Itikha’f & “Fruit Ninja” Video Game Tournament – Saturday, July 14, 2012

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

Sadly, we have come to the end of yet another ISGL Youth Group program. Saturday evening marked the final activity for our 2012 Halalapalooza Program. It is hard to believe that six weeks ago, we kicked-off our program with a thrilling game of soccer. Yesterday night, we concluded our summer program with a video game tournament (who knew a game entitled “Fruit Ninja” could be so much fun?) and itikha’f at the ISGL. After an hour and half of gaming action, our youth enjoyed a family-style meal before praying Maghrib prayer.

Between Maghrib and Isha prayers, our young men delivered short reminders encouraging one another to take advantage of the month of Ramadan. The reminders included discussions about the purpose of Ramadan (i.e. the primary and secondary benefits of fasting), a favorite memory our youth had from a previous Ramadan, and advice on taking full advantage of this blessed month. After Isha prayer, our mentors took over and reminded our youth that Ramadan is indeed a tremendous gift provided to us by Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. When we receive a gift (whether it be from a family member, friend, teacher, etc.), we typically cherish it and thank the person who gave us the gift. Yet too often we fail to acknowledge the enormous blessings available in Ramadan and thus fail to take advantage of this amazing month (by increasing in our prayers, being more charitable with our time and money, and helping our family in preparing a meal for iftar).

We decided to try to put into practice tahajjud (or late night, supererogatory) prayers after our discussion on Ramadan. After taking a short break, our youth gathered together to recite Surat-al-Buruj. Within this surah is a story about a boy and a king. The boy, even at a young age, stood firm in his belief in Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, even in the face of many trials put forth by this king. The boy’s conviction in his faith served as an encouragement for others in his community to realize that indeed Allah, azza wa jal, (NOT the king) was their true Lord. After our story time, our young men enjoyed a late-night snack and a pillow fight (to release any leftover energy) before getting some rest before Fajr prayer.

Much took place in the comfy confines of the ISGL last night. The pictures below will hopefully shed light on our final activity of the summer.

Ali gets things started with a friendly game of “Fruit Ninja.” You may want to step back a little bit…

Our young men eagerly stand in line in anticipation of their turn.

Danyal takes his turn smashing fruit with his ninja-tastic skills.

Our empty dinner table awaits our young guests. Where is everyone?

DINNER TIME!!! Who wants lemonade…apparently everyone.

How about a little ice cream for dessert?

Murtaza begins our youth discussion on Ramadan.

Ahmed continues the show with his advice on how to take advantage of this Ramadan.

After Isha prayer and our mentor-led talk on “Ramadan Warriors,” our young men decided to perform tahajjud prayer together.

Hamza is ready for a little Qur’an session with Surat-al-Buruj!

Ali reads the English translation of the verses we just recited.

Anyone hungry for a Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich for a midnight snack?

What better way to end the evening (before sleeping of course) then with a pillow fight!

Homemade Bottle Rockets – Friday, July 13, 2012

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Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) patient reader,

Friday evening brought out the perfect conditions for aerial flight – warm weather, no noticeable breeze, and, most importantly, talented yet rambunctious youth! In the friendly confines of the ISGL Multipurpose Room, our young men formed small engineering teams of 2-3 individuals. Our teams were given an important mission on behalf of the IYG NASA Engineers (a.k.a. our youth group mentors) – given cardboard, foam board, duct tape, hot glue, construction paper, spray paint, and water, design and construct a homemade bottle rocket which would be fit for launching. Our teams were given a quick lesson on important points to consider when designing their rockets to achieve maximum distance traveled. Points discussed included – properties of materials (light vs. heavy, durable vs. flimsy), weight and its impact on distance, forces to consider which would impede the path of the rocket, and fin designs. After giving our teams 15 minutes to draw out a bottle rocket and obtaining approval from our team of IYG NASA Engineers, each team was given their materials from which to construct their rockets. What emerged, well, you’ll see in the pictures below…

Our teams begin the all-important bottle rocket design stage. What would they come up with? Well let’s take a closer look…

Looks like a bottle with boomerang fins…

Angry birds seek approval from the IYG NASA Engineers for their design.

A bottle rocket with a halo on it…hmmm…interesting concept!

Let the building begin! Mujtaba carefully cuts out the fins for his team’s bottle rocket.

It appears we have a technical problem here – our fins are all different sizes!

Umm guys….your wings are pointing the wrong direction. Let’s get that fixed shall we…

Ali steps outside to add some creative paint to his team’s rocket…

I swear no matter what they tell you, I didn’t do it!

A few of the finished products…meet the Explorer Version 6.0.

Halo Rock by our youngest team of engineers.

Not quite sure what this rocket is called…could the fingers pointing #1 be a premonition of things to come?

The secret tool to the whole project – the bicycle pump turned rocket launcher!

LAUNCH TIME! Get to it Abdelrahman…

Some of our rockets went straight up…

…one went backwards…

…and others went the direction we were expecting – STRAIGHT!

Overall our young men did an impressive job designing and building their homemade bottle rockets. In terms of distance traveled, three bottle rockets stood out:

– Amine, Danyal, and Hamza’s bottle rocket which traveled 48 feet, 3 inches

– Mohamed A.M., Nabeel, and Shujath’s bottle rocket which traveled 43 feet, 6 inches

– Mujtaba, Murtaza, and Mustafa’s Explorer Version 6.0 bottle rocket which traveled 42 feet, 6 inches

Cooking for Kids – Saturday, July 7, 2012

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

In a community with a population just under 200,000 people adjacent to a world-class public university (Purdue) and boasting one of the best public school systems in the state (West Lafayette School Corporation), 20.0% of the population in Tippecanoe County lives below the poverty line (according to the U.S. Census Bureau). Every day, many of us rise in the morning with the knowledge of what we plan to consume for that day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What we fail to realize is that around us there are people in our community who don’t have that peace of mind; they arise each day wondering where their family’s next meal will come from. Some depend upon government assistance in the form of food stamps, others rely on local soup kitchens, while still others depend on the generosity of community members to find a meal. A portion of the population affected by the lack of food, perhaps the most innocent and least capable of caring for themselves, are children.

In an effort to help our young men connect with the plight of youth in our community who struggle to eat three square meals a day, we provided our youth with the opportunity to prepare a hearty dinner for families taken care of by the local Salvation Army Emergency Family Shelter. Using the wonderful equipment available in the ISGL kitchen, our young men went to work preparing a wonderful three-course dinner. Afterward, they enjoyed a meal themselves followed by a dose of light fun.

What did our young men prepare for the guests at the Salvation Army Emergency Family Shelter? Check out the pictures below to find out!

Salah provides encouragement and tips on making a delicious Peanut Butter & Jelly (PB & J) sandwich.

Assembly line! Mohamed preps a slice of bread with creaammmyyy peanut butter…

…Mustafa gently spreads grape jelly onto his slice of bread…

…and Shujath smashes the slices of bread together to form a lovely PB & J sandwich! YUM!

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Mujtaba fills a bowl with water…

…as Danyal dumps the water into our gargantuan-sized cooking pot. What will they be cooking, we wonder?

PASTA! The box of Spaghetti explodes from Mujtaba’s hand into the pot.

Danyal mixes our secret homemade sauce for our pasta. Remember the key is 12 turns per minute Danyal!

Ihsan prepares the final pasta product for consumption by our guests…

…as our youth prepare dessert! Hamza uses the double knife technique to perfectly slice through his watermelon.

Murtaza carefully separates the good stuff from the green shell…

…and then he proceeds to use his refined knife skills to divide his watermelon into equal-sized pieces.

Upon completion of their tasks, our youth were given the green light to make their own PB & J sandwich. Ahmed decided to prepare his version of the largest edible PB & J tower in the world.

As our mentors prepare a snack for our youth downstairs, upstairs in the main prayer hall, our youth choose sides for an impromptu game of tug-of-war.


An exhausted lad lies on the floor in need of energy…

Our mentors are pleased to revive our youth with a hearty meal of spaghetti, lemonade, and watermelon. BISMILLAH, dig in!

Ihsan’s sidekick Salah hides in the kitchen and fills balloons with water for a secret ploy…

The water balloons have emerged from the kitchen for…a WATER BALLOON FIGHT!!!

Mujtaba shows no mercy to poor Shujath.

A balloon bursts in front of poor Mustafa; now he’s all wet!

Mass chaos ensuing outside the ISGL – take cover!

IYG Olympics – Saturday, July 6, 2012

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

On July 27th, 2012, London will serve host to an event which will have the world buzzing – the 2012 Summer Olympics. Within the ISGL, we have several talented athletes whom we believe are strong enough to compete in the games (yes we’re biased). Unfortunately, we don’t have the means to outfit our skilled athletes and send them to London to represent the IYG at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Thus we decided to host our own IYG Olympics to give our young men the chance to medal in several different challenging games. Using their hands, feet, and mind, in the span of 3 hours, our young men competed to earn a special place in IYG history.

Due to the extreme heat warning issued (well it was 103 degrees outside with minimal shade), we decided to move our IYG Olympics indoor. Within the friendly (air-conditioned) confines of the ISGL, our youth took part in what would end up being a memorable experience for all involved. Who would emerge victorious through the various team and individual competition conducted? Well look below to find out!

Our young competitors line-up for the all-important division into teams.

Our five teams work diligently to create their country names and official flags under the careful supervision of the IYG Olympic Committee. What would our creative youth come up with…

We would like to introduce you to our five teams. Up first…Team Greendale!

Next up, we have Team Arabs!

Welcome Team Palegypt!

Please give a hand for Team Ingyptistan…

And ummm…Team Pretty Pink Pakistan (PPP)? Let’s move on quickly…

Team Greendale competes in the 100 meter dash team trials. Who would represent their team at the IYG Olympics?

The 100 meter dash finals. Interesting we have a pair of brothers competing against one another…

Pretty Pink Pakistan races in the team trials of the 2 x 200 meter relay race.

The 2 x 200 meter relay race finals. On your mark, get set…

Ali flies through the air in the long jump event.

Mujtaba returns back to earth after his unbelievable launch in the long jump.

Next up the 400 meter distance run…

…which was followed by a quick snack break to re-fuel.

The Sponge Bob relay race – teams ready, get set…GO!

Our captains run the first leg of the relay race for their countries. HURRY UP fellas, your teammates are waiting for you!

Team Palegypt attempts the Memory Challenge. How many UNO cards would they recall in 1 minute?

They are followed by Team Ingyptistan – quick Shujath how many cards can you remember?

Our final test…the 60-second Push-Up Challenge!

A few of our youth decided to come up with a new creative game for our IYG Olympics event – 3-person Bob-Slide!

After 3 hours of rigorous competition and 8 events, the following victors emerged (name of team represented in parentheses):

100 meter Dash

Gold medal: Mujtaba (Ingyptistan) in 11.59 seconds

Silver medal: Amr (Greendale)

Bronze medal: Ali K (Palegypt)


2x 200 meter Relay Race

Gold medal: Hazim & Omar A (Greendale) in 24.87 seconds

Silver medal: Danyal & Murtaza (Pretty Pink Pakistan)

Bronze medal: Team DQ’ed


400 meter Distance Run

Gold medal: Mujtaba (Ingyptistan) in 26.18 seconds

Silver medal: Ali K (Palegypt) in 26.21 seconds

Bronze medal: Omar G (Arabs) in 26.66 seconds


Long Jump

Gold medal: Mujtaba (Ingyptistan) at 11 feet, 8 inches

Silver medal: Omar A (Greendale)

Bronze medal: Ali K (Palegypt)


Sponge Bob Relay Race

Gold medal: Omar A, Abdallah, Ahmed, Amr, Hazim,  (Greendale) in 3 minutes, 7 seconds

Silver medal: Mujtaba, Hamza, Mohamed AM, Shujath (Ingyptistan)

Bronze medal: Ali K, Ali A, Bara’aa, Abdelrahman (Palegypt)


Memory Challenge

Gold medal: Ali K (Palegypt) with 11/15  cards

Silver medals (tie): Omar H (Arabs) & Murtaza (Pretty Pink Pakistan) with 9/15 cards


Push-up Challenge

Gold medal: Ali K (Palegypt) with 43 push-ups

Silver medal: Amr (Greendale) with 36 push-ups

Bronze medal: Hamza (Ingyptistan) with 35 push-ups



1.) Palegypt – 2 gold, 1 silver, and 3 bronze medals

2.) Greendale – 2 gold and 3 silver medals

3.) Ingyptistan – 3 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze medal

4.) Pretty Pink Pakistan – 2 silver medals

5.) Arabs – 1 silver and 1 bronze medal

Congratulations to all of our participants on the wonderful effort and sportsmanship put forth during the IYG Olympics!

IYG Debates – Saturday, June 30, 2012

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

Saturday afternoon provided a forum for our young men to learn the skill of debating. Often when we think of the word “debate” we get images in our mind of two parties yelling at the top of their lungs over a contentious issue, insults being cast in the direction of a political candidate, food being thrown across a cafeteria, and audiences jumping up and down in glee as the party/group they are cheering for scores a point with the judges. This was not the purpose of the IYG Debates. Two weeks prior, at our Shakes & Juices Competition, Br. Adil dished out topic assignments our youth would have to prepare for in addition to the rules for the debate. The object of the debates was to provide a forum for our youth to learn how to prepare and communicate information on a topic or issue about their faith which they may face in school, with their friends, or on a sports team/school club/community organization. However it was critical that our young men learned how to convey their message or argument in a polite manner (without yelling or using verbal insults). Topics ranged from shari’ah law being perceived as a threat to the well-being of the U.S. to the lack of dating pre-marriage in Islam leads to failed marriages. Youth were split up into pairs. Two pairs would prepare and debate one issue (one group supporting the argument presented forth and one debating against the topic set forth).

Youth under the age of 10 were given a different assignment altogether. To help them get into the practice of becoming comfortable delivering a presentation to an audience, our 7-10 year-old young men were asked to prepare a top 10 list of what they love about being a Muslim. From PowerPoint presentations to a story book to a top ten list, our youth put forth some impressive presentations ma shaa Allah.

How does a debate at the IYG look like? Well take a look at the pictures below to find out!

Judge Adil getting ready to hear the arguments of our young debaters…

I wonder what criteria our youth will be judged by…

Murtaza kicks-off the debate with his opening remarks on the process of marriage in Islam.

Danyal goes away to his happy place as Amr writes away furiously in preparation for the crossfire round.

Crossfire round…everybody duck!

Br. Ihsan helps our young lads pick-up some refreshing snacks in-between debate numero uno and Dhuhr prayer.

Group 1 gets feedback from Adil on their wonderful effort!

Group 2 debates Shari’ah Law and its impact on the U.S.

Muhammad begins our presentations on 10 things he loves about being a Muslim.

Ahmed breaks out his fabulous presentation…

He’s followed quickly by his younger bro’ Mohamed.

Hazim needs a little bit of help to reach the podium to present his top 10 list.

Mustafa delivers an impressive timed presentation with cool pictures!

Shujath closes the show with STORY TIME!

A drawing in Shujath’s book – very impressive ma shaa Allah!

Congratulations to the following debaters and presenters on winning the first-ever IYG Debates:

– Concept of marriage in Islam and does it lead to happy marriages (Amr and Danyal)

– Shari’ah Law and the U.S. (Hamza and Mujtaba)

– 10 Things I Love About Being a Muslim (Shujath and Mustafa)

Goodwill Shopping Spree – Friday, June 29, 2012

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

Behold the plethora of clothes collected by our young men – oh nooooo the bags are falling!

So you see the title of this blog post and you must be asking yourself – why in the world would the ISGL Youth Group go on a shopping spree to Goodwill? In order to understand this story, we have to take a trip back in time to June 15. On June 15th, our young men launched a clothing drive to collect gently-used/new shirts/blouses and pants/skirts for Muslims in need. They were split-up into teams of four and given a list of specific items to collect. In the past two weeks, our youth posted flyers around their neighborhood, contacted community members to ask for donated items, and cleaned out their own closets in search of items to contribute to the clothing drive. The conclusion of the drive was a trip to Goodwill where each team of youth was given $15 (and a warm smile from one of our mentors) and 45 minutes to search the store high and low for the concluding products to top off their donation boxes.

Our original plan was to distribute the clothing items to local families in need – however as the stacks of donations started rising higher and higher, we had to look at other options. To our rescue came Helping Hands USA from Chicago. With a cargo van ready to pick-up our items, the brothers from Helping Hands USA stopped by to transport our items to a warehouse in Chicago where they will eventually be transported to assist civilians in need in Tunisia.

Behold below, the dash to the finish line by our young men as they searched through Goodwill and sorted through their clothing donations. Though we were specifically looking for clothing items, we received some ummmm interesting donations:

Setting-up car assignments – ho hum, Hamza seems to be lost reading his newspaper.

Loading the vehicles for our trip to Goodwill! “Ummm why are you taking my picture sir?” asks our young lad Mujtaba.

We have arrived safely alhamdulillah! It looks like we brought donations to give to Goodwill.

Murtaza, Ahmed, and Bara’a look for a price tag – how much does this cost?

Ali, Danyal, and Mustafa carefully search the clothing rack for $1 deals.

Yay, shopping for others is fun! I found a three-piece suit.

Grandpa Danyal has some wise words of advice for us, listen closely…

Youth begin sorting through their items to uncover the hidden treasures which lie below…

We found some interesting items donated including this children’s story book…

…this party skirt courtesy of Danyal who appears to be having way too much fun wearing it…

and…A MONKEY!!!


There are too many clothes!!! Ahhhhh!!!

Once everything was sorted and re-packed, it came time for the all-important weigh-in of each box and bag.

Boxes sorted and re-stocked for pick-up.


And the piles upon piles of clothing stored in those cool clear plastic bags!

After two weeks, 8 overflowing cardboard boxes, and an unknown number of plastic bags full of clothing donations, the results are in. Collectively our youth worked together to collect 1,547 items totaling (unofficially according to our bathroom scale) 908 pounds ma shaa Allah! Though we can’t reveal the weight breakdown per team, we are happy to announce how many items each team was able to collect:

Team 1 (Mujtaba, Amr, Raad, Shujath) – 377 items

Team 2 (Ali, Danyal, Mohamed A.M., Mustafa) – 394 items

Team 3 (Amine, Omar, Hazim, Nabeel) – 431 items

Team 4 (Hamza, Murtaza, Ahmed, Muhammad A) – 345 items

Grrrrrrreeeeeaaaaattttt work gentlemen!

Community Picnic – Saturday, June 23, 2012

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

Saturday afternoon in West Lafayette was filled with gorgeous sunshine, a gentle breeze (direction unknown), and…A PICNIC!!! In coordination with the ISGL EC Board, ISGL Weekend Islamic School, and ICAN Youth, the ISGL Youth Group assisted in organizing a summer community picnic for our entire community. From Chicago-style hot dogs to seasoned burger patties to marinated chicken to a variety of salads and desserts, alhamdulillah our guests were well-fed. In addition to the food, our guests took part in a variety of fun activities including a soccer match, tug-of-war game, Sponge Bob relay race, and…a water balloon fight!

Jazakum Allahu Khairan to all of our generous donors and volunteers for the amazing effort put forth to organize the community picnic. We would also like to thank Br. Mustapha and Hungry’s Chicago-Style Restaurant for their unbelievable support with locating and preparing the meat for the picnic. May Allah, azza wa jal, accept from the volunteers their efforts and reward them with the best of success in this life and in the Hereafter. Ameen.

Jazakum Allahu Khairan to the aunties, uncles, moms, dads, students, and our youth who showed up in droves and filled Happy Hollow Park with joy and laughter for 3 hours on Saturday afternoon. We hope you enjoyed the awesome food, fun activities, and companionship of your fellow Muslims!

What does an ISGL community picnic look like? Well see for yourself in the pictures below!

Brother the food is over there, points out Sabir. Quick Sulaiman, hide the burger patties!

“Can I please have some chicken now?” asks one of our hard-working chefs, Sami.

Yuuuuuummmm…hot dogs, burgers, and chicken. Now we’re talking!

How about a little garden salad to balance your plate?

Need a little watermelon to quench your thirst? Go ahead, grab a piece!

Guests making tawaf around the food table.

Bro time with Tassawar and Sheriff.

Members of our youth group voraciously dig into their food. Meanwhile Danyal is so full of food he needs a nap.

The brother’s picnic shelter was overflowing so a makeshift bench was created – ahh the ingenuity! Omar lurks in the background with a giant stick. What crazy idea does he have in mind?

Adil caught in the act of eating something his mother would disapprove of. Tsk tsk Adil!

The brothers migrate to the playing fields – hey where are all the fun games you mentioned earlier?

The *ahem* strong youth take position on one side of the rope for tug-of-war; they thought they would hurt the poor uncles with their brute strength.

“BRING IT ON!” our elders challenge the youth. Who would emerge victorious in this battle?

The UNCLES win! Our youth need to eat more burgers and chicken.

The Sponge Bob relay race course. Transfer water from one bucket to another using only a kitchen sponge and your legs. This should be fun!


Hamza on the run carrying the sponge which would determine the fate of his team.

Mujtaba works to squeeze water from his sponge into the empty bucket – RUN MUJTABA!!!

Fathers get involved to help out their children. It was a family-themed race!

The victorious team emerges!


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