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April 5, 2007
The History of What was Once a Meat Market

by Talal Sarwani

THE AGE OF WOMEN

Perhaps the longest gestating stage in the history of a Muslim student association is the Age of Women. It is that time period when the sisters have taken charge of the organization. They are the ones planning, organizing, contacting, speaking, bonding, learning, teaching, and all other manners of earning for their futures. It is this time which many present and future lecturers, chaplains, teachers, and guest speakers will think of when making statements showing the might and stature of the sisters (usually much to the chagrin of the brothers). Things can be amazing for the sisters' community during this time; sisterhood is not just a word, but a practice for them. Cliques dissolve away, and education of the Deen is fostered through constant meetings which occur for reasons besides simply social.

At the same time, the brothers are in a uselessly shameful state. They spend hours sharing their brotherly love, but always around a plate of buffalo wings too hot to enjoy, but a must for impressing potential candidates of betrothal, or just a regular old plate of fries so oily they double as moisturizer. The brothers at this stage have no guts, but the gut of each keeps growing.

The poor sisters are at a loss as to who they should marry. The prospects are thin (metaphorically), to say the least, so competitions are often waged over who gets who. This is the time of games that were once long forgotten: Cooking, sewing, and the ability to tie a baby's pamper were all tested by the mothers of these Men. Competition lead to constant practice, which only made the mothers of the Women quite pleased. Sisters had to settle for the presidents of these Muslim organizations; "At least they're something, right?", they comforted themselves.

To sum up this stage...
Sisters Rule
and Brothers drool (at the sisters).

THE AGE OF MEN

Sometime during the The Age of Women, a group of men decide to stop studying - err, studying with - sisters, and start invigorating their own sense of self. For a normal man, having the attention of a woman ranks high on the list of things called "feel good". Helping them with homework, doing what they tell you to ("She asked ME to pick up that garbage. Must. Mean. Something."), and basically being a slave to this desire to feel good is the most common culprit that causes men to rot their character away.

The men who rise out of the Age of Women have climbed out of this cocoon of desire. They look to the past, to men who made taking civilization to its greatest heights a daily part of their lives. By looking to such examples, they understand that first they must look into a mirror. They begin by occupying themselves with knowledge, and action based upon that knowledge. It starts off with individual men, who then look to each other to build a congregation. Prayer after prayer, they realize that once the bond of standing in prayer with another is established, they can work with these brothers - no longer just anonymous men - to begin the desired result of taking the community to new heights.

The community is made up of both men and women. Women, the origin of their past troubles, now presents themselves as a vital part of their future success. The answer is simple, because they aren't the first group of men in history to deal with women. The men once again look to the past, and find that the women too are engaged in the very same search for knowledge and desire to act upon that knowledge. It was suggested by some of the men that it would be fine to shun their existence; let them be content with a status of window dressing. The brothers in charge sat down these men, and explained to them that we all have our roles, and denying someone their role in building the future of their community is an injustice that hits straight to the heart. Since none of the men wanted to be held to this burden, they heeded the advice and looked again to the brothers for further advice. The brothers simply shone a light to the past, when a community stood strong maintaining the highest standards of morality, etiquette, and above all, submission to their Creator.

"They did it then, and we will inshaAllaah ta'ala do it now".

To sum up this stage...
Brothers rock the House
Except when they scream at the sight of a mouse

LET THE AGES END

Once the community finds itself working together, the Ages will become a page in their history. They were a necessary time, but once passed, devolving back would only make the road back that much harder to bear. Once this community is established, the leaders must pass on their wisdom, effort, and knowledge to the others. They must do this not only when their leadership is at death's bed, but early and often, watching out for lights that are flickering, but merely need a nudge to brighten into a blinding force. As much as the community will want their leaders to continue, and as much as the leaders would want to continue, the community's future lies in its ability to sustain itself without those pioneering individuals.

However, if those leaders fail in passing the baton, then they will be witness to the failure in front of their own eyes. They will have passed the baton too late, and they will see their community wilt into regression. They will see the undoing of knowledge, and action based upon that knowledge. They will see bonds shatter. Most heart-achingly, though, they will see men and women turn into boys and girls.

So leaders breed leaders
and end their toil

Or they do not grow into seeders
and sit watching their community uncoil.

THE POSITIVELY INVIGORATING LIFE AHEAD, INSHA'ALLAAH

To sum up...
Never lose FAITH.

And when My servants ask you concerning Me - indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be guided.
(Surah AlBaqarah, Verse 186)


of and relating to...
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

Interesting piece. I wonder if graduating from college contributed to this perspective; not being in the heart of the MSA community anymore.

I wonder if you could elaborate a little more on the last section..."Let the Ages End", and on the 2nd section as well.

I would also be interested in the sisters' perspective as well. Do the MSA sisters also seek attention from the men?

on April 5, 2007 10:04 PM
Ibtisam said

very interesting piece.

It is true, I noticed this as well at my MSA that time periods shift in which at a certain time period you see more religious sisters(at least in our MSA) and the brothers need seriously to become more religious.

And then when the time period comes when the brothers are religious, you find the sisters in the MSA are more laid back.

I dont know why you cannot find religious and serious brothers and sisters at the same time.

you know, I have heard that it is harder and harder for sisters to find religious brothers and stuff but it is not only sisters. I am now in the business of matchmaking(believe it or not) and I heard from people that religious brothers are also finding it difficult to find sisters.


They had this event in NYC, you might think it is totally unrelated and what not but the event was a real eye opener. It was about yaumil qiyaama. All of us were seating at the edge of our seats. Shaykh Yasir Qadhi spoke, Br.Muhammad AL-Shinaway and many others and the event basically said that on the day of judgement the man is going to run away from his spouse for fear that she might have something against him.

In the end really, all it boils down to is taht if you wanna be a good muslim and you wanna practice islaam, no one can stop you bi iznillaah. Not your parents, not your spouse.

So the all out selection for a trophy husband or even remotely more religious than the bare minimum guy(by which I mean, if girls look for a guy who is beyond praying five times a day, earns halaal, doesnt cheat, lie, maybe has the sunnah beard or in some cases not yet)is really a matter of the wrold.
so for your world, for this dunya you desire someone who is faar greater than you in religiousity,

in what? in the hopes of becoming closer to Allaah.

Or really just to spark your interest or be attracted to the guy because that is important to you?


hey, Aasiya AS was wife of fir'oun and she was religious.

So you dont really should not really need an overly religious guy to guide you or to motivate you in the end.

I have a cousin, she married a not religious guy and into a not religious family. In the beginning he told her to take off her hijaab and what not and she became modernized. My motehr spoke to her. Told her to pray and what not.

Now she reads tafseer of the Qur'aan and she wears hijaab, prays, and has subhanallaah become very religious.

Her husband, wallaahu alim, how he is but in the end he could not stop her from obeying Allaah.

SO it is good to find a religious husband/wife, indeed, it is a blessing or a gift. But if you do not do so or end up not marrying one. That person you marry will still be good for the hereafter.

Either you will convince them to be a better muslim. Or you will continue to be a better muslim and they will stay with you as they are or leave you.

Sorry to sidetrack topic.

Do sisters impress brothers, I believe they try so.

on April 7, 2007 8:00 PM
Talal said

Rami,

It's not so much not being in the heart of a muslim student organization. This piece was inspired by something I was told, and happened to be witness to in regards to the state of just such an organization.


Sr. Ibtisam,
May Allaah subhanahu wa ta'la aid you in finding your brothers and sisters their missing halves.
Ameen.

on April 7, 2007 10:44 PM
kd said

MashaAllah great observations.

And concerning the last part, I believe you are right in summing it up to faith. Faith after all being made up of both sabr and shukr. More specifically I think that gratitude has a lot to do with bringing the community together, which will inshaAllah eventually bring about the end of these Ages. Being grateful to Allah subhanahuwatala for giving us every blessing we could really imagine. For the most part, we all live in relative luxury and we actually have every opportunity at our fingertips. But it's that we don't appreciate this fact, let alone appreciate the One who placed us in this position. We take for granted the opportunity to become leaders, let alone appreciate the leaders we have. And then when these leaders are taken from us, we inevitably become lost to an extent.

As for sabr, well we want everything now. We don't feel like putting the effort into planting a seed to see the beauty of watching it grow at the pace Allah subhanahuwatala wants it to grow. Becoming discouraged too soon could be deadly.

So faith it is we must remember. Alhamdulillah.

on April 9, 2007 1:22 AM
Justoju said

(I apologize in advance for the lack of depth and insight betrayed in the comment I am about to make)

"a plate of buffalo wings too hot to enjoy, but a must for impressing potential candidates of betrothal"

huh? I must have missed something. You all dont REALLY love buffalo wings?

You brothers will be relieved to know that we females dont necessarily give rishta points to candidates with sticky hands and sauce around their mouths. If we did, we'd prolly be really interested in the 3 year olds of the world. And then there would be lawsuits.

Stop giving yourselves heartburn and ulcers for the sake of impressing the ladies. Please. Later, when you are married, your wives will have to tend to those health problems and you'll be increasing their worries.

on April 11, 2007 8:07 AM
Justoju said

"I would also be interested in the sisters' perspective as well. Do the MSA sisters also seek attention from the men?"

No, brother, EVERY female craves the attention of men.

on April 11, 2007 8:10 AM
Talal said

I fear I have failed this article. To many people have noticed the whole gender/marriage/blah issue over my real point.

Alhamdulillaah. This was the beginning of writing again, so inshaAllaah improvements from here on forth. I encourage anyone who does read this to critique/discuss away.

on April 11, 2007 7:07 PM
Ramiu said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

Talal,

PLease give us some examples. That will clarify insha Allah.


on April 12, 2007 9:09 AM
Talal said

Honestly, I'm just going to inshaAllaah write another, clearer article.

Amazingly enough, the point of this piece had something to do with leadership :)

on April 13, 2007 11:00 PM
Ali Ibn Masood said

Salaam.

Talal I smell what you're cooking.

"Once the community finds itself working together, the Ages will become a page in their history. They were a necessary time, but once passed, devolving back would only make the road back that much harder to bear. Once this community is established, the leaders must pass on their wisdom, effort, and knowledge to the others. They must do this not only when their leadership is at death's bed, but early and often, watching out for lights that are flickering, but merely need a nudge to brighten into a blinding force. As much as the community will want their leaders to continue, and as much as the leaders would want to continue, the community's future lies in its ability to sustain itself without those pioneering individuals.

However, if those leaders fail in passing the baton, then they will be witness to the failure in front of their own eyes. They will have passed the baton too late, and they will see their community wilt into regression. They will see the undoing of knowledge, and action based upon that knowledge. They will see bonds shatter. Most heart-achingly, though, they will see men and women turn into boys and girls."

on April 14, 2007 10:10 AM
gillette said

The community will wilt into regression when they stop following the Sunnah.

Imam Malik (rahimahullaah) authored the well known al-Muwatta. And the Imam Ibn Abi Dhi'b (rahimahullaah) authored a Muwatta greater in size than it. So it was said to Imam Malik, "What is the benefit in this Muwatta of yours when Ibn Abi Dhi'b has authored a Muwatta greater in size than yours".

He responded, "Whatever is for Allah, will remain".

Nowadays, the word al-Muwatta evokes memories of Imam Malik in everyone, while Ibn Abi Dhi'b is known to no one.

The reality of the majority of these Muslim student organizations is that they do da'wah without regard to the way in which the Prophets (alayhim as-salaatu wa as-salaam) did it. Such da'wah is doomed to failure in the sight of Allah, whether brothers or sisters are carrying it out.

on April 14, 2007 3:25 PM
Talal said

Gillette,
"They did it then, and we will inshaAllaah ta'ala do it now".

This, and the other mentions of looking back, were alluding to just that. Again, it wasn't about brothers or sisters being in charge, but about the usual "history" of such organizations.

on April 14, 2007 4:03 PM
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