Detachment, Contentment and Inner Beauty

Detachment, Contentment and Inner Beauty

It is not easy bringing our heaven and earth together. Unless you are a scholar or a student of deen, it is sometimes very challenging to connect our faith to every day life. In the last post we covered Retox.

Photo by livnir available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

 

In this one we would like to share some of the highlights from The Guru in You: A Personalized Program for Rejuvenating Your Body and Soul by Cameron Alborzian.

It is an amazing book, we do not know the authors faith, but many of the questions he asks and the spiritual path he shares overlap with Islam and the Prophetic way. Below is most of the table of contents, can you make a connection?

  • We become attached to the material world. First step towards happiness is intention (niyah)
  • The practice of nonviolence, kindness towards ourselves and others.
  • The practice of detachment, allowing what nature intends for us.
  • Letting go of excess, knowing when enough is enough for the perfect amount.
  • Posture, practice, and the pursuit of inner beauty.

Here are some of the highlights that we got from browsing the book.

Questions to ask ourselves

  • Do you fill your life with constant chatter and entertainment?
  • Am I constantly eating or drinking (even if its soda)?
  • Do I constantly watch TV or films?
  • Am I always in front of a computer or phone?
  • Am I constantly watching everything that passes by on the street?
  • Am I constantly listening to music or talking on the phone?

To detox the author says we don’t need products, just drink hot water for several days. Here are some more nuggets.

  • With the above examples, when our senses our stimulated our breath goes out of balance.
  • Our stimulated senses induce attachments and desire.
  • We love our opinions, we love having them. Learn to listen to difference of opinion.
  • Detachment. eg when watching a a game, rather than hoping one side wins, just enjoy the game. You will be less drained from the experience.
  • Enjoy friends company. You don’t have to fill silent gaps with meaningless chatter. It is good to have silent moments.
  • The author shares a great example of attachment. We apply for a job. We see that we have a perfect fit.. We see ourselves in that role. We are attached to it, and then crushed when we don’t get it. Detachment means telling ourselves that experience may not pan out as we would like, another one is around the corner, nature (God) didn’t intend it for us.
  • If we are attached to getting an object (maybe a car or whatever) detachment from goods and objects when you don’t get them means there may be a better time to get that object or it may be beneficial to not have it all.
  • A great example he share which we can put into practice, is going to a bakery where you love the smell and are tempted to try out the pastries. Instead we go, take in the aroma, but control ourselves. The next time we go again we can up the ante, but each time you are in control. The key takeaway is we don’t need instant physical gratification.
  • What happens when we become fearful of not getting something. Fear leads to desperation (not inspiration).
  • We need spiritual freedom, a fully realized state, beyond material, mental, and emotional limits.
  • Practice non-violence towards self and others. In self talk this means avoiding ‘I’m not smart enough, I won’t ever find success, I’ll never get married.”
  • Cultivate sexual energy. The practice of guarding and cultivating our sexual energy and finding that balance of extremes of frustration (not having sex) versus excess.

It is hard to encapsulate a wonderful book like this, bu hopefully it gives you a flavor.

Detox or Retox for Your Muslim Wedding and Life

Detox or Retox for Your Muslim Wedding and Life

Do you want to look awesome on your wedding day? If so you should consider a complete body Detox.

Photo by istolethetv available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

If we follow Prophetic ways detox should come naturally. Of course for Muslims the month of fasting in Ramadan is the best detox. Given our modern lifestyles we found something to compliment our busy and crazy lives.  We came across a great book on the subject titled RETOX: Yoga*Food*Attitude Healthy Solutions for Real Life by Lauren Imparato. Here are some of the highlights from the book.

  • Go for nutrients over calories. eg if for lunch you have a choice of beef over chicken, although both have protein and most health conscious people will opt for chicken, instead go for the beef. Why? Beef has more iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamin B. Another example is for a snack if you have a choice of a 100 Cal snack bar, or a 300 Cal Avocado, opt for the the Avocado for its Omega 3’s.
  •  Nutrients feed dells, cells construct you, so watch what you eat and drink. Processed food is bad, fast food even worse. Make H2O your beverage of choice.
  • Your body needs 72 hours (3 days) to fully process everything you ingest. So the body is constantly working to digest and metabolize, so it too needs a break. Try to leave a 10-12 hour break (fast) between dinner and breakfast.
  • Follow the 2/3 rule. Make 2 out of 3 meals healthy. Make 2 out of 3 things on your plate to be pure nutrient.
  • Nourishment is not about dish but ingredients. Instead of fries or other fried food, order a side of greens when eating out.
  • Don’t mix proteins (this was a new one for us). Have only one protein in your meal. eg have a veggie starter and then fish for main course. Mixing proteins adds additional stress to the digestive system. So forget the combination Kabob or the Lamb/Beef Gyro.
  • When you  buy fish, make sure it is Wild and not farm raised. Beef should be grass fed.
  • Drink tap water (not ice water)
  • Watch out for Asian restaurants that use MSG.
  • Mexican restaurants avoid the fried foods and go for eg a Fish Taco.
  • With Pizza have a salad
  • Go light on hummus and yogurt based starters. Falafels are fried, so opt for anything grilled.
  • Sugar is an inflammatory agent. Sugar is associated with expansion headaches. Cut out sugar of all sorts to allow your body to neutralize.
  • Also watch out for too spicy, fatty, foods and focus on water, mint, ginger.

Depending on your level of knowledge you may find these tips helpful or not. But here is what we find amazing in the book.

  • Share a meal at least once per day.
  • Talk to someone you love every day.
  • Take one minute each day to connect to your breath and thoughts.

We’re not scholars, but isn’t this Sunnah, it’s the way of our Prophet (SAW)? InshAllah with your spouse and family this will come naturally, but if doesn’t then try to make it a practice. It is hard to summarize a book in a short blog post, but we hope you find this useful. Anything you would like to share?

 

Weddings by the Numbers

Weddings by the Numbers

According to The Knot, the average wedding cost $32,641 in 2015 in the US.

hoto-by-Varin-available-under-a-Creative-Commons-Attribution-license

Photo-by-Varin-available-under-a-Creative-Commons-Attribution-license

The top 10 list is dominated by the East Coast with Manhattan leading at $82,299 and Alaska the lowest, at Alaska$17,361.
The average cost of a wedding is $32,641. Of course a lot is lost in averages, but it still provides a useful reference point.
Here at Perfect Muslim Wedding, we continue to provide you the best ideas about how to plan a wedding and get the most bang for your buck.
In the Knot’s survey, the average wedding has 139, guests at a cost per guest of $237. Muslim Weddings are typically larger with an average around 250 guests, with a lower cost per guest.

Although money is an important factor in the kind of wedding you can throw, we will leave you with a quote, for where to focus your energies in wedding planning by Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Other 2015 Interesting Wedding Statistics

Wedding Dress Cost (average): $1,469
Marrying Age (average): Bride, 29; Groom, 31
Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December (16%)
Length of Engagement (average): 14.5 months
Most Popular Month to Get Married: October (17%) and September (15%)
Popular Wedding Colors: Ivory/White (47%), Blue (39%), Pink (30%), Metallics (34%), Purple (21%)
Percentage of Destination Weddings: 21%

7 Tips for Brides: Preparing for Your Wedding Night

7 Tips for Brides: Preparing for Your Wedding Night

Although Muslim culture is changing, with conservative cultural norms, important knowledge like sex is sometimes left to hearsay. Yes old wives tales, advice from mothers, relatives, and friends. We covered some important details in our very popular post, 44 Things You Should Know Before The Wedding Night.

Photo  by Moyan Brenn available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

Photo by Moyan Brenn available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

All the well-intentioned advice about first-time sex is never really enough to prepare you for what appears like a herculean effort. Yes everyone’s experience will be unique and different, but there are seven tips that can really help you and your spouse to be prepared for your wedding night. We want to help you reduce the anxiety and make it a memorable and pleasurable event. Without further ado, here they are:

  1. Talk to a married friend of the same gender. We recommend a recently-married friend.The purpose behind it is not to pry into their intimate and private lives, but to seek lessons learnt in terms what worked and what didn’t. Select people who you know are open-minded and willing to share specific and practical details. Ask questions and take notes.
  2. Expect to be tired, interrupted, emotional, and/or confused. Muslim weddings, due to cultural influences, are known for their many rituals and multi-day events. Trying to meet everyone’s expectations, the long day before, the photo shoots, the separation from your family and home, will leave you exhausted. To have good sex, you need to be relaxed. If there is a way for you to communicate expectations with your soon-to-be spouse, please do so.
  3. Location, location, location. Yes, it is not only the real estate mantra, but again your first night’s location together really matters. Are you going to be getting together at the venue’s wedding suite, family home, your new home, or heading for the honeymoon right away? There will be pros and cons of each. If it is the family home, there is always the fear that someone is going to interrupt, or they can hear you through the walls of the bedroom or bathroom (yikes). We cover honeymoons in more detail in other posts, but even though it is more private, the stress of heading straight for the honeymoon will only make things more challenging. There is no one simple answer for the best location, just be prepared to have a dialog. One more tip: prepare the room. Have family or friends get it ready to suit the ambiance you would like to create. This can be done with candles, music, chocolates, linen, flowers, towels and other decorations and useful aids.
  4. Go slow. One of the secrets of great sex is foreplay. It is all the touching, hugging, exploring and kissing each other before intercourse. Men especially are aroused quickly and for women it may take 15-30+ minutes to get aroused. Help slow your spouse down by getting them to breathe, and giving it time and not rushing in. Tantric sex has good lessons for breathing and slowing down. Sex should be a mutually satisfying experience and the more generous you are to each other, the more enjoyable the experience. Be willing to learn and grow for a lifetime of passion.
  5. Build memories from day one. There will be a lot that goes on during the wedding. Take turns recounting the good things that came your way and thank Allah (SWT), as well as laugh off the things that went miserably wrong. Remember stuff happens, so rather than get uptight about it, use humor as the antidote.
  6. Share expectations. A key part of life is sharing, setting and meeting expectations. Discuss your hopes and fears about sex. Remember no one can read minds. Fear of pain, fear of not making your spouse satisfied, fear that your spouse may not approve of you are all real fears. Intimacy is built by sharing your vulnerabilities and the more you share with each other the greater the bond. Set the bar for the wedding night low, so all you can do is match or exceed it. Be sure to share expectations about contraception.
  7. It’s okay to ask for a rain check. You have both waited a long time for this, but if you are not ready for whatever reason, period, ate late dinner, didn’t get any dinner, just plain exhausted, and/or too upset, these and others are great reasons to ask for a rain check.

Sex is a divine gift of God to married couples. There is a lot of learning involved and your first union God-willing will be one of many to come. They say “practice makes perfect” and that applies equally to sex, along with being gentle, generous, patient, and creative. We want you to be excited and enthusiastic about your first night. Never use sex as a barrier to control or manipulate your relationship. Sex, when it goes well, is an out-of-this-world experience. May you have a blessed first night and a fulfilling sensual marriage.

44 Things You Should Know Before the Wedding Night

44 Things You Should Know Before the Wedding Night

So you’re getting married. Congratulations! You probably have given some thought to the wedding night. You may have heard stories from friends, but you still have tons of questions and you may or may not feel too comfortable asking for advice. We definitely understand your struggle. So we decided to put together some things you can expect and some things you should probably know before the wedding night. This may be a great thing to share with your fiancé as well, so you’ll be on the same page. We tried to include answers to those really tough questions as well. So go ahead, get reading!

wedding night

Photo by Azlan Dupree Available under the Creative Commons Attribution License

Expectations:

1. Expect you and your partner to be self-conscious. It’s ok. It’s okay to have the jitters. You will both be a little (or a lot nervous). If you let go of expectations, all the better.
2. You’re not a pro nor do you have to pretend to be. Unless you’ve been married before, this will be both your first time so if it feels awkward, clumsy or just clueless, not to worry. Like most things in life, practice makes perfect.
3. There is no single way to have or experience sex. What’s right is what works for both of you.
4. Repeat: “You don’t know everything.” The wedding and honeymoon is not the end, it is the start of your life.
5. Forget the picture-perfect wedding night and opt for being the best version of yourself.
6. Don’t expect to have sex multiple times a day and daily. Keep it balanced.

Communication:

7. Communicate expectations and concerns. Forget the fantasies. Sex isn’t like in the movies. Real sex, although enjoyable, is well…realistic. Talk, play, and joke around. The more relaxed you are, the better.
8. Share the mental scripts that are going on in your head. The more you trust and the more you share your vulnerabilities the more intimacy you will build. This does not mean you have to confess your whole past life.
9. Recount the day. Laugh at the funny things that happened.

Comfort & Relaxation:

10. Keep your next day free. Any time you have a time pressure you are not going to enjoy it.
11. Share your anticipation, your passion. Small gestures count a lot.
12. If you’re tired or just too anxious it is okay not to have sex on your wedding night.
13. Confidence will come through practice, attitude, and how you prepare including your dress. Make it as sexy or romantic as you are comfortable with.
14. Remember you have the freedom not to have sex on your wedding night. If you waited so long one more night won’t make a difference.
15. Inner fears run from “will it hurt?” to “will I perform?” to “will he or she find me attractive?” These are not easy to answer, but if you lower the bar of expectations and communicate, that will ease the way. Think about it, billions of people have been getting married and having sex over centuries. You, too, will figure it out.
16. Embrace the excitement. Give love, get love.
17. Take deep breaths. It is one of the keys to relaxation.
18. Both of you can undress in different spaces, what ever makes the two of you feel comfortable.
19. Handle the awkward moments with grace. You can make fun of yourself (but not your spouse).
20. If you can, spend the first night at home before you head to the honeymoon.

Accessories & Ambiance:

21. Give a surprise gift. Make the night memorable. It could be flowers, a poem you wrote, chocolates, the list goes on.
22. Use accessories like lingerie that work for both of you. Keep it sexy and classy.
23. Don’t use the Kama Sutra or other guides to set your expectations. Keep it simple and don’t try anything you’re not comfortable with yet.
24. Prepare the room. Use candles, flowers, incense and other decorations to create an ambiance that makes the two of you feel comfortable.
25. If you have a choice firmer beds are better for sex (and the back) than softer ones.
26. Change the lighting. Soft low lighting is better than a lit up room.

Diet/Hygiene:

27. Avoid eating at least 3-4 hours before having sex. Also avoid foods with strong odors as well as hard-to-digest foods.
28. Urinate and relieve yourself before (and after). Don’t let wanting to go to the bathroom and emptying your bladder get in the way of sex.
29. Take a shower before and after sex.
30. Keep a towel nearby.

Foreplay:

31. Start with kisses and sweet words before you get to the next level.
32. A man’s arousal happens quickly, but to be fair to your wife, you need to allow her time to warm up.
33. You may enjoy it. It is like learning to first ride a bike. You will have a few stumbles, but once you get the hang of it – you’ll enjoy it. Enjoy the foreplay as much as you can. The actual act may only take a few seconds.

The Main Act:

34. For the honeymoon and first night it is best if both bride and groom bring along, over-the-counter contraceptives like condoms (you can get variety packs eg from Durex).  These do not have to be used, of course, but it’s better to have them, until you have time to discuss when you want to start a family.
35. Treat sex as a journey of exploration rather than just a mechanical action.
36. Natural and external lubrication is important. Be patient and give the bride some time before penetration.
37. Forget about orgasms. Just focus on enjoying each other.
38. For men, premature ejaculation, the first few times may happen. With patience and practice it shouldn’t happen as often.
39. For women, the hymen may or may not bleed during intercourse. Bleeding is not a sign of virginity. Gentleness, patience and a loving attitude are key to helping reduce pain.
40.It may or may not hurt. As with any muscles you have not used before, you may be sore afterwards. Be gentle, sex is not a sprint. It is a mutual exercise.
41. After sex, don’t go to sleep right away, but make the after-glow last. Feed your spouse’s ego by telling them how great it was and how they look.

Learn & Grow:

42. In the morning you can ask for feedback. What worked, what could be better, how they feel, how was it different than expectations, etc.
43. Make small adjustments along your journey of discovery.
44. Learn to explore each other’s bodies. There is always room to change it up.

We hope you found these tips about the wedding night helpful. If you have any additional comments feel free to email us, or leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts!

Oh and don’t forget to turn off your cell phone.

10 Bizarre Muslim Wedding Rituals

10 Bizarre Muslim Wedding Rituals

At PMW we like to share ideas for planning weddings. Here are some Muslim wedding rituals some of which are common with other cultures. We do not advocate all of these (especially bride kidnapping), but they are humorous, revealing and fascinating.

wedding

Photo by Jakob Montrasio available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

  1. If carrying the bride across the threshold is a part of your culture, make sure you are in good physical shape, you have practice, and you don’t trip.
  2. Although kidnapping your bride is illegal, if your culture mandates it make sure it’s the right woman. In Kyrgyzstan, there is a myth that tears on your wedding day will make your marriage happy. Parents will usually consent to a proposal especially if the young woman was crying.
  3. Although in Western Culture some brides or grooms try to lose weight before the big day, in other cultures they try to gain weight. In cultures who experience food scarcity, like Mauritania, full-bodied women represent prosperity and luck (hopefully good luck). To encourage the look they may at times be force-fed. Losing weight or gaining weight, either way, make sure your wedding dress fits on the day.
  4. If crying is a part of your culture at weddings, make sure to drink lots of water and avoid dehydration on the big day. In Western China the Tuija bride is expected to weep an hour a day for one month before the wedding. Family members are encouraged to cry too. In other South Asian cultures the bride and family weep after the wedding at the time of separation from the family.
  5. If shooting arrows at the bride, make sure they don’t have arrowheads, and nobody gets hurt.
    The Yugur people in China have a custom where the groom fires arrows at the bride to be. Fortunately they are not tipped and no brides are known to have been harmed by this ritual.
  6. If placing garlands on the bride and groom is a part of your tradition (as it is in many Asian and other cultures) make sure the bride or groom does not have allergies or they have so many put on them that with the weight they feel suffocated.

    wedding

    Photo by chispita_666 available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

  7. If performing the Arsi Mushaf (Musaf) make sure you are looking good and on your best behavior. The Arshi Mushaf is where the bride and groom sit next to each other for the first time and a veil covers their heads. Based on the culture they may read verses of the Quran to protect them, as well as look into a mirror and see their image as husband and wife for the first time. This ceremony may be combined with other rituals like the exchange of garlands or sharing of sweets or sweet drink.
  8. If the bride’s entrance is using the Zaffe, make sure the troop are well coordinated. The Lebanese Zaffe is a cultural dance common at Arab weddings. The bride may also be carried on the shoulders of the Zaffe team and brought in as a part of the wedding procession.
  9. If stealing the grooms shoes is a part of your culture, either have enough cash to get them back, good negotiating skills  or an alternate pair. Stealing shoes is a common ritual in South Asian weddings where the sister of the bride and her friends hide the grooms shoes. The groom in turn has to pay a ransom which is negotiated between the two parties until it comes to resolution. Sorry it is all cash, no plastic accepted.
  10. Order lots of milk before the wedding day. Some bathe in it, other drink it before the honeymoon night. Moroccan women take a milk bath before the wedding day. In South Asian cultures, the bride and groom are offered hot milk before their first night together.

As a bonus for good luck, Egyptian women pinch the bride on her wedding day. Ouch! Any rituals you would like to share? Check out our Bizarre Muslim Wedding Rituals board on Pinterest.

References

 

http://www.lifebuzz.com/marriage-customs/3/

http://traditionscustoms.com/wedding-traditions/strange-wedding-traditions

http://www.wonderslist.com/10-bizarre-wedding-rituals-various-cultures/

https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-traditions-superstitions-facts-trivia

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-knot/50-wedding-traditions-and_b_3901136.html

http://www.bizarbin.com/bizarre-wedding-pictures/

http://www.brideonline.com.au/wedding-traditions/articles/culture-shock-what-muslim-weddings-typically-entail.htm