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.

Mecca Responds (Teens) – Friday, March 20, 2015

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) readers,

Two weeks ago our IYG teens took part in an awesome cooking lesson at the Purdue Co-Rec; this lesson was followed by a discussion on Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings be upon him), response after receiving the first verses of revelation of the Qur’an. Tonight (over a delicious snack of gelato and hot cocoa) we continued our seerah discussion by looking at how the residents of Mecca responded to Prophet Muhammad and the early followers of Islam. Simply put, many of the Meccan residents were a tad bit unhappy. The stronger leaders voiced their displeasure openly by harassing and verbally abusing the Muslims. Other leaders even resorted to physically abusing the Muslims who were in a weak position in their society. The experience of the early Muslims in Mecca provided a good teaching lesson for our teens; the issue of Islamophobia has become more prevalent in the United States. Our Muslim youth often face negative experiences in their schools (being called offensive names, having to respond to incorrect stereotypes, etc. by their classmates because of their lack of understanding about Islam and Muslims) and struggle to find ways to respectfully respond to such experiences. Learning that Prophet Muhammad and his followers experienced Islamophobia from the residents of Mecca provides a source of comfort for our teens (knowing that they are not the first ones to go through such a difficult experience). However, the seerah also provides valuable lessons on how we can respond to such criticism and negativity in a positive manner. These lessons will be the topic of a future discussion in shaa Allah (God-willing).

Gelato and hot cocoa - perfect snacks for a seerah discussion!

Gelato and hot cocoa – perfect snacks for a seerah discussion!

Revelation & Mediterranean Cooking Demo (Teens) – Friday, March 6, 2015

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) IYGers,

One cooking lesson per night is not enough, right? After our mini-men completed their Rice Krispy bake-off, our teens traveled to the Purdue Co-Rec Demo Kitchen to test their hand at preparing a delicious four-course Mediterranean-themed dinner. Under the careful supervision of the Co-Rec staff, our teens learned important techniques including proper knife handling, quick ways to chop herbs, checking if one’s fish is at proper temperature for consumption, and preparing a fruity couscous (yes you read that correctly). Working together our young men learned how to prepare hummus from scratch, tilapia with chopped vegetables, couscous, peach-cream dessert, and a delicious non-alcoholic fruit sangria to drink. After the cooking lesson was done, our youth had a chance to dig in and enjoy what their clever hands had prepared. We concluded the evening by continuing our seerah discussion. For this event, we focused on the response of Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam (peace an blessings be upon him), after receiving the first verses of revelation of the Qur’an. One of the lessons learned was the importance of building and maintaining relationships with family and friends (who can support you during both good times and times of difficulty). A few snapshots from Friday night’s event can be found below:

Hmmm...I wonder what we'll be doing tonight?

Hmmm…I wonder what we’ll be doing tonight?

Cutting basil of course!

Cutting basil of course!

Mohamed carefully dices an onion as Omar observes with fear...he"ll be okay Omar.

Mohamed carefully dices an onion as Omar observes with fear…he”ll be okay Omar.

Talal gets to work on our apricot dessert...honey is the key ingredient here.

Talal gets to work on our peach dessert…honey is the key ingredient here.

Now comes the good part...cream + honey + peach = YUMMY!

Now comes the good part…cream + honey + peach = YUMMY!

Time to eat! Fruit sangria...delicious!

Time to eat! Fruit sangria…delicious!

Hummus anyone?

Hummus anyone?

Tilapia and couscous...dinner can now begin!

Tilapia and couscous…dinner can now begin!

Rice Krispy Kooks (Mini-men) – Friday, March 6, 2015

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) readers,

Friday night, it was time for our mini-men to take their turn in the IYG kitchen to put their culinary skills to the test (and prove the tweenz weren’t the only skilled chefs present in the youth group). Young children love sugar in many different forms – pure chocolate, candy, sugary cereals, and…DESSERTS! Can there be a more mini-men friendly dessert to make at home other than Rice Krispy treats? We think not! After splitting our youngsters into two groups, our mini-men raced against the clock (and one another) to prepare their very own homemade Rice Krispy treats. A light dusting of butter, a cupful of Rice Krispy cereal, and a whole lot of marshmellow creme later…we had ourselves one delicious snack. I know, I know…you don’t believe us. Well as they say, the proof is in the pictures (check out our young men in action below!):

Anis gets things started melting butter in our sauce pan...ooo Ahmed has a question for us!

Anis gets things started melting butter in our sauce pan…ooo Ahmed has a question for us!

Ahmed begins melting down our marshmallow creme...

Ahmed begins melting down our marshmallow creme…

Meanwhile Yazan and Mohamed take a moment to smile for our camera...say cheese!

Meanwhile Yazan and Mohamed take a moment to smile for our camera…say cheese!

Our baked treats hit the fridge to cool down...

Our baked treats hit the fridge to cool down…

No cooking lesson is complete without a little fun and games!

No cooking lesson is complete without a little fun and games!

The final product...does that not look professionally delicious?

The final product…does that not look professionally delicious?

Breakfast All Day (Tweenz) – Friday, February 27, 2015

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) tweenz, parents, and readers across the globe,

The weather outside was still quite un-friendly tonight. What type of food pairs well with cold weather? BREAKFAST (at least heat is generated from the stove while you cook so it keeps you warm)!!! Breakfast items are so unique compared to other meals (here’s looking at your dinner) because they can be eaten at any time of the day and are typically simple to prepare. Tonight our tweenz had the chance to put on their chef hats and aprons on and learn the time-honored tradition of making simple breakfast dishes sure to please any child (or adult). Under the careful supervision of our IYG chef-tors (“chef + mentor = chef-tor”, get it?!), our youth learned how to prepare their very own scrambled eggs with cheese paired with decadent, fluffy pancakes (kufi tip to Food Network for their helpful cooking tips). Breakfast is a very important meal to energize our youth early in the morning to help them through their school day. Most days, we rely on mom and dad to prepare breakfast for us. However, this fun cooking activity taught our youth simple dishes they can prepare at home on their own (for those days in college when mom and dad may not be there to make breakfast) AND dishes they can make for their families (to give mom and dad a break from the kitchen by serving a simple treat). As captured in the pictures below, our youth did a phenomenal job (after dealing with a couple early exploding eggs…) preparing their breakfast meals:

Step 1 - Cleanse thy hands! Bacteria and food don't play well together in our stomach.

Step 1 – Cleanse thy hands! Bacteria and food don’t play well together in our stomach.

Muhammad and Abdallah start mixing eggs, sour cream, and a splash of water together to make their scrambled eggs...

Muhammad and Abdallah start mixing eggs, sour cream, and a splash of water together to make their scrambled eggs…

Basim's eggs are whipped and ready to be scrambled!

Basim’s eggs are whipped and ready to be scrambled!

Mix, mix rapido Basim! Else your eggs will become an omelet.

Mix, mix rapido Basim! Else your eggs will become an omelet.

Now onto pancakes! Mmm fluffy pancakes...Muhammad attempts to flip his pancake with his eyes closed (this can't be a good idea or can it?)

Now onto pancakes! Mmm fluffy pancakes…Muhammad attempts to flip his pancake with his eyes closed (this can’t be a good idea or can it?).

One toasted breakfast muffin later and  this young lad is ready to chow down...

One toasted breakfast muffin later and this young lad is ready to chow down…

Mmmmm...nothing beats breakfast all day! If you look closely, there is a pan-taco (pancake taco) present on someone's plate...we"ll let you figure out this mystery.

Mmmmm…nothing beats breakfast all day! If you look closely, there is a pan-taco (pancake taco) present on someone’s plate…we”ll let you figure out this mystery.

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