah. Not that everyone faces it, but I had when I was a young teen. I had a lot of “friends” that were western girls, and I barely saved myself from something which could have developed into Zina. Allah helped me cut it off when I started this going to the masjid, reading, watching lectures, studying under the shuyookh, etc. regularly)

        So this is my advice sister. You don’t have to plan anything big. Keep what you have going, but on the side – just every day – go to the masjid and start a halaqah between maghrib and Isha where you talk to these girls about Islam, Islamic Issues, as well as their personal lives and school. Help them, mentor them, and be their sisters in Islam. Atleast we can counter those 7 hours a day, with 1 hour a day. And I know that many people cannot participate because they are busy. Fine. No pressure. If you’re busy, tomorrow then. People will still come. When I felt down or weak, the masjid was my escape after I came to know it better. As for those who are just plain lazy? Well you have those monthly things right? Let’s make them less lazy there. As for those who care…they will show up. All we need is one sister who can dedicate 1 1/2 hours between maghrib and Isha. And if there is more than one sister, you can switch on and off….as the shuyook in my masjid do…in lectures, and halaqaat. And Allah will bless you more for trying regularly every day sincerely and saving and guiding only one soul, rather than trying not that hard, once a month – and not being of that much help to many girls in general.

        May Allah forgive me if I have offended you in any way sister, and I beg you to forgive me if I have said anything harsh or if you feel offended. That was truly not my purpose, as Allah is my witness. May Allah bless you and your family with nothing but Al Firdaus in the hereafter, and ease in this life. May Allah heal this ummah of it’s coma, and may Allah bless us all the companionship of Rasool Ullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) for whom we would sacrifice our mothers and father….in Jannatul Firdaus.

        • Hebah Ahmed

          March 21, 2011 at 10:17 PM

          We Alikum Asalam we Rahmat Allahee we Barakatu,

          Jazak Allahu Khair for your comments and insight. Of course there is not offense given nor taken and you bring many very valid points. There is not doubt the ideal is to have daily spiritual support for our youth to counter the barrage of fitnah they face every day without defense.

          What I described in the article is a youth group but you seem to be describing a full fledged community youth plan led by active members and a sheikh setting up daily halaqas which would support the efforts of a youth group.

          Unfortunately most communities do not seem to have the logistical support (be it volunteers or people of knowledge) for something this involved at this time. My advice is more for communities without any programs to address the problems of the youth and is applicable where there are only a couple of dedicated individuals that want to start something that is not overwhelming or requires too much time commitment.

          Additionally, there seems to be a general difference between the males and females because in general women cannot attend the masjid on a daily basis like men who either work close to the masjid or do not have the family commitments that a mother has.

          Of course a youth group will never take the place of parental commitment to an Islamic upbringing, homeschooling/Islamic schooling, and sheltering children from music and tv. But perhaps you underestimate the effect of your once a week or once a month activities during your youth on your eventual dedication to Islam. The point is to plant some seeds and increase the chance that when that youth decides to take responsibility for their morality, those seeds will blossom.

          I pray that Allah continues to increase your Iman and make you a baraka for your community Insha Allah. Ameen.

  11. Cartoon M

    March 17, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    Let’s say there’s a masjid without a youth group like the one in this article and a few college aged Muslims want to start one, but there isn’t a lot of people willing to attend yet.

    Is it better to start it off co-ed or start two separate ones for brothers and sister? Why?

    • Hebah Ahmed

      March 17, 2011 at 7:18 PM

      First of all, do not worry about attendance. You will have a lot of hesitation and doubts from the youth initially but if you stay consistent and relate to the few who do attend, word of mouth will spread. Set a schedule for yourself for one year and stick to it no matter what the turnout. Then re-evaluate after that first year since it takes about that long to really establish yourself and not be known as another fleeting idea in the community.

      I personally think the youth groups should be separate from the beginning. If you start out mixed you may be creating opportunities for haram and it will take away from your credibility with the parents and community. Also, separating makes for a much more relaxed environment where everyone can focus on the sister or brotherhood without worrying about the opposite sex. Although some of the youth will be intially turned off from this, the ones who really seek Islamic guidance will eventually come if the buzz spreads. Of course there are always youth who are simply not interested in their Islamic upbringing and are rebelling or seek purely social, mixed activities. You just have to accept that you are not going to get everyone but you want to encourage the ones who are sincere and want a halal outlet.

      The most important aspect to success is to really care about the youth on an individual basis and really get to know them, become their friend, and make them feel respected and not-judged. Without the personal relationship it is hard to be effective. The key is quality, not quantity. If you effect even one of the youth who may be struggling, isn’t it worth it?

      • Cartoon M.

        March 18, 2011 at 3:48 PM

        You make some very good points. JazakAllah khair. We had a small group during the summer at our local Masjid, but then mostly everyone had to go away for college. I’m not in charge, but inshAllah this summer I’ll suggest some of the points you made.

  12. ahmed

    March 17, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    MashaAllah, what an excellent program!

    I had been involved in a fairly successful halaqa/weekend activity type program for high-school and college aged brothers. It was going quite well for a while, but since it was at the masjid, eventually politics took over and the program has been stopped.

    You mention that the program has recently began to include Quranic Arabic and Tajweed classes. I assume there some sort of short Islamic lesson present in the program since the beginning, or was it intended purely as a Muslim youth social activity?

    The reason I ask is that our program may have been too heavy on the Islamic lesson for some of the attendees, who seemed bored during the lesson but were quite excited during the social activities.

    jazaky Allahu khairan for all your hard work

    was salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

    • Hebah Ahmed

      March 18, 2011 at 11:05 AM

      Asalam Alikum Br. Ahmed,

      Yes, Unfortunately Masjid politics seems to do kill almost every effort…that’s why these things are better set up independently and outside of the Masjid. It also give you more motiviation when you are truly in charge without having to get approval for everything.

      We most definitely had islamic knowledge as part of each “peer event”. The difference is that we blended it in to the circle discussion without making it a formal halaqa. For example, if the topic was about gender relations, we passed a fishbowl around with different questions and each girl picked one, answered it to the best of her knowledge, and then the whole group discussed. One questions was “Can you really have a platonic relationship with a guy?” Some said yes at first, so I would ask, “First, let’s see if it is allowed Islamically and then let’s discuss on a practical level.” And then we would explain what the quran and sunnah says on the topic and then talk about the realities of the attractions of males and females to each other. This way it was never too heavy on the academic Islam and it keep them talking. The key is to keep it interactive rather than talking at them.

      During the purely social events like swimming and bowling, we would just have casual conversations but many times the girls themselves would ask us questions about the Islamic perspective on something and it would generate a great discussion impromtu.

      The key was to build their iman and love of Allah and desire to please Him and see the wisdom behind Islamic rulings. After about 2 years of this subtle dawah, we kept testing the waters to see if they were interested in formal classes and when we saw their desire, we began offering the Tajweed classes. Once this happened they were racing to sign up for the Tajweed classes and were the main crew when we started bringing Al-Maghrib.

      I think for a guys’ group it may be a bit different cuz they are not inherently coming to talk like the girls. So for example, a boys youth group could play some basketball and then sit down and have this kind of circle QA discussion with some food. At first they may just stare at you silently but you have to keep prodding them. You could go around the circle and tell every person to give their thoughts until the conversation becomes more spontaneous. Save the halaqas for when they are asking for them.

      Hope that helps!

      Hebah

      • al

        June 24, 2016 at 1:43 AM

        here’s a good idea: indoctrinate youth with a ridiculous faith in a country that i dont belong in!

  13. Maryam

    March 17, 2011 at 11:49 PM

    JazakAllah Khair Sister Heba for this insightful and very relevant article. A few sisters and I from my local Muslim community in TN were just discussing this very topic; A lot of the ideas we brainstormed were similar to what you expressed in the article. So.. It couldn’t have come at a better time :)

    Daughterz of Eve sounds amazing, and may Allah put barakat in and accept all the work your community is doing . Keep us, and the entire ummah, in your duas!

    • Hebah Ahmed

      March 18, 2011 at 11:07 AM

      Ameen and AlhumduliLah! May Allah put baraka in your efforts and let me know if I can help in any way. Maybe we could turn this into a national organization and have Daughterz of Eve groups in each state! :)

  14. Sabour Al-Kandari

    March 18, 2011 at 12:58 AM

    May Allah reward you tremendously, and may Allah make this an inspiration for others so that it may further increase you in rewards.

    How would a brother with leadership in a MSA (university) best facilitate this type of strong social structure on the sisters side? I mean, for us it’s just a big question mark especially for someone with no sister/wife to get any inside scoop, but if one knows enough that there is a serious need what can a male do to ensure things are getting done?

    The big issue is that for your initiative you and your friend thoroughly understood the demand and understood very well the details of how to accomplish the goals, so all the leadership necessary existed within the sisters to get things done, but what is a brother to do if he doesn’t have this to work with? Even if leadership was found who got the basic point, it seems impossible to really get a firm grip on those minute details of how things are run that make a world of difference and how to improve them if necessary.

    • Hebah Ahmed

      March 18, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      Asalam ALikum Br. Sabour,

      Hmm, you ask some tough questions. I think you are very perceptive in your points about how we understood the needs and details and were direct driving forces of the initiative. I think it would be very difficult for you as an male to direct this kind of effort for the females. It needs to be something that the females take on as their own and work through themselves. I have a couple of suggestions. First, forward this article to the ladies you think have the greatest experience and understanding with the struggles of the the youth AND have a solid grounding in Islam and are practicing (since their behavior will be the example for the girls). Ask them to draft a proposal to submit to you with their ideas, including the minute details of activiteis, food, topics, questions, and Islamic knowldege they will bring to the activity. Tell them to contact me if they desire any advice or help. And then if it seems that they have thought through things well and are capable and excited about the effort, let them test the waters and then judge the success after a few attempts. DOE took great trial and error over a couple of years to really figure everything out so don’t be afraid to take chances and perhaps fail before it works.

      Another suggestion is to seek out an older woman in the community (in her thirties, preferably married) who was primarily raised in the West and who would understand the youth, who also has a charismatic, non-judging personality and is a good organizer and see if she would lead such an effort. I find that many of the MSA girls need someone older and experienced to guide them in such efforts. The MSA girls were really more of the participants before they could become the leaders. Our actvities were offered for ages 10-25.

      Finally, I encourage you to initiate such a group for the guys. Right now our community is begging for a boys group like DOE but all the males are too busy to step up. Perhaps if you set an example with a great guys group then the girls group will follow.

      Allah knows best and May He reward you for your intentions and desires to do Khair in your community and help the younger generation.

      Hebah

  15. Mahmood Ramzan

    March 18, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Asalaam Alaikum Sister Heba,
    I was extremely moved by this article. First of all, may Allah (swt) reward you for this efforts as I know this type of endeavours can be very strenous and exhausting. mA, its just very inspiring to see others with the same concerns and how they creatively those concerns are addressed. I really admire your efforts and pray Allah (swt) brings continous sucess to DOE.

    Couple of brothers and I have been part of a youth group initiative, Marjaan Youth Group (www.marjaan.org). Alhumdillah, the group has been sem-sucessful (due to the ups and downs) since its establishment in 2007. We started with the same concern as you (sisters). The emergence of Marjaan was due to multiple factors such as the condition of the youth and many friends experiencing an ephiphany. The condition of our youth in the community is quite astounding as young teenagers indulge in fornication often resulting in pregnancy, abusing drugs, dropping out of high schools and run away from homes. Secondly, many friends and I had very powerful religious experience and started practicing Islam and established Marjaan as a vehicle to make a positive difference for the youth since we ourselves were raised in the same community.

    Anyways, we have faced many challenges and through trial and errors have been able to cope with the problems. This article is definitely a source of inspiration. We will defintely be implementing some tips and tricks from this article. Jazakullahkhair and may Allah reward you in this world and hereafter.

    Mahmood

    • Hebah Ahmed

      March 21, 2011 at 10:30 PM

      May Allah put huge baraka in Marjaan Youth Group Insha Allah Ameen. You guys are filling a huge gap in your community MashAllah. I encourage anyone wanting to start a guys youth group to check out your website and use your group as an example Insha Allah.

      May Allah continue to use you for His work Insha Allah. Ameen.

  16. Sadaf

    March 18, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    Very inspiring, Hebah!
    May Allah reward you.

  17. Umm Reem

    March 19, 2011 at 12:08 AM

    Very inspiring Hebah, mashaAllah!

    I can relate to these girls, especially those who were in Saudi and then all of a sudden had to start their high school in US. I remember struggling through my high school, facing peer pressure, and becoming a loner! And going to a “dars” given by a desi aunty every Sunday :)

    Perhaps that’w why MSA-UH was a “shelter” for girls like me and we were so emotionally attached to it.
    May Allah reward you immensely for providing this outlet for these girls.

    “American Idol: Role Models in Islam”, asking the girls to identify their role models, discussing the effects disbelieving role models such as actresses and athletes can have on one’s deen, and understanding the consequences of posting certain words and images on Facebook and other public website

    Please do share how you divert these girls’ attention away from celebrities?

    • Amaal

      March 19, 2011 at 10:05 PM

      Salaam Alaikum Umm Reem,
      I’m apart of Daughterz of Eve, and I thought I would give you an inside scoop on how it I benefited from the “American Idol” Event.
      Before going to the event, I had a different perspective on celebrities. I remember always going to walmart, and while waiting in line, I’d look at every magazine and get all the gossip on these celebrities and I looked up to them as a role model.
      During the event, we got a piece of paper, and on the paper it asked who we looked up to and why we chose that certain person. Some of us chose celebrities because we really thought that our ultimate goal was to be like them.
      Throughout the discussion, we realized that these so called “role model” celebrities actually take away the goal of doing certain actions for the sake of Allah. We also talked about how the celebrities are more of the materialistic goal, rather than actual dunya. Alhamdullilah, I know I benefitted from it, and now my role models have drastically changed from celebrities to people such as Prophet (saw)’s wives and scholars rather than the celebrities that divert our goal.
      I hope I answered your question :)

      • Bint Alam

        March 20, 2011 at 3:37 PM

        sis What can be better than this??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 SubhaanAllaaah!!!!!!

        We were undergoing the same experiences and we attempted to open a similar youth club for young girls and we have started preparing for it when Allaah subhaanahu wa ta’la has shown me this!

        Allaahu Akbar! Allaahu Akbar! I have no words to express my joy, sister Hebah I would really love to know more about your activities so that we could get some co-operation insha Allaah. We are having our first event insha Allaah on 26th March, and Alhamdulillah the already practising young girls are taking lots of preps and maa shaa Allaah I can see how happily they are working, but we need things to get going for the sake of Allaah………may Allaah help us build a generation of sincere,purposeful, strong and focused muslimahs, ameen.

        No words to express my joy :D

        Just copy pasted my previous comment, i thought probably it was overlooked up there, so writing again here :)

      • Umm Reem

        March 21, 2011 at 6:37 AM

        mashaAllah, that’s great!

        But i think there is something more about celebrities, especially for girls, I think it is their beauty that mesmerizes them. Even when they are reminded that a lot of it is artificial and the art of make up artists…

        maybe there should be a makeup club for our girls too…

        • Hebah Ahmed

          March 21, 2011 at 11:28 PM

          Honestly, if you are looking for a instant solution to make females stop wanting to be like the models and air-brushed celebs, I don’t think it exists. I think women inherently want to be attractive and beautiful and we usually base that on our societal norms. What we at DOE were trying to do is at least give them the facts on an intellectual level and then hope that it will at least decrease the negative effects (especially on body image) and make them more conscious of their purpose in life…the akhira.

          Do some of the DOE girls still read all the twilight books and buy fashion magazines? Yes. Do they still listen to music with unIslamic lyrics? Yes. Are they all wearing hijab? No. Our point is to plant the seeds and support them when they were ready to make major life changes…and each girl is ready at different times. Sometimes the temptations are too great and they just need to keep being reminded of keeping those things in perspective.

          Early on we decided that our efforts were purely for the sake of Allah and that we would stop having expectations of seeing major changes in the girls. Once we stopped looking for it, suddenly it started happening. If our efforts were effect-oriented we would have quit early on. I think it was the consistency that eventually produced the positive impact.

          That being said, I honestly think that the most important tool we had is beyond what we said…it was being a constant example for them. They could see strong practicing Muslim women who could be intellectuals, contribute to society, and still be fun. As they grow and start thinking about being wives and mothers, they Insha Allah will begin to transform into the Muslim women they want to be Insha Allah.

          But they do need outlets as well to feel beautiful and appreciated in an Islamic way. That’s why we did manicures and facials and henna. So a make-up club could work too! :)

  18. ihsan

    March 19, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    Assalam alaikum,

    Umm,this is a bit off point…and directed to Umm Reem.i have so been looking forward to the rest of your series (been checking almost everyday for the past two weeks).pls keep them rolling and may Allah reward you for it.

    And jazakumullah khair MM for all the good,
    Ma’assalam

    • Umm Reem

      March 20, 2011 at 12:17 PM

      forgive me for not being able to keep my commitment…I will inshaAllah soon post the rest of the series…I got a bit distracted and was traveling too…inshaAllah soon :)

  19. khadoojh

    March 19, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    MashAllah Hebah great artical. I started the DOE program late. however the first time I sat down with all the girls I felt like part of the family. I am so happy that we will have a camp this summer. I know I could have used this kind of program when I was younger and now I feel much better knowing my sister and inshAllah my children will one day have programs like this. May Allah bless you and your family for sharing you with us. I LOVE YOU HEBAH

    • Hebah Ahmed

      March 21, 2011 at 10:59 PM

      Love you too Khadijah (for the sake of Allah)!

      • al

        June 24, 2016 at 1:44 AM

        there is no love in islam

  20. halima

    March 20, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    This is pretty cool! I wish every community could have a similar program especially for us sisters.

    • Bint Alam

      March 21, 2011 at 2:33 PM

      where is sis Hebah gone? :S

      • Hebah Ahmed

        March 21, 2011 at 11:02 PM

        I’m here. Sorry I cannot always get to an internet connection.

  21. Ibn Hawa

    March 21, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Salamu alaykoum wa rahmatoulahi wa barakatuh

    May Allah grant you patience and success in your program and makes it an example to other communities.

  22. Mariya

    March 21, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    Jazak Allah Khair everyone for the kind words. May Allah help Hebah and her sister, Sarah, continue the work since I have left New Mexico for Brooklyn, NY.

    This was one of the most rewarding dawah project I ever took. I had the most excellent dawah companionship of my sister, Hebah, and later on her sister. It was essentially a reactive approach but over years it affected many lives and the “halaqas” created a great camaraderie between the girls and us. Most importantly the girls realized that their issues were not in the least trivial and that we, too, went through similar issues in schools or in college.

    Most of us remember some dark periods in our lives when growing up or times when we could have benefited from meaningful guidance but we did not receive it. Just think what could we have benefited from at that time? It could have been spiritual guidance from Quran or the sunnah of the Prophet (saw), just a listening ear or someone to give us frank advice. Therefore, through this group we wanted to be there for the girls and guide them through similar periods we experienced when growing up.

    Now in Brooklyn I continue my search for another Hebah and Sarah! :)

    Walaikum as Salaam!

    • Hebah Ahmed

      March 21, 2011 at 11:07 PM

      We MISS you Mariya…come back!!!!!

  23. Hebah Ahmed

    March 21, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    Thank you Br. Abner.

  24. MaryamW

    March 28, 2011 at 10:14 AM

    Is there a way Sr. Hebah can be reached privately?

  25. Bint Alam

    March 28, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    Alhamdulillah we just had our first event on 26th March, it was a blast Alhamdulillah with an attendance of more than 100….inshaa Allaah I am writing a note on it, will post it soon inshaAllaah :)

    • MaryamW

      March 28, 2011 at 1:24 PM

      Alhamdulillah, that’s awesome!

      Look forward to reading it :)

      • Bint Alam

        April 20, 2011 at 12:00 AM

        It’s there now sis below….have a nice read biidhnillah :)

  26. Shireen

    April 13, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    BarakaAllah feekom! May Allah bless and reward your efforts!

  27. Zunaira

    April 16, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Assalamualaikum

    we are trying to do this where i am, do you have any suggestions?

  28. Bint Alam

    April 19, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Okay so I post our note on the first event we had with the girls here. Sorry if it is too big, hope you get new ideas and we get the rewards in sha Allaah :)

    ___________________________________________________________________________________

    The phone rang. ‘ Ana, you need to change the schedule of 21st February’s programme, you must postpone it, I have to urgently go to Singapore, probably today or tomorrow’, my sister Shathi apu said from the other side of the phone keeping me all shocked. SubhaanAllaah, all the preparations, everything, we have to wait for another one month for 26th March to come to have our first youth programme? Hmmmmm, that day, it seemed to be a looong time, but I really realised that time runs fast, so are our lives and that which is coming must come one day and so there it was, 26th March in front of us, keeping us excited and tensed at the same time, and there it has now left us still keeping us excited for the next event because of the success in this one, ALHAMDULILLAH!

    Yes sisters, Alhamdulillah we organised the first ever youth islamic programme with all the young girls of our community, and it was a blast. First of all, I would ask Allah to purify our hearts and accept the work from us and give us tawfeeq to help people more come closer to Him, and I thank my Lord for giving us such opportunities that are beneficial and fun at the same time.

    The youth of every nation means a lot to its elders. To ensure a safe and bright future we must ensure that we have a group of responsible and sincere youth. And to us our youth really means a lot. There will be no more prophets sent to this earth to show people the path of peace and guidance, so who will continue the legacy of the prophets? Definitely it has to be our youth. In order for them to carry out this beautiful and big responsibility those of us whom Allah has shown the path of guidance, it is on us to help our youth learn about their beautiful way of life and be proud of it. To help our young people spend a beautiful, purposeful and enlightened life especially their young age Alhamdulillah some of us sisters have taken the initiative to get them into one platform and share the message of Islam revealing its concealed beauty :) We know that our youth have been gifted with super intellect and potentials,so why let them go in waste? Indeed their potential is a blessing from Allaah for which there is a responsibility too, and we must help them fulfill that responsibility, that is to help them use their potential in the most noble cause.

    Our first event topic was ‘give your brain some food’. Since, we have been living in a time like which no human civilisation lived before, it was important that we began our youth programme addressing this very basic issue. We are living in a time where we are surrounded by the things created by men, as a result we are very rarely exposed to the amazing and mesmerising creations of our Creator. And it is only through knowing and thinking about the fascinating and perfect creations of Allaah that a person will be able to use his brain for the noblest cause and that is to submit to Almighty Allaah and live a life according to His Pleasure. We as humans perceive our weaknesses very easily and so when we see the super perfect creations of Allaah, it is only the wisest thing for us to submit our wills to the will of the One Who is above all imperfections! So basically, we wanted all the young girls who were present there, to come out of the shackles of slavery to materialistic life for a moment, and give their brain some food.

    Honestly speaking, every time I write this I just can’t finish getting over the topic, because this is a topic that never bored me out! And how can it be, when every time I listen and see the fascinating and super perfect creations of Allaah, the vast distances, the huge diameters, it only makes me realise how small and weak I am, and how perfect and big is the One Who created and my heart fills with joy and happiness that I am no more a slave of His creations but rather only Him!

    So we made an arrangement of 100 people. Chairs were brought and set up in our da’wah centre’s hall room. Our young girls made some wonderful and amazing posters with which we decorated the walls.We gave each guest a note book with a pen and two pamphlets on the basics of Islam inside the notebook. They were all posed with a question ‘what do you think you were created for? to get their brains working immediately :). They were also all given a copy of book on knowing Allaah through His Creatiosn. We arranged a free food court and a small fair for the girls who were present there. Alhamdulillah we had some yummy dishes that served just the perfect cause and which consisted of home-made chocolate coated donuts, cakes, chicken buns and chips along with drinks! And believe me, it was pretty cheap yet fantastic, Alhamdulillah! Right after the food, the fair stalls were open. I just can’t wait to write what we made for the stalls. Read below :)

    We made hand-made Islamic souvenirs, ALhamdulillah! The items were: ‘mugs sold for 50 taka’, with glass-painting done on them with various Quranic aayahs, ahadeeth and virtuous words, ‘t-shirts for kids’ with Islamised writing on them (I’ll try giving some samples up here insha Allah if allowed to), hand-made bags with beautiful writing and islamic pictures embroidered with them, hand-made handkerchiefs with Islamic pictures and beautiful writings, hijab for prayer and CDs on various Islamic topics, and the best part was most of our products were sold!!! Alhamdulillah. The young girls who were volunteers for the event worked really hard in making the gifts and products, may Allaah give them full reward and on the day of event they were really co-operative maa shaa Allaah.

    So what happened at the end? Before the programme we estimated about 30-40 people to come, yet we made an arrangement of 100, in case. SubhaanAllaah, there was a total of about 150 people and in fact there wasn’t much space left in the huge hall room! Alhamdulillah, there was no shortage of food for the guests except that my dear lovely volunteers didn’t get much left, so we brought them some fried chicken, and I hope you guys enjoyed it ;)

    BTW, the lecture session really ended funny with me (the host) falling off from a chair in front of the whole audience :D :D :D

    Alhamdulillaahi Rabbil ‘alameen, we definitely look forward to the next event next month, insha Allah we hope this will be a platform for the girls to raise their own voice, share their problems and get the best solution from the deen of Allaah :) Every month insha Allah we will arrange a halal alternative for the girls to have a beneficial and fun session at the same time :) Keep us in your prayers so that Allaah purifies our intentions and give barakah in the works!

    Live Islaam, and you will love it!

    • Hebah Ahmed

      April 19, 2011 at 9:24 PM

      MASHA ALLAH! What an amazing blessing from Allah. So creative and what a turnout! Barak Allahu Feekum. May Allah continue to use you for His Dawah Insha Allah. May you get Sadaqa Jariya for your hard work Insha Allah. Ameen.

      • al

        June 24, 2016 at 1:46 AM

        you are legally insane hebah, go away. what are you doing indoctrinating people in new mexico?

  29. Bint Alam

    April 19, 2011 at 11:59 PM

    Ameen…is there anyway I can email you personally to stay in touch with the updates of such youth programmes and share our ideas? Probably someday we can have a global muslim youth club :) or at least organise events together be they online too :) MM comment places are not very convenient y’knw.

    We need suggestions and support time to time inshaAllaah, and it’s always a great feeling to be connected with all the sisters working in the same field for the same cause Alhamdulillah :)

  30. panna

    November 6, 2012 at 7:22 AM

    i love this

  31. Hassan

    March 12, 2013 at 3:06 AM

    Asalam aleykum…

    The stray of youths these days in my country Nigeria from the deen is becoming alarming. Mostly some don’t have the parental guadiance for on track and most just stray far away when they get to the university and make new friends.

    In line with this, myself and some others have decided we come up with a magazine that will be distributed free to youths espeacially teenagers.

    Now I need your help, your suggestions on how you think the magazine should look, the contents like columns you think should be present.

    Jazakumullah khayran! I hope to here from you ASAP. You can reach me on my email. *email removed by Comment Team*

  32. Selwa

    February 25, 2016 at 11:56 PM

    Asselwamu alaikum wr wb, dear hebba if it is possible please contact me via email as soon as possible. My name is selwa and I am in the process of organizing a youth group for my community. Your page has given me so many additional ideas to what I already have and even motivated me more to make this successful. I have lots of questions so please respond as soon as you can. Thank you very much.

  33. Fatimah

    April 17, 2016 at 11:46 PM

    AsSalaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullaah
    Alhamdulilaah jazaakAllaahkhairan for sharing. I am also a youth mentor. Just to share ideas so that others may benefit just as we are benefiting from your article iA… Our program is in its 4th year aH. The schedule is open gym (at a school across from out masjid)which we rent for 2 hours, followed by free time, prayer, a meal (provided by dedicated community member(s)) then an opener (ice breaker/game) and session/discussion. There are many more details and elements to the program, but just thought to give the schedule that has worked for our community.
    May Allaah guide us and be pleased with all of our efforts!

  34. nabeela

    September 27, 2021 at 10:59 AM

    Assalaamu alaikum
    I came across this article and am so glad I did. I am a menttor for a youth group and really needed some help and ideas. I was willing you could help me Sister Heba?

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