All my childhood, I sat on my prayer mat with tears in my eyes pleading Allah SWT for a best friend that truly understood me. A best friend that was similar to me in faith. I asked Allah SWT for an Iraqi Shia girl, just like me, in the hopes that I would never have to over-explain myself again. A girl that I could call sister and have sleepovers with. A friendship that would last in this life and the next. My heart desired a community, and Allah SWT brought me an abundance of love and faith through the beautiful people He has put in my life.
The majority of my childhood was spent in waiting for the right moment my parents would send me to Camp Taha—a Muslim camp in Michigan. The anticipation burned inside of me seeing my cousins and brothers attend each summer. Their stories and transformations made me yearn for a place I had not seen for more than a few minutes. I remember, in times where my family would drive down to visit my brother, the camp felt so large because my frame was so small.
The summer after the fifth grade I gladly informed my class I would be attending Camp Taha. My parents simply agreed because my eldest cousin said she would take care of me. At this time, my cousins were old enough to be camp counselors. Other than her, I knew no one else attending, and so the woods would offer me the challenge of making new friends.
The One Where We Interview The Muslim Voice’s Creative Co-Director Interview by: Yumna Khan
The Muslim Voice is a team of thoughtful, dedicated and creative Muslims. Any of the work produced by TMV is a collective effort composed of unique individuals who aspire to capture the Muslim voice. The blog team has interviewed one of the creative co-directors on this year’s executive board, Nadeen Naqaweh, to gain insight into her work for TMV; specifically the graphic design for fall 2023’s Legacy issue.
Blog Team: What is your role within TMV? Naqaweh: I am one of the Creative Co-Directors at TMV; I am in charge of the graphic design for articles, editing layout and overseeing creative decisions for the magazine.
Blog Team: What is your creative process when working for TMV? What went into the graphic design for the Fall 2023 Legacy issue? Naqaweh: My creative process begins with reading the prompts provided by the writers, listing some of the imagery that I associate with the topics, and then thinking about how I can create a theme for this article, one that stands out on its own. The creative team usually has a theme set in advance, but I don’t necessarily think about the theme at the prompt stage, I primarily focus on what the writer wants to convey. After I have all my thoughts listed out, I survey my team’s inspiration board and start drafting up a colour scheme, repeating motifs, and art style. When the prompts turn into fully composed articles, I read them with particular attention to how my brain creates images, and for lack of better words, the vibes of the article. From there, I figured out the font, colours, images, and overall design for the article through a lot of trial and error; until I achieved something that I love. However, graphic design is very much a collaborative effort. I am constantly showing my progress to my team, who give me input with a fresh set of eyes, and who always give me a new platform to jump off on.
Blog Team: If you have one message to the University of Toronto student body, what would it be? Naqaweh: We are all feeling drained during these bleak times, but it is vital that we keep ourselves steady so that we can continue to fight for the Palestinian cause. Don’t feel selfish for having an escape, a coping mechanism, or just something that makes you feel like you again. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you are doing less than others around you, or that you should compare your emotions to someone else’s. Only you know what is in your heart, but most importantly, Allah SWT knows what is in your heart, and He is indeed all-hearing, all-seeing.
Have you ever wondered why it’s taking so long to find that special someone to help you complete half your deen (religion)? Or if you’re new to the search, you might be wondering where to start and how you might meet them. Perhaps you might bump into them at the grocery store. Maybe you begin your quest by using online dating apps. A matrimonial event? And after all this searching, you might wonder are there any single Muslim mixers in the GTA? Well, the options are endless and it can be overwhelming to navigate. Below are a few tips that might help you get started, as well as some extra tips to those who are already in the thick of it all!
The first question to ask yourself is, are you ready to get married? What does marriage even entail? Perhaps a little introspection can really set the tone for your search. An important thing to remember is the significance of marriage in Islam and to understand what marriage truly means. We reflect on what roles of a husband and a wife are. There is a really good course at Al-Maghrib Institute called “Fiqh of Marriage and Divorce”. This course walks you through the whole marriage process: searching for someone, the questions to ask potential candidates, the nikah (marriage)process, how to maintain that marriage, and even insight into divorce.
Make Sincere Dua:
Once you have determined that you are ready for marriage, begin your search process. Start by making an intentional, sincere dua (prayer)to Allah (SWT) and continue making that dua throughout the process of finding someone. Ask Him for qualities you are searching for in a spouse, the qualities you would like to possess as a spouse, how you imagine your marriage to look, and ask Him to bless you with a righteous spouse. You can make these duasin sujood(prostration) for a magnified impact, as well as in Tahajjud (Night Prayer), in sha Allah.
Your Inner Circle:
During the search process, let your friends and family know that you are ready and searching. Networking within your circles of friends, family, and relatives (if you feel comfortable) means you have the opportunity to tap into multiple networks. People know people and can always refer you to someone they know, as well as put in a good word for you.