Red Alert

Vol 6 - Issue 1 Red AlertBy Hafsa Ahsan

How many of you, when you were getting married, got endless lectures and advice? And out of all those lectures, how many married people cautioned you not to let Satan come between you and your spouse?

Interestingly, this piece of advice is hardly ever given to the brides or grooms, as they embark on their journey through marital life. Most of the lectures they get centre on how to keep house, balance budgets and, of course, deal with in-law politics (on both sides).

However, it is equally important to remember that it is Satan’s most cherished job to create rifts between married couples at all times. It is then up to the couple to watch out for his evil whispers and safeguard themselves.

So what is it that Satan does? How does he operate to create these rifts between two people who are, after all, soul-mates in the truest sense? Here are a few examples.

“You aren’t good enough”

Any time you start feeling that something is inadequate in your spouse, immediately realize that it’s Satan egging you on. He might urge you that your spouse isn’t handsome enough or rich enough, or classy enough. So the next time you want to buy something, which is out of the household budget, you pick a fight.

For husbands the feelings of inadequacy arise, when their wives either cannot match the models they see on television or an impossible ideal they believe they deserve. Once this idealism translates into feelings of inadequacy, every petty issue seems enormous.

What to do: Any time you start feeling that your spouse isn’t good enough for you, or something he/she does doesn’t match up to your ideal, try to remember all the positive points of your spouse. It is characteristic of Satan that any time you feel a grain of resentment at your spouse, he ensures that you forget each and every good thing your spouse has ever done for you. And then your superlatives begin thus: “You never dress up for me,” “You never take me out,” “You never pay attention to me.”

The key is to remember that ‘never’ is an exaggeration. Focus on the positive – try to remember the good parts, and the negative ones will eventually fade.

“I’m the boss”

The ‘why should I do that’ factor often features in a marriage and sometimes becomes a big bone of contention. Consider all the times you have said the following to yourself or to your spouse:

“But why should I have to leave the PC, just because you want to play a game?”

“Why should we watch the sports channel when I want to watch a soap opera?”

“Why should I give up a visit to my friends to attend your cousin’s wedding?”
“Why do I have to be the one who always gives in?”

Such questions, and many other similar ones, creep into a marriage when there is a conflict of interests. Satan, of course, thrives on such conflicts, if they aren’t immediately resolved. He urges both spouses to remain firm on their stance and not budge an inch. Hence, each spouse feels injured and taken for granted.

What to do: Any time you start getting this ‘why do I have to be the one to give in’ feeling, remind yourself that it’s Satan who’s urging you to be rigid on your stance. Assure yourself that being flexible and giving in isn’t a sign of weakness – it is a sign of love for your spouse. So what if you cannot watch a soap opera because your husband’s friends turned up unexpectedly and you had to serve them? So what if you had planned to eat out, and your wife had to make an emergency trip to her mother’s home? Issues like these are never worth sulking over, and doing so only serves Satan’s ultimate purpose.

“She told me that you said this”

It is important to remember that Satan doesn’t always fuel marital conflicts through spouses themselves. He does that through third parties, too. Well-meaning friends and relatives can sometimes tell you very interesting things your spouse has said or done which may or may not be related to you directly. And this fuels your temper faster than anything else. Now you cannot wait to see your spouse and confront him/her about it.

What to do: Any time anyone tells you that your spouse has said so-and-so about you, take a deep breath and tell yourself that you trust your spouse above anyone else. If he/she has indeed done or said something, there must be a very good reason for it. Benefit of the doubt is the key phrase here. It is extremely important to ignore Satan’s urges to have a confrontation with your spouse, before you have clarified the matter in a more composed tone.

“It’s either me or your mom – take your pick”

Another very potent weapon of Satan is that he pitches the spouse against the in-laws. Stereotyping of in-law relations in the mainstream media hasn’t really helped to settle the matters. It’s true that there are households where it is very difficult to make one’s space amidst in-law politics. However, the worse thing a wife can do is to involve her husband in the petty disputes she has with his family. Sandwiched husbands, who find no peace at home and are forced to play referee, soon discover that their homes are no longer the haven they want to return to after a long day at work. Similarly, even a husband can put his wife in a difficult situation by preventing her from meeting those relatives of hers, with whom he has a dispute.

What to do: Never involve your spouse in the petty matters involving you and your in-laws. Handle these matters yourself. And in cases where you have to appeal to your spouse, do it in a non-accusing manner. Never try to prevent your spouse from meeting those relatives, with whom you have a problem. Wife versus mother is a man’s worse nightmare – you wouldn’t wish it for your own husband, would you?

“It’s MY child”

Once children come into the picture, Satan gets another weapon to strike with. The feeling of possessiveness, which every parent naturally feels for his/her children, takes new meaning if brought into marital conflicts. Children, of course, are highly affected whenever faced with this mom-versus-dad situation.

What to do: Just as you pledged to keep your spouses away from your disputes with your in-laws, this time tell yourself that you will keep your children away from your conflicts with your spouse. Never fight in front of children and certainly don’t involve them at any step.


At the end of the day, it is all about being aware – and going on a very high alert, whenever you feel even a slight resentment or irritation at your spouse, because that is when you are very vulnerable to Satan’s urges. Disputes are natural when two people are living together. However, it is all about how you resolve those issues that will ultimately determine whether or not Satan was successful in his aim.

M for Mature

By Abeer Ullah Nadeem

Ever wonder what is in the videogames that your children play most of the time? Well, if you’re like most parents, you probably haven’t paid enough attention to what is happening on the screen.

Many parents may ask: “Why? They are just games, not reality. What harm can they cause?” Now, I would like to point out that with the advent of such consoles as the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, games look almost like real life. What does that mean? It means that in games, which involve killing of people – it really does look like you’re killing real people!

I am not saying that all games are bad. No, all I am saying is that certain games are definitely inappropriate for people under the age of eighteen, as they are rated 18+ or M (mature) or AO (adults only). It’s up to the parents to see the ratings of the games they buy for their children.

Ever heard of a game called “Grand Theft Auto”? You play as a criminal, who rises up the ranks of organized crime through committing various types of crimes. What happens when the police come after you? Well, you can always kill them and run away or steal their car, drive away and hide till they stop looking for you. The fourth game in the series is on the PS3 and Xbox360 and was released on April 29, 2008. The PS2 GTA games are also available in the market.

This isn’t the only game to watch out for, as the majority of good games being released today have a rating of T (teen) or M (mature). Videogames are not for kids anymore. Instead, a lot of games are being made especially for an elder audience, and unaware parents don’t have any idea what they are buying for their kids. What to do?

Most parents aren’t aware that videogames today have ratings, too. The Electronic Software Rating Board or ESRB (or local rating bodies in many countries) rate games according to their content. The games can be rated from EC (early childhood) to AO (adult only) and it’s up to the parents to ensure that young gamers play the games appropriate for their age.

In Pakistan, the problem is that the pirated copies of games don’t have the proper ratings on the covers. In such cases, one solution is to search for the game’s information at or , or simply buy original games.

Here are some of the tragedies that have occurred due to improper videogame use:

1. On June 25, 2003, two American step brothers, Joshua and William Buckner, aged 14 and 16 respectively, used a rifle to fire at vehicles on Interstate 40 in Tennessee, killing a 45-year-old man and wounding a 19-year-old woman. The two shooters claimed to have been inspired by “Grand Theft Auto III.” (

2. On June 7, 2003, 18-year-old American Devin Moore shot and killed three police officers after grabbing one of the officer’s weapons, following an arrest for the possession of a stolen vehicle. At trial, the defense claimed that Moore had been inspired by the video game “Grand Theft Auto III.” (

Please, do note that these teenagers were playing a game not meant for their age. The game was rated M for ‘Mature.’ Studies have been conducted and are still being conducted to find conclusive evidence linking violence in video games to violent children. NOT everyone is affected the way these teenagers were, but do you want to take the risk with your children?

Some extremely violent games worth mentioning are “Manhunt” and “Condemned 2” on the Playstation 2 and Playstation 3/Xbox 360. Violence should not be the only hing on your ‘radar’ when buying games. As an addition to violence, some games also have nudity and sexual themes. For example, in the latest GTA game you can now visit strip clubs, and it’s not the only game to have that function. The ESRB is there for a reason, and as parents you need to start paying attention to what games your child plays and buys.

Here are the official statistics of the percentage of games that were rated E, E10+, T and M by the ESRB in 2007. Games for everyone vastly outnumber mature and teen titles, so rest assured that there are plenty of games your child can play.

I would highly recommend the “Nintendo Wii” console for those parents, who want an alternative to the PS3 and Xbox360. A lot of the games developed for the Wii are family friendly. However, not all are, so be sure to check the ratings. I urge you to try this website, which is a videogame guide for parents, who want to know more about the content of the games their children want to play.

Remember, blaming videogames and TV is no excuse for bad parenting.

(The writer is a 22-year-old avid gamer, who is studying towards the ACCA).


Apart from Video Games…

It is always a good idea for parents to divert the attention of kids from videogames to some other activities altogether – physical activities, spending time with friends, working on arts projects, doing community service, etc. Even such alternatives as educational CDs, National Geographic videos, CD ROM encyclopedias or virtual museum tours offered nowadays by a number of well-established museums might satisfy the craving for on-screen activities. If gaming has become a must for a child, then at least the daily dose of it should be timed and monitored. With younger children – the longer they remain ‘ignorant’ about the gaming world, the better it is for them. Parents should remember that gaming tends to get addictive – therefore, thinking of creative ways to indulge kids in various other activities is definitely constructive in the long-run. (By Laila Brence)

Key to Happiness: Contentment

Vol 6 - Issue 1 Key to happinessIf there is one value we should all strive for, it is contentment. Once you are satisfied with what you have in this world, life will automatically become simpler.

“…that they may be comforted and not grieved, and may all be pleased with what you give them. Allah knows what is in your hearts. And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, Most Forbearing.” (Al-Ahzab 33:51)

Here are a few suggestions for becoming more content with what we have in this world:

Write it down

Jot down in a journal, how many hours of the day you spend striving for this world and how many hours working for the next world. If we pride ourselves in being ‘moderate’ Muslims and following a balanced approach, do we really strike a balance in all our activities? We are so content with our Ibadah but we are not content with the size of our house, car or diamond ring. Our journal can surprise us, as to how balanced we really are.

Choose Good Company

A great way to increase contentment is to move around with people that are content with what they have in this world. Is your social circle making you more discontent? Are you throwing lavish parties and racking up credit card bills only to compete with others? If yes, it might be the time for migrating to friends that are content with what they have.

“Would that they were contented with what Allah and His Messenger (sa) gave them and had said: ‘Allah is Sufficient for us. Allah will give us of His Bounty, and so will His Messenger (from alms). We implore Allah (to enrich us).’” (At-Taubah 9:59)

Don’t get into the Rat Race

If you join the rat race of designer bags, shoes and other luxuries, it will never end. You may feel that you will buy just one expensive outfit and leave it at that. However, once your appetite has been whetted with the look and feel of luxurious items – plus the oohs and ahs that accompany it – you could be drugged for life. Try to stay away from this slippery slope of brand names. It is like quick sand that can suck you into unending depths of discontentment.

Teaching Contentment to Kids

Every time you think of buying your child a new toy, ask yourself, if you could rather snuggle in bed with her and have a reading marathon? Instead of a trip to a fancy restaurant, how about baking their favorite pizza at home from scratch? Don’t be ashamed to say we cannot buy this toy now, because it’s too expensive. Children should know they cannot have everything they see. If they like a particular toy, ask them to add it to their Eid wish list. Then, on Eid or when they get good grades, give them a monetary budget or toy item limit and let them splurge.

Contentment is our Tradition

As sister Huma Najmul Hassan explained in one of her Bayan ul Quran CDs, many of us follow the customs and traditions of our forefathers on weddings, deaths and other occasions as a means of respecting them. Now, even if our forefathers may have unknowingly been making mistakes in some traditions, they lived very simple and content lives. Just two generations ago, one dish was enough for dinner, cold drinks were a rare treat and new clothes were worn only on Eid. How convenient it is that we follow our ancestors in some aspects but not in others!