One of the best ways to get a someone you are interested to get to know to open up is by asking engaging questions. It’s always best to start off sharing something about yourself, that makes the other person feel less vulnerable. Here are 10 great questions that you can edit and or add to so that they work for you.
Photo by new Frank van Leersum available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license
- Growing up what is one of your favorite childhood memories?
- How would your friends describe you?
- Who do you most admire in life?
- Share a defining moment in your life?
- Who was the most pivotal person in your life and why?
- If you could meet 5 people past or present who would they be?
- If a startup you worked for went IPO what would you do say with your $10M equity?
- What are you most proud off?
- If your home caught fire and you could only carry 5 things what would they be?
- If could go back and repeat your life what would you do different?
A question that I have to field lately by my co-workers when we get into social conversation is “where did you meet your wife?” or “how did you meet your wife?” While trying to be truthful but also present it in a positive light, I stumble through my words and give an answer. It’s not a surprise to see the shock and awe when they hear for someone grown up and living in the West, that it was an arranged marriage. Whether it be innocent non-desis (South Asians) or our grown/growing children they can’t believe that we (my wife and I), by God’s infinite mercy are happily married since almost the stone age, we’re madly in love and continue to explore and grow in our love and yet our lives started as two total strangers.
Photo by Azlan DuPree available under Creative Commons Attribution License.
Even in the present, Perfectly Arranged Marriages have a place in society. Note, I am not talking about “Forced marriages” or examples of arranged marriages gone horribly wrong. It’s unfair to take outliers and use them to demonize a norm of society. After all arranged marriages were the norm in pretty much all Western and Eastern societies until the Renaissance in the West changed to a “market model” associated with love. As a disclaimer, I will be the first to say that arranged marriages of the past do NOT have a place for children of immigrants where this was the cultural norm.
Below are,10 Reasons to have a Perfectly Arranged Marriage:
- Your parents pay for the wedding (usually but not always).
- You have a whole lifetime of discovering each other.
- With parents as filters your social and family compatibility is almost guaranteed.
- There are no matchmaker fees as the Aunties just love to make introductions.
- You hopefully only emotionally invest in one person, so so there is no dating game and heartbreaks.
- You will be the happiest couple when you agree to share your parents guidance over only your decision.
- Stress Free Parental Introduction. Yes that’s right, you don’t need to worry what the parents are going to think about your choice because well, they have the inside scoop.
- The honeymoon lasts about 2 years instead of a week, as you are two total strangers getting to know each other.
- Free childcare. When your parents are bought-in to the idea of your marriage and now that you’re married and you both want to go on vacation or to the movies what better way for your child to bond than with their grandparents.
- Less chance of being accidentally left out of your parents will and living trust if you get their buy-in before the wedding.
- Bonus. There are no blind dates, as Mom, Pops, Auty Ji, and the whole extended family is with you on the date.
- Bonus+Bonus. You will have a Hollywood or Bollywood Happily ever ending, you just now have to fill in your love story, and work hard on it, be patient,committed and pray, that’s all.
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.
Top 10 Muslim Wedding Songs by Artist
- For The Rest Of My Life by Maher Zain
- Wedding Song by Zain Bhikha
- Munasabat Zawaj by Ibrahim Majid
- Mehndi nee Mehndi by Musarat Nazir
- Babul Ki Duayen Leti Ja by Mohammed Rafi (Neel Kamal)
- Mubarak Mubarak by Udit Narayan (Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya Hai)
- Tum Hi Ho by Arjit Singh (Aashiqui 2)
- Teri Ore (Singh Is Kinng)
- Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge)
- Saajanji Ghar Aaye (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai)
Top 17 Muslim Bollywood Wedding Songs
Photo by S Pakhrin available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license
- Sadi Gali (Tanu Weds Manu)
- Kabira (Encore) (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani)
- Iski Uski (2 States)
- Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan (Roy)
- Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge)
- Lal Dupatta (Mujhse Shaadi Karogi)
- Rab Kare (Mujhse Shaadi Karogi)
- Maahi Ve (Kal Ho Naa Ho)
- Sajan Tumse Pyar (Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya)
- Yeh Ladka Hai Allah (Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham)
- Bole Chudiyan (Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham)
- Dulhe Ka Sehra (Dhadkan)
- Mehendi Hai Rachne Wali (Zubeidaa)
- Le Jayenge Le Jayenge (Chor Machaye Shor)
- Aaj Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai (Aadmi Sadak Ka)
- Jute de do paise lelo (Hum Aapke Hain Koun)
- Hamari Shaadi Mein (Vivah)
As the 2016 Rio Olympics come to a close we wanted to share some highlights from the event. More importantly to grasp a few takeaways which extend beyond the games to marriage and more importantly, life.
Photo by Al King available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license
First a few thoughts about the Olympics from a Muslim Perspective. There’s a lot going in the Muslim world and here in the US homeland. Despite the heartbreaking news and images coming from Syria and the region, the Olympics had a few bright spots to kick it off. One of the first, was that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had for the first time ever allowed refugees to come together as a team and participate. In that small delegation was a Yusra Mardini, a Syrian refugee who along with her sister saved the lives of 20 people on a small dinghy boat in the Mediterranean. Yusra went on to wins her 100m butterfly heat at Rio. Then there is all the positive press that Ibtihaj Muhammad received before and during the event for becoming the first American-Muslim to represent the US in a hijab. She went on to win a team Bronze medal.
Here is a summary of the medal count by Muslim Majority countries as well as those Olympians we know off that are Muslim.
They represent countries like the UK, US and Russia, with the likes of Mo Farah, Dalilah Muhammad, Ibtihaj Muhammad, and Aliya Mustafina. We may have missed some people, but hopefully you get the picture.
Some Muslim countries especially from the former Central Soviet states did extremely well. Others like Pakistan with a population of over 180 Million people, failed to qualify for a single event, and had a token representation through a wild card entry.
So much for medals, how do the events of Rio, map to life and what are some of the lessons we can apply.
1. Olympians are Goal oriented and committed. Name any of the legends of Rio, Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, Usain Bolt, in them all you will see not only great performances but people who are serious about what they want to accomplish and what they are willing to do to get it. Practicing 300 days a year is one such example.
2. Olympians have Faith. Again if you listen to the interviews of both Muslim athletes and people of other faiths, praying and trusting in God played a central role in their success.
3. True Olympians care about their reputation. Yes there were some athletes and delegations who discredited themselves and their host countries, but by in large, what happens off-stage is just as important as what goes on-stage.
4. True Olympians are the best physically, mentally, both scientist and artists. All athletes have great physiques, but it is their mental toughness, focus, and artistry that makes them stand head and shoulders above the rest.
5. True Olympians focus on being the best version of themselves. The only thing they can control is themselves, the competition will always be there. They have dreams but they focus on the present, and tune out the past.
6. True Olympians are part of great teams and coaches. Even in solo events, it is rare that an athlete got to their peak performance without the help of coaches and other team members.
7. True Olympians care about the competition. It is not always about winning medals. In the Rio Olympics a collision on the track occurred between U.S. runner Abbey D’Agostino and New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin. Both athletes showed compassion and the best that humanity has to offer by helping each other.
8. True Olympians get up if they fall down and keep going. This is what happened to Mo Farah, who fell, got back up, caught up with the leaders and still went on to win the Gold Medal.
9. True Olympians come in all shapes. Just as there is no one model of an Olympian so is the case for Muslims. Of the women some wore hijabs and some did not, some men had beards and others did not, some prostrated after their wins and others did not. Accepting people for who they are is more important than trying to impose our versions of right and wrong.
10. True Olympians ignore the naysayers. The overall pre-event press coverage about the Rio Olympics was fairly negative, with issues, of pollution (health), crime, Zika, political instability,readiness and more dominating the headlines. Yet by in large, the Olympics relatively speaking went off without any major showstoppers.
In marriage as in life, having common goals, commitment, faith, reputation, focus, being part of a team, seeking help from a coach, ignoring the naysayers, and being selfless are all examples of how we too can be Olympians of life.
There is no such thing as the perfect marriage, like there is no such thing as a perfect wedding. However, there are things we can do to have a happy and healthy marriage. For easy reading, we decided to break our top 40 pieces of advice up into 4 parts. Here are the first 10:
1. God, spouse, children…in that order.
2. Marriage isn’t 50/50, but divorce is.
3. Marriage has to be 100/100.
4. Avoid the 3 C’s. Never complain, criticize, and/or condemn.
5. Avoid the D word: Divorce.
6. Learn from others, but don’t compare.
7. Make your spouse look good in front of their family and friends.
8. When you get into a conflict, stop, evaluate and use wisdom. Ask yourself what the end result is that you want. You have a choice be right or be happy.
9. If there is an inkling you were at fault, apologize.
10. Forgive unconditionally.