2nd Marriage Seminar organized by AFTAB/AYN and hosted by Dar es Salaam Jamaat

After the success of the first Marriage Seminar held in Nairobi and realizing the need, AFTAB/AYN organized a second Marriage Seminar from 20th and 21st November 2011, at Mehfil-e-Abbas (as) in Dar es Salaam.

MS4The seminar was divided into three sessions:

I.        The in-laws & Parents: Preparing for marriage of our children

II.        The Pre-Engagement: Spouse selection

III.        The Pre-Marriage: Pre Marriage Preparation

The in-laws & parents module was the first of its kind and was held following the feedback received from the 1st Seminar held in Nairobi.

Over 200 participants attended the above; the formats of the sessions in a form of workshop were quite interactive thereby having a very positive impact on the participants.

The three workshops is briefly outlined below:

In-laws & Parents: Preparing for marriage for our children.
Facilitated by Seyed Mohamed Naqvi

This was a session that had no pre-set agenda, whereby the parents and in-laws assisted to set the agenda for discussion.

It was a highly interactive discussion on the role of parents pre and post marriage where the idea was to understand and appreciate the different perceptions of generations and culture.

Other issues covered were:

1. Reasons for breakup in marriages (Parents and in-laws perspective)

The idea was to understand and discuss how best to assist couples and parents in avoiding unnecessary misunderstandings leading to break up of marriages. In addition the concept of conflict resolution was discussed and how to support and facilitate the new couple with the wealth of experience from parents.

2. The Change Cycle

In this highly revealing session a discussion took place on realization of how many people are affected by the occurrence of change, how individual emotions are manifested, possible ways of combating fear of change, and making necessary adjustments.

At the end it was felt that more such open sessions were necessary for mutual benefit of parents and children.

Testimonials:

"As a mother in-law what we have experienced here today has certainly opened our minds to understand our children and the change cycle they go through. I request AFTab to continue organizing such interactive programs more frequently. Thank you for this opportunity."

Pre-Marriage Workshop: Preparing to spending your life with your spouse.
Facilitated By Brother Ashiq Damani and Sister Fatim Shabbir Somji.

This was designed for couples who are recently engaged or recently married with the desire to make all the preparations they can for a successful marriage.

The following topics were covered using discussions, questionnaires, debates, video and slide presentations etc;

·        'The Change Life Cycle' (That the Bride, Groom and family members
          experience)

·        Art of Communication (Understanding various effective methods
         of communication using practical exercises and  practice listening
         to each other)

·        5 Love Languages (Understanding the different approaches that people use to
         express love and appreciation)

·        Prejudgments and Perceptions (Recognizing and appreciating your differences)

·        Conflict Resolution

·        Role Plays and Scenarios (Covering many typical topics that our married youth
         often experience)

·        Keeping Love Alive (Tips on how to nurture their friendship and building a strong
         bond through faith)

·        Sexual Etiquette (Covered in gender segregated private sessions)

·        Plus many other topics intrinsically linking them to the teachings of the Quran
         and our Ahlulbayt (as)

Participants gained better understanding of themselves; their respective partners as well as wider family members, similarly highlighting the Islamic code of practice that would help them relate to their life partners in a befitting manner.

Testimonials:

"I must say it was an experience I will never forget, what I have achieved from the weekend is so valuable I can't express it. I have already started practicing some techniques and I can see my partner using them on me too. Working well, I feel fully equipped and ready to get married"

"The 2 day workshop last weekend had indeed rendered my mind into a very positive effect as to how easily relations are handled if only we follow and adhere by the ground rules which most of us have been overlooking on.  Each problem was interlinked with a direct solution... we were so free to participate livened the atmosphere and each one of us had an equal chance to voice out our opinions. The activities, group works and questionnaires indeed made me realize my needs as an individual within my married life, my ability to understand situations and my lack of optimism and free thinking. My minor fears regarding my future as a married woman were eradicated and I am now confident to face the challenges ahead of me."

"The marriage seminar was definitely amazing in all respects. It definitely opened my mind to views and perceptions that I had not been exposed too in the past, and certainly changed my perspective and approach in a number of ways."

Pre-Engagement Workshop: Preparing for looking for your spouse.
Facilitated by Brother Abbas Merali.

Key over-riding theme of this workshop was 'if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail' highlighting the fact that the step of the journey when looking for a spouse requires a fair amount of preparation and the key element of that preparation is start within, by asking the question: 'Who am I?' which was primarily looked into from two angles: Values & Personality. "Only when you begin to know who you are; can you know who you are compatible with"

Other issues covered:

Reasons for Marriage Break ups?

I.        All key aspects of marriage break ups were discussed and discussed the importance of knowing which values are core and cannot be compromised, as the hardest marriages to reconcile are when a person is in deep conflict with their core values as they would not be at peace with themselves.

II.        Perception of marriage and what has driven it - "Depending on how you perceive marriage, and the key drivers that has created that perception will be a very strong determinant of the type of companion you choose to share the peaks and troughs of that journey"

III.        The meeting & introduction process: How to prepare and what to prepare! The importance of having a detailed, conversation without it feeling like an interrogation. "Have a conversation not an interview" The art of having a conversation.

IV.        How do you know? How to evaluate the practical signs after a meeting to decide whether you have met the right person.

At the beginning of the two days, quite a number of participants had fears and a general sense of negativity about marriage due to the increase in the number of marital problems and strife. However, by the end of the two days there was a marked shift in the perception of marriage and a general sense of optimism.

Testimonials:

"I personally would like to thank you for all your support in this past two days to make us realize the importance of oneself and towards marriage. The seminar saved me from drowning and I wish this seminar was there five years ago. I have no words to thank you."

"This was one of the most important seminars ever held for the youths by AFTAB/AYN"

"On behalf of all the participants and all the people you interacted with during your stay here that we all have learnt a lot about ourselves, you have touched and changed our lives in more ways than one".

The experience of organizing these two marriage seminars has opened up avenues to identify and recognize the needs of our youths at these modern and challenging times. We at AFTab and AYN are committed to continue providing the tools and skills for their development through such seminars and workshop with Islamic values.

On behalf of Africa Federation Tabligh Board and Africa Youth Network I would like to thank Afed Office bearers for their support, Dar es Salaam Jamaat for hosting this event, the Facilitators and their Assistants, the organizing committee, the volunteers and all those who were a part of this amazing team which contributed to this successful event.

Seyed Hassan Naqvi Chairman AFTab

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