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!

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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.

Dodgeball & Moonsighting – Friday, June 27, 2014

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

You may be thinking to yourself, what in the world do dodgeball and moonsighting have in common? Well nothing really (unless you consider a dodgeball looks like a full moon!). However, these two activities partnered together Friday evening to form our much-anticipated (but never duplicated) kick-off event for our IYG Summer Ramadan 2014 Program. Over the next five weeks, our youngsters will take part in a series of activities that will in shaa Allah (God-willing) give them a greater appreciation for the blessed month of Ramadan. Through fun/challenging activities that will foster stronger ties of brotherhood amongst our youth, with short talks that will help us take full advantage of Ramadan, and spiritual programs that will in shaa Allah nurture a stronger love for Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, we hope this program will help make this Ramadan the best Ramadan experience ever for our youth!

Tonight we began our journey into this blessed month with a pre-Ramadan fun activity known as DODGEBALL! Over 60 minutes our youth gleefully expended their energy tossing dodgeballs while trying to survive being tagged out of the game. Afterward, we sat down to watch a video online posted by Br. Nouman Ali Khan entitled “Do You Worship Allah or Ramadan?” which provided a short analysis of Verse 185 from Surah al-Baqarah (2). Our mentors built upon the content in the video by reminding our youth that if, in Ramadan, we can deny ourselves items which are normally halal (permissible) such as eating food and drinking water, then we absolutely have the ability to tackle and eliminate from our lives items which are bad for us (such as wasting time, using bad language, etc.).

After so many months away from the IYG, our youth take a moment to re-introduce themselves to one another...

After so many months away from the IYG, our youth take a moment to re-introduce themselves to one another…

Tension builds as teams get selected for dodgeball...Muhammad advises Aladdin on his next pick.

Tension builds as teams get selected for dodgeball…Muhammad advises Aladdin on his next pick.

Game ON! These guys look quite excited...Abdelrahman protects his eyes from flying balls using cool sunglasses!

Game ON! These guys look quite excited…Abdelrahman protects his eyes from flying balls using cool sunglasses! Karim, meanwhile, tries to catch a ball to get himself back into the game.

Baha and Mohammed take aim at Abdelrahman...Muhammad (yes there are more than one of them)  tries to warn his teammate to take cover!!

Baha and Mohammed take aim at Abdelrahman…Muhammad (yes there are more than one of them) tries to warn his teammate to take cover!!

 

Ahmed, Nurideen, and Aladdin look for a medic to rescue them...medic, help us!

Ahmed, Nurideen, and Aladdin look for a medic to rescue them…medic, help us!

Water break!

Water break!

Our youth gather around the laptop to listen to Br. Nouman provide several words of wisdom about Ramadan.

Our youth gather around the laptop to listen to Br. Nouman provide several words of wisdom about Ramadan.

 

Tonight’s activity concluded with a short trip west of the masjid to search for the moon! To help our youth get in the mood for Ramadan and to practice the sunnah of looking for the moon to identify the start of the month of Ramadan, our youth searched the evening sky just before sunset for a tiny white crescent to appear. Sadly we didn’t see the moon 😦 However all was not lost as our youth found several fireflies to chase which became a fitting conclusion for our first activity to this summer’s youth program.