Pledge of Aqabah…at HuHot’s? (Teens) – Friday, May 1, 2015

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

Yes you read the title correctly…our final IYG teens event engaged our lively youth in an interesting discussion with our mentors on the topic of the first Pledge of Aqabah (while we enjoy a delicious meal at the restaurant, HuHot!). The framework of this famous pledge, from the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), is very interesting as it puts into place measures to worship Allah alone and to protect society from certain social ills (including not stealing, not committing murder, not committing indecent acts, and avoiding improper relationships). Interestingly many of our youth often think that the society that Prophet Muhammad lived in was extremely different from our own society (thus finding it hard to relate to lessons taken from the seerah). While indeed there is some truth to this statement, the social ills/peer pressure that impacts the lives of youth in our times are in fact some of the same social ills that faced young people in Prophet Muhammad’s society. A critical component for our youth is to find a productive way to deal with these challenges rather than being afraid of dealing with them (for fear of being isolated form friends or unfairly judged for holding onto certain ideals). The seerah contains within it many practical tips and lessons on how to deal with these challenges and gaining strength from the experiences of Prophet Muhammad and his companions. Part of our goal for our IYG teens program was to make the seerah a practical, relateable experience for our youth throughout our discussion this semester. As our end-of-semester meal at HuHot’s taught our mentors, our youth appear to be connecting to this point alhamdulillah! Now onto the delicious food pictures (we know that’s what you’ve really been waiting for!):

Meet the grill master and the master grill (this wheel-like contraption cooked our fusion of veggies, fruits, carbs, and seafood into a jelly good meal...

Meet the grill master and the master grill (this wheel-like contraption cooked our fusion of veggies, fruits, carbs, and seafood into a jelly good meal…

The IYG teen clan chows down on fantastic meals courtesy of the Mongolian grill. Yum yum in our tum tum!

The IYG teen clan chows down on fantastic meals courtesy of the Mongolian grill. Yum yum in our tum tum!

Slippery Slime Night (Mini-men) – Friday, May 1, 2015

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) youth, parents, and IYG blog fans,

The calendar has turned from April to May; this sadly marks the time when our Spring 2015 Program must come to an end. As Purdue University wraps up for the Spring semester and our youth countdown the remaining days until Summer vacation, so too must our IYG journey come to an end. First up, our mini-men reunited for one final get-together in the ISGL Multipurpose Room. Amongst squeals of joy (and a few squirts of glue), our clever lads built their very own slime. This fun science lesson taught our youth how simple ingredients lying around at home can be put together (under careful adult supervision!) to make some very special products (after all, who doesn’t enjoy gooey slime?).

Our mini-men excitedly await instructions from Br. Ihsan...

Our mini-men excitedly await instructions from Br. Ihsan…

Mohamed, Ahmed, and Ahmad stare in awe as their gooey creation starts turning into cool slime!

Mohamed, Ahmed, and Ahmad stare in awe as their gooey creation starts turning into cool slime!

Anis quickly whisks his mixture of ingredients to form a reddish slime blend...looking pretty, pretty good.

Anis quickly whisks his mixture of ingredients to form a reddish slime blend…looking pretty, pretty good.

Yazan's mixture is starting to look like a very cool end product - can you say slippery slime?!?

Yazan’s mixture is starting to look like a very cool end product – can you say slippery slime?!?

Our event concluded with one final fun round of 3 vs. 3 soccer!

Our event concluded with one final fun round of 3 vs. 3 soccer!

Thank you to our mini-men for helping us to form a semester’s worth full of fun memories! We hope you enjoy a wonderful Summer vacation in shaa Allah!

Climbing Wall Challenge (Teens) – Friday, April 17, 2015

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) IYG families and blog visitors,

A couple of weeks back, our teens took part in a discussion on Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and his difficult journey from Mecca to the city of Taif. This journey was not one taken on a paved highway with a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle to transport him; nope, he traveled by foot through the hot Arabian desert to visit the city of Taif looking for support from the city dwellers. Instead Prophet Muhammad was greeted harshly and run out of the city. Imagine what it would feel like to have to walk up rough terrain/hills in the hot desert heat. It’s hard to. On Friday evening, our teens had the opportunity to take part in a fun activity attempting to climb up a rocky climbing wall in the Purdue Co-Rec. While this in no way can simulate the difficulty of walking through rough terrain in the hot heat to reach one’s destination, it did give our teens a little bit of an appreciation for the difficulty Prophet Muhammad experienced on his journey from Mecca to Taif more than 14 centuries ago.

Omar steadies himself, takes a deep breath, and begins the climb upwards.

Omar steadies himself, takes a deep breath, and begins the climb upwards.

He's halfway to the top!

He’s halfway to the top!

Success! Now how do I get down from here?!

Success! Now how do I get down from here?!

Talal begins the ascent...why does the top look so far away!!!

Talal begins the ascent…why does the top look so far away!!!

Should I keep climbing or go back down to find cookies? Cookies, always go for the cookies.

Should I keep climbing or go back down to find cookies? Cookies, always go for the cookies.

Talal climbed to the top of one of the hardest walls ma shaa Allah. He earned a well-deserved round of applesauce for his efforts.

Talal climbed to the top of one of the hardest walls ma shaa Allah. He earned a well-deserved round of applesauce for his efforts.

Salah ponders his next move carefully...

Salah ponders his next move carefully…

Checkmate! Salah conquers Mount CoRec.

Checkmate! Salah conquers Mount CoRec.

Parents Appreciation Day Prep (Tweenz) – Friday, April 10, 2015

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

Over the past few weeks, our mini-men and teens have had the opportunity to put their creative energy to good use preparing special gifts for their parents. Tonight it was our tweenz’s turn to take their talents to the IYG and concoct memorable gifts for their parents (the key word being “memorable”). What memories would this event conjure? Well check out the pictures below for some hints:

Muhammad and Abdallah mix flour and water in a bowl while Basim gazes longingly downward at his blue bowl. What are these guys making??? Shhhh! It's a secret gift for mom and dad.

Muhammad and Abdallah mix flour and water in a bowl while Basim gazes longingly downward at his blue bowl. What are these guys making??? Shhhh! It’s a secret gift for mom and dad.

Prophet Goes to Taif (Teens) – Friday, April 3, 2015

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

In the friendly confines of our neighborhood Coldstone Creamery, our teens met over a delicious serving of ice cream to continue our discussion on lessons from the seerah. Tonight’s discussion focused on a difficult journey Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) took from Mecca to the city of Taif. This was soon after he lost two of his most valuable supporters (his uncle Abu Talib who financially and physically supported his nephew and the beloved wife of Prophet Muhammad, Khadijah, who had emotionally and financially supported the Prophet). The Muslims in Mecca were experiencing great difficulty so Prophet Muhammad took a journey to Taif to find support. Instead he was verbally and physically abused (the residents threw rocks at his feet for a distance of 3 miles!!!) to such a level that he had to flee the city while his feet were bleeding profusely. At such a low point emotionally and physically, Allah supported Prophet Muhammad when it appeared all hope had been lost. Our mentors took the opportunity to remind our teens that no matter how difficult life may become (through the low points and the high points), Allah is there for us and will help us just as Allah supported Prophet Muhammad when he was going through difficult periods in his lifetime. We must never lose hope even when a situation seems bleak!

Munching on munchies while discussing a seerah lesson...fannntttaaasssttiiccc!!!

Munching on munchies while discussing a seerah lesson…fannntttaaasssttiiccc!!!

Parents Appreciation Day Prep (Mini-men) – Friday, April 3, 2015

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

Friday night was a fun night for our IYG mini-men! Working in small groups with our mentors, our mini-men prepared special gifts to give their parents for our upcoming Parents Appreciation Day event. As we want the gifts to be a surprise, we cannot reveal any secret details about what our youth made…it would ruin the surprise! Without further ado, a few pictures from Friday night’s event for your viewing pleasure:

Our mini-men feverishly draw a special message for their parents...I wonder what they are writing???

Our mini-men feverishly draw a special message for their parents…I wonder what they are writing???

Hmmm....flour, salt, water - what are they making??? It's a secret that cannot be unveiled until Parents Appreciation Day Event.

Hmmm….flour, salt, water – what are they making??? It’s a secret that cannot be unveiled until Parents Appreciation Day Event.

Topsy Turvy Tourney (Tweens) – Friday, March 27, 2015

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) youth, elders, and IYG blog readers,

March Madness is in full-swing around the United States with seemingly everyone filling out a bracket to predict the winner of this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Predictions aside, our youth were in the mood for their own tournament so inside the friendly confines of the ISGL, our mentors arranged for a series of mini-tournaments. Games abounded from relay races to memory card recall test to a soccer shootout to a two- member team timed obstacle course (say that ten times if you like tongue-twisters). The backdrop of the tournament gave our mentors a great opportunity to instill an important life lesson – each one of our youth enjoyed competing for the opportunity to be the winner of each mini-tournament we held. And what was that lesson you ask? Competing for first place in a sports/school/debate/speech/(insert any other type of tournament here) competition is fine and dandy, but we should also use that same zeal and energy to compete for completing good deeds in life (similar to how the great companions Abu Bakr and Umar, radi Allahu anhum (may Allah be pleased with them), used to compete)! For in the race to compete in doing good deeds lies a great reward and treasure! A few snapshots for the night’s tournament are captured below for your viewing pleasure:

Basim tries to outfox Ahmed in "Goal Kick." Ahmed would emerge victorious!

Basim tries to outfox Ahmed in “Goal Kick.” Ahmed would emerge victorious!

Ahmed and Baha race one another in the "Pin Drop Dash." Run fellas, run! This one looks like a tie!

Ahmed and Baha race one another in the “Pin Drop Dash.” Run fellas, run! This one looks like a tie!

Mohamed tries to memorize the card order in 30 seconds. Karim can't bear to look at this madness!

Mohamed tries to memorize the card order in 30 seconds. Karim can’t bear to look at this madness!

Mohamed spins 5 times around the baseball bat at the start of the two-member timed obstacle course. Meanwhile Muhammad and Elyas discuss strategy as they await their team's turn.

Mohamed spins 5 times around the baseball bat at the start of the two-member timed obstacle course. Meanwhile Muhammad and Elyas discuss strategy as they await their team’s turn.

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