A while ago, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger…he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league. ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The. stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem to mind.
Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)
Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home… Not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn’t permit the use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished.
He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.
I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked… And NEVER asked to leave.
More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents’ den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. Categorically, he destroyed all the moral values, ethics, love, time for each other and other good qualities we had in our family…..whilst adding some unnoticeable quantity of positive stuff also, which any way we would have had even without him……
His name?…. .. .
We just call him ‘TV.’
This is it… this is the video that finally helped me ‘get it’ when it came to the subject of white privilege a few years ago.
I know Tim Wise has done other later talks in more recent years, continues to address issues of race and inequality from a white perspective but this for me is my favourite, most powerful speech of his I’ve listened to. Maybe as it affected me so much.
And yes… I know he is a non-Muslim, and will occasionally say things as a Muslims we will not agree with but on the subject of racial inequalities, white privilege and the massive problems built up into modern day societies around these issues he speaks the truth and we should respect that.
Millennials… For those a little bit older it’s hard not to just rip into them on a daily basis. We can’t of-course as we’d hurt their feelings too much…
Anyway, here in a short video is a better way of talking to the millennials out there explaining just what is wrong with their generation.
Christmas, it seems is another issue which annually crops up to force the “Muslim Question”, whilst curiously obviating the uncomfortable issue of religious rights to hold, and by implication exclude particular beliefs and practices. Of course, this discriminatory focus on Muslims (the Jewish minority, for instance, are comparatively absent from this discourse) has consequences. Over a week ago, it was reported that a Muslim woman in Australia was subjected to a brutal verbal and physical attack after she replied “happy holidays” to the attacker’s “merry Christmas”. Incidentally, I doubt Louise Casey would regarding uttering “merry Christmas” as a sign of vulnerability to “extremism” and consequently, “violent extremism”.
There are milder but still manifestly detrimental consequences here in Britain too. Last year, Police Commander Mak Chishty moronically stated that children who regarded Christmas as religiously prohibited were subscribing to an “Islamist” view. They were therefore not “moderate”. As I highlighted at that time, this absurd notion was discriminatory as other religious groups, such as orthodox Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses, whom regard Christmas as deriving from pagan customs, held similar views, but were not tarnished with the rhetoric of securitisation. It seems however, that this dangerously irresponsible statement is seeing some manifestation in the education context.
My sources have heard from parents that teachers have been overly keen to get Muslim children involved in Christmas celebrations. Until recently, however, I have not been able to obtain any hard evidence to corroborate this anecdotal evidence. My sources have now forwarded startling information in the form of a letter which disturbingly issues a PREVENT-based threat to a Muslim parent for effectively requesting that his child be removed from the school Christmas assembly. The assembly entails singing the Christmas carol called a “Silent Night”, a poem written by the priest Joseph Mohr in 1816. Part of the poem includes the following:
Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
My sources in London state that the distraught father, who does not speak English as his first language, simply stated that he did not want his child to join in with Silent Night, as it is for Christians. This however, has been interpreted “intolerance” and therefore contrary to “British values”.
The letter, signed by the head teacher, states that,
“I am writing to you to express my disappointment about the tone of your conversations a number of staff (sic), where I believe you expressed views that do not match the vision and values of the school. As you know we are by law required to uphold out statutory duty to promote British values…”
After citing Department for Education guidance which is irrelevant to the specific case of withdrawing children from religious assemblies, the head teacher highlights the “British value” of “mutual tolerance and respect”. Noting that assemblies of different faiths are also conducted, the letter continues,
“I believe your comments, which you have now made on more than one occasion in front of others, about Christmas celebrations being for ‘people like us’, by which I believe you to mean teachers and others of a different faith than yours does not show what the statutory guidance terms as:
“An acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated.”
The head teacher then iterates various celebrations of different faiths and then states that there is an expectation that “all children… take part in these events whatever the religion they practise out of school in the same way I expect all staff to.”
The head teacher follows this with the threat:
“It is one thing to disagree but quite another to make assumptions about others. This type of behaviour shows, what appears to be, such blatant intolerance of other people’s belief that should this happen again I will have no other alternative but to refer the matter to the authorities.”
Attention for further information is drawn to the “PREVENT Strategy”.
My sources state that the “expressed views” which the head teacher is taking an issue with includes the removal of the child from the Christmas assembly. This is corroborated by the head teachers “expectation” that all children partake in “these events”.
The father feels he is unable to have his child removed.
Parents have a right, enshrined in School Standards and Frameworks Act 1998, section 71, to withdraw their children from religious education lessons as well as acts of collective worship at all schools. Furthermore, parents are not obligated to give a reason why. This is not exactly controversial. There are Jewish schools where Christmas is banned, and even wrapping of Hanukah presents in paper which represents the Christmas tradition is prohibited. Last year parents at a school in Devon protested over the school taking their children to the mosque, based on their negative perceptions of Islam. Whilst their reasons are questionable, having their children removed is completely in concert with their rights as parents. Would the head teacher threaten these Jewish and Christian parents with a PREVENT referral for exemplifying “blatant intolerance”? Acceptance and tolerance of different faiths does not mean having beliefs of different religions forced down children. How many orthodox Jewish parents are willing to let their children sing a poem declaring the Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, as the Son of God? On the contrary, this is a violation of parental rights and coerced indoctrination.
And coercion is a quality intrinsic to PREVENT, which demands mental configuration to the state-defined beliefs. The broken and blunt predictive toolthat is PREVENT is being used as a weapon of intimidation to bully parents into compliance by seemingly zealous head teachers.
It is yet another demonstration of just how deeply problematic the PREVENT Duty is.
Note: I have, for the moment, deliberately withheld information on the school and the head teacher. This may change provided consent is obtained from the source.
Ya know, I’m not very familiar with Sheikh Hamza Yusuf. When I say “not very familiar,” I mean I used to think he was the guy who formerly went by the name Cat Stevens. (Embarrassing, I know.) So when it comes to his reputation and character, I think it better to suspend my initial impressions and rely on the Muslims I know (mostly black) who are acquainted with him. What I’ve gathered seems to boil down to three basic viewpoints:
- Those who have followed him/known him for years and believe him to be good, kind and absolutely not racist.
- Those who have followed him/known him for years and think he’s a decent Islamic teacher but have always felt uncomfortable about his commentary on race and politics.
- Those who could never bring themselves to follow him because his commentary on race and politics always seemed racist and out of touch.
So what do I do with that? How do I reconcile the divergence? Well, it seems he’s probably not an avowed racist, but clearly his thinking is misguided and very much affected and infected by the mythology of black pathology. (Shout out to activist, scholar, artist Su’ad Abdul Khabeer for putting this on my mind.) White supremacy, which results in the othering/devaluing of blackness, is so pervasive that even the most well-intentioned people can suffer from it without even knowing. We can probably all think of racist things that have flown out of the mouths of people we generally love and agree with. In fact, we (black people) can probably think of some of our own statements that have been either tinged or deeply stained with this implanted self-hatred. I’m tryna tell you, it’s deep, son.
Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, speaker at RIS2016
As a cousin of mine so eloquently put it, our brainwashing has been complete. There is no part of our thinking or experience that has not been affected, influenced and tailored. So when a well-respected, well-loved scholar like Hamza Yusuf gets on a grand stage and tries to counter and discount black justice movements (BLM and the like) by citing the myth of black on black crime and then tops it off with a statement like, “It actually makes me a little sick to my stomach to see all these people rising up about… white privilege,” we see exactly what we’re dealing with and how no one, no matter how popular, is exempt from inheriting diseased thinking.
For those who Stan for Yusuf and cannot and will not accept these comments as anything more than the result of his intense fatigue, I (kinda) understand your pain. I say this because I know how hard it can be to swallow the idea that a person you have revered for years—a person whose teachings brought you deeper into the fold of Islam—can have racist views. I get that you experience it as a loss, and I get that there is a bit of grieving involved for the image you once held. But after the shock subsides, recognize and acknowledge the danger of black pathology and how it was wound all up and through Yusuf’s RIS 2016 rhetoric.
Black pathology is the idea that black people are—perhaps simply by virtue of being born black—steeped in pathology, unable to think and behave normally, healthily, sanely. Black pathology states that we are inherently flawed, not in a “all of mankind is flawed” sort of way, but in a “something is specifically wrong with those people” sort of way. So the many problems that have befallen black people have nothing to do with concerted efforts of concentrated racism and everything to do with our messed up wiring, which prevents us from pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps like so many others. Yes, I know Yusuf never made such bold and direct claims, but there was definite danger in his words.
Why? Because he had an opportunity to educate a mass of mostly non-black Muslims on the oppression of their black brothers and sisters but instead spoke on black on black crime and how America’s anti-discrimination laws are top notch. Translation: “The problem is them.” To borrow a tweet from Su’ad Abdul Khabeer,
And then to add insult to injury, Yusuf brought up the racism “in our own communities” but only addressed anti-Jewish sentiment and Arab vs. non-Arab (i.e., South Asian) racism. He made no mention, not even in passing, of the very real and visible issue of anti-blackness in Muslim communities. Please tell me you see something wrong with that.
But that was late Friday night. He was tired and wasn’t exactly thinking clearly. He had Saturday to clarify. However, what came Saturday night wasn’t much better. Though he apologized explicitly about his comments directed toward Sheikh Yasir Qadhi and the Muslim Brotherhood, he did not directly apologize about his comments on black people. Instead, he explained how he couldn’t possibly be racist because of his proximity to non-white people. Really, bro?
What’s crazy is that most people didn’t even expect him to come out and say, “I apologize for being a racist.” Brother, only you and Allah (SWT) know your heart. If you say with sincerity that you love all of humanity and are not racist, I’ll accept that you believe that, but know that having a Mexican wife and a mother in the Civil Rights Movement doesn’t excuse you from being held accountable when you say racist things. We all must accept correction.
All that was required was a sincere apology, an admission of insensitivity, an acknowledgment of the fact that you don’t have the understanding or cultural sensibilities to speak to such issues.
But that’s not what happened. Instead, you crawled deeper into the cave of black pathology by saying the breakdown of the black family is the greatest issue facing black Americans, not racism. I must ask, how on earth can any person with any bit of black history under their belt discuss the tearing apart of black families, which is a real thing, WITHOUT centering the structural racism that was put in place specifically to do just that? There is no clear picture of one without the other.
Otherwise, you end up sending the message that black men and women are being incarcerated at alarming rates just because. That’s black pathology. You end up sending the message that black people are killed and mistreated (by others and themselves) just because. More black pathology. You end up sending the message that black people tend to be less financially stable just because. Another statement powered by black pathology. This type of thinking attaches itself to existing ideologies of racism and supports them as they grow, further blotting out black humanity. Ergo, it is a very big deal.
So if you are going to discuss such complex topics, be willing to make space at the table for all relevant aspects, including those that make you uncomfortable. And humble yourself enough to admit where you lack knowledge. If you cannot do that, silence is better.
Advising people to prepare for bad situations they’re likely to face isn’t victim blaming.
Harassment whether racial or sexual is disgusting and wrong and nobody should have to face it. But refusing to look into ways to prepare for these situations on the grounds that you shouldn’t learn to avoid the crime, report the crime, defend yourself against the crime or survive the crime but rather people who commit them should learn not to commit them is illogical and pretty stupid.
I should be able to leave my home or sleep at night without locking my door, but I still lock it because nobody will ever teach all burglars not to burgle.
I shouldn’t have to be harassed by police officers for no damn reason but I’ve learned the law and loopholes/ technicalities around stop and search so I can defend myself against police and have an idea what to do when they harass me. I’ve learned my rights so I know when what they’re doing is illegal and every single time I see it happen I react and call it out, being critical of those who don’t make the same efforts as me is NOT victim blaming.
Stop teaching people that it’s okay to be cowardly. If someone has experienced trauma then encourage them to get help for it and regain their confidence. I respect people who admit they are the way they are because of fear. But those of you who hide behind all your millennial jargon and faux intellectual feminist rhetoric are ridiculous.
Stop intellectualising the fact that you’re a coward, you guys are good allies in Facebook debates (sometimes) but are useless everywhere else. Stop teaching kids not to hit bullies back and that they need a “safe space”, in this world your only safe space is your house and even that isn’t always safe.
Now go on, be offended.
~ Nabil Abdul-Rashid
An interesting and thoughtful take on the Muslim marriage crisis affecting the Muslims of the west, especially those who pursue their career over other aspects of their life.
So recently I was surfing through the net and came across various articles on what many have termed as the “Muslim Marriage crisis”, which, for those of you who don’t know, is a growing phenomenon of marriageable age Muslims in the West who are increasingly finding it difficult to search for compatible marriage partners in what many perceive to be a lack thereof.
This phenomenon has specifically affected our Muslim sisters the most as there is an ever increasing number of highly educated and successful Muslim women in their late 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s who are intelligent, beautiful, and financially independent, holding down professional careers on their own; all qualities which should make them attractive prospects for Muslim men, yet they make up the great majority of the demographic affected by the Muslim Marriage crisis.
Why is that the case? Many have suggested that it’s due to a lack of equally qualified Muslim men, or that Muslim men are intimidated by outspoken and, what they view as “overly qualified” Muslim women who were raised to think independently in a society that espouses individualism, and thus avoid proposing to them all together and instead go abroad to their home countries where they marry “submissive” women who are still in their youthful prime. Many also believe that Muslim men marrying outside their faith (which Islamically is allowed as long as it’s with a chaste Christian or Jewish woman) is only exacerbating the crisis by depriving single Muslim women of potential spouses and decreasing the already small pool of available Muslim men.
As a Muslim guy, I do believe it’s unfair to pin the entire blame for this marriage crisis on to us men as we Muslims must avoid generalizing one another if we are going to get anywhere in terms of finding a solution.
However that does not mean I am absolving Muslim men of the consequences of their actions which have contributed to the marriage crisis and thus I will address that which applies and I will rebuke that which is generalisation at best.
It is true that in the West significant numbers of Muslim men are marrying outside their faith. And I say “significant” because even though it might not seem like it to some, however in comparison to the crisis at hand it is a game changer as the disparity between the number of available single Muslim women and single Muslim men is very large and increasing. For every one Muslim man marrying a non-Muslim woman, there is one more Muslimah who loses a chance of finding a Muslim husband.
Of course, many brothers will view this as an attack on their right to marry women of the Book and in response will say “oh, but Islam permits Muslim men to marry women of the book”. And I’m not suggesting that marrying chaste women of the book is haram because obviously what Allah (SWT) made permissable none can declare haram. However Muslim men must understand the repercussions of their individual choice to marry outside their religion and how this puts Muslim women at a disadvantage since Islam does not permit a Muslimah to marry outside her faith, thus leaving these sisters struggling to find a spouse.
Another point that ties into the above is that today’s “women of the book” are not the same as the women of the book from the time of RasulAllah (SAW) who dressed and conducted themselves no differently from Muslim women, like guarding their chastity and wearing hijab like loose garments. But since the sexual “revolution” and the three waves of Feminism in the West, where Christians are the majority, a chaste woman is now looked upon as being “sexually repressed” and pre-marital sex and sexual promiscuity is widely encouraged for both genders in every Western country. A single Muslim woman of any age group is still far more likely to be chaste and God fearing compared to today’s “women of the book” whom so many Muslim men marry (or get into illicit relationships with). And since we Muslim men make a big fuss about virginity to our Muslim sisters I think it’s very hypocritical that we then run to tie the knot with non-Muslim women who are more likely to have a promiscuous past.
Also, since the advent of Feminism in the West, men are no longer the sole heads of household with women now holding an equal or greater sway over family affairs such as the religion (or lack thereof) of their children. So in the present context where these factors now come into play, interfaith marriages between Muslim men and today’s “women of the book” are strongly discouraged even by some Muslim scholars due to the greater likelihood of the offspring not having a strong Islamic identity. Thus it is safe to conclude that from the perspective of the Muslim community’s long term interest it is better for Muslim men to marry women from within their own community.
Brothers need to understand that there is nothing wrong with marrying an older Muslimah as long as she is pious, practicing, and God fearing. It’s not fair to our 25 and older sisters that they should be condemned to a life of lonliness due to their age but these sisters must also be more open to marrying someone younger than them because there are brothers out there who are willing to marry older and much more mature Muslimahs but often get turned down because of their age as well. So it is a two way street which will require compromise from both sides.
Coming to the other point regarding Muslim men being “intimidated” by professional Muslim women and thus avoid proposing to them, I believe this is a nonsensical claim. This might be true for some men, but overall this notion is completely false and I’ll explain why in the following:
Saying that Muslim men are somehow “intimidated” is to imply that they are inherently weak or too cowardly to take up the challenge of marrying a “strong”, “independent”, and “outspoken” (in the Western sense) Muslim woman which again is completely untrue.
Men, on the contrary, don’t view any such woman who gives priority to her professional life as a potential wife/mother because there is no way such a woman will be able to juggle between full time work as a professional and fulfilling her obligations as a wife and mother (if/when she has children). Either she will have to give up her professional life as a career woman to make time for having and raising children (which will require all of her time and effort) or she will have to forgoe marriage. No practicing Muslim man wants his children raised by nannies and daycares. In Islam, the purpose of getting married and building a family is to bond with one another and to help each other become better Muslims and raise a whole new generation of Muslim children instilled with Taqwa, NOT replace one another with complete strangers nor to be part time parents. Today many of our sisters have been duped into believing that they can live the single life of a career woman while also being a wife and mother. This is in fact out of touch with reality. The traditional role of a father and husband has always been that of the protector and maintainer of the family, which is even clearly stated in the Quran (4:34). And Muslim men are still expected to fulfill this role, but Muslim women no longer feel obligated to fulfill their role as devoted mothers and wives but would rather chase the life of a career woman in order to compete with men in the job market under the false notion of “gender equality”, even to the detriment of their own offspring should they have any. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a Muslimah holding down a professional career, but if it’s getting in the way of raising her children to be practicing Muslims of good character, then from the point of view of Islam’s long term interests as well as her individual well being both in this Dunya as well as the Akhira it is better for her to reduce her work days (if possible) or quit her job all together if necessary, because the children are the priority and as their mother only she is biologically well tuned to raising them and indoctrinating them with the Islamic way of life. No one else, not even the father can fulfill the role of the mother, which is why the father must do his part as the breadwinner of the family (Quran, 4:34).
Coming to the notion that there is a “lack” of “qualified” Muslim men, here too I strongly disagree. But before I explain my reason for disagreeing I believe it is very important to define what “qualified” means from the perspective of the sisters pushing this notion: their definition of “qualified” resembles something out of a Hollywood romantic comedy (or Bollywood if you’re Desi), except its the Muslim version; wherein their Prince charming is young and handsome yet he’s somehow managed to achieve so much success and wealth in his young life but also has all the free time on his hands to give her his undivided attention and make her laugh every second of her life, not to mention he’s religious, faithful, God fearing and extremely pious and has a beard yet he’s liberal enough to allow his wife the freedom to do as she pleases; the so called perfect balance between “Deen and Dunya” as they call it. And if any brother proposing falls short of any of these requirements then he’s considered “under-qualified” or “lacking”. If the brother is religious and God fearing then he’s “too strict” and not “liberal enough”. If he’s liberal then the complaint is that he doesn’t lower his gaze and is “too loose” around other women. If he’s young and still working on building his career then “he’s not making enough” and thus “not financially ready”(after all, someone’s gotta pay for the extravagant wedding so she can impress her friends and relatives, and that’s besides the exorbitant dowry). And if he’s old and accomplished then the complaint is that he’s “too old” and “too consumed” with work to give his wife the quality time she desires. All of this is excluding the separate demands of the parents of these sisters.
So, is there really a lack of “qualified Muslim men”?? Or rather, it’s more likely that these “strong”, “independent”, and “outspoken” single Muslimah’s turned down every decent proposal that came their way either because the brother wasn’t “good enough” or because these sisters wanted to continue to pursue their degrees in order to obtain a professional career, and thus postponed marriage. And after having achieved their professional goals these sisters then will not settle for what they consider “less”. Often times their professional qualifications bring about a superiority complex within them wherein they believe they now deserve Mr Perfect, but become dumbfounded when they realize no Muslim man is proposing to them.
This mountain of demands makes it difficult for the vast majority of young Muslim men who are of working class background to propose to these single sisters because more often than not their proposals are turned down due to failure to meet one or more of the impossible demands made by either the sisters themselves or their family. This leads to a pattern of Muslim men avoiding proposing to these sisters which then contributes to the notion that there is a “lack” of “qualified” Muslim men.
Having surfed through enough articles on this marriage crisis I have noticed a common trend in all of them where the brothers are shamed for marrying younger wives from back home and those doing the shaming will use the example of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s marriage with Khadija (RA) as a weapon against these brothers, yet how many people will shame these “strong”, “independent”, and “outspoken” Muslim women for refusing to marry younger brothers from a lower social class due to their weak financial status or lack of certain educational qualifications? After all, Khadija (RA) married the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who was illiterate and only earned enough to support himself. Or do the proponents of shaming the brothers conveniently neglect to mention this? if so then why the double standards?
Finally, I would like to address the role of the parents in contributing to this marriage crisis. Many parents raise their children to pursue superficial goals in life and often times postpone their marriages more than necessary until they obtain a certain degree or get a specific job and make a specific salary, wasting their child’s valuable years of vitality and fertility. And when it comes time for marriage, here too the parents will encourage their children to have a long list of superficial demands of what they should seek in potential suitors, leading to the turning down of many decent proposals that come their way.
Unfortunately many Muslims have swallowed the Western Liberal concept of “individualism” hook, line, and sinker wherein they give their individual desires priority over the well being of the Muslim community and its future and no longer feel obligated towards the strengthening and preservation of the Muslim community. And thus today the Muslim Ummah is faced with a barrage of growing problems including the marriage crisis, something that was completely unheard of in the history of Islam.
Veteran mover Safa Ouhib hands out the hints she has picked up over years of packing and picking up boxes.
It started when I was ten years old.
“It’s been well lived in,” was my mother’s euphemistic description of our new house. This was my first move, and at the age of ten I did not fully understand what she meant. I soon found out – together with the meaning of the term ‘elbow grease’!
However, some of our family’s preparations made the move easier. Wrapping all breakables well, for example, ensured that we arrived at our new home with ornaments and china, if not sanity, intact!
My house moving experience broadened after getting married; my husband and I lived in six different flats in the first four years. Moves sometimes coincided with big projects at university and these were stressful times. Through all that moving, I hope I picked up some useful tips along the way to help you make your move as pleasant as possible.
1. Take your move as an opportunity to do a big clear out, donating to charity or recycling where appropriate. It’s annoying and a waste of time and energy to pack and move things that you will end up getting rid of when unpacking in your new house – be ruthless! Start this process well in advance as it always seems to take longer than you’d imagined to pack everything up.
2. Know whether things like curtains, carpets, and light fittings are staying or whether you need to bring or buy your own.
3. Cancel phone and internet contracts well in advance if you have them and arrange for new ones to be set up at your new address. Although it’s worth mentioning that it is usually not possible to set up new contracts until you have actually moved. You may be without internet access for some weeks. If you rely on this, especially if you work from home, think about how you will cope and make alternative arrangements.
4. Collect boxes from supermarkets and DIY or electrical shops as they are often willing to let you take ones in various sizes and strengths. Keep stronger ones for heavier items. Usually the boxes have been flattened and you need to reassemble them yourself using strong tape – layer the tape well. I usually do a few layers on the inside and outside of the box – the last thing you want is your possessions falling out the bottom! Wrap all breakables well and mark boxes clearly as FRAGILE.
5. As you pack, number the boxes and keep an inventory of what went into each box. This way, you pack the items that are used the least and work your way up to those you use frequently – and when you unpack, you will know to start with the highest number and work your way down. Keeping an inventory is especially important if you are moving to a different town or country, so that if a box goes missing or gets damaged, you will be able to remember what the contents were.
6. Decide what each room in your new house is going to be used for and which bedrooms people are going to take. This way you can label boxes accordingly. Consider colour-coding the boxes with stickers or markers – using the colour red for all the boxes that contain kitchen goods, for example. In the new house, place a sticker or page with that colour on the door of the room so that the movers will know which boxes should be placed in which room.
7. Have more boxes, markers and tape than you think you will need. Remember to label the sides of the boxes, not just the tops, as it will be difficult to read the label if other boxes are stacked on top of it.
8. If you have older children involve them in the moving process. They can help to pack their clothes and toys for example. It helps to decide beforehand which bedrooms kids are going to take. I remember my mum drawing a little plan of our new house and we decided who would take each bedroom. This definitely avoided squabbles on moving day.
9. Think about the layout of your new house and plan where bulky items like beds and couches will go, bear in mind that things like the washing machine, computer and phone will probably have to go into pre-existing fixtures.
10. Remember to have phone numbers for your gas and electricity supplier so you can inform them of the move and take meter readings on the day you move out so you will not be billed for any fuel you have not used. Also take meter readings when you move to your new home and phone the relevant suppliers with these.
11. It is useful to have a few frozen meals prepared, transfer them to the new house in a cool box and then put them in the freezer.
12. If your new house is unoccupied, try to arrange for yourself and maybe a few family and friends to go there before the moving day and give it a good clean as this can save valuable time on the day.
On the day
13. Arrange for younger children to be looked after if possible.
14. Older children may like to stay with friends while the contents of your old house is being packed up. They will almost certainly want to be involved in unpacking at the new house so they are less likely to get bored as the day wears on if they have been doing something else in the morning. Assign older children some age appropriate tasks – they could make a start at unpacking their bedroom or do some cleaning if necessary.
15. Accept all the help you can get! If family and friends are helping out with the move, treat everyone to pizza or whatever else you can buy through take-out, rather than attempting to cook a meal that first day.
16. If you are moving in town, instead of packing clothes into suitcases, simply remove them from the cupboards while still on the hangers, wrap them up in sheets and rehang straight into the wardrobes of your new house. Not only does this save time in packing, it causes few creases and saves you on the subsequent ironing.
17. Be prepared to live out of boxes for a while. Bear in mind that it will take time to get everything the way you want it (if this ever really happens) and it is normal to feel unsettled. Talk to your kids about this too if they are feeling unnerved by the changes.
We made our last move about six weeks before our son was born. When my husband broke the news that we had to leave our flat, to my shame, I cried. However, we’re still here over two years later, alhamdulillah! And, at the end of the day, experiences like moving house, having to let go of possessions, saying goodbye, are all tests which we can choose to embrace insha Allah. They are, after all, only small challenges on our journey to our real home.
Safa Ouhib is an Irish revert who left her native Dublin after getting married, and spent the next few years moving from flat to flat in Edinburgh. She is now settled in Falkirk, Scotland. She hopes her moving days are not behind her though, as hijrah to Algeria is her next dream move.