The Five ‘Don’ts’ of Tarbiyah

Tarbiyah

First and foremost, we need to understand the perceptions of parents regarding Tarbiyah. Tarbiyah is a natural part of life in the safety of a family home. It’s not a rehabilitation centre procedure, where people go for treatment. Tarbiyah is about nurturing the best aspects of human nature and not about fixing a problem. Thus, Tarbiyah of children becomes a sacred and challenging yet enjoyable task. It does not become a ‘yelling issue’ or ‘I told you so about 1000 times’, or ‘stop doing that or else…’ sort of scenario.

We must remember that we live in an economic world. Major problems with teenagers arise because of freedom of choices, mass media and peer pressures. Lack of direction and guidance from parents and school add fuel to fire.

When we think of Tarbiyah, some of the ‘don’ts’ are as follows:

  1. Don’t lose communication with them! Don’t disconnect with your children in anger or frustration. Very often, parents lose communication with their children, whereas the children have hundreds of ways to communicate. Talk face to face in all cases. Keep in touch through SMS, emails or Facebook, if you have given them these facilities. This will help you to know their friends as well; however, avoid giving the impression that you are spying on them. Kids, especially teenagers, tend to resort to emotional blackmail by saying: “You don’t understand.”
  2. Don’t teach Islam in isolation. Children need solutions for their problems. Relate day to day events to Aqeedah and practical solutions. When your children claim that you don’t understand them, don’t argue over this statement; rather, take it as an opening statement for further dialogues. Don’t disassociate yourself from their lives. Take an interest in their activities, friends, likes and dislikes. Don’t disrespect their ideas, feelings and suggestions.
  3. Don’t despair when they have done something wrong. Even if your efforts seem to fail, don’t become unmotivated. Don’t condemn them. Disappointments are a part of parenting, and mistakes are a part of growing up. Don’t use excessive words in anger. Don’t use threats or physical force to get what you want or to express anger. Make Dua. It’s the greatest healer. Clarify what you don’t want them to do from a very early stage. For instance, when your child yells, demonstrate the desired tone.
  4. Don’t expect immediate compliance all the time. Give a time frame and stick to it, instead of nagging. Don’t compare your child with another sibling or other children. It is most humiliating for them. Don’t discuss your child’s behaviour with others, especially in front of them. Don’t forget to kiss your teenaged kids. They still want physical contact with you.
  5. Don’t say yes to such social evils as smoking, drugs, dating and outings in late nights. Teenagehood is an experimenting and experiencing age. Don’t fall into the trap of ‘let me do it only once’. Most parents believe their child is drug and dating proof. Sadly, it is a fact that a majority of our youth is involved in one thing or the other. This includes teenagers belonging to religious families as well.

We need to connect our children to the worldview, where all our actions emerge from our religion, with the sources being the Quran, the Sunnah and traditions of the Prophet’s (sa) companions. Our extremely rich Islamic culture and heritage should be practiced to gain success in all fields of life and then in the hereafter. Excellence, or Ihsan, in all aspects is so desirable that Allah (swt) Himself taught us the Dua: “O our Lord, give us the best in this world and the best in the Hereafter and protect us from Hellfire.”

Preserving the Lustre

Preserving the Lustre

What I have noticed about young, mostly practicing married girls is that they are usually more concerned about pleasing the in-laws and keeping the home perfect, rather than preserving their lustre and focusing on their sensual side. Why does it happen? Is it culture? Or have we misunderstood the importance of Halal intimacy in Islam?

Jabir bin Abdullah (rtam) has narrated: While we were returning with the Prophet (sa) from a Ghazwah (Holy Battle), I started driving my camel fast, as it was a lazy camel. A rider came behind me and pricked my camel with a spear he had with him, and then my camel started running as fast as the best camel you may see. Behold! The rider was the Prophet (sa) himself. He asked: “What makes you in such a hurry?” I replied: “I am newly-married.” He said: “Did you marry a virgin or a matron?” I replied: “A matron.” He said: “Why didn’t you marry a young girl, so that you may play with her and she with you?” When we were about to enter (Madinah), the Prophet (sa) said: “Wait so that you may enter (Madinah) at night, so that the lady of unkempt hair may comb her hair, and the one, whose husband has been absent, may shave her pubic region.” (Bukhari)

It is obvious from this Hadeeth that enjoying a healthy relationship with one’s spouse and grooming oneself is part of Sunnah. Instead, married women today may have homes that run like perfectly oiled machines, but when it comes to intimacy, they don’t know where to begin.

As Muslims, it is our duty to support each other in all walks of life and for a marriage to run smoothly, moms and moms-in-law play a bigger role than they realize.

How can moms and moms-in-law help young married girls, overwhelmed with their roles and responsibilities, preserve their lustre? Naturally, elderly people do have more time on hand and they all want to see their kids settled happily in life. If their daughters or daughters-in-law are dishevelled, it will affect their marriage. Maybe they can give some of their time (depending on their own health, resources, stamina and patience) to offer relief to these girls. The sensual side is the first to go, when women are overworked, mismanaged or, at times, lazy and don’t want to make an additional effort to groom themselves, when they have house chores to manage, kids to raise and social commitments to fulfill.

They start lying: “My husband doesn’t mind that I look ten years older than him. Even if he does, too bad, I can’t do anything about it.” Or they complain that their spouse neglects them, talks about other women and even dreams about them. Who would want to live with a wrecked mess and for how long?

Here is a list of suggestions that moms and moms-in-law can begin with:

  1. Encourage grandchildren to sleep with their grandparents sometimes, especially in a joint family setup.
  2. Offer to keep an eye on the maids, so the girl can spend some time grooming herself.
  3. Offer to entertain the children once in a while, when the husband returns home.
  4. Babysit the children at times, so that the mother can get a few hours of undisturbed sleep or visit a spa for relaxation and makeover.
  5. Take care of children during the weekend, giving the couple a two hours’ time. They may take the grandchildren to a place of their choice, or just spend time at home watching an interesting animal documentary or cricket match, playing board games, reading books or teaching a skill.
  6. The responsibilities assigned to the daughter-in-law in a joint family setup can be limited to those, which can be accomplished during daytime, while the spouse is away. Anything that holds her back at night in the kitchen or requires her to be there early in the morning could be considered with sympathy.

The point is not to spend money, ending in skyrocketing expenses. It is simply to keep the magnetism alive between the spouses, which will make them happier and better care-givers and providers for the family. It will also keep petty disputes at bay and nourish the communication. Physical appeal is essential for every marriage. Nanis and Dadis should prepare unmarried girls for it and help the married ones carry on with it.

The son should also be more available for his parents during daytime hours. (Wives should not complain about that, too). This will strike a balance. He can hire some help (part-time driver or maid) to enable his parents to stay more independent, without relying upon him and his wife in all daily matters. Adl (justice) has to be done with everyone.

A husband has to honour his parents, and the wife should help him in that. The wife should not be the cause of discord between him and them. When the parents will be taken care of and cherished, they will not mind the couple spending more quality time together.

Since a large number of family setups are joint family based, grandmothers also need to step up – their cooperation is a great help. Likewise, the girls need to be trained for becoming independent – they have to learn to prioritize work, manage time and work wisely for everyone’s benefit.

Training to be a Mother

Training to be a Mother

Every professional needs to be trained, be it a teacher, doctor, pilot or an engineer. There’s no job difficult or easy that does not require some basic training. Centres are built and workshops are conducted. However, the personnel with the most important job, the bearers of the ‘next generation’, are often left without adequate guidance and preparation.

Motherhood – The Best Career!

The problem in our society is that being a mother holds little to no significance! Some women prefer careers over children. Most well-off mothers hire maids for every kid they have. Today, the Ummah is in dire need of true leadership; yet, the hands that are to mould the leaders are too busy.

The first step in training ourselves as mothers is to learn the significance of our job. Most women look down upon motherhood, thinking it’s all about changing smelly diapers. In fact, it’s about shaping the minds of our future generations. Any mother would tell you that no matter what she goes through, it’s all worth it, when she sees her child laugh, play and grow up. Allah (swt) has elevated our status by the responsibility of motherhood; therefore, this should be our first and foremost priority.

Yes, motherhood needs life-long training, which includes the following:

  1. Rearing Iman (Faith)

The most important aspect of our training should be in the field of faith. Mothers must equip themselves with strong Iman. Every vessel will spill what it contains. Thus, to empower our children with Iman, we ourselves need some nourishment of faith. We must connect ourselves and our children with the tenets of faith and the true sources of knowledge and guidance: the Quran and Sunnah.

Start building a powerful connection with Allah (swt) by pondering over His names and attributes. You’ll then be able to connect your child to Allah (swt), telling him how Al-Wadood loves him, how Ar-Razzaq provides for him and how Al-Bari has fashioned him in such a beautiful manner. These small instances will create deep love for Allah (swt). Ponder over the Quranic verses that mention Allah’s (swt) attributes and relate them to your children according to their level.

Mothers should have a constant relationship with the Quran, memorizing and reflecting upon it as much as they can, as this is the foundation of guidance. It is the book that transformed the simple nomads of the desert into the leaders of this Ummah. You may then recite to them while you nurse and play, explaining short verses. When they are older, study alongside them, so that you grow together; this shall be the strongest source of bonding between your children and yourself as well as your children and their Rabb (swt).

Additionally, no matter how busy they are, mothers must take out some time to acquire knowledge about their Deen. Whether it is by means of reading books or listening to beneficial lectures, gaining time-to-time doses of Islamic knowledge ensures that we are constantly reminded of our purpose and position in this world. Familiarize yourself with the Islamic history and culture to withstand the rising tide of western civilization.

Mothers and expectant mothers should also make a habit of reciting daily Duas aloud for their children. A recommended read on this Iman-rearing aspect is “Nurturing Eeman in Children” by Dr. Aisha Hamdan.

  1. Patience

A very important quality of a good mother is patience. Lack of sleep, busy days, tension and fatigue may make you irritable and vexed. Once you sign on to be a mother, 24/7 is the only shift they offer. However, you don’t need to boil out your anger on your children; they’re not your waste bin! If you do feel like venting out, reach out to your Lord (swt); furthermore, writing a daily diary may extinguish your flame.

Another way of developing Sabr is long Qiyam. Mothers should have a habit of praying Tahajjud at least before their child is born. Staying up for your child comes automatically – why not do it for Allah (swt)?

  1. Learn to Manage Time

With kids at hand, time just melts away like ice. To keep up with the clock, mothers must learn time management skills. Firstly, learn to organize your household and teach the same to your children; this will save you a lot of ‘where is my shoe?’ and ‘where are my socks?’ moments of the day. Secondly, learn to delegate tasks. Bigger children can look after a few of their chores themselves and also help their younger siblings. Thirdly, prioritize; know what should be done right away and what can wait for later.

  1. Active Lifestyle

Coddled and cosseted young girls, who usually have faced nothing but books, freak out when they enter the real world of housekeeping and motherhood. The days of sleeping and lazing off to your heart’s desire are over now! Young girls must habituate themselves to a physically active and healthy lifestyle; learn to live without your mobile and the internet. Otherwise, when responsibilities start piling up, there’s a strong chance you end up being a short-tempered mother, which may leave negative effects on the personality of your child.

  1. Gaining Guidance about Parenting

Parenting entails responsibility and accountability. For learning about effective parenting, you may listen to Duroos, attend lectures and read books on the subject. Alhumdulillah, such materials are readily available and they’ll aid you in your journey. Nonetheless, take advice from your elders, your mothers and your grandmothers; it’ll be the essence of their experiences. If you are expecting your first child, start seeking knowledge now and if you already have children, it’s never too late.

  1. Removing the Negatives

Try to eliminate all the negative influences inside your home and your undesirable habits that you don’t wish to transfer to your child. For example, if you think television is having a bad influence on your children, refrain from sitting in front of the TV. If you don’t want your kids to adopt the practice of backbiting, don’t backbite. Refrain from using the words you don’t want them to utter. Children are sponges that will pick up whatever they catch from their environment – be careful! If you want kids like Hassan (rtam) and Hussain (rtam), get ready to follow the characters of Fatimah (rtaf) and Ali (rtam).

To put it succinctly, motherhood is not a walk in the park. It demands time, energy and efforts. Yet it is the instinct of every woman, the most adorable duty there is! Fathers shouldn’t assume they are exempted; they are equally responsible and must actively participate in their children’s upbringing. With the dew drops of Duas and hard work of parents, Insha’Allah, we will succeed in presenting this Ummah with productive Muslims.