A Chip off the Old Block

chip off the old blockThe best thing a man can teach his children is good manners. However, quite often, while raising kids, parents do not take dining etiquettes into consideration. They assume that children will learn them either naturally or simply through observation. In contrast, we find our beloved Prophet (sa) meticulously coaching and training not only kids but adult Sahabah at the dining mat. Here are the top five things he (sa) taught them:

Begin with the right intention and Allah’s name

Umar bin Abu Salamah (rtam) reported that Muhammad (sa) said: “Mention Allah’s name (i.e. say Bismillah before starting to eat), eat with your right hand, and eat from what is near you.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

It is necessary to pronounce Allah’s name before dining in order to attain Barakah, and be mindful of not transgressing the boundaries of moderation. Overeating is highly distasteful in Islam and a sign of indulgence in Dunya, leading to a weak Iman. We especially forget to utter Bismillah when we are eating out, partying at someone’s house or away from our home or routine.

The Prophet (sa) also instructed to eat with our right hand. It is Satan who eats with his left hand. Fathers of left-handed children need to help their kids learn this from an early age; otherwise, it becomes second nature, which is cumbersome to break.

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Words of the Wise – Luqman’s Advice to His Son

luqman's advice to his sonLuqman, the wise, is known in history for his understanding, knowledge, and eloquence. As the Quran states: “And indeed We bestowed upon Luqman Al-Hikmah (wisdom and religious understanding, etc.)…” (Luqman 31:12) He was a righteous servant of Allah (swt). His full name was Luqman bin Anqa bin Sadun, and he was a dark-skinned slave from Ethiopia. He was a carpenter by profession.

The name of Luqman’s son was Tharan. To Luqman, he was also the closest and most beloved of all people, who deserved to be given the best knowledge. Even today, Luqman’s wise counsel for Tharan is quoted and reflected upon for guidance. What was so dazzling about Luqman’s advice for his son? And how many of us impart the same to our offspring today?

“…Luqman said to his son, when he was advising him: ‘O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah. Verily, joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed.’” (Luqman 31:13)

This wise father attached his son to the mighty source of man’s ultimate success – His Lord. Luqman knew that if Tharan’s relationship with his Creator was firmly positioned, he would have few worries left. He also clearly stated the supreme oppression that man can commit, which is to associate partners with Allah (swt), and grant honour and obedience which is due to Him (swt) to others who are mere creations.

“And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years – give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination.” (Luqman 31:14)

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Who is Truly Strong?

truly strongBy Irada Mirzamagomedova – Writer

Strength. Power. What comes to mind when we hear these words? Someone may imagine a muscular athlete with a stern face, while someone else may think of the power of a thought or a word.

So who, in your opinion, is truly strong? Is it someone who can bend iron rods or pull a truck on his own? Yes, such people are ‘strong’ in the physical sense of this word; we cannot argue over this. However, how can we identify a person with a strong spirit? Here intuition will be of no help as a person with a strong spirit can only be identified through his deeds and his words. Have you ever heard the statement: strong is not the one who beats, but the one who can tolerate the beating? It is a fact that no special talent is needed to hurt someone. However, helping another person or finding enough strength within oneself to refrain from replying to an offender in kind is something that is in decline today.

It is not always true that those who possess willpower – which characterizes them as a strong person – are able to live through the hard times and trials of life without collapsing and falling in the eyes of the society as well as close ones. Often, the reason behind all the troubles of a ‘strong’ person is his inability to accept his own weakness. Unwilling to admit this, such people swing from one extreme to another as they seek a way out of difficulties, making use of means which exceed the limits of morality and conscience. Today, we witness such cases in our society more and more often.

Who is the strong one today, according to the standards of society? Is it someone who has power, money, and beauty?

Translated from Latvian to English by Laila Brence

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