FITNESS Couple Goals

Bismillah

All praises and thanks be to Allah. Abundant salutations be upon His beloved Messengerﷺ.

Can you believe half of 2020 is OVER?!

This gets me every year:

FITNESS Intentions:

I intend to eat healthy and exercise to:

– follow the sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ;

-look attractive to my spouse;

-have energy to do activities with my spouse;

-carry a healthy baby in the future isA;

-have energy to play with our future kids;

-be an example to our future kids and make it easy for them to live a healthy lifestyle when they grow up isA.

For those who are not yet married, this question is definitely one to ask to a prospective spouse. Something along the lines of: What are your lifestyle habits? How do you envision or what would you like your married lifestyle to be like?

If there was one thing I could go back and change at the beginning of our marriage, it would be to commit to a healthy lifestyle from the start. This would mean cooking more and eating out/ordering in less. And being committed to gyming/exercising. It would have saved us from being in the place we’re at now. But hey; as the saying goes:

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

-Chinese Proverb

So this morning Masud and I started our first workout together with our online personal trainer. There are free workouts on YouTube, but we needed the accountability of a live trainer🦾.

We’ve welcomed the “new norm” with open arms. We adapted quite well, but we are missing our monthly gatherings. Egypt was never under a lockdown like South Africa was. We had curfews and the closure of most public places. As of Saturday the 30th of June 2020, the restrictions were lifted, and most places are now open, including the mosques, except for Jumu’ah. So yesterday Masud and I got to have our first lunch date together in like 3 months!

We have been staying at home, and doing online grocery shopping via an app called InstaShop. Our teachers have been coming over so our studies are continuing, Alhamdulillah. I’m currently doing Qira-at, Arabic, ‘Aqidah, Fiqh, and Tafsir. It is a lot of work, and it is not easy, but there is no difficulty except that Allah makes it easy if He wills.

June was a jam-packed month for me, as I took on more students than ever before; my new term of my psychology studies started, and my online qira-at course started up again after being on Ramadan and Eid break.

In addition, I started EXERCISING and HEALTHY EATING – which was meant to be the point of this blog post. Masud wanted to attempt Keto, which he’s successfully done before, but I disagree with it, and was not keen on preparing separate meals for us every day, so he quickly gave up on it. If I don’t make him food he ends up ordering in🤦🏻‍♀️.

I joined a 30-day challenge and exercised at least 3 times a week🏋🏻‍♀️. I was also fasting quite a lot due to paying in days plus Shawwal fasts, and that really boosted my weight loss. It felt amazing to visibly see and feel the difference💃. So this month, Masud was inspired to start exercising too.

Hijabi Logistics: We have a male trainer, but being a hijabi, I train without him seeing me. I can do this because I’ve trained before, so I already know how to do proper squats and lunges etc. And my husband checks me out to make sure I’m on point😆.

My fitness level is miles ahead of Masud’s because I’d been exercising for a month already, but I’m sure he’ll catch up in due course. Our personal trainer gave each of exercises appropriate to our fitness level.

During the workout Masud felt nauseous and threw up. At the end of the hour he was seeing stars. I just felt like I had a workout💪. I remember my first time last month – I felt like an old lady! But it’s amazing how our bodies adapt, subhanAllah.

I’d been going to gym on and off over the past 2 years. I am planning to join the nearby ladies gym once it reopens inShaAllah🏋🏻‍♀️

Our bodies are an amanah (trust) from Allah (SWT), and it’s one of the things we’ll be accountable for. May Allah SWT aid us in keeping our bodies fit and healthy as a form of worship, and to perform our acts of worship better.

Fitness goes hand-in-hand with healthy eating. It’s a huge challenge for us because we’re not fruit and veggie fans and absolutely love junk food🍔. But we’re trying and that’s what matters🥗.

The harder the struggle, the greater the reward.

I’m thinking to do the next blog post on our healthy eating, so let me know what you think.

With best of du’as for your worldly and Hereafter success,

Wasfeeya

The Motto of our Marriage

Bismillah

All praises and thanks be to Allah. Abundant salutations be upon His beloved Messenger

I always wanted my married home to be a place of knowledge. A place of gathering. A place of welcoming others and getting to know new people. But most importantly, a home where the name of Allah is mentioned and His messenger SAW is sent blessings. A home that will show up as light up in the heavens and a place that will testify for us one day. A home that will cry when we die because we no longer place our heads on it in prostration.

By the Grace of Allah, we’ll be hosting our fifth event at our home tonight. We’ve been immensely blessed to have hosted scholars and catered for around 100 English-speaking students. The purpose bring together all the English-speaking students as there isn’t any other platform like this for international students. There are associations specific to certain countries like the Malaysian students Association who looks after the needs of its students, but nothing for everyone.To let you behind the scenes, hosting these events have not gone down without their fair share of quibbles and quarrels between Masud and I. From what food to serve the guest speakers to where to place the furniture. But by now we know the drill. Our third-hand furniture is kinda embarrassing so we put them in the back room and borrow our neighbour’s furniture for the guest speakers. Our lounge floor looks like a quilt with all the different coloured rugs and blankets for everyone to sit on.

Our format is to have a talk with a Q & A, followed by delicious briyani and koesisters (traditional Cape Malay doughnuts). We just had to bring our Cape Town hospitality to Cairo and introduce everyone to the taste of koesisters. I wish I could say I make everything myself, but luckily for me, it’s 2020 and catering is the order of the day. We have a lovely Pakistani British lady who makes the food and one of the South African ladies who makes the koesisters or doughnuts. I also wish I could say we offer everything, but generous donors make this all possible Alhamdulillah. In addition, they’re by no means our events, but rather a collective effort of a team of students.

The motto of our marriage is “team work makes the dream work”. And it proves true every single time, Alhamdulillah.

May Allah SWT accept from us and everyone involved. Āmīn.

With best of du’as for your worldly and Hereafter success,

Wasfeeya.

Almost 2 years (and only food babies to show)

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Especially Merciful. Abundant salutations be upon Beloved Prophet Muhammad

Raising children is not simply about being responsible for feeding and clothing them. Nor about just intellectually stimulating and educating them. You are responsible for nurturing their rūh (soul). Allah takes care of their physical growth. You are the one in charge of nurturing their fitrah (inherent inclination to know Allah) and raising them into becoming a waliyy (“friend”) of Allah. I learned from one of my teachers, Ml. Zahir Parker, that your intention shouldn’t be to just raise a believer in Allah but a waliyy of Allah. In order to do that you need to be striving to be a waliyy yourself. Being on your own journey to Him and increasing in love for Nabi Muhammad ; purifying your soul of spiritual diseases so that they do not get passed down onto your offspring. I learned from Sh. Ahmed Al-Azhary that spiritual illnesses get passed down onto your children. In my psychology studies I’ve learned that emotional trauma can be passed down for generations, so it’s not hard to believe that so can spiritual diseases. I can actually recognise in myself some of my own inherited spiritual weaknesses. Self-awareness is the first step through the practice of muhāsabah; taking account of yourself. Along with murāqabah; being in a state where you’re constantly aware that Allāh is watching you, and striving to worship Him as such.

I’ve been physically able to have a baby since the age of 9. I’ve been emotionally capable to have a baby since the age of around 20. But at the age of 26 I am not spiritually ready to have a baby. So how old will I be when I am ready? That all depends on how much work I put in. Maybe I will feel ready at some point. But I know that it will ultimately be whenever Allāh decrees.

On this point, “women in their 30s don’t need to be reminded that their “clock is ticking,” newlyweds don’t need to hear “Don’t wait too long, eh!” and parents of small toddlers don’t need to be questioned “When are you going to give little Joe a sibling?” It is frankly none of our business.” -Suzanne Jannese

May Allah bless those who want children with healthy and pious offspring, and help them to fulfill their roles as parents in these increasingly challenging times. Aameen.

“And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us from among our spouses and offspring coolness to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.”” (Qur’an, 25:74).

With best of du’as for your worldly and Hereafter success,

Wasfeeya.

PS: Eeek! We’re almost 2 years married!😁. Send any anniversary ideas our way!

Muslim Couple Goals

Bismillah

There’s something about a new year that I just love. It’s refreshing to start anew. New calendar, new diary, new goals.

Some #couplegoals are rather shallow like getting matching watches or matching outfits. That’s really cute😍, but there are meaningful goals to aspire towards in life.

We sat down and revisited our couple goals.

We’ll be sharing some general Muslim couple goals.

Relationship goals

-Reflect on your relationship together: what you love, what you dislike, and what can be improved etc. See a marriage counselor if needs be. There’s nothing shameful about seeking help. It can be rather destructive if you need but don’t get the assistance you require.

-Read a personal development book together and implement the lessons learned. Be daily reminders to each other.

-Learn and support each other’s love languages.

-Have daily, uninterrupted connection time.

-Learn a language together.

-Do housework together.

-Exercise together.

-Eat healthy meals.

-Have regular date nights.

-Go on holiday at least once a year.

Spiritual goals

Spiritual things to do together:

-Write a gratitude list

-Fardh salaat

-Du’a (for your marriage & everyone/everything else).

-Recite awraad or athkaar, morning & evening

-Make tahajjud salaah.

-Memorise or revise Qur’an.

-Study Arabic/Hadith/Islamic studies.

-Go to Islamic classes.

-Watch a beneficial series together like Umar RA and Ertugral.

-Give charity in cash or kind.

-Listen to or watch Islamic lectures. We love watching a series called “Ayyuhal Mureed” by Habib Ali Jifri.

-Make the intention to go on ‘Umrah & Hajj. Register for Hajj if you haven’t yet.

Financial goals

-Don’t just budget but formulate a proper financial plan: how much you need for xyz including time frames etc. The spiritual goal of ‘Umrah/Hajj requires financial planning too.

-Invest: in property or shariah-compliant funds. E.g. Oasis Asset Management, Kagiso asset management company, Element Investment Managers. Consult a financial planner if you don’t know where to start.

Saving alone may not be sufficient to meet your financial goals.

Please share your couple goals too!

With best of du’as for your worldly and Hereafter success,

Wasfeeya & Masud

Today – One Year Since Meeting

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Alhamdulilah, exactly one year ago I got to meet my beloved wife. I flew to South Africa from Cairo, and landed on the 24th of November 2017. I went to meet her in the evening. I had so many things on my mind. I was feeling very nervous and anxious, but I had faith in Allah that everything would be okay.

At my first glance of Wasfeeya I knew that she was the one I wanted to marry. Everything about her just called my name; how she was as a person, her ambitions, the way she carried herself, her beauty. We got engaged 2 weeks later and we got married shortly afterwards.

I am writing this blog post while I’m flying on my way to Egypt from Brunei to see my beloved wife again. Exactly a year later I am flying to see her again, but this time around I am seeing her with a heart filled with love. She has become my closest companion, my best friend, my biggest supporter and my greatest fan.

Many things have changed since. We moved to Egypt to pursue our islamic studies. We’ve faced different marriage obstacles together; me learning to adapt to her ways and she learning to adapt to my ways, and meeting each other half-way at times.

Marriage is not a walk in the park and communication is vital to a successful marriage.

I have not been the best of husbands because of becoming complacent, forgetting that sometimes the smallest things means the most. Being apart from my wife for all this time (3 weeks) really taught me how much she means to me and that I need to get back to the basics again.

Sometimes the rat race of life gets to you and you forget what’s really important.

I am really excited to see you Wasfeeya in the next few hours inshallah. I know just that glance of you again will just bring complete joy to my heart again

Allah is the most merciful.

I love you Wasfeeya.

Independently Together

Bismillah

I believe that it is vital to our healthy marriage that we each have our own hobbies, interests, friends, ambitions, and LIVES.

I find myself alone, once again, but I’m not feeling sorry for myself all sad, depressed and lonely. I have managed to build a life for myself, independent of my husband, and he is fully supportive and encouraging of me and everything that I do, Alhamdulillah. I get around on my own, go to class, meet up with friends, and go to gym. Pretty much just like I did before we got married, except that I’m in a foreign country all on my own.

The important thing is that we spoke about who we are and how we live our lives before we got married, over email and in marriage counselling as well. So we knew we were two independent people coming together to form a new life together. We have our beautiful married life, but we have our lives independent of each other too. Like we have this joint blog and I have my own blog too.

What helps makes this work so well is that we’re extremely open with each other about absolutely everything, especially touchy topics like passwords and money. Even more open than I expected us to be. There are no secrets. And there doesn’t need to be. That’s what trust is. To us, anyway.

Happy 9 Months 😍♥️! We’re truly blessed beyond measure, Alhamdulillah. May Allah (SWT) protect us & our marriage, and all marriages for His sake. Āmīn. Shukran for being everything that you are to me.⁣

With best of du’as for your worldly and Hereafter success,

Wasfeeya

Apart

Bismillah

I never thought it would be soooo hard. To be apart. I’m alone in a foreign land. But there’s no need to be afraid. I’m not in South Africa😅. I went to sleep early the evening husbae left. I was exhausted. I had written my mid-level Arabic exam. And the previous day we had walked Khan el-Khalili flat, looking for little gifts and books that Masud had been requested to buy to take to friends in South Africa.

The house is empty. I’m alone. It makes me sad. The night after he was gone I cried. Despite not expecting to. I feel like I’m catching a glimpse of what it’s like to mourn the loss of your partner. You think of all the little things they do that used to bring joy to your day. To your life. I miss waking up to him greeting me with a smile. I miss coming home to his open arms after class. I miss his random hugs from behind throughout the day. I miss him coming home with little surprise presents. But more than anything, I just miss his warm presence.

A friend reminded me that this temporary period is alone time with Allah. Everything truly is perspective. And everything Allah places before us is meant for us to turn to Him. And to get closer and closer to Him. Until we meet Him.

Eid Al-Aḍhaa – Our First

Bismillah

Masud and I were stoked to host our first function at our apartment. We’ve had friends over before for meals, but never before had we catered for this many people! We initially decided to have just close couple friends and a few single guys – Masud always thinks of them because he knows what it’s like to be one. Then the night before ‘Eid Masud being out with one of his friends phones me and asks me – but more like tells me – if we could invite all the other South African students here. Like, how about no?!! I’m already starting to stress about the food. But I knew that Masud would help me out. And he did.

So ‘Eid morning arrived, after having worked throughout the night. I made half-moons – from scratch; something I never thought I’d do. I baked chicken pie- which is a Capetownian tradition and breakfast must-have. And I made some mini-quiches. Quick tip: I used the same chicken & corn filling for all the yummy savouries.

That wasn’t going to be enough for our 20 plus guests though. I don’t know what I would’ve done without our neighbours/friends on the floor below ours. It was Masud’s idea to take out all the frozen chicken strips and chicken nuggets we had, and she baked them for us. And we took her two loaves of bread and she made toasted cheese sandwiches, apart from making assorted rolls. And everyone brought yummy goodies and juices along. Everyone polished off the ‘Eid breakfast and had a wonderful time, Alhamdulillah!

We spoke about ‘Eid Al-Adhaa back home, and one of the sisters from Joburg was telling us about slaughtering sheep herself! I don’t think that’s something that happens in Cape Town but it seems to be common in Joburg. (For females to sacrifice sheep themselves).

I could never do it myself. I can’t even watch it taking place. But I that’s where the test lies – sacrificing something you love, for the sake of Allah. As difficult as it is. It wouldn’t be a sacrifice if it was easy.

We caught some sleep after everyone left, and then got ready for lunch at our fave restaurant called Sizzlers Steak House in City Stars Mall.

The next night was the official SASA – South African Students’ Association in the Arab Republic of Egypt – supper. After a supper of briyani and chicken curry with roti, the takbeer rendered in the Capetownian melody brought tears to my eyes and contentment to my heart.

If we were in Cape Town, we most likely would have spent this ‘Eid at my family’s house as ‘Eid Al-Fitr would’ve been at Masud’s family. I usually make strawberry or pineapple dessert. My sister’s the type to buy dessert. So the night before ‘Eid my sister phoned me to say the cake shop was out of the cake she wanted to buy and asked me for my strawberry dessert recipe. When I spoke to my grandma later, she said the dessert was nice but mine is better!

As much as I love and miss my family back home in Cape Town, for me, home is where my husband is. This entire dunya is ultimately only temporary. So I’m at home, for now. It can only be Allah SWT who grants us contentment with where we are.

Oh Changer of hearts, keep our hearts firm on your deen. Aameen.

Keep us and our studies is your du’as,

Wasfeeya & Masud.

The Day it all Started

20 July 2018

Bismillah

It has been a while since I’ve done a blog post. Life has gotten so busy with studies and being married, subhanallah.

Exactly a year ago today I mustered up the courage to email Wasfeeya, now my wife, to show interest in marriage. I went back and forth on what to say in the email. I began in the name of Allah and a carefully selected salawaat upon the Prophet (saw). I laid it all out logically, starting with who I am, my personality, why Egypt and where I am at in life at the moment, what my goals are, and what I am looking for in a wife.

Eventually I sent it.

It happened to be her father’s birthday, so she only responded later that evening. That’s where our journey started.

We emailed back and forth and before long we knew that this was going to be happening, by the Will of Allah.

Things have changed so much since, alhamdulilah. We are nearly 6 months married now and living abroad studying Islamic studies in Egypt. A real blessing from Allah.

Things are not always perfect but marriage is about learning and growth, and that’s what I’ve taken from being married thus far. Sacrifice and perseverance – with these 2 principles applied in one’s married, many unnecessary issues can be avoided.

Please keep us in your duas.

Jazakallah khair

Masud

Our First Ramaḍān and Eid in Egypt🤗

By the Grace of Allah SWT, we had a busy, blessed month of Ramaḍān, Alhamdulillah. I was really looking forward to experiencing Ramaḍān in Egypt, but as soon as it started, homesickness hit me hard. I missed the familiar feeling of Ramaḍān in Cape Town. On top of that, I was paralysed by the intense heat and fell asleep during the day – with the kind of sleep as though I was dead. Then I had to stressfully scramble to get iftār together as Maghrib approached, reminding myself to make du’a and salawāt as I went about in the kitchen. I missed having a household helper more than ever. As the month progressed, thankfully everything became better.

Alhamdulillah, we experienced tarāwīh in a variety of masājid, Masud’s favourite being Masjid Al-Rahmān Al-Rahīm.

We had friends over for iftār and were invited out as well.

Iftār at Mostafa Atef’s house

I enjoyed a few ladies-only iftār gatherings as well, one of them of course being with the South African students here.

And experiencing food from different countries along with the wonderful company of foreign friends.

The amazing thing about Ramaḍān in a Muslim country is that everyone is observing the holy month. Like have you ever heard of a suhūr vibe before? For our last suhūr, we really enjoyed the cool suhūr atmosphere at a local Egyptian place with our friends.

What is different about Ramaḍān and masājid in Egypt (compared to Cape Town)?

NB: These observations are based on my experiences of masājid in Cairo and Cape Town; I obviously cannot generalise every single masjid. Feel free to comment or contact me.

In Cape Town we used to wait for the athaan on the radio, and when we heard Moulana Irshaad Sedick’s voice, we knew it was close. Here, a handful of live athaans sound at the fall of dusk, relieving us of our thirst and bringing the blessing of accepted du’as.

The “Laylatul Qadr” program (at Masjid Al-Rahmān Al-Rahīm) is on the 29th night (instead of the 27th night like in Cape Town). It gave the opportunity to very young students to recite Qur’an and give naseehah (advice). Surprisingly, there was a woman who rendered the nasheed “Qamarūn” in the male section of the masjid! I don’t think that would ever take place in a mainstream masjid in Cape Town.

Most masājid perform only eight raka’āt of tarāwīh salaah. In Cape Town all the masājid pray 20, except for 1 masjid (as far as I know).

In Egypt there is no luqmah: the act where a hafidh behind the Imam corrects the Imam when he makes a mistake in recitation. In contrast, in Cape Town, it’s standard to have a designated hafidh do this “job”.

There is a break after the first four raka’āt, in which there is naseehah (advice), and/or Qur’an recitation or nasheeds. The breaks felt really long, maybe about 15-20 minutes, obviously varying from masjid to masjid. In Cape Town the naseehah is usually after the entire tarāwīh session is finished.

They include the khatm of Qur’an in ‘Eshaa salaah; which I dislike ’cause if you arrive late, you have no idea whether they’re praying ‘Eshaa or tarāwīh. In Cape Town they don’t usually include the khatm in Eshaa salaah.

Some masājid complete the khatm of Qur’an, others don’t. In Cape Town, all the masājid complete the khatm (as far as I’m aware.)

There are some strange observations of tarāwīh. For turbo speed tarāwīh, go to this masjid where the imam only recites one ayah per raka’āh. This Indian guy from SA told us about it – trust the Indian guy to find the fastest tarāwīh in Cairo!

(Just kidding! No offence intended).

In some of the masājid there are separate salaah areas for ladies with children. At these masājid ladies with kids can’t pray in the area for ladies without children, which is so awesome, ’cause you can pray in peace! And if you are a mother, you have the opportunity to go to the masjid guilt-free due to the section dedicated to you!

On another note, I had the audacity to expect better bathroom facilities since this is a Muslim country, but no. Cape Town’s masājid’s wudhu sections are better than here. Often there are just normal basins; no wudhu sections here. The female bathrooms were clearly designed by males. There are a handful of toilets and basins to hundreds of women, no exaggeration. I hate to bring this up, but seriously, women need to be consulted when it comes to the building of women’s restrooms at masājid – I’m sure no woman would mind financially contributing or helping to find the resources if that’s a problem. May Allah SWT guide us and assist us and grant us understanding. Āmīn.

On a high note, the melodious recitation here is on another level. They recite slowly, with no rush. No worries that the night is so short and we need to rest and eat suhūr. No thoughts about needing to get to work for school the next day. In Cape Town they recite so fast you can barely keep up. I have come across a few exceptions who are on point, especially those who studied in Egypt, MaShaAllah.

Eid

Firstly, I was grateful that Allah SWT facilitated for me to get my Eid clothes, stress-free, Alhamdulillah. I’m convinced it was because it was the 27th night of Ramaḍān. We were on our way home from the masjid in the early hours of the morning, and Masud proposed the idea to get it over and done with. We looked around. He suggested the dress. I initially wasn’t keen on it, but it suited me, so compliments to him for his good taste. Then we found a tailor opposite the shop who altered it for me right away. And voila la! Only in Egypt!

We made our way to ‘Eid salaah just after 5am. Masud initially wasn’t keen on me going. Probably because in Cape Town most ladies stay home to prepare breakfast, but we were going out for breakfast anyway, so there was no need for me to stay home. The masjid has always played a significant part in my spirituality, even if I was cramped up in a room for ‘Eid salaah in Cape Town; I still felt the live takbeer reverberate through me and appreciated the khutbah reminding me of my blessings and advising me to goodness. Simply being present in one of the houses of Allah is spiritually contenting. Here in Egypt the masājid are filled with women for ‘Eid salaah; at our masjid, they actually gave the women the entire male area of the masjid, and the males performed salaah outside, as per the sunnah of ‘Eid salaah. Ladies walked around giving out sweets. The khutbah was concise. The program was short and sweet. I actually felt surprised when it was over. It was the shortest ‘Eid salaah program I’ve ever been to.

Post ‘Eid Salaah. Masjid Al-Ghufrān

Capetownian ‘Eid Breakfast at the South African Students Association

Traditional Capetownian ‘Eid lunch at the South African Students Association

‘Eid night: Delicious Dessert at fantastic friends‘ place