Lovin’ Lasagna Service Night – Friday, October 24, 2014

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) avid IYG blog reader,

After a week off of youth group, our young men were eager to return to the friendly confines of the ISGL for a much-anticipated (at least in the eyes of our mentors) service program. Each semester our mentors work with our youth to design and implement a service project for the community. Past projects have included clothing and food drives, purchasing toys to cheer up children in a local hospital, and opening a one-day restaurant (Restaurant Hope) to serve warm meals to community members in need.

Tonight our youth worked alongside their mentors to prepare three trays of homemade, stacked-to-the-top, ooey-gooey cheesy yumminess lasagna (full of love). Teams of 3-4 youth chopped vegetables, sauted beef, prepared a tomato-based sauce, and put these components together to form a layered lasagna dish. While the lasagna baked in the oven, our young men wrote cards to the recipients of these dishes wishing them a warm, delicious dinner. Afterward, we had a short reminder on the verses from Surat al-Ma’oon which helped provide the perfect background for one of the goals of the lovin’ lasagna service event. Oh how you truly can’t appreciate how delicious the final dishes looked unless we reveal to you some pictures of the finished products (feast you eyes below!):

Ahmad and Mohamed get the night started by chopping onions...my eyes burn!!!

Ahmad and Mohamed get the night started by chopping onions…my eyes burn!!!

Baha gleefully grabs the chopped veggies and stirs them into his beef concoction...

Baha gleefully grabs the chopped veggies and stirs them into his beef concoction…

Meanwhile behind Baha, Mohamed fights with a can opener to open a can of tomato paste...

Meanwhile behind Baha, Mohamed fights with a can opener to open a can of tomato paste…

Eshaan and Mohamed work together to build the layers to their lasagna in the kitchen...

Eshaan and Mohamed work together to build the layers to their lasagna in the kitchen…

...as Br. Salah and his team of helpers (Karim, Yazan, and Mohamed) build their lasagna in the multipurpose room!

…as Br. Salah and his team of helpers (Karim, Yazan, and Mohamed) build their lasagna in the multipurpose room!

A few extra shreds of cheese are thrown on top before the lasagna hits the oven!

A few extra shreds of cheese are thrown on top before the lasagna hits the oven!

As our lasagna bakes, Ahmad gets to work on the cards to give to the recipients of our dish.

As our lasagna bakes, Ahmad gets to work on the cards to give to the recipients of our dish.

Br. Salah teaches Elyas and Omar the fine art of rolling lasagna carefully to freeze it in place...

Br. Salah teaches Elyas and Omar the fine art of rolling lasagna carefully to freeze it in place…

The finished product! Does that not look delicious?!?

The finished product! Does that not look delicious?!?

Tennis the Menace – Friday, October 10, 2014

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) readers worldwide,

Sitting approximately a mile from the ISGL is a beautiful triangular prism more affectionately known as the Schwartz Tennis Center. We’ve drive past this marvelous facility many a times but had never been inside. Tonight our youth took a voyage inside this complex to learn the inner nuances of the fun game of tennis. To get our youth into the regular routine of exercising, our mentors put our youth through a series of fun drills and games for 60 minutes as the sun set outdoors. Forehands, volleys, overhead smashes, and the joyful glee of youth voices could be heard echoing throughout the indoor courts at the Schwartz Tennis Complex as you can see in the pictures below:

IYG young men intensely focus on hitting a forehand...

IYG young men intensely focus on hitting a forehand…

Mohamed keeps his eye on the ball and hits a perfect forehand!

Mohamed keeps his eye on the ball and hits a perfect forehand!

Mohamed (yes another one) pops  the tennis ball up high into the night sky.

Mohamed (yes another one) pops the tennis ball up high into the night sky.

Backhand Baha doing his best Pete Sampras  imitation...

Backhand Baha doing his best Pete Sampras imitation…

Eshaan and Mohamed challenge Mohamed and Baha to a friendly doubles match...

Eshaan and Mohamed challenge Mohamed and Baha to a friendly doubles match…

Only problem they have is they can't find where their ball disappeared to!

Only problem they have is they can’t find where their ball disappeared to!

Night of the Kite Flight

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) youth, parents, and readers worldwide,

The weather on Friday night was absolutely incredible subhan Allah! Temperatures in the high 70s combined with a gentle summer breeze (direction unknown) made for the perfect conditions to design and construct, you guessed it, KITES! Each semester we like to challenge our youth’s creative minds and awesome crafty skills in engaging arts-and-crafts or crazy science experiments. Our first such event this semester, the young men of the IYG worked together to design their very own, masjid-built kites. Armed with an assortment of supplies and tools, our youth got to work quickly…as they found out, making a kite is not as easy as it appears on paper as you’ll see below:

Our mini-men carefully read the directions before getting started...

Our mini-men carefully read the directions before getting started…

Lookie, our kites are starting to take shape!

Lookie, our kites are starting to take shape!

Karim adds a gliding tail to his kite as Anis patiently waits in line for his turn.

Karim adds a gliding tail to his kite as Anis patiently waits in line for his turn.

Mohamed is done! He gently tests his kite to see if it will hold up in the winds present outdoors.

Mohamed is done! He gently tests his kite to see if it will hold up in the winds present outdoors.

Meanwhile, in a hidden corner of the ISGL, our elder youth build a MASSIVE kite with cool artwork.

Meanwhile, in a hidden corner of the ISGL, our elder youth build a MASSIVE kite with cool artwork.

Hamza poses with his team's final product. Nice work gentlemen!

Hamza poses with his team’s final product. Nice work gentlemen!

The burning question in everyone’s mind…how well did our kites fly? Unfortunately time ran out before we could test our kites outdoors. We’ll have to let you know in a couple of weeks in shaa Allah after putting them through rigorous testing.

Fall 2014 Kick-off & Letters for Br. Imran

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) fellow readers,

I know, I know, y’all are probably thinking where has the ISGL Youth Group (IYG) disappeared to for the past two months??? After completing our Ramadan Summer 2014 Program our mentors went into deep hibernation to prepare for the start of another school year (and plan our next youth group program of course!). As the weather has finally achieved a Fall-like feeling, it was time to officially launch the next stage of IYG with our Fall 2014 Program. Tonight our event centered around a famous narration (hadeeth) from Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam (peace be upon him), where he said, “The rights of one Muslim over another Muslim are five…(and one of them is) visiting the sick.” (Recorded in Sahih al-Buhkari & Sahih Muslim)

Recently one of our community members (and the uncle of one of our youth group members) fell ill and was diagnosed with leukemia. As he is currently undergoing treatment, it wasn’t possible for our youth to visit him in the hospital to bring some joy and cheer to the brother and his family during this difficult struggle. However, one way our youth could reach out and make a positive impact was to prepare short letters and drawings to give to the brother so he could look at them during his recovery and in shaa Allah (God-willing) give him strength and hope. With that goal in mind, our young men put their collective minds and skills together to prepare several amazing letters ma shaa Allah. A few snapshots from the night’s activity can be found below:

The consequences of not having youth events...youth hurt themselves in unexpected ways!!

The consequences of not having youth events…youth hurt themselves in unexpected ways!!

Our young men gather around the white board for a brainstorming session. what positive messages can we add to our letters?

Our young men gather around the white board for a brainstorming session. what positive messages can we add to our letters?

Ideas generated in  our brainstorming session...

Ideas generated in our brainstorming session…

Eshan, Baha, Yazan, Abdelrahman, and Mohamed work on rough drafts...

Eshan, Baha, Yazan, Abdelrahman, and Mohamed work on rough drafts…

Ahmed puts final touches on his amazing letter!

Ahmed puts final touches on his amazing letter!

One of the many awesome letters produced by our youth ma shaa Allah.

One of the many awesome letters produced by our youth ma shaa Allah.

We pray that Allah, the Most Merciful, heals Br. Imran and grants him a speedy recovery back to good health.

IYG Futbol Cup – Friday, July 18, 2014

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) readers and writers globally,

Throughout the month of Ramadan, as our community has gathered at the ISGL for Isha and taraweeh prayers in the evening, a distinct “thud, thud” sound has been heard as our imams diligently lead the prayers. That thudding sound is the sound of a ball smashing against a door, light, window, or wall in the ISGL small prayer as our youth gleefully pursue their own mythical World Cup trophy. Seeing as our youth had an abundant excess of energy during Ramadan (and as the World Cup just ended), our mentors decided to put this energy to good use by allowing our youth to pursue the first-ever IYG Futbol Cup. Youth were broken down into four leagues and competed in 2-vs.-2 matches against one another trying to emerge as the victorious champions. What they didn’t realize was this platform provided our mentors a great opportunity to talk about teamwork, supporting one another regardless of skill level, and displaying positive sportsmanship/good character in trying circumstances. Three hours after the IYG Futbol Cup tournament began, no team emerged victorious. Our mentors will keep the Cup safely tucked away until the next opportunity presents itself for the Cup to be won! Enjoy pictures from today’s event below:

Our resident IYG Futbol Cup supervisor puts together the four soccer leagues our youth will be divided up into...

Our resident IYG Futbol Cup supervisor puts together the four soccer leagues our youth will be divided up into…

I wonder which league we'll be assigned to play in...the Medina Premier League, Date Producers, Palm Growers, Mosque Builders, who came up with these names???

I wonder which league we’ll be assigned to play in…the Medina Premier League, Date Producers, Palm Growers, Mosque Builders, who came up with these names???

The teams receive an explanation about the team names and how the IYG Cup will be won.

The teams receive an explanation about the team names and how the IYG Cup will be won.

Omar, Mohamed, Muhammad, and Omar select their team names. Yes there really are two Omars and two Mohameds in this group, confusing huh?

Omar, Mohamed, Muhammad, and Omar select their team names. Yes there really are two Omars and two Mohameds in this group, confusing huh?

On the field, Mohamed, Ahmed, and Ahmed #2 surround the soccer ball...

On the field, Mohamed, Ahmed, and Ahmed #2 surround the soccer ball…

Abdelrahman and Omar chase a 50/50 ball as Br. Oguz tries to defend his goal...

Abdelrahman and Omar chase a 50/50 ball as Br. Oguz tries to defend his goal…

SAVVVVVEEEE!!! Br. Oguz thwarts a scoring attempt.

SAVVVVVEEEE!!! Br. Oguz thwarts a scoring attempt.

GOAL! GOAL! GOAAAAALLLL! Muhammad scores from distance!

GOAL! GOAL! GOAAAAALLLL! Muhammad scores from distance!

Our teams take a break from the action to learn valuble lessons about teamwork from Brs. Salah and Adil.

Our teams take a break from the action to learn valuble lessons about teamwork from Brs. Salah and Adil.

Bara carefully eludes Baha and his defensive prowess as he looks to pass to teammate Ehshan.

Bara carefully eludes Baha and his defensive prowess as he looks to pass to teammate Eshan.

And down goes a mentor...Abdelrahman takes out Br. Salah with a sliding tackle!

And down goes a mentor…Abdelrahman takes out Br. Salah with a sliding tackle!

Itikha’f – Friday, July 11, 2014

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) IYGers,

One of the best memories kids usually have from their childhood is getting to take part in a sleepover at a friend’s home. From the practices of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), especially in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan, is to perform itikha’f in the masjid. Itikha’f in some ways is like a sleepover – you spend the night in a different place from your home, typically you have a few friends who join you, and you typiclaly are up all night. However whereas a sleepover is a social event primarily, the purpose of an itikha’f is to seclude oneself in the masjid to perform more worship. From reading/reciting the Qur’an, praying extra nawafil, listening to beneficial lectures/reminders, and making du’aa, an itikha’f is an opportunity to spiritually get closer to our Creator. To help our youth practice this great sunnah, our youth took part in our annual IYG itikha’f at the ISGL yesterday evening. After standing and praying Isha + taraweeh prayers, our youth took a short break to enjoy a fun activity before continuing on the main program. Our program included a reminder by Br. Nouman Ali Khan about the story of the young people in the cave (Surah Kahf), private time to read and reflect upon the Qur’an, and late night (tahajjud) prayer. After a long night of worship, we helped our youth to re-fuel their bodies with a delicious suhoor (which included Mickey Mouse pancakes!!!) before heading home for some much-needed rest. A quick snapshot of the night’s program is captured in the images below:

Tonight's first task...get yourself in order (QUIETLY!) by age from oldest to youngest...

Tonight’s first task…get yourself in order (QUIETLY!) by age from oldest to youngest…

A new IYG record...it took our youth only 2 minutes and 15 seconds to get organized by age!

A new IYG record…it took our youth only 2 minutes and 15 seconds to get organized by age!

Our younger youth start the night off with a good deed by making date jars to give as gifts to their parents...

Our younger youth start the night off with a good deed by making date jars to give as gifts to their parents…

Aladdin and Mohammed proudly display their finished products...beautiful!

Aladdin and Mohammed proudly display their finished products…beautiful!

Next, Hasan and his buddy Ahmed prepare cookie dough for a late night snack.

Next, Hasan and his buddy Ahmed prepare cookie dough for a late night snack.

The finished products...is that a snowman?!?

The finished products…is that a snowman?!?

As our mini-men wait for their cookies to rise up, they enjoy a fun game of tic-tac-toe (the fancy version)...

As our mini-men wait for their cookies to rise up, they enjoy a fun game of tic-tac-toe (the fancy version)…

Their friends try their hand guessing what's written on the card on their forehead. I see a "bee!"

Their friends try their hand guessing what’s written on the card on their forehead. I see a “bee!”

Meanwhile upstairs, our older youth enjoy a competitive game on NBA 2K14 post-taraweeh...Michale Jordan came back from retirement to defeat the world-champion Spurs...Omar appears to be enjoying a nice dream as he sleeps in the vertical position.

Meanwhile upstairs, our older youth enjoy a competitive game on NBA 2K14 post-taraweeh…Michale Jordan came back from retirement to defeat the world-champion Spurs…Omar appears to be enjoying a nice dream as he sleeps in the vertical position.

Afterward, Br. Nouman delivered a powerful reminder from Surat-al-Kahf to our youngsters.

Afterward, Br. Nouman delivered a powerful reminder from Surat-al-Kahf to our youngsters.

Moving on to late night tahajjud prayer...

Moving on to late night tahajjud prayer…

...followed by a delicious and nutritious suhoor prepared by our head chefs we clike to call S-squared - Brs. Salah and Samir!

…followed by a delicious and nutritious suhoor prepared by our head chefs whom we like to call S-squared – Brs. Salah and Samir!

IYG Iftar Master Chefs Night – Friday, July 4, 2014

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) readers and writers everywhere,

Today marked the end of the sixth day of the blessed month of Ramadan (boy does time fly!). During this month, we’re trying to encourage our youth to develop new good habits which they can continue to practice throughout the rest of the year. An important lesson from the teachings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, which carries with it a great reward is the practice of providing iftar/meal to those who are fasting. As stated in an authentic narration attributed to Prophet Muhammad:

“Whoever provides the food for a fasting person to break his fast with, then for him is the same reward as his (the fasting person’s), without anything being diminished from the reward of the fasting person.” (Narrated by Tirmidhi)

Even providing a few dates or a cup of water is enough to attain this great reward! To help our youth get into the spirit of practicing this great sunnah, our young men worked together to prepare a delicious meal to share with one another for their iftar that evening. What goodies did our energetic and clever youth make tonight? Search for clues in the pictures below!

Ilyas checks for a pulse from our dough...it's not breathing doctor!

Ilyas checks for a pulse from our dough…it’s not breathing doctor!

Shujath carefully spreads the sauce for our pizza as Mohammed thinks deeply about what toppings to add.

Shujath carefully spreads the sauce for our pizza as Mohammed thinks deeply about what toppings to add.

Our youth start trading for topppings to put on their pizzas...Baha would like some chicken please!

Our youth start trading for toppings to put on their pizzas…Baha would like some chicken please!

Ahmed, Ehshan, and Baha finish putting the final touches on their group's pizza...

Ahmed, Ehshan, and Baha finish putting the final touches on their group’s pizza…

Mohamed gleefully tosses cheese over the toppings...

Mohamed gleefully tosses cheese over the toppings…

Wait there's macaroni and cheese AND chocolate cake too!

Wait there’s macaroni and cheese AND chocolate cake too!

Our youth anxiously check the clock awaiting for the time to break their fast to arrive...

Our youth anxiously check the clock awaiting for the time to break their fast to arrive…

Alhamdulillah we made it! Iftar looks and tastes delicious.

Alhamdulillah we made it! Iftar looks and tastes delicious.

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