Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Russian Debutante’s Handbook”

In his first two novels, “The Russian Debutante’s Handbook” and “Absurdistan,” Gary Shteyngart sent his gentle, nebbishy heroes (Americanized Russian Jews) on a rough ride through post-Soviet Eastern European wonderlands teeming with gangsters, hustlers and religious fanatics. That madcap, semi-Slavic milieu — with its unstable mixture of sentiment and brutality, fatalism and parvenue initiative — really got his satirical genius percolating. In Shteyngart’s third novel, “Super Sad True Love Story,” he saves himself the trip, making an Absurdistan of America itself by imagining the near-future disintegration of our nation under a combined load of foreign debt, plutocracy and delusions of personal exceptionalism.
Also, it’s a love story, and as super-sad as the title promises. Sometime in the next decade or so, Lenny Abramov, an indifferently effective sales representative for an outfit called Post-Human Services, meets Eunice Park, a Korean-American recently graduated from Elderbird College (the equivalent, I’m guessing, of Andover) with a double major in Images and Assertiveness. He’s 39 and preoccupied with the bodily decay he hopes to correct if he can ever afford his own company’s services: They sell “life extension” and “dechronification,” but only to HNWIs (High Net-Worth Individuals — this is an acronym-crazed world we’re talking about). Lenny is instantly smitten, bewitched by Eunice’s blend of youthful beauty and surly attentiveness. She calls him “nerd face” and “old,” but kindly adjusts his shirt cuffs and shows him how to properly brush his teeth.
Lenny and Eunice’s rickety affair unfolds in a New York City smartening itself up for a visit from China’s central banker, “unofficially the world’s most powerful man.” In this economy, the most desirable commodities have prices pegged to the yuan. Something called the Bipartisan Party has taken over the government, and the hardline policies of Secretary of Defense Rubenstein are applauded by Lenny’s parents — Soviet émigrés from way back who watch nothing but FoxLiberty-Prime and FoxLibertyUltra in the sanctity of the Long Island enclave Lenny describes as their “vibrant right-wing habitat.”
The most slicing satire in this novel, however, is reserved for the technologized culture of everyday urban life; Shteyngart is the Joseph Heller of the information age. His characters carry networked devices called äppäräti wherever they go, emitting (willingly or not) such data as their cholesterol and stress levels, credit rankings, self-esteem and relationship history, as well as their off-the-cuff evaluations of friends and strangers. “Learn to rate everyone around you,” a co-worker admonishes Lenny: The instantaneously broadcasted metrics include such categories as Personality, Sustainability and Fuckability. When a friend suggests that they “FAC” while hanging out in a bar, clueless Lenny has to be told that this acronym means “‘Form A Community’ … It’s, like, a way to judge people. And let them judge you.” (Lenny, by the way, comes in last place among 40 in the category of “Male Hotness.”)
Shteyngart’s future America is a land of run-on corporate monikers (“LandOLakesGMFordCredit”) and capitalized yet disturbingly vague careers: middle-class people work in either Retail, Credit or Media. Journalism as we know it has been replaced by “streaming” narcissists, whose “shows” consist of a mishmash of political commentary, health tips, celebrity gossip, nostalgia, porn and discussions of such Seinfeldian trivia as “the ‘wah-wuh’ sound of the doors closing on the 6 train versus the resigned ‘sheesh’ sound on the L.” One of Lenny’s best friends dates a woman “who spends about seven hours a day streaming about her weight” (her show’s signature line is “Hey, girlfriend, gots muffintop?”) Another friend streams critiques of U.S. foreign policy “intermixed with his own hardcore gay sex.”
The peril in writing about satire this accurate is that it’s tempting to list every clever little dart that lands right in the bull’s-eye. I could go on about how perfectly Shteyngart captures the poignant, adolescent crudity adopted by Eunice and her girlfriends; their pet names for each other include “ass hoo-kah,” “slut” and, of course, “betch.” (They also shop for sportswear in the JuicyPussy line on a website called AssLuxury.) Since the narrative is divided between Lenny’s old-fashioned diary entries and Eunice’s e-mails and IMs, we know that behind all that pornographic faux swagger these girls are perilously vulnerable.
That’s the difference between Shteyngart and the average literary satirist (or even an above-average one, like Martin Amis): his warmth. I almost attached the “mercilessly” to the word “accurate” in the first sentence of the paragraph above, but had to stop myself, because “Super Sad True Love Story” is in fact overflowing with mercy. In Eunice, Lenny sees two elements: the tough, family-first immigrant fiber inherited from her parents, which is what the two of them have in common, and a history-free American optimism manifested as commodity worship. He loves both. Watching her shop for clothes, he marvels at, and pities, her “attempt to extract meaning from an artifact that contained mostly thread. If only beauty could explain the world away. If only a nippleless bra could make it all work.”
It’s a high-wire act, pulling off a novel that’s simultaneously so biting and so compassionate, and in his earlier books Shteyngart, while unfailingly shrewd and funny, wasn’t always this tender. “Super Sad True Love Story” is indeed a sadder, and also a better, book. Perhaps it’s the setting that brings it out in him: an America he could only truly love now that he thinks it’s melting away. (He can make you feel the loss of Lenny’s co-op apartment as a muted Chekovian tragedy, the passing of an era in 750 square feet.) That’s what slips through Lenny’s fingers in the personified form of Eunice Park, the fleeting, hopeless dream of escaping the universal fate of humankind. “Forget it, Lenny,” you want to whisper in his ear. “It’s Absurdistan.”

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Love Marriage Relationship

Love is the most beautiful feeling that has been created by God and those who have true love in their life are the most fortunate people in this world. Those people are truly the blessed children of God, who are lucky enough to have that special person of their life, without whom their life is incomplete as their spouse. The Love Marriage Relationship adverts to the relationship of love that exists between married couples.

For a relationship to last long or to survive till the last, one should give importance to the feeling of love, as without love there can be no relationship . It should be noted that a Love Marriage Relationship is based on the foundation of belief and trust.

Marriage is the most important event in the life of man or a woman and people make the best of their efforts to make their marriage work. It would be better to say that a couple leaves no stones unturned to have a successful marital relationship.

It often happens that after a few years of marriage, the couples take each other for granted and gets so involved with their professional life that in no time their relationship goes stale. To imbibe the freshness of love and back into their life one must find time to reinvent their passion for each other. Therefore to make a Love Marriage Relationship work make use of the slightest opportunity that you get to express you gratitude to your lover or make her/him special in your own way.

Marriage is a union of two hearts. You usually decide to get married after you have fallen in love with your partner. There are times you are not sure whether your marriage will work or be a happy one. You have to be confident about yourself and also keep faith in your partner. Love Marriages have a story of their own. It is interesting to know how you both met and developed the thing called "love" and the courtship period before marriage.

The Concept of Love Marriage is about tying a knot after realizing the mutual admiration, attraction and affection. The decision of getting married is taken by you and your partner after a lot of thinking and discussions.

A marriage without love is unthinkable, yet there are countries where the concept of arrange marriage is prevalent. If you take the example of India, the parents generally oppose the concept of their child choosing their life partner. Nowadays, the young people are breaking the norms and opting for Love Marriages.

There are many Aspects of Love Marriage. You can make your love marriage successful if you follow few aspects of love. You should not neglect your partner after marriage. When you are in a love marriage, you need to nurture your relation with your better half. Just because you have known your partner before marriage, does not mean that you know every aspect of your partner. Try and understand your partner's need and requirement. Do not think that life after marriage will be same as it was before it. In a love marriage you need enough love, patience and effort to grow properly. Everyday of marriage is a new day. You have to work for your marriage.

In case of Love Marriage you do not face the initial awkwardness and you are aware of your partner's liking and disliking. As you are aware of your partner, you do not have to pretend. Since a love marriage is a marriage of choice, it can last as long as there is the bond of love between the couple. There is no pressure to be in love with your partner because your love already exists. It existed before marriage and also after marriage.

Friday, 18 May 2012

How to choose your Life Partner

Choosing your life partner is the most difficult task. Whether you do it or your parents, the task is equally pressurizing for both. The person thus chosen will be a part of your life. It’s thus, not a matter of a day or two. It’s the most important decision to make, which partly depends on destiny and partly on the measures that you take.

It’s a life’s decision and you must take it seriously. Choosing the person who will stay by your side for life is a big responsibility. Do it with care. Some of the steps involved and tips for how to choose your life partner are:

Know your needs:
It is very essential to identify the kind of person you want to spend your life with. First step in searching the right mate for yourself is to know your needs. You must know first what kind of person will entice you for life and keep you happy.

Reciprocate your needs:
After identifying your needs, you must reciprocate it to your family and friends, so that they can help you find your kind of mate. Incase you are approaching a marriage portal, you must tell them about your choice. This will help them scan the profiles and pick out the best ones for you.

Research well on the person and his/her background:
Before proceeding on the profile or profiles you need to check on the background of the person. If it’s a love marriage, you still need to check on the background to be sure that the person doesn’t turn out to be fake. It may not an emotional thing to do but indeed a practical option. You must know at least something about his/her past record before proceeding with the person for life.

Fix a meeting or a date:
Your next step is to fix your first meeting with the person. This may be a casual date or a serious meeting where you get to know about the person. The first meeting is important as this is where you get the first impression of the person. In case of love marriage, you must have done it already and wont need it again.

Have a first impression:
First impression is indeed the last impression. The impression you get after meeting him/her during the first date is the best one. Hence, make sure to notice everything about the person and have an opinion too.

Talk openly:
Talking helps you to open up with the person. This also brings out the real person in the prospect as he/she talks to you. You will get to know more and more about the person and also know if the person is interesting or boring. Talking will actually help you get the first impression of the prospect.

Check if the person maintains an eye contact:
While you talk, notice if the person is maintaining an eye contact with you. A genuine person will always maintain an eye contact while he/she talks. This is the first sign of knowing the person and a vital sign that needs to be noticed.

Notice his/her actions:
Notice if he/she is fidgety or nervous. There are different other sign that may impress you or put you off. Depending on these, you can choose your life partner.

See if he/she pays respect:
Respect is an important part of any relation. In a marital relationship, this is perhaps very important. During the meeting you must check if the person respects you. Notice the way he/she addresses you or talks to you.

Take time to form an opinion:
Do not jump into a conclusion. Take enough time to analyze all aspects, match him/her with your requirements and see if this is the perfect person to spend your life with.

If all goes well, you can fix another meeting and know more about the person’s likes and dislikes and other choices. Following all the above tips, you will get your answers for how to choose your life partner.

Love Advice for Teens

Falling in love is one of the sweetest things that can happen to anyone. The feeling of falling in love would remain forever beautiful, whether you are old or young. If you are in your teens and have fallen in love it sure is cute cuddly feeling. We present some simple love advice for teens.

These teen love guidelines are not a serious discipline table. They are small love suggestions that would be of help.

General love advice for teens
  • One of the important advices here is to stay lighthearted and enjoy your affair. Since you are in your teens it's important that you take small steps when it comes to your relationship.
  • Don't loose focus on other things. It's good if you are in love with someone, but that should not stop you from other goals that you have set for yourself.
  • Career is important. Whilst in an affair keep your academic goals important as well. This is important as when you are in your teen years academically the times are crucial.
Romantic love advice for teens

Having discussed about the serious aspects of teen love it is now time to get all romantic and mushy. You can read through the teen love tips given below and follow the ones that you think are important.
  • Be casual and light-hearted: Be casual, simple and fun loving with your partner. Don't make it too serious and give your partner any pressure. Make plans to meet up, go for movies, lunch and other outings and have a great time together.
  • Have less expectation: The best way to keep your love healthy is to have less expectation. Know that you people are young and are just getting to know each other better. Focus on spending on good moments and at the present.
  • Take care of yourself: You should always take care of yourself. Simple things like good dressing and health regime will make you even more attractive to your partner. Do not get slack about yourself ever. When you take care of yourself your partner takes care about you.
Economical Love Advice for teens

This is one of the most crucial parts. When you are in love then you have to take care of the outings, movies, gifts and the like. Since you are in your teen years you would not be having huge money at your end. Therefore it is advised that you follow some important love tips and plan accordingly.

We have suggested the following economical love guidelines for lovers:-
  • Try and dutch the bill often. This is also a healthy way of maintaining a balanced relationship. Sharing the bill helps in reducing the stress from one end.
  • With regards to gifts don't go all flashy and expensive. Get something simple and reasonably priced. You can then personalize it as per your choice.
  • It would be good if you do any kind of part-time work. Whilst spending save a part of pocket money. It would be helpful later when you want to give your partner any surprise gifts.
These would be some of the easy love advice for teens that are always helpful.

Love Advice

I love you! These three words create magic on your heart. The thing is that it should be uttered by the person with whom you want to spend your entire life. Choosing a real partner is not so easy. You have to apply both the heart and the brain. When these two organs permit you to fall in love, then only you should commit yourself for a relationship. But the heart does not understand such serious words. It only knows to live in so much love. The language of the heart is all about love and romance. You should get some love-advice to take your love life to the right direction.

How to fall in love?

Meet a number of People

Before you are going to decide who will be the right partner in your life, find a lot of people. Judge them properly. Control your heart and try not to fall in love at first sight. May be its so much romantic but not at all a wise idea.

Take enough Time

Don't be in hurry. Take time and then choose the person. If you would decide to select him/her as your partner, it should be done in smart way. May be the person is beautiful or dashing, don't judge only with his/her outer features. Try to know what that person loves to do, try to realize his/her nature. To know that new person in a better way, take more time. If possible meet the person again and then decide whether he/she is applicable for you or not.

Try to Read him/her

Its a good idea to analyze the person in your own way. You may try to read the person. His/her body language will tell you many things. You may ask some simple but intellectual questions and the replies will help you to decide what is his/her intention or thoughts. Try to know whether he/she believes in love or not, how well he/she can respect the partner. All these things would help you a lot.

Go for a Formal Dating

Dating does not mean you have already committed for love. Going for a date, with a new person, you can analyze him/her so perfectly. Know about his/her family members, his/her interests and so on. You may share your dreams with the person. Express your principles and ethics of life. Know how he/she takes it and how much value the person gives it. This thing is so much important for a successful love life.

Open your Heart

If you think that the person is best for you, then only proceed for the relationship. Allow yourself to get his/her love. Try to do little sacrifices for the person. Judge yourself and realize how much you love that person. During such moment, you both can share the best time together.

Trust and Love

One of the most important advice is to learn how to trust the special person of your life. This is the most important thing which runs your love life in a successful direction. Without trust no love life can last longer. In addition, you should also know that trust is so precious and must not be broken. Remain 100% honest and loyal to your partner. Never break his/her trust.

Let's Celebrate Love

Celebrate your love together. Good adjustment and understanding make a love life happy. Always innovate new romantic ideas in your relationship. Exchanging small but thoughtful gifts, you can share a happy moment forever.

Love Advice for Men

Given below are some of the love guidelines for men that they can follow. This will help in maintaining the spark and love in the bond.
  • Pay attention to your partner's need and feelings. If she wants to speak to you regarding something then listen to her. If she says she needs your advice then help her with your thoughts as much as possible.
  • Appreciate her and make her feel special by small gestures. Cook her a meal one day or go for a candle night dinner together.
  • Surprises work best in romance. Plan out a sudden weekend getaway and spend some lone time together in the nearby beach, farmhouse or hill station.
  • Tell her "I love you" in simple and subtle ways. It doesn't matter if you get more romantic through your gestures. It will keep the charm and spark in your bond always.

Love advice for Women

Similarly there are certain love advices that women should follow as well. Some of the important ones are given below:-
  • Be affectionate to your man. No matter how strong he might seem or appear to be, men always crave for affection. Be it loving words or gestures, they would surely make him feel special.
  • Give him his space when required. Men when worried needs to be on their own. Sometimes they need their space more than anything else. The best advice here is let him be. Respect his desire to be with his male friends or by himself once in a while.
  • Encourage and motivate him always. Men love to be admired and encouraged. When you encourage him for his work and other projects he would feel that your are involved with him. This would certainly be a feel good factor for him.
  • Plan a surprise candle light dinner or weekend luncheons. Cook him his favorite platter.
These would some of the easy and simple free love advice for lovers that would keep their relationship strong.

Love - Poems , Quotes and Sayings

No matter what, one thing is always certain: being in love is the most wonderful and amazing feeling on this earth. Love is the ultimate illustration of all the best things in humanity.

It’s kindness, tenderness, selflessness, and happiness all rolled up into one. That’s why is here to help you to express your feelings of love to whomever you consider priceless.
Creating Romance

Romance is not love in and of itself, but it is one of the primary ways we can show how much we love one another. When people commit to a long-term relationship, romance is what keeps the spark alive and reminds them why they’re in love. Romance creates a mood, excites us, and keeps our love lives interesting.

Relationship Advice

A great relationship is a journey, not a destination. With so much that we need to invest in our relationships, it’s no wonder that there’s oodles of wisdom and advice available to help us figure out the next step. Falling in love is a fantastic experience, but with enough nurturing, it can grow into a relationship that will help define the rest of our lives.

Poems & Quotes

The finest poets can pour out words that capture the purest emotions and feelings, drawing others near them and melting their hearts. Of course, not all of us are capable of writing this kind of poetry, but there are various tips and hints that can help us to write meaningful Poems to our significant other. And if you don’t fancy yourself to be much of a writer at all, why not use some of the classic words that have enraptured people throughout the ages .These Quotes about love can rekindle romantic feelings in every heart.

Love Songs

A great Love Song is a key for opening up the heart and soul. The tender, romantic lyrics connect with our emotions, while at the same time the soulful rhythms make our bodies want to move. There can truly be no better expression of love, with all its depth and meaning, than a good love song.

Love Letters

The Love Letter is one of the oldest and most heartfelt ways for us to express how we really feel about the object of our affection. It gives us a chance to say what we simply cannot in person, to pour out all the deepest secrets of our heart onto the page. Even when two people are miles and miles apart, a love letter can create an intimate experience between them.

Love Messages

We now live in the modern age, and pen and paper are no longer the only ways we have to write romantic messages for one another. From email to instant messaging to Facebook, the ways we have to communicate are growing and growing with each passing year. Love can still be expressed in a short medium such as Text Message , especially if it is carefully crafted and sincere. Our words of love can have even greater power the fewer of them there are!

Romantic E-Cards

For that sweet, playful stage in a relationship, there are adorable romance Cards to create an upwelling of emotion in the recipient. Whether you’re sending your crush a card for Valentine’s Day or just to let them know you’re thinking of them, picking out just the right cute little card should be enough to make the object of your affection melt into a puddle, wherever they might be.

Fun & Games

Even though love is very important, there’s no rule that says it has to be perfectly serious all the time. And what if you’re single, musing over your chances at finding the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend in the future? Well check out our Love Horoscopes to see what your chances for romance might be in the coming year! Or if you have that special someone in mind, but aren’t sure how it’s going to turn out, give the Love Calculator a whirl to get a glimpse of where it might go. Indulging your playful side is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for a future of fun and romance!

Monday, 14 May 2012

60 Tiny Love Stories to Make You Smile

60 Tiny Love Stories to Make You Smile
Here’s a selection of 60 tiny love stories recently submitted to our sister site, Makes Me Think, that not only made us think, but warmed our hearts and made us smile too. We hope they do the same for you.
  1. Today, my 75-year-old grandpa who has been blind from cataracts for almost 15 years said to me, “Your grandma is just the most beautiful thing, isn’t she?” I paused for a second and said, “Yes she is. I bet you miss seeing that beauty on a daily basis.” “Sweety,” my grandpa said, “I still see her beauty every day. In fact, I see it more now than I used to when we were young.” MMT
  2. Today, I walked my daughter down the aisle. Ten years ago I pulled a 14 year old boy out of his mom’s fire-engulfed SUV after a serious accident. Doctors initially said he would never walk again. My daughter came with me several times to visit him at the hospital. Then she started going on her own. Today, seeing him defy the odds and smile widely, standing on his own two feet at the altar as he placed a ring on my daughter’s finger MMT.
  3. Today, I walked up to the door of my office (I’m a florist) at 7AM to find a uniformed Army soldier standing out front waiting. He was on his way to the airport to go to Afghanistan for a year. He said, “I usually bring home a bouquet of flowers for my wife every Friday and I don’t want to let her down when I’m away.” He then placed an order for 52 Friday afternoon deliveries of flowers to his wife’s office and asked me to schedule one for each week until he returns. I gave him a 50% discount because it made my day to see something so sweet. MMT
  4. Today, I told my 18 year old grandson that nobody asked me to prom when I was in high school, so I didn’t attend. He showed up at my house this evening dressed in a tuxedo and took me as his date to his prom. MMT
  5. Today, when she woke up from an eleven month coma, she kissed me and said, “Thank you for being here, and telling me those beautiful stories, and never giving up on me… And yes, I will marry you.” MMT
  6. Today, I was sitting on a park bench eating a sandwich for lunch when an elderly couple pulled their car up under a nearby oak tree. They rolled down the windows and turned up some jazz music on the radio. Then the man got out of the car, walked around to the passenger side, opened the door for the woman, took her hand and helped her out of her seat, guided her about ten feet away from the car, and they slow danced for the next half hour under the oak tree. MMT
  7. Today, I operated on a little girl. She needed O- blood. We didn’t have any, but her twin brother has O- blood. I explained to him that it was a matter of life and death. He sat quietly for a moment, and then said goodbye to his parents. I didn’t think anything of it until after we took his blood and he asked, “So when will I die?” He thought he was giving his life for hers. Thankfully, they’ll both be fine. MMT
  8. Today, my dad is the best dad I could ask for. He’s a loving husband to my mom (always making her laugh), he’s been to every one of my soccer games since I was 5 (I’m 17 now), and he provides for our family as a construction foreman. This morning when I was searching through my dad’s toolbox for a pliers, I found a dirty folded up paper at the bottom. It was an old journal entry in my dad’s handwriting dated exactly one month before the day I was born. It reads, “I am eighteen years old, an alcoholic who is failing out of college, a past cutter, and a child abuse victim with a criminal record of auto theft. And next month, ‘teen father’ will be added to the list. But I swear I will make things right for my little girl. I will be the dad I never had.” And I don’t know how he did it, but he did it. MMT
  9. Today, my 8-year-old son hugged me and said, “You are the best mom in the whole entire world!” I smiled and sarcastically replied, “How do you know that? You haven’t met every mom in the whole entire world.” My son squeezed me tighter and said, “Yes I have. You are my world.” MMT
  10. Today, I have an elderly patient who is suffering from a severe case of Alzheimer’s. He can rarely remember his own name, and he often forgets where he is and what he said just a few minutes beforehand. But by the stretch of some miracle (perhaps the miracle of love), he remembers who is wife is every morning when she shows up to spend a few hours with him. He usually greets her by saying, “Hello my beautiful Kate.” MMT
  11. Today, my 21 year old Labrador can barely stand up, can’t see, can’t hear, and doesn’t have enough strength to bark. But it doesn’t stop her from wagging her tail a mile a minute every single time I walk into the room. MMT
  12. Today is our 10th anniversary, but since my husband and I are both recently unemployed we agreed not to get each other any gifts. When I woke up this morning, my husband was already up. I walked downstairs to find beautiful wild flowers brilliantly arranged all over the house. There must be 400 flowers total and he didn’t spend a dime. MMT
  13. Today, my high school boyfriend, who I thought I’d never see again, showed me the pictures of the two of us he kept in his Army helmet while he was overseas for the last 8 years. MMT
  14. Today, my 88-year-old grandmother and her 17 year old cat are both blind. My grandmother’s guide dog leads my grandmother around the house, which is normal. But lately, he’s been guiding her cat around the house too. When her cat meows, he walks up and rubs against her, and then she follows directly behind him to her food, to the litter box, to the other end of the house for a nap, etc. MMT
  15. Today, I watched in horror through the kitchen window as my 2-year-old slipped and fell head first into the pool. But before I could get to her, our Labrador Retriever, Rex, jumped in after her, grabbed her by her shirt collar and pulled her to the shallow steps where she could stand. MMT
  16. Today, my older brother has donated bone marrow 16 times to help treat my cancer. He communicates directly with my doctor and does it without me even asking or knowing when he has an appointment. And today my doctor informed me that the treatment appears to be working. “Cancer cells have been drastically reduced in the last few months.” MMT
  17. Today, I was driving home with my grandfather when he suddenly made a u-turn and said, “I forgot to get your grandmother a bouquet of flowers. I’ll pick up one from the florist at the corner down here. It’ll only take a second.” “What’s so special about today that you have to buy her flowers?” I asked. “There’s nothing specifically special about today,” my grandfather said. “Every day is special. Your grandmother loves flowers. They put a smile on her face.” MMT
  18. Today, I re-read the suicide letter I wrote on the afternoon of September 2nd 1996 about two minutes before my girlfriend showed up at my door and told me, “I’m pregnant.” Suddenly I felt I had a reason to live. Today she’s my wife. We’ve been happily married for 14 years. And my daughter, who is almost 15 now, has two younger brothers. I re-read my suicide letter from time to time as a reminder to be thankful – I am thankful I got a second chance at life and love. MMT
  19. Today, and every day for the last two months since I returned to school with burn scars on my face after being hospitalized for nearly a month for injuries I sustained in a house fire, a red rose was taped to my locker when I got to school in the morning. I have no clue who is getting to school early and leaving me these roses. I’ve even arrived early myself a few times to try to figure it out, but each time the rose was already there. MMT
  20. Today was the 10 year anniversary of my dad’s passing. When I was a kid he used to hum a short melody to me as I was going to sleep. When I was 18, as he rested in his hospital bed fighting cancer, the roles were reversed and I hummed the melody to him. I haven’t heard that melody since, until last night. My fiancé and I were turned on our sides looking at each other in bed when he started humming it to me. His mom used to hum it to him when he was a kid. MMT
  21. Today, a woman who must have her voicebox removed due to cancer is enrolled in my sign language class. Her husband, four children, two sisters, brother, mother, father, and twelve close friends are also enrolled in the same class so they can communicate with her after she loses her ability to speak aloud. MMT
  22. Today, my 11-year-old son speaks fluent sign language because his best friend, Josh, who he grew up with from the time he was an infant, is deaf. Seeing their genuine friendship evolve and grow over the years MMT.
  23. Today, due to Alzheimer’s and dementia, my grandfather usually can’t remember who my grandmother is when he wakes up in the morning. It bothered my grandmother a year ago when it first happened, but now she’s fully supportive of his condition. In fact, she plays a game every day in which she tries to get my grandfather to ask her to re-marry him before dinnertime. She hasn’t failed yet. MMT
  24. Today, my dad passed away from natural causes at the age of 92. I found his body resting peacefully in the recliner in his bedroom. In his lap, facing upright, were three framed 8×10 photographs of my mom who passed away about 10 years ago. She was the love of his life, and apparently the last thing he wanted to see before he passed. MMT
  25. Today, I am the proud mom of a blind 17-year-old boy. Although my son was born without his sense of sight, it hasn’t stopped him from being a straight A student, a guitarist (whose band just surpassed 25,000 downloads of their first album), and a loving boyfriend to his long-term girlfriend, Valerie. Just today, his younger sister asked him what he likes about Valerie, and he said, “Everything. She’s beautiful.” MMT
  26. Today, I waited on an elderly couple. The way they looked at each other… you could see they were in love. When the husband mentioned that they were celebrating their anniversary, I smiled and said, “Let me guess. You two have been together forever.” They laughed and the wife said, “Actually, no, today is our 5 year anniversary. We both outlived our spouses and then life blessed us with one more shot at love.” MMT
  27. Today, my father found my little sister alive, chained up in a barn. She was abducted near Mexico City almost 5 months ago. Authorities stopped actively searching for her a few weeks later. My mom and I laid her soul to rest. We had a funeral for her last month. All of our family and friends attended the ceremony except my father. Instead he kept looking for her. He said he “loved her too much to give up.” And she’s back home now because he never did. MMT
  28. Today, there are two senior boys at my school who have an openly gay relationship. They have experienced verbal humiliation on a daily basis for the last two years, yet they continue to hold each other’s hand in the hallways. Despite threats and vandalized lockers, they showed up to prom this evening wearing matching tuxedos. Seeing them on the dance floor, smiling from ear to ear in spite of all the haters MMT.
  29. Today, my sister and I were in a bad car accident. My sister is Mrs. Popular at school – she knows everyone. I’m a bit of an introvert – I hang-out with the same 2 girls all the time. My sister immediately posted a comment on Facebook about our accident. And while all her friends were commenting, my 2 friends showed up independently at the scene of the accident before the paramedics arrived. MMT
  30. Today, my fiancé returned home from his last tour of duty overseas. Yesterday he was just my boyfriend, or so I thought. Almost a year ago, he mailed me a package. He told me I wasn’t allowed to open it until he got home in two weeks. But then his tour got extended for another 11 months. Today, when he got home, he told me to open the package, and just as I pulled the ring out of the box, he got down on one knee. MMT
  31. Today, my 12-year-old son, Sean, and I stopped by the nursing home together for the first time in several months. Usually I come alone see my mother who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s. When we walked into the lobby, the nurse said, “Hi, Sean!” and then buzzed us in. “How does she know your name?” I asked. “Oh, I swing by here on my walk home from school all the time to say hi to Grandma,” Sean said. I had no idea. MMT
  32. Today, I found an old hand written note my mom wrote when she was a senior in high school. On it is a list of qualities she hoped she would someday find in a boyfriend. The list is basically an exact description of my dad, who she didn’t meet until she was 27. MMT
  33. Today, I’ve been chemistry lab partners with one of the most beautiful (and popular) girls at our school since the beginning of the school year. And although I never would have had the courage to talk to her otherwise, she’s totally down to earth and sweet. We spend our time in the lab chatting, laughing, and getting A’s (she’s smart too), and just recently we started talking a little bit outside of class too. Last week when I heard that she didn’t have a date to our homecoming dance, I desperately wanted to ask her, but chickened out every time I was about to. Then this afternoon, at lunchtime, she ran up to me and formally asked me to ask her to the dance. So I did, and she kissed me on the cheek and said, “Yes!” MMT
  34. Today, on our 10th anniversary, she handed me a suicide note she wrote when she was 22, on the exact day we met. And she said, “For all these years I didn’t want you to know how foolish and unstable I was back when we met. But even though you didn’t know, you saved me. Thank you.” MMT
  35. Today, my grandpa keeps and old, candid photo on his nightstand of my grandma and him laughing together at some party in the 1960’s. My grandma passed away from cancer in 1999 when I was 7. This evening when I was at his house, my grandpa caught me staring at the photo. He walked up, hugged me from behind and said, “Remember, just because something doesn’t last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth your while.” MMT
  36. Today, I sat down with my two daughters, ages 4 and 6, to explain to them that we have to move out of our 4 bedroom house and into a 2 bedroom apartment for awhile until I can find another job that pays well. My daughters looked at each other for a moment and then my youngest daughter turned to me and asked, “Are we all moving into the apartment together?” “Yes,” I replied. “Oh, so no big deal then,” she said. MMT
  37. Today, I met the prettiest woman on a plane. Assuming I wouldn’t see her again after we made our connections, I told her how pretty I thought she was. She gave me the most sincere smile and said, “Nobody has said that to me in 10 years.” It turns out we’re both in our mid-30’s, never married, no kids, and we live about 5 miles away from each other. We have a date set for next Saturday after we return home. MMT
  38. Today, I’m a mother of 2 and a grandmother of 4. At 17 I got pregnant with twins. When my boyfriend and friends found out I wasn’t going to abort them, they turned a cold shoulder to me. But I pressed forward, worked full-time while attending school, graduated high school and college, and met a guy in one of my classes who has loved my children like his own for the last 50 years. MMT
  39. Today, on my 29th birthday, I returned home from my 4th and final tour of duty overseas. The little girl who lives next door to my parents (who isn’t so little any more - she’s 22 now) met me at the airport with a long stemmed rose, a bottle of my favorite vodka, and then asked me out on a date. MMT
  40. Today, my daughter accepted her boyfriend’s marriage proposal. He is 3 years older than her. They started dating when she was 14 and he was 17. I never liked the age difference when they were kids. When he turned 18 a week before she turned 15, my husband insisted they break-up. They maintained a friendship, but went on to date other people. Now at the ages of 24 and 27, I’ve never seen two people more in love. MMT
  41. Today, after I heard that my mom stayed home from work with the flu, I stopped by Wal-Mart on my way home from school to pick her up some canned soup. I ran into my dad who was already in the check-out line. He had 5 cans of soup, NyQuil, tissues, tampons, 4 romantic comedy DVDs and a bouquet of flowers. My dad makes me smile and MMT.
  42. Today, I was sitting on a hotel balcony watching 2 lovers in the distance walk along the beach. From their body language, I could tell they were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. As they got closer, I realized they were my parents. My parents almost got divorced 8 years ago. MMT
  43. Today, I’m only 17, but I’ve been with my boyfriend, Jake, for 3 years, and last night was the first time we spent the night together. We’ve never ‘done it,’ and we didn’t last night either. Instead, we baked cookies, watched two comedies, laughed, played Xbox and fell asleep in each other’s arms. Despite the warnings from my parents, he’s been nothing but a gentleman and a best friend. MMT
  44. Today, when I tapped the side of my wheelchair and told my husband, “You’re the only reason I want to be free from this contraption,” he kissed me on my forehead and said, “Honey, I don’t even see that thing.” MMT
  45. Today, my grandmother and grandfather, who were both in their early 90’s and married for 72 years, both died of natural causes approximately one hour apart from each other. MMT
  46. Today, my dad came to see me for the first time in 6 months since I told him I’m gay. When I opened the door he had tears in his eyes and he immediately gave me a huge hug and said, “I’m sorry, Jason. I love you.” MMT
  47. Today, my autistic little sister spoke her first word at the age of 6 – my name. MMT
  48. Today, at the age of 72, nearly 15 years after my grandfather passed away, my grandmother remarried. And since I’m only 17, I’ve never seen her so happy in all my life. It’s inspiring to see two people so in love at their age. MMT it’s never too late.
  49. Today, at a jazz club in San Francisco I saw a man and woman enjoying a drink together. The woman was a dwarf and the man must have been 6 feet tall. Later in the evening they went out onto the dance floor. The man got down on his knees so they could slow dance together. They danced the rest of the night. MMT
  50. Today, as I was sleeping, I woke up to my daughter calling my name. I was sleeping in a sofa chair in her hospital room. I opened my eyes to her beautiful smile. My daughter has been in a coma for 98 days. MMT
  51. Today, exactly 10 years ago almost to the minute, I stopped at an intersection and a car rear ended me. The driver was a student at UF, just like me. He was cordial and apologetic. As we waited for the cops and the tow truck we chatted and started laughing together about all sorts of stuff. We exchanged numbers and the rest is history. We just celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. MMT
  52. Today, I was working in a coffee shop when 2 gay men walked in holding hands. As you might expect, heads started turning. Then a young girl at the table next to me asked her mom why 2 men were holding hands. Her mom replied, “Because they love each other.” MMT
  53. Today, after 2 years of separation, my ex-wife and I resolved our differences and met for dinner. We laughed and chatted for almost 4 hours. Then just before she left, she handed me a large envelope. In it were 20 love letters she wrote me over the last 2 years. There was a post-it note on the envelope that said, “Letters I was too stubborn to send.” MMT
  54. Today, I was in an accident that left me with a gash on my forehead. The doctors wrapped a bandage around my head and said I have to keep it on all week. I hate wearing it. Two minutes ago my little brother walked into my room wearing a bandage on his head. My mom said he insisted that he didn’t want me to feel alone. MMT
  55. Today, my mother passed away after a long battle with cancer. My best friend lives 2000 miles away and called to comfort me. While on the phone, he asked, “What would you do if I showed up at your house and gave you the biggest hug in the world?” “I would surely smile,” I replied. And then he rang my doorbell. MMT
  56. Today, as my 91-year-old grandfather (a military doctor, war hero, and successful business owner) rested in his hospital bed, I asked him what his greatest life accomplishment was. He turned around, grabbed my grandmother’s hand, looked her in the eyes, and said, “Growing old with you.” MMT
  57. Today, as I watched my 75-year-old grandmother and grandfather being silly with each other and laughing in the kitchen, I felt like I got a short glimpse of what true love feels like. I hope I find it someday. MMT
  58. Today, exactly twenty years ago to the hour, I risked my life to save a woman who was drowning in the rapids of the Colorado River. And that’s how I met my wife - the love of my life. MMT
  59. Today, on our 50th wedding anniversary, she smiled at me and said, “I only wish I had met you sooner.” MMT
  60. Today, my blind friend explained to me in vivid detail how beautiful his new girlfriend is. MMT

Where are you, my love?

Where are you, my love?

I have thought of writing and sharing my pain for a long time. This has been torturing me for months and I decided to finally share it with you.
I know a lot of you would blame me and say that I am guilty, that if I want I can end it all, but I am so deeply in love and I would do everything I can to keep the man next to me, even if I am self-destroying myself.
I have a boyfriend for already half a year, it all started unexpectedly, simply one introduction, one date, one conversation and I totally got lost in his spider-web.
Love caught me unexpectedly; I know you think this can’t be real, that for half a year you can’t be certain of the love. But I am so aware of my feelings, this is a love you don’t notice at first, it touches gently the coldness of your everyday life. It changes it fully if you allow it.
There is another love that comes as a tornado and leaves only unfulfilled dreams and remains of your living behind.
There is love that you wait for days, weeks, months and years…and it doesn’t come, and is doomed to fail to exist.
There is love that is uncertain to pass by the threshold of present, sometimes does it, and sometimes stays in future forever. But there is also this love, in which I truly believe and feel, which even if it doesn’t happen changes minds, demolishes walls, does miracles after miracles. It can be very painful at times; it makes you gasp for breath, sometimes leads you ahead, but sometimes is blind. Sometimes kills you in order to revive or get rid of you forever.
This last love you can’t look for, ignore, nor challenge. When it happens you know it is the LOVE... your life starts in another direction, everything changes, even you are different. Well, that is the true love.
I never loved anybody till now, there was love, I can’t deny. I had everything I wanted, but that great feeling of love was missing.
As I already told you, six months ago I met the man I fell in love with. The problem is that our feelings are not mutual, I haven’t received as much from him, something that would make me love him, no, love just came over me.
I can say I have plenty of problems with him; he had a girlfriend before me, whom he was 4 years with, his first love. But he was cheated on and buried and found it difficult to deal with it all, that’s why he doesn’t trust anybody now.
Sometimes he treats me real bad, he had humiliated me to an extend where all I wanted was the earth to open up below and swallow me, in order not to feel anything and if I may sleep my eternal sleep. I would never forget my last St. Valentine’s day with him. I was watching all my friends happy with their loved ones and I was hoping for an attention from him, but he hurt me again as usual.
I would never forget how we were home and a friend of mine came and said – Happy St. Valentine’s day – I smiled and thanked her and he turned and said – Happy to all but not to us.
I knew it, I’ve always known it, he didn’t keep it a secret from me, he told me he can’t return my feelings, but I felt so hurt and sad by his attitude. He can say everything when we are alone, but it hurt to hear it being said before a friend. He humiliated me once more.
On this Valentine’s day I didn’t receive anything, no present, not even a nice word. He always talks about his ex-girlfriend – his first love – what it was with her. This makes me so sad and tells me again that he cannot love anymore; he is incapable of loving anyone like her. Not to mention that he always leaves me on third place, after his parents and friends.
Frequently he would be mad at someone else, no matter who, and would come and take it out on me and we would fight and I would have to suffer for someone else’s mistake. If he had problems with someone I was to blame.
And I always endure everything in the name of my love. He hurt me and he still is hurting me, but I learnt how to accept things as they are. I forgive him every time, but I get nothing in return. There were times when we would argue and it is his entire fault, but in order to get things back to normal I would admit it was my mistake, I would apologize, when in reality there is nothing to apologize for.
I have always treated everyone well. I don’t mean to say I am special, but I would think before doing something that would hurt someone, this is so egoistical.
I don’t know where I did wrong, but now when I met the man I fell in love with, the man I breathe for and love… And he treats me so bad and humiliates me so meanly. Whose mistakes am I redeeming, I don’t know, what I know is that I am destroying myself, and still I continue doing it. I know today he is with me and tomorrow- he might be gone. I don’t want much of him, simply to respect me, to be kind to me. This much I need to be happy.
I have one more problem; I am not well with my nerves, I have a weak nervous system. It all started with how much I was hurt in the past and I continue to be. I am quite dependant on sedatives, I can’t function without them. I cry, I suffer, it hurts, I am humiliated, I drink my pills – that is what my life is. I wait every single day that my love would remember I am there, he would be with me, I wait to see his false smile or even a mean lie, but told by him, I wait to be humiliated once more, but to be with him, I am so afraid to lose him.
It hurts me, but I am telling myself, it is once in a lifetime that a person experiences this love, and it’s worth it. Every sacrifice, every possible or impossible price, every breath and every moment of our fragile existence. Even if this love devastates our hearts forever....

The best thing is to be in love!

The most amazing feeling in the world – to be in love!! :)
It encompasses in one the happiness, the mood, the power and everything you would need.
I love you! I love you so much!! :)
Everything you do, say, I love everything connected with you!
I love your dimples, your eyes, your hands, your smile, I love the way you walk, and I adore you!
I adore the calmness I feel when you kiss and hug me. I adore the way you get me in the right mood when we are together.
I adore the moment we lie in each other’s hands and there is only the moonlight above.
I adore the tenderness you radiate when you hug me.
Is there a more amazing feeling than love?
I wake up in the morning with the thought of you; I lie in the evening with your smile in my head. I miss you from the moment I lose a sight of you. I love you, is there anything so good?
I love the itch in the stomach every time I see you.
I love every second when I am with you and the only thing I feel sorry for is that it is over now. When I am with you the world is different, no one else exists, only me and you.
No problems exist; there is nothing else that I want more than to have you.
I love you more than the whole world and more!! No other being makes me feel so good. I love you; you make my day and smile. I love the way you say you love me; you open up my heart so I can love every piece of the world around me.
Sometimes dreams do come true.
My dream is you.
I love you; I need no one and nothing more.
Only you make me feel happy!
You love me and it is the best thing in the world!! :))

I think I am going to die...

I want to tell you what happened to me and how this story turned my life upside down, and I am not the same person any more......
It was during last year’s summer. I used to live in a small town near the capital, I studied and lived there. I had a steady boyfriend for almost 2 years; we loved and respected each other. He studied in the same university I did. We would see each other every day, take a walk together, we took pleasure in the love that filled us, we were more than happy, but…as you know all good things come to an end.
Problems started when after my last annual exam I decided to go to the seaside with my friends from the town where my parents live. My boyfriend didn’t come cause he didn’t have the opportunity ( he had work in the town). So one morning my friends and I left for the seaside. We arrived somewhere around 1 am at night. We went to the hotel to check in, took a quick shower and went to bed, cause we were all dead tired. On the next morning we went to the beach. The first thing I noticed was the most amazing man I have ever seen, a handsome man sitting alone on the beach, obviously waiting for someone. I told my friends to go and I will catch them later.
I approached him and with some cheek I sat on the sand next to him, I looked at him and smiled. He immediately gave me his hand as if he had been waiting for this all day long. So we introduced each other and chatted for over an hour, he told me a lot about himself, and I basically told him everything. And suddenly, when we both paused talking and as if we were enjoying one another, he said that obviously the friend he was waiting for, won’t be coming. He invited me for a coffee and I accepted, of course. I was so happy and pleased with him, it was a long time since I had so much fun. He was treating me ( someone he didn’t know) so well, making me laugh, I felt so good….I didn’t want this moment to end. So we went for a coffee and we chatted for almost 2 hours. He told me how much he loved the sea, and I supported him fully in this. We liked each other so much, we felt we’ve know each other forever.
When I was leaving for the seaside, despite my good mood, I thought I would not stop thinking of “my man” and would not have good time, but while I was with Mario ( that was the name of the boy I met at the beach) I did not think of Steve ( my friend in the town) not even once. I was so happy and enjoying the moment.......
After that I started going out with Mario, and not with my friends, day after day. Days would pass and I kept feeling amazing………. but then the day I had to leave came. I felt terrible. Mario was from other city and the distance was so huge…I think I loved him.. He also felt bad that we I had to leave, but that’s life. We promised to write and to see each other next summer.
I left for my home town, and he remained at the sea, we were so far from each other.........
After a long and boring trip I came back home and when I arrived my parents called me to see if I was all right. After that Steve called, my God, I had totally forgotten about him, but fate reminded me where I was....
A couple of hours after I arrived I met Steve and you know what……my heart beat faster. SO my “previous love” for him burst out again after 20 days absence??? We spent 2 hours together and he kept asking how I spent at the seaside and I was forced to think of something, I wasn’t ready to tell him the truth. After all I was cheating on him the whole time...
Everything was back to normal, but I wasn’t the same. In my thoughts he was “ my prince Mario”. God, you should hear my heart beating when I think of him, my heart was filled with love.
A couple of days later Steve and I went to my parents’ place. We thought of spending some time with them. One day as I was sitting and having lunch with Steve and my parents, I felt sick. My mother said she would come with me to the doctor. I was told I was pregnant. My God, I stood shocked, we had sex the previous night with Steve, but it was not possible that I got pregnant. I was certain, the child was Mario’s. How would I tell my parents, they would certainly drive me away, they loved Steve so much. So I kept it all to myself and everybody was happy. I was most happy cause I would give birth to a child from my loved one. ..
In the meantime I kept receiving letters from Mario almost every week and was so happy. One day in one of my letters I shared that I was pregnant from him; I thought he would be happy and that he would want to see me, but alas….......after this letter he stopped writing and I never got an answer from him.
I was tempted to look for him, to find out what he was doing and thinking, but I realized he left the address he was living on.
Now, months after this, I am pregnant, married to Steve and unhappy. Where is the love of my life? So his I- love-you’s were all lies? Maybe I am to blame, cause I cheated on the man who loved me and was truthful to me? What is wrong with me? Why do I keep loving the one from the sea who hurt me so much?
I live with my parents with Steve now, he loves me dearly and I pretend. I don’t know how much I would stand this.
My parents want to buy us a house, for me, my husband and the innocent baby that is going to be born.
How do I live with this lie? The child will remind me of my big, seaside love…….and it is not guilty, it has the right to live, and I would need to keep living with Steve and pretend I am happy…What if in the meantime I die of sadness for my beloved one???

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Manners of Welcoming the New Born Child in Islam

By Yusuf ibn Abdullah al-Arafi
Translated by Abu Talhah Dawud ibn Ronald Burbank

Children are a source of delight and an adornment for the world granted by Allah to their parents, they give vigor to the hearts, joy to the souls, pleasure to the eyes. They are the fruit from whom good is to be hoped for when they frequently supplicate:
"Our Lord! Bestow on them your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small" [Noble Quran 17:24]
Children are the ones in every nation upon whom hope for the future lies, and they are the youth of tomorrow upon whose shoulders the call to Islam is carried. Islam has indeed elevated the status of children and has laid down manners for their treatment relating to all their affairs and each stage of their lives, and from these are the manners for welcoming their arrival in this life.
Our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was a living example, educating, cultivating the Muslims upon the practices of Islam, teaching them how to worship their Lord in the best of ways. But a number of Muslims have strayed from his pure teachings and have substituted that which is gold for that which worthless.
So here are the manners the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us with regards our new-born.
Encouragement to have Children
Allah says, "So now have sexual relations with them, and seek that which Allah has ordained for you." [Noble Quran 2:187]
And the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Marry the loving and fertile because through you, I will compete with the nations for superiority in numbers" [Abu Dawud]
And it is important that the Parents bring up their children upon righteousness, so that the Parents will benefit from them during their lives and after their death. Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
"A servant will have his rank raised and will say, 'O my Lord how has this come about for me?' He says, 'through your sons after you seeking forgiveness for you'" [ibn Majah]
Know that what has preceded applies equally to both boys and girls, and indeed Islam has encouraged the bringing up of girls, and Allah condemns those that are distressed at the birth of a girl, and the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) came elevating the status of this gift from Allah,
"whoever takes care of two girls until they reach adulthood - he and I will come together o­n the Day of Resurrection (like this) - and he interlaced his two fingers" [Muslim]
meaning in Paradise. So can their be a greater honor given to daughters?!
Giving the good news of the Birth
The near of kin who are anxiously waiting should be informed so that they can stop worrying and congratulate the parents and supplicate for the baby. Allah mentions this good news being conveyed to a number of His Prophets, from them Zakariyyah of his son Yahya,
"Then the angels called him, while he was standing in prayer in a private room (saying), 'Allah gives you glad tidings of Yahya'." [Noble Quran 3:39]
The Tahnik
This means to soften a date and then rub the palate of the new-born with it just after the birth or soon after. This is done by putting a piece of the softened date o­n the finger and rubbing it from left to right in the mouth of the baby.
Ibn Hajr said, "if o­ne is not able to find a dry date, then a fresh date should be used, and if that is not available then anything sweet." [Fath 9/588]
It is not essential to chew the date rather it may be softened in any way. The action of chewing as reported in the sunnah was something specific to the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) due to the blessings that Allah had placed in his saliva.
It is done by the father or the mother or anyone from the People of Knowledge whose supplication is hoped would be accepted. So he should perform Tahnik and supplicate for the child as was the practice of the Companions.
Imam Nawawi says, "Scholars are agreed upon the recommendation of performing tahnik upon the baby after its birth." [Sharh Sahih Muslim 4/122]
Ayshah reports, "new-born children used to be brought to the Messenger of Allah and he would supplicate for blessings for them, and rub a chewed date upon their palate." [Muslim]
Naming the child
The baby may be named o­n the day of it's birth or later o­n the seventh day or past the seventh day, as this is what is clear after study of all the evidences from the sunnah.
It is the father or the mother who chose the name for the baby. If they differ amongst themselves then it is the father who has the choice, he may name it himself or give his wife the right to choose. The fact that this is the right of the father is shown by the principle that the child is ascribed and attributed to the father, as Allah says,
"Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just in the Sight of Allah" [Noble Quran 33:5]
It is also allowed for the parents to allow others to name the child, since our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to name some of the children of his Companions.
The name should carry a good and praiseworthy meaning as the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
"On the Day of Resurrection, you will be called by your names and your fathers names, so make your names good." [Abu Dawud]
It is recommended to call o­neself a servant of Allah (Abdullah) or the servant of any of the names of Allah. Then it is recommended to name a child after a Prophet, due to the hadith,
"Call yourselves by the names of the Prophets" [Abu Dawud]
and the hadith,
"A son was born to me this night and I called him after my forefather Ibrahim" [Muslim]
Then it is recommended to name the child after any pious person in the hope that it will become like him/her. Then it is recommended to name by any name which has good meaning.
It is forbidden to name a child with a name that denote servitude to other than Allah, for example Abd an-Nabi, Abd ar-Rasul etc, just as it is forbidden to name them with names that are particular to the Unbelievers like George, Michael, Susan etc.
The names of tyrants and evil personalities should be avoided such as Fir'awn, Qarun, Abu Lahab etc.. Likewise it is disliked to name with the names of the Surahs of the Quran like 'Ta Ha' or 'Ya Sin' as is reported from Imam Malik and others. There is no authentic hadith which ascribes the above two as being names of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
The Aqiqah
After the seventh day of the arrival of the new-born, as a form of welcome for it and to give thanks to the One who gave the blessings, it is prescribed to slaughter a sheep. The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
"Every child is in pledge for its Aqiqah which is sacrificed for it o­n its seventh day, and it is named o­n it, and its head is shaved" [Abu Dawud]
If the new-born is a boy then two sheep are to be sacrificed, and if it is a girl then o­ne sheep. This is the position of the majority of the scholars and Companions. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
"For the boy two equal sheep, and for the girl, a single sheep." [ibn Majah]
So it is permissible to sacrifice the male or female sheep or goat, and this is best. As for sacrificing other animals then the scholars have differed over this.
The sacrifice should be done by the father or a close relative, for our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) performed the Aqiqah for his two grandsons. It is also obligatory to mention the name of Allah over it while sacrificing, and if a close relative is performing the Aqiqah then he should add, 'This Aqiqah is the Aqiqah of so and so' mentioning the name of the person on whose behalf he is performing the Aqiqah, as is reported in the hadith related by al-Bayhaqi.
The meat of the sacrifice may be distributed cooked or uncooked,, but it is preferred that it should be cooked as this leads to greater blessing as mentioned by a group of the scholars.
Shaving the baby's head
On the seventh day after the birth the head of the baby should be shaved. So when al-Hasan was born the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told his daughter, Fatima,
"Shave his head and give the weight of his hair in silver to the poor" [Ahmad]
The right side of the head should be shaved first, then the left as mentioned in the hadith,
"Shave, and he indicated to the right side of his head, and then the left" [Muslim]
It is not permissible to shave a part of the head and leave a part, as this was prohibited by the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) as reported by al-Bukhari. The strongest view seems to be that the head of the boy or the girl should be shaved, as is reported that Fatimah weighed the hair of her daughter (Muwatta) but the scholars differ o­n this, and Allah knows best.
The shaving should be done after the sacrifice, and our pious predecessors liked to rub some perfume over the baby's head after the shaving.
Then it is prescribed to give the value of the weight of the baby's hair in silver in charity, and it is recommended to give this charity o­n the seventh day also, but it is not necessary to do so, and may be delayed.
It is prescribed that the boy be circumcised, it is recommended that the circumcision take place on the seventh day, but it is obligatory to circumcise before the boy reaches puberty.

Importance of Marriage in Islam

Allah has created men and women as company for one another, and so that they can procreate and live in peace and tranquility according to the commandments of Allah and the directions of His Messenger. The Quran says:
"And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts. Undoubtedly in these are signs for those who reflect." [Noble Quran 30:21]
"And Allah has made for you your mates of your own nature, and made for you, out of them, sons and daughters and grandchildren, and provided for you sustenance of the best." [Noble Quran 16:72]
These verses of the Noble Quran clearly show that in contrast to other religions like Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism etc. which consider celibacy or monasticism as a great virtue and a means of salvation, Islam considers marriage as one of the most virtuous and approved institutions. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) declared, "There is no monasticism in Islam." He further ordained,
"O you young men! Whoever is able to marry should marry, for that will help him to lower his gaze and guard his modesty." [Al-Bukhari]
Modesty was regarded as a great virtue by the Prophet. He said, "Modesty is part of faith." [Al-Bukhari]
The importance of the institution or marriage receives its greatest emphasis from the following Hadith of the Prophet,
"Marriage is my sunnah. Whosoever keeps away from it is not from me."
With these Quranic injunctions and the guidance from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in mind, we shall examine the institution of marriage in the Shari'ah.
The word Zawaj is used in the Quran to signify a pair or a mate. But in common parlance it stands for marriage. Since the family is the nucleus of Islamic society, and marriage is the only way to bring families into existence, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) insisted upon his followers entering into marriage The Shari'ah prescribes rules to regulate the functioning of the family so that both spouses can live together in love, security, and tranquility. Marriage in Islam has aspects of both 'Ibadah (worship) of Allah and mu'amalah (transactions between human beings).
In its 'Ibadah aspect, marriage is an act pleasing to Allah because it is in accordance with his commandments that husband and wife love each other and help each other to make efforts to continue the human race and rear and nurse their children to become true servants of Allah.
In its mu'amalah aspect, marriage being a lawful response to the basic biological instinct to have sexual intercourse and to procreate children, the Shari'ah has prescribed detailed rules for translating this response into a living human institution reinforced by a whole framework of legally enforceable rights and duties, not only of the spouses, but also of their offspring.
These aspects are beautifully explained in a tradition of the Prophet. It is narrated by Anas that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
"When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of his religion, so let him fear Allah regarding the remaining half."
The Prophet considered marriage for a Muslim as half of his religion because it shields him from promiscuity, adultery, fornication, homosexuality etc., which ultimately lead to many other evils like slander, quarreling, homicide, loss of property and disintegration of the family. According to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) the remaining half of the faith can be saved by Taqwa.
Conditions of Marriage
Careful consideration of the Quranic injunctions and the traditions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) clearly show that marriage is compulsory (wajib) for a man who has the means to easily pay the Mahr (dowry) and to support a wife and children, and is healthy, and fears that if does not marry, he may be tempted to commit fornication (Zina). It is also compulsory for a woman who has no other means of maintaining herself and who fears that her sexual urge may push her into fornication. But even for a person who has a strong will to control his sexual desire, who has no wish to have children, and who feels that marriage will keep him away from his devotion to Allah, it is commendable (Mandub).
However, according to the Maliki school, under certain conditions it is obligatory (fard) for a Muslim to marry even if he is not in a position to earn his living:
If he fears that by not marrying he will commit fornication (Zina).
If he is unable to fast to control his passions or his fasting does not help him to refrain from Zina.
Even if he is unable to find a slave girl or a destitute girl to marry.
However some jurists suggest that if a man cannot procure a lawful livelihood, he must not marry because if he marries without any hope of getting lawful bread, he may commit theft, and in order to avoid one evil (his passions) he may become the victim of another (theft).
The Hanafi school considers marriage as obligatory (fard) for a man:
If he is sure that he will commit Zina if he does not marry.
If he cannot fast to control his passions or even if he can fast, his fast does not help him to control his passion.
If he cannot get a slave-girl to marry.
If he is able to pay the dowry (Mahr) and to earn a lawful livelihood.
Marriage is forbidden (Haram) to a man, according to the Hanafi school, if he does not possess the means to maintain his wife and children or if he suffers from an illness, serious enough to affect his wife and progeny.
It is not desirable (makruh) for a man who possesses no sexual desire at all or who has no love for children or who is sure to be slackened in his religious obligations as a result of marriage.
In order that problems should not arise after marriage the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) recommended that, in the selection of his bride, a man should see her before betrothal lest blindness of choice or an error of judgment should defeat the very purpose of marriage. But this "seeing" is not to be taken as a substitute for the "courtship" of the West. The man should not gaze passionately at his bride-to-be, but only have a critical look at her face and hands to acquaint himself with her personality and beauty. However, if a man so desires, he may appoint a woman to go and interview the proposed bride, so that she may fully describe the type of girl she is.
Since believing men and women are referred to in the Quran, a woman also has the right to look at her potential husband.
The special permission for men and women to see each other with a view to matrimony does not contravene the code of conduct for believing men and women to lower their gaze and be modest which is laid down in the Noble Quran:
Ijbar: A Safety Valve
The consent of both the man and the women is an essential element of marriage, and the Quran gives women a substantial role in choosing their own life partners. It lays down:
"Do not prevent them from marrying their husbands when they agree between themselves in a lawful manner." [Noble Quran 2:232]
However, Imam Malik, one of the four great Imams of the Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence, gives a slightly restrictive interpretation to this verse and makes the choice of partner by a Muslim girl subject to the over-ruling power or ijbar of her father or guardian in the interests of the girl herself.
It may sometimes happen that in her immaturity or over-zealousness, a girl may want to marry a man about whom she has distorted information or who does not possess good character or who lacks proper means of livelihood. In such a case, it is better, or rather incumbent upon the girl's father or guardian, that, in the wider interests of the girl, he restrains her from marrying such a worthless man and finds a suitable person to be her husband. Generally speaking, such marriages arranged by fathers and guardians work better than a marriage brought about through western courtship.
The case of Abu Juham bin Hudhaifah and Mu'awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan is relevant here. They proposed marriage to Fatimah bint Ghaith. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) advised Fatimah not to marry either of them on the grounds that Mu'awiyah was then a pauper and Abu Juham was cruel and harsh. So she married Usamah.
The Free Consent of the Parties
The Quran [4:21] refers to marriage as a mithaq, i.e. a solemn covenant or agreement between husband and wife, and enjoins that it be put down in writing. Since no agreement can be reached between the parties unless they give their consent to it, marriage can be contracted only with the free consent of the two parties. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
"The widow and the divorced woman shall not be married until their order is obtained, and the virgin shall not be married until her consent is obtained." [Bukhari]
This aspect is greatly emphasized by Imam Bukhari. He, in fact, gave one of the chapters in his Sahih the significant title:
"When a man gives his daughter in marriage and she dislikes it, the marriage shall be annulled." Once a virgin girl came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said that her father had married her to a man against her wishes. The Prophet gave her the right to repudiate the marriage. [Abu Dawud]
Divorced women are also given freedom to contract a second marriage. The Noble Quran says,
"And when you divorce women, and they have come to the end of their waiting period, hinder them not from marrying other men if they have agreed with each other in a fair manner." [Noble Quran 2:232]
With regard to widows, the Quran says,
"And if any of you die and leave behind wives, they bequeath thereby to their widows (the right to) one year's maintenance without their being obliged to leave (their husband's home), but if they leave (the residence) of their own accord, there is no blame on you for what they do with themselves in a lawful manner." [Noble Quran 2:234]
Thus widows are also at liberty to re-marry, even within the period mentioned above; and if they do so they must forgo their claim to traditional maintenance during the remainder of the year. However, it must be remembered that the power of ijbar given to the a father or the guardian by the Maliki school over their selection of life- partner obtains in all the situations considered above, namely, whether the daughter or the ward is a virgin or divorcee or widow.
Prohibited Marriage Partners
Under the Shari'ah, marriages between men and women standing in a certain relationship to one another are prohibited. These prohibited degrees are either of a permanent nature or a temporary. The permanently prohibited degrees of marriage are laid down in the Noble Quran:
"And marry not those women whom your fathers married, except what has already happened (of that nature) in the past. Lo! It was ever lewdness and abomination, and an evil way. Forbidden unto you are your mothers and your daughters, and your sisters and your father's sisters and your mother's sisters, and your brother's daughters and your sister's daughters, and your foster-mothers and your foster-sisters, and your mothers-in-law and your step-daughters who are under your mother-in-law and your step-daughters who are under your protection (born) of your women unto whom you have gone into -- but if you have not gone into them, then it is no sin for you (to marry their daughters) -- and the wives of your sons from your own loins, and that you should have two sisters together, except what has already happened (of that nature) in the past. Allah is ever-Forgiving, Merciful." [Noble Quran 4:22-24]
From the above verses, it is clear that a Muslim must never marry the following:
His mother
His step-mother (this practice continues in Yoruba land in Nigeria, where in some cases the eldest son inherits the youngest wife of his father)
His grandmother (including father's and mother's mothers and all preceding mothers' e.g. great grandmothers)
His daughter (including granddaughters and beyond)
His sister (whether full, consanguine or uterine)
His father's sisters (including paternal grandfather's sisters)
His mother's sisters (including maternal grandmother's sisters)
His brother's daughters
His foster mother
His foster mother's sister
His sister's daughter
His foster sister
His wife's mother
His step-daughter (i.e. a daughter by a former husband of a woman he has married if the marriage has been consummated. However, if such a marriage was not consummated, there is no prohibition)
His real son's wife
A great wisdom lies behind these prohibitions on the grounds of consanguinity, affinity, and fosterage. No social cohesion can exist if people do not keep these prohibitions in their minds while contracting marriages.
Temporary prohibitions are those which arise only on account of certain special circumstances in which the parties are placed. If the circumstances change, the prohibition also disappears. They are as follows:
A man must not have two sisters as wives at the same time nor can he marry a girl and her aunt at the same time.
A man must not marry a woman who is already married. However this impediment is removed immediately if the marriage is dissolved either by the death of her former husband, or by divorce followed by completion of the period of 'iddah (retreat).
A man must not have more than four wives at one time. This impediment is, of course, removed as soon as one of the wives dies or is divorced.
A man must not marry a woman during her 'iddah.
Regarding this last prohibition, the Quran expects Muslims to act with the utmost propriety and righteousness. It lays down:
"...but do not make a secret contract with them except in honorable terms, nor resolve on the tie of marriage till the term prescribed is fulfilled." [Noble Quran 2:235]
This means that a man must not make a specific proposal of marriage to a woman during the time of her 'iddah after the death of her husband or an irrevocable divorce. However, he can send a message saying, for instance, "I wish to find a woman of good character". But if a woman is in the 'iddah of a divorce which is revocable where raja' (return) is possible, a man must not send her even an implied invitation to marry him, because she is still considered as the lawful wife of the first husband. In fact, this restriction is most beneficial because it prevents a man from becoming an instrument of breaking up a family where there are still chances of reconciliation between the wife and husband even though they are moving away from each other.
Two Suitors Seeking to Marry the Same Girl
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) disapproved of two persons competing with one another to secure marriage with the same girl. This is because such a situation is likely to develop bitter enmity between two Muslim brothers.
The Prophet said,
"A believer is a brother of a believer. Hence it is not lawful for him to bargain upon the bargain of a brother, nor propose for (the hand of a girl) after the marriage proposal of his brother, until the latter (voluntarily) withdraws the proposal."
Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi'i, and Imam Malik, all hold the view that it is a sin to put a proposal of marriage against the proposal of another Muslim brother. However, if a marriage is contracted in this wrongful way it will be sufficient if the second suitor who was successful seeks the forgiveness of the first suitor and of Allah. But Imam Dhahiri considers such a marriage void. It is respectfully submitted that the former view is more rational and sound.

Stunning and Romantic Silhouettes (31 pics)

Some of the following human silhouettes look romantic, other photos are just stunning! Enjoy!

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