You know how western people have white people problems (reason why a person will leave his 40billion naira inheritance to a bloody cat), well I have Nigerian problems

Top off the list; Electricity and sco pa tu maana!!!!! Where did you people get that phrase from? Don’t you think it’s enough? The poor thing is exhausted, come on. Can’t we just find a trend, use it for 4 days and dump?

Now electricity,  I panic when light stays on for 12hours, I pray the lights go off because I feel the longer they stay on, the more the chances of them staying off equally as long. Now that is saying something.

Then there’s lack of access to an essential commodity, chargerrrr, good charger. Good earpiece. Is that me asking for too much?

You’ll buy charger and after 5 hours it has started draining your battery life and sending the electricity back to ‘NEPA’. That’s betrayal!

So charger is misbehaving and electricity is having a permanent bout of depression. The only way to not be affected is to get a solar panel fixed, get a generator and an inverter and you’ll still suffer if you have no power bank.

Nigerian mentality is something else. A topic I have to research on first because it is wide and not-so-bad when you look at it. I mean is it bad that the answer to a question is almost always a question and choosing to not understand people and acting like it’s fine is norm?

In Nigeria raising your voice at others is the answer to 80% of your life problems.

Know when to switch from calm to razz

From civilised to agbero

From nice to rude. Can you do that? Then you’ll be fine.

In some situations and with some people, it is a life survival tool to exhibit madness when need be or else they for real drive you mad. Let’s take Lagos for example.

Simple things are considered big. 

As a lady, just pick up an umbrella when the sun is glaring so that your skin will avoid the harshness of the weather and go out; the looks you’ll receive! Who is this one forming for? 

Or even sunshades in some places.

Who said Kano?

Everything is considered vanity or extravagance in Nigeria. Even the most mundane things like stepping out nice, caring for your skin, hair etc.

Do you go out for date nights or eat in restaurants? How could you? Can’t you cook at home. It’s your hard-earned money and you should enjoy it but don’t eat in a restaurant because that’s extravagance (shoot me)

You are speaking good English? You are in trouble! You are just forming. Why would you even pronounce the words well isn’t that a crime?

BN has a car so NY must get it because BN can never surpass NY. There’s a certain group that requires material qualification for validation e.g a certain type of IPhone or Super wax every other day or different gold sets every event or else you don’t get to join the gang! Whose gratification are you seeking?

The most unimportant things are deemed very important and kids walking around barefoot on the streets? Well… it’s tradition now.

Tradition and culture have become signs of lack of civilization but being savage is soooo cool, just say something utterly stupid, immature and rude on twitter and oh how savage! (In my french accent)

Extravagance is a necessity. Let’s take our marriages for example…. you get the picture.

Having ambition is considered a curse and very so often, ambitious people in reality derail from the line, they lose focus, they get greedy, they crash because their main ambition was always money and fame not impact and productivity. But some actually just want to give in their best so with a crystal mindset, they push and strive against all odds (which are plenty) and they make it.

Reading and gathering knowledge is a skill for and criteria when it comes to getting a life partner, and only for that purpose. It’s a tool for showing off. Who am I to judge?

And of course vicarious achievements work well with our weather. My great grand uncles former gardeners ex-girlfriends cousin sister will be feeling herself in the village when my step Aunts brother-in-law becomes governor, because all na we.

Maybe it’s because my Dad is not ‘rich’ but I can never claim his wealth or achievements. Nor will I carve that of my husband and hang them on my neck like a locket. I’ll be my own person thank you very much.

Because of the diversity of cultures and traditions, we have diversity in everything including mannerisms. What’s odd in your place might be very normal in mine hence we tend to judge unfairly. Giving benefit of doubt is a sin and understanding, a much greater one.

My Nigeria has many problems, our leaders are ghosts, some teachers can’t write well and sometimes the Water Board can’t provide is with water for days not because we haven’t paid our bills but because the Water Board haven’t paid their electricity bills.

But will I substitute this country for any? Nah! I’m good.

 Saturday, 3rd of August saw the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria Entrepreneurship Summit themed Entrepreneurship: ‘An Antidote To Youth Unemployment in Nigeria’.

It is therefore not a surprise that Yahaya Buhari Ali, one of the fastest growing entrepreneurs in Northern Nigeria with over 5 branches under the YB Groups conglomerate was presented with two awards.

The very business minded entrepreneur whose next milestone is to be on Forbes list of 30 under 30 African entrepreneurs was presented with the ‘Achiever per Excellence’ award by ABU Student Representative Council and ‘Fastest Growing Entrepreneur’ award by ABU GrandFinale.

The August occasion which was attended by a number of well placed panelists, prestigious speakers and over 500 attendees both as students and non-students was targeted at orienting young entrepreneurs in discovering the prospects that lay in the Nigerian business atmosphere, discussing the challenges involved and proffering solutions to such challenges.

In his speech, the CEO spoke about the challenges he faced and how he was able to brave it through thick and thin to become the visionary that he is today. 

This is evident in Yahaya Buhari’s uncanny ability to pinpoint many opportunities that only true professionals can and in an awe-inspiring manner.

There is undoubtedly no one more deserving of both awards than Yahaya Buhari as his entrepreneurial sixth sense and his willingness to always help up and coming businesses has been evident from the get go. 

Sir YB has been tagged as ‘The Next Dangote’ but in my opinion, he might well surpass the richest man in Africa as his ideas are more reformatory, digital and futuristic. He has excelled himself as a master of the game and at such a young age too. A pride to Kaduna indeed.

He forwarded a warm thank you message to all his supporters; his parents, mentors, team and clients with whose prayers and support he has been able to swiftly climb up the very competitive and daunting success ladder.

Yahaya is also part of the Local Organizing Committee of the recently organized Northern Youth Summit under the auspices of Northern Hibiscus Initiative and was indeed the brain behind the alluring theme of the event whose main purpose was to awaken the spirit of Arewa.

Rounding up his speech, he professed a singular aim at becoming better at what he does while thanking the organizers of the event and all and sundry that have partook in it. 

We are foreseeing more greatness for this young visionary In Sha Allah. It takes a mighty amount of not only vision but discipline, hardwork and dedication to arrive at this milestone which to him is just a stepping stone and we are willing to cheer Sir YB on all the way. 

Congratulations Sir. 

There’s a generous rise in the number of writing enthusiasts all over Nigeria. The passion is tangible but the opportunities are few. For a writer, it is reward enough to have an audience to his written pieces of art, but at some point, financial reward is always craved for and that in itself can serve as an incentive to urge them on into the wonderful world of writing.

As a budding writer, I know how pumped up I felt whenever I came across local contests, I want to give that feeling back to you too.

Flash fiction is what I consider a brain tester. Will you be able to tell your story in 200 words beautifully? What we need are unique stories, something different, something unexpected, we absolutely love cliffhangers and stories that will make the reader crack his brain for days. Dazzle us.

Hafsah Dauda is just a writing blog, where I share all the stories pent up within the recesses of my brain with you, I hope you appreciate that part of me. Do read up and drop comments.

Guidelines:

-In not more than 200 words, write a flash fiction that ends : ‘…. smiling, she pulled the trigger’.

-Open to all Nigerians.

-Send your submission to hafsahdauda@gmail.com

-Please include your name below your write up.

-Submissions close on the 15th of August, 2019.

-Voting begins on the 17th of August.

-You will receive an email with a link of your published story.

-Share same link with as many people as possible and tell them to vote.

-Voting ends on the 22nd of August.

-Top 20 stories with highest number of votes qualify for shortlist.

-Shortlist to be published on the site on 24th August.

-The winner will be announced on 28th August 2019.

When I received notice to attend ‘The Brief’, a programme organized by Farida Yahya, I didn’t know what to expect. I just knew that from experience, wherever Farida Yahya is, productive things are. So I knew that I couldn’t miss The Brief… especially because it was generously a free session.

It took place at Exhale Training Institute last Sunday, 28th July. It was a closed network with few of us in attendance and I was thankful for that. It afforded us a chance to be individually well attended to. When I returned home, I told them simply that Farida Yahya is a doctor, a business doctor and we just has our various hustles diagnosed for free. We got to have conversations about the realities of running a business in Nigeria.

A major plus for me was that I met some amazing and driven women. I met the CEO of Sugar Rush, a cake business, the founder of a promising new Crèche in Zamfara State, My Little Sunshine and The Almajira, the brains behind a revolutionary page that is telling a strong Arewa Women’s story and many more amazing personalities.

We ended up sharing business tips and picking from the business guru’s brain. 

The brief has been organised in several states in Nigeria including Katsina, Maiduguri and Abuja. 

The Brief is not an opportunity any business owner can afford to miss. It was rich and informative- knowledge people pay lots for but we were lucky to get for free. And the most interesting part is that our business had not even been very much dissected and treated yet, it has only stopped at the consultancy stage. Imagine a full-on session.

My advice to any entrepreneur or business owner is to follow @thebriefacademy on Instagram so you can always receive notifications for future sessions and to go get you and your business doctored, because you need it.

Thank Farida Yahya for creating such an amazing platform.

The Brief Kaduna

The inception of the Purple Network for Muslimah was an interesting one. It was through a story of purpose borne of pain as the chief organizer, Bashirat Abdulwahab narrated her journey through life, there was a collective reaction of awe and understanding. Needless to say, that same pain is what brought about her nurturing spirit.

For the event, Mindset Muslimah Kaduna, Mental health was the main focus of discussion. The hostess shed more light on what mental illness is really about saying that absolute madness is not what mental illness is as against what people think about. Depression, PTSD, OCD are all part of it.

On the issue of drugs abuse, she said that many people use drugs as coping mechanisms to get away from their trouble so they need more help than judgement and just like any medication, the more drugs are being abused, the more the body gets used to it and the more the intake- it’s a vicious cycle.

7 million recorded people are depressed in Nigeria because of the societies lack of acceptance of mental health issues. The stress and our inability to seek help makes the numbers keep rising making Nigeria the country with the most depressed people in Africa.

She reiterated on the importance of coming to terms with your mental status as well as the physical .

How To Know A Person is Depressed? You need to know more about it first to Identify it. It may be hysteria which comes and goes and if left unchecked, can degenerate into a bigger disease. It could manifest as a result of toxic negative emotions or anger or pressure and to guilt. The list is endless.

We need to pay attention to behavioral changes in people around us for example loss of interest,change in sleeping and eating pattern and so on. When you notice that, it’s best to talk to that person because something is definitely wrong.

The discussion was taken over by Labibah  Saed, a clinical psychologist who spoke about what to do in the face of mental illness. It could be anxiety, OCD, PTSD and many other issues we are ignorant about.

Mental health is all inclusive and the earlier we accept the status of our mental health the closer we move towards getting better. It’s just like recognizing physical illnesses e.g malaria, you need to first come to terms with it before we seek help.

It’s true that seeking spiritual help is the major part. When you communicate with your Lord everything becomes easier but when you actually talk to people, it really gets a lot better so pray about it but talk about it too.

She called on everyone around as a parent, as family to accept the people with genetic disorders eg Autism, Down syndrome so that they could come out of their shells and display their special abilities because most of them are actually gifted.

People usually ask the questions why. Why me? why now? But there’s no one reason why. It is subjective and it can be caused by external factors and there are many types of therapies for each issue so it is not limited to drugs and talking therapy.

She encouraged psycho-education where the patient and his family all get educated on the dynamics of the mental health.  It makes identification of the disease a lot easier and how to handle it.

Aishatu Dahiru addressed the effect of adverse childhood experience. Raising awareness is critical when it comes to adverse childhood experiences. 

We got to take the resiliency test which was super insightful and generally helpful as long as you are honest to yourself. I encourage everyone to take the tests https://testyourself.psychtests.com/bin/transfer_mobile  because I feel it does better in helping you address you issues.

It’s good to know how resilient you are but it may be detrimental to you so seeking help is not relative to resilience. No matter the experience there’s always help so giving up is not an option.

Next, we had refreshments and it was while munching on Samosa and puff puff that Amina Zakari shared her experience with us. Safe to say that like everyone present, her encounter with depression only made her stronger.

I got to lay my own contribution to the table and directly addresses the importance of acquainting teachers and educationists on the diversity of the mental state of mind and also possibly including such education into the curriculum.

Hauwa’u Kulu Shuaibu, a lecturer of physics in NDA also shared in on her story and offered some viable solutions to the educational dilemma. 

Other contributors were special guests Maryam Bambale, CEO of Rymbas Galore and Farida Yahya, Writer of ‘Redefining Beautiful’ and founder, Lumo Naturals.

The program rounded up after a lecture on being a Muslim woman in the society and what it truly takes by Yasmin all the way from Abuja.

It was truly an insightful, interesting, eye-opening and educational event and we hope to see and help in facilitating more of them because mental awareness is much needed in Nigeria.

And as the call to action by Hauwa’u Kulu Shuaibu went, we should all endeavor to contribute financially whenever we can because the organizers basically did everything from their own pockets. That single gesture will go a long way.

Thank you Purple Muslimah Network for Mindset Muslimah.

I saw a video about a fairy-like creature who loved the Prince and was loved by him but she had to sacrifice her beauty to make him happy. She had very white skin and dark, straight, long hair and wings. After she sacrificed her beauty, her features changed to… yeah you guessed it!  Dark skin, kinky, curly hair no wings of course. She was called Ugly. It was a cartoon named ‘Dina and The Prince’ and I’m trying so hard to think up another meaning other than the obviously super racist and offensive one portrayed.

From the time the white People successfully infiltrated the shores of black nations, they had continually shoved it down our throat that even physically (not just culturally), there are differences between us and that ours is a deformity, an anomaly and therefore we are automatically meant to remedy that. How? Bleach your dark beautiful skin —which is dark because it has more of something they don’t have and not LESS of it so it doesn’t make sense that the colour is less of a beauty- into a fair unnatural one so you can gain acceptance (which never comes) and straighten your kinky curls because shrinkage makes you less beautiful even though your hair looks way better because of its volume and sheer mass (like a lions mane😍) but hey it’s not straight so it’s a deformity.

They did that through the media. Cartoons, movies, magazines, shows, whatever way they can. Princesses are whites with coloured eyes and blonde hair. Let me retrace my steps; cartoon heroines are princesses or marry princes so if you are neither, you are a looser. (Wonder where your materialistic character came from, it was instilled.

Bleaching is just a symbolism of all of our insecurities ranging from beauty aesthetics to culture to music to language to dressing. 

The curvy, plump African woman with full afro and rich dark skin, who is 3D all the way and in any form not flat is now an unacceptable image. Because according to them, skinny is the new beauty. You should look depraved and hungry with ribs poking out and spend millions of hours and money burning your hair, no changing it’s colour, changing your eyes colour, changing your skin colour, changing your language and afterwards your accent, changing your dressing and way of life drastically and your general understanding of life. And guess what? After all of that, you still aren’t enough.

Yes there are times in our lives when we are uncertain about ourselves. And that is usually growing up when we don’t know where we fit in in the society. Is it in Cinderella’s world or Halima’s? We may consider our features inadequate. It’s normal, but once we move past that, I think it’s just to realise who we truly are really connect with and appreciate ourselves because at the end, there’s only one you. So why change that for the world?

So why try to fit in to their portfolio of what is beauty when they themselves are not content with theirs and are constantly trying to change too. The closer you get to fitting in, the further you are away from fitting in.

I stood before the mirror yesterday and I think I saw my skin for what it was for the first time- mind you I’ve received many compliments Masha Allah about my skin tone- it is the brownest skin I’ve ever seen.  It was dripping in caramel. It was astounding. It wasn’t the most beautiful skin tone I’ve seen, it was the most interesting to me and anyone, anyone who thinks or expects me to change this colour to something lighter or darker or whatever is insecure. It’s not me, it’s him.

No one will fault you for taking care of your skin, no one will blame you for wanting to get an even skin tone or glowing skin but that colour you were created in, if you care for it, it will be the most beautiful thing you’ve seen. Not being racists but I’ve never found anything fascinating about a white skin. I mean it’s usually even the same shade. But the dark one of a million different shades and tones of honey and caramel and chocolate and bronze and dark and black! That is the real attention grabbing deal! To me, the darkest skins are just fascinating.

And take it from me, they are telling you theirs is more beautiful because they can’t have yours. If they could, beauty aesthetics would have a different meaning by now. 

I didn’t need a song to tell me my skin is everything. I needed me to do that and I dis without effort.

Awkwardddd!. Okay it has been established by now that I can be fazed by stuff and being called beautiful or receiving nice compliments in general are a major cause.

Before now, when people say I’m beautiful, I just smile uneasily at them and try to think of how to reduce that ‘beauty’ so that I become less noticeable. 

Then people started thinking I’m rude so I reply ‘thank you’ drop a smile and wish they hadn’t said that because now I’m self-conscious.

You want to see Hafsah lying on the ground, stone cold, dead, zero heartbeat, just get a man I consider attractive or have a crush on sincerely say that in public , au revior! I’m off to heaven for embarrassment.

🤦🏽‍♀️

What was worse is that I never even believed it. It wasn’t until I started seeing myself as anything good looking that I actually started taking people seriously. So chances are that if you’ve ever said that, you’ve just wasted a compliment and  caused me to face an unnecessary episode of embarrassment. Thank you.

Now, because I understand how the human mind works and what looks good to you may not look so to me because of perspectives differing and aesthetics being subjective and stuff, I might actually believe you but then I’m at a stage where looks are just by the way many times(depending on my phase because sometimes looks are everything to me) so I’d appreciate the compliment and honesty and that’s it.

Am I less awkward at receiving compliments? Yessssss. I can even be jokingly arrogant about it but not in public because I fear I may varnish in plain sight.

Once upon a time, even though I’ve never counted, but I was reading an average of 3 books a week and almost a hundred a year.

I was a chute sucking up all the wordings and meanings and at that time, reading a 200 hundred paged novel a day was a small task. I didn’t care what genre or age group or era it was from, I just read everything. But even then I was also a fiction person. I had tried to read ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ and it did not seem significant to my life in anyway. I could not read inspirational books or biographies/ autobiographies, still can’t. The closest I’ve read was the ‘Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck’ which was a very good read. (Books about creative writing are exceptions)

Then as I grew up, I started getting picky. Some books like Animorphs disgusted me. Some books like high school love stuff became too childish, some Mills and Boons book were too unrealistic, some science fiction books made no sense, some bippity bappity boo books were just lazily recycled narratives. I’d read the first 3 pages and dump the book without ever looking back. That is something I never did during my book gouging stage; in fact at that time I’ll probably start liking a book well into the 100th page but I’d still drag on and read on because well, It was a reading sin to dump a book.

It was that time that I discovered that I’d rather read Sidney Sheldon’s books than John Grisham even though I want to be a lawyer because it wasn’t ‘adventurous enough’ for me. And that I’d still rather read Sidney Sheldon than Jeffrey Archer because his books are so long you’d probably get lost in the narrative half way (except his short stories which I love).

I discovered my love for fantasy books and Sandra Brown over any romance writer. I discovered I liked mystery and suspense but didn’t like the suspense and the waiting period; always leaves me physically tired.

I discovered one genre that not many people know or worse appreciate but I like it because it is so easy-going and fun and some are actually funny- Chicklit.

I love reading the imperfections of the characters of Chicklit novels most of which are by Marian Keyes or  Sophie Kinsella (Chicklit novels adapted to movies are Diary of A Shopaholic, The Devil Wears Prada, Beauty and the Briefcase etc).

I like Fantasy, the Harry Potter kind and Percy Jackson kind. Zarah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor was the first book I read in that genre by an African and it’s still my favorite .

I like books like Divergent and I usually read the books before the movies are released as soon as I watch the trailers. Because the books are usually better.

I love action books  and horror but please don’t disgust me with scenes too grotesque to incite any fear… thank you. To think once upon a time my idea of a horror book was Goosebumps.

Wattpad spoiled many genres for me like Vampires and werewolves, I don’t take them serious now because I feel it’s just another unreadable Wattpad something. Fanfiction is the wooorrsseee *Harry Styles* 😭

I love unconventional books like Alif the Unseen, it’s tech with a touch of Jinn- really unexpected.

Unpredictable books in a good way? Sign me up. Because some authors in a bid to be unpredictable just do the most.

Generally, the books I’d love to read are the ones I’d love to write. So when I don’t find what I want to read on the shelves, I write one.

Lets talk about the reality of marriage.

I am not married therefore I am not in the best position to touch this topic but I see things from a vantage point, so that perhaps, I see things that the married ones might fail to see.

Now almost every person has that dream  at a certain age while growing up. The dream of marrying a wife/husband, having kids, being comfortable in your house, with cars, a great synergy, harmony, peace and enjoyment. 

I don’t know why we had that notion when growing up but apparently in our minds, that’s what marriage is about. 

Don’t get me wrong, it is an established principle that once it’s right and with the right person, marriage is absolutely the most amazingly beautiful and surreal thing that could ever happen to anyone.

And that was why (because I only saw the beautiful part) when I was younger I’d imagine l’ll get married and cook whatever I want; I’ll cook milk swallow with bournvita soup (for real that was my one time dream and I actually believed that no amount of growing up could change my mind) or I’ll eat a whole chicken when I’m married, or I won’t shout at my kids like this or I’ll drive my car through a foreign street because I wonder how it is and I know no on will take me there. 

Then we start growing up, and our eyes start prying open bit by bit and we realise that sometimes, things don’t work out the way we assumed they will, and sometimes, they are even better than we had ever imagined.

 1, Your deadline of getting married by 21 for girl or 27 for guys is not plausible because meeting the person who can be your spouse is in itself an uncertain process.

2, You realize not everyone you like is marriageable and not everyone that likes can be liked back and even if you like each other, compatibility issues. 

3, Let’s say everything works out. There’s bound to be problems even before marriage and you either think; it will be better after marriage or is this how I’ll survive in marriage?

4, Patience, be patient. Marriage is all about patience. That’s what they all say.

5, You get married, your spouse ‘changes’ but in reality, your spouse is just exhibiting his/ her real character and sometimes there might have been warning signals but sometimes, there were none.

6, You adjust, you compromise because you’re in love and it’s all about compromise. 

7, Then his/ her family. You realize they are more important than you had ever imagined. You realize they play a part in your marriage and you have to be around them more than you thought. And as it happens when more than a person is involved, there’s bound to be clash.

8, Misunderstandings. You may have been together for years but you still have misunderstandings. You may have spoken about everything but something must cause misunderstandings and arguments and clashes.

9, Your spouse’s friends are playing a huge role in his/her life and way of thinking. You have never given them any thought but apparently they may be a threat to some aspects of your marriage.

10, Finances- You still don’t have a car. That’s not what you thought. But in fact paying for rent is a big deal. Sometimes you need to scrimp and pinch to make ends meet. It’s a drag, a slow one but you are hopeful for a better future. It just hurts when you see your dilapidated phone and wish you can change it on whim.

11, You woke up tired. Tired of him , the house, his family, even the kids. Tired of everything and you want to rest but you can’t, so that frustrates you and that day, he won’t see your smile.

12, Effort. You never knew the effort you’d have to put to keep a marriage up. All the things you thought you’d automatically do as long as you are married now require a deliberate effort. You thought you could manage all the things coming your way because there’s love but sometimes even the love require some effort.

13, Shaky Marriage. You are not alright as a person and as a couple. Nothing is fine. You are constantly on each others nerves, looking for creative ways to annoy each other. But when you come out you have to smile. And if need be you pose for the camera , hug your spouse and curve your lips because you are in a happy, affectionate marriage. The moment the camera clicks away, you go your way. You are in Hollywood and your marriage is a movie. Credits for being a great actor.

14, Miscellaneous. Problems from here and there.

15, Good times. Plenty good times filled with fun and laughter and heart warming intimate moments. The companionship and learning new things about your partner and the great people you meet through him/her and how they draw you closer to God and they generally just make you feel whole. They outweigh the weary times and that is all that counts.

16, some cases. It’s never the same in every marriage. This maybe obtainable in some and it may not be in others.

Some spouses are abusive

Some spouses are cheats

Some spouses are munafiq

Some spouses are shady or crazy

Some spouses change too drastically for the worse

Some spouses change for the best

Some spouses are negligent 

Some are belligerent 

Some just don’t care

Some are miserly

Some are wicked 

And even though you never thought of it before, some marriages end in divorce. They are never the first nor will they be the last. It’s just a sad reality of marriage.

(*So plenty comments followed on why I stopped here without highlighting the beautiful parts of marriage. The main aim of the article is sort of an informant for fellow individuals not in the institution to know that the biggest thing is not a wedding, but a marriage).

It is always said by people in the system that you as a couple will never have an unsolvable problem as long as it stays between you. But the moment a third party is included, you have signed a meddling warrant.

All of these problems, each of them, with no exception can be resolved within and they won’t even see the light of the day in the first place as long as communication exists, and understanding and respect.

That is when you create a healthy environment for your partner to be your lifelong companion. For a synergy to bud and blossom between you until you literally think as one. For you to anticipate the others company every single day because you know that you are at peace because the purpose of marriage is to find tranquility , peace, affection and mercy, that is marriage and that is what Allah has enjoined on us so when the opposite happens, that is Shaytan being an intermeddler and that is when we need to be most steadfast in prayer because Shaytans greatest joy is causing disagreement between spouses.

“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (Qur’an 30: 21)

The Prophet had the most beautiful model of marriage. But then the Prophet was the best of men, he showed us an example of what a true married life should be. Should we emulate him, we will discover that truly, marriage is for tranquility.

In a Da’awah I attended years ago, it was asked, who is the best husband, and we all started scrambling our brains trying to figure out the best attributes we could think of. The words ; kind, gentle, God-fearing, modest, hafiz flew out of many mouths but that was not the answer. Because the best husband is YOUR husband. So who is the best of spouses? Yours! And In Sha Allah it shall be.

Yes there are problems in each marriage, that is from Shaytan, but yes with the proper understanding and a pure mind, In Sha Allah yours will be a marriage where those problems serve only to strengthen the union and with time never even occur. It will be the doorway to Al-Jannah, of infinite mercy and happiness and that is the beautiful reality of marriage.

With all the things happening today from politics to religion to the society to economics to marriage to education, it is to be expected that everyone will have an opinion on everything. 

The problem arises not when people have varying opinions (that’s a good thing), it is when people decide to voice out those opinions at the same time, all trying to scream above the others din in order to be heard. It makes you wonder, is it to seem relevant and intelligent or to just communicate.

In the society it is very easy to judge people based on what they say especially when their point doesn’t tally with that of the majority, they are automatically seen as wrong.

In the society it is automatically wrong for you to even breath once someone of your religion or ethnicity or state does wrong because he is your kin and you are vicariously just as much a culprit.

In the society (some parts) as a woman you should learn to voice out your opinions only when you are in a room by yourself, and even then, hush it down will you?

In the society saying what you mean makes you fake and a wannabe and automatically you are in an intellectual competition with others and you don’t even know it.

Bottomline, in the society today, you always wonder when to speak or not to speak!

Now speaking is not a problem, WHAT YOU SAY is a problem. You honestly just can’t say anything you feel like because not everything you say matters. Some things make sense in your head but in reality they are rubbish. ‘Think before you speak’ is honestly the most underrated thing.

If it’s unnecessary, keep shut.

If it’s fruitless, don’t.

If it will cause alarm, soften it.

If you aren’t sure, be sure first.

HOW? When you decide to let your tongue race without control and you untactically say all the things that come to you everywhere to everyone, then you have signed up for it.

If it’s offensive, tune it down, use examples.

If it’s harsh, use euphemism. 

If it’s rude, then you are wrong.

If you are riled, calm down.

Talk calmly and with intelligence in passing your message across, don’t just spurt out anything you feel like carelessly, it’s rude.

WHEN? Which time do you choose to speak? Do you tell people the truth or what you think when they are hurting or most sensitive or when they are much calmer and ready to see reason? The former should be.

TO WHOM? If the recipient is not a person of understanding, hold your peace (avoid dragging things to forever, it irritates). When you realize that no matter how calm or tactical you are the person will vehemently never see reason because he isn’t in the discussion in order to learn but in order to ‘win’, then you are just wasting your time and reducing your intellectual potential with something not productive.

Choose the calibre of people to talk to about certain things. You can’t come to a purely Muslim community and preach to them about accepting homosexuality because it is not in their orientation same way you can’t go to a western community and preach them on polygamy. If they don’t want to hear leave them alone! If they don’t want to accept and it hurts no one leave them alone!

WHY? Are you speaking up for clout? For validation even in things you don’t believe? 

If no one cares, don’t. If your reasons are mischievous and not noble don’t. So why are you speaking?

Your RIGHT? Recently, a Professor with degrees in Psychology and International Law and certification in Ethics who has taught Prime minister and presidents and… said that you should know when to defend your right and when to surrender it. Defending your right may do you more harm than actually letting it be so that you can tackle the situation more tactically.

SOCIAL MEDIA has turned us into unempathetic beings, we feel like because we are behind the screens and because we can’t see the people we are directing our wordings at physically, we hurt no one when we speak. Why do you think suicide is on the rise now? Directly or indirectly social media has many things to do with it.

Use the tool of globally reaching out to people wisely and not oppressively or carelessly.

All said and done, I am all for speaking up. I am all for expression and saying your mind. I’m all for watching and observing and laying your observations to the table. I’m all for not keeping things bottled up but in this world where everyone is sensitive, you must not be insensitive about it. Talk only when not talking causes more harm than good, talk only when needed to, talk only when it causes more good than harm, speak up, but do it right!.