Let’s Enrage Him

Oct 10 - Let's enrage him

There was once a man in Arabia called Muan Ibn Zaida. He was very famous for his generosity as well as his mild temper. It was well-known amongst the Arabs that no one could provoke him.

One day, an Arab man claimed: “I will make Muan lose his temper.”

“Well,” said the people, “if you manage to do that, we will give you a hundred red camels.”

The Arab went to Muan. He walked in very rudely and without saying “Assalamu Alaikum” started to recite a few verses which meant, “Do you remember the time, when a goat’s skin was your dress and your shoes were made of camel skin?”

Muan did not mind the rude behaviour. He replied: “Of course, I have not forgotten that time.”

The Arab said: “Glory be to the One, Who gave you the power to rule and taught you how to sit on a bed.”

Muan said: “All praise is to Allah (swt) for that; not to you, my dear brother.”

The Arab said: “By Allah (swt), if you were supporting me, I could not survive one day. Also, I am not impressed with your rule, so I don’t offer you Salam.”

“My dear brother,” said Muan, “saying Salam is a Sunnah. If you obey it, you will receive blessings from Allah (swt). And if you do not say Salam, then you will be sinning.”

“I will leave the very land in which you are living, even if I have to walk all the way,” the Arab continued.

“If you stay here, you will only receive good treatment from us,” said Muan. “And if you leave, our Duas are with you.”

“Well then,” said the Arab. “I am definitely leaving. Arrange for my travel expenses.”

Muan asked his servant to give the Arab one thousand Dinars.

The Arab said: “This is too little. I expected much more from you.”

Muan asked his servant to give him another thousand Dinars.

Now, the Arab admitted his defeat and said: “May Allah (swt) grant you a long life, as your generosity is equivalent to a sea. You are the epitome of Ihsan. I have never met anyone like you before.”

Muan asked his servant to give him another thousand Dinars.

The Arab now explained: “I had heard you were mild tempered, so I came here just to test your patience. I am convinced that you are extremely generous and mild tempered. If your two qualities were distributed amongst every individual on this Earth, they would be enough for them.”

Muan gave the Arab another three thousand Dinars. The Arab thanked him and turned to leave. He was now crying.

Muan called him back and asked: “Why are you crying?”

“I am crying because even a man like you has to die one day,” he replied. “Losing one’s wealth and animals is not such a big deal. But when a generous man dies, quite a lot perishes with him, too.”

Adapted (with permission) from Sunehray Huroof published by Darussalam. Translated for “Hiba” by Hafsa Ahsan.

Help! My Child Doesn’t Listen!

Oct 10 - Help my child doesn't listen

By Qainaf Najam

“He hit the stone with full might. A few sparks were produced and people backed away, frightened. The jeweller seemed oblivious to his surroundings or to the sparks, for that matter. He kept on hitting the stone with juvenile force. Each impact added an ounce of shine to the stone and with each increase, the force of the jeweller doubled. He hit harder and harder. He was a diamond carver. The more you hit the diamond, the more cuts it has and the more beautiful it is,” grandma ended the story with her ‘wise’ words.

Later, I thought of the story Grandma had shared. My imagination wandered and landed at a spot, where I was the diamond, my mother was the jeweller and the hammer signified the disciplining tool. It all fit. Curiosity welled inside me, and I decided to embark on an arduous journey to discover the ‘hammers’ that mothers use, when the diamond refuses to shine.

Of all the mothers questioned, only one confidently and proudly told me that her kids always obeyed her! For the rest, the level of submission varied from 70 to 80 per cent. Everybody agreed that mothers should try to create a good environment for children, since they are the best imitators – they will do what they see.

Following are some of the tactics that mothers use, when their kids refuse to obey them.

The Understanding Formula

Shaista, a mother of two, said that the basis of any relationship is understanding. To erect a strong building, we must put forth a stable base, and, when it comes to children, that base is understanding. Another experienced mother observed that mothers should try to understand the reasons, for which children disobey or stretch their limits, to be precise. They should act like their friends not their bosses. Mothers should genuinely hear out the kids, placing themselves in their shoes, and not be quick to pass a verdict. Mums should also not interrupt, and let the child do the talking to clearly understand where he/she is coming from. Then, mothers should try to explain to the child, calmly and logically, why he/she should not disobey.

Naseem Dilawar, a mother with an experience of about 33 years, beautifully summed up the formula: “Children are like flowers: if you press a flower, it withers. Similarly, strictness and austerity in the beginning deteriorates a child’s personality and shatters his confidence.”

The Cost-Reward Theory

I jumped in excitement, as my psychology lessons came alive during the survey. We had studied that humans tend to calculate the cost and the reward involved in doing anything. If the cost goes up, we show reluctance towards the act. If the reward goes up, we are more than happy to deliver. Farhat Khan, a mother of two, said that she constantly reminds her children of the odds they’ll have to face if they disobey. This presents them with a clear picture and allows them to calculate their decision.

Another mother observed: “I tell them the consequences of their disobedience. I tell my little girl that she won’t be able to play with her favourite toy. And I declare to my 10-year-old son the computer ‘out of bounds’, till he listens to me. I think this is very effective, because the child realizes the magnitude of his mistake. To reinforce good behaviour, I give them sweets of their choice, when they listen to me against their will.”

A new mother replied that she would show her son the right and wrong in the light of Islamic teachings and then let him choose his way. “I’ll make him pay the cost of disobeying and reward him, when he pleases me,” she added. If we think about it, this is the exact tactic Allah (swt) uses for us: He has told us, which is the right path, but He has also granted us the freedom to choose this right path. Besides, good conduct must spring from within to please Allah (swt) and not out of a parent’s fear. Otherwise, it has short lasting value.

The Loving Way

After an in-depth analysis, I must admit that this approach works mainly for little kids.

According to researches, bedtime stories help the grooming of a small child more than anything else. My friend uses this technique for her two kids. She says that when they disobey, she doesn’t talk to them. She shows them that they’ve done something wrong. Usually, this is enough to trigger their emotions, and they come up to her with somber faces, saying: “Mama, Kya Huwa Hai? (What is wrong?)” Then, at bedtime, she tries to come up with a fictitious story, which they can relate to themselves. This reinforces what she had taught them during the day.

Mother of 3-year-old Aayushie wrote all the way from India that she tries to make her daughter understand that she is doing the wrong thing. “I make her sit on my lap, I kiss her and softly tell her, why she shouldn’t do so and so,” said Roopali. “90 per cent of the times, I get a positive response.”

One mother said that a mother should come down to the level of the child and then tackle the situation. 95 per cent of mothers said that in the first stage, they try to tell the child how much they care for them – children need to know that what their mothers say is for their own good, and that they still love them in spite of their questionable behaviour at times.

Penalties and Punishments

This usually comes as the last stage. Many mothers believe that retributions are crucial to children’s grooming, when they become illogically adamant. When children are bent upon defying, they must be shown their limits.

“The game starts with me ignoring my children. When they keep on refusing, I ground them. They are then forbidden to play computer games, go out in the field or with friends and are made to eat alone in their room. But this is only when they violate against the set limits,” expressed yet another mother.

One mother said that little kids should be made to stand in the ‘naughty corner’, or the mother should twist their ears if needed. But for older kids, corporal punishments do not go well, because they retaliate – they think it’s an insult and fly off the handle. For children above ten, penalties usually included grounding and taking away such facilities as the Internet and the cell phone.

Say No to ‘No’

A mother proposed that children should be provided alternative things to do. For example, if your daughter wants to go out with her friends at night and you know that it’s not suitable for her age, invite her friends to your home or take her out yourself. Don’t say ‘no’ to the child. Let them know that you want them to enjoy life but within limits, that are safe for them.

Trust Allah (swt)

When I asked a mother what she does when her kids refuse, she plainly said: “I pray.” She further explained: “This doesn’t necessarily mean that a mother should just sit on the prayer mat and pray; the fact is that you are not with your child at all times, while Allah (swt) is. So when you’ve done your job, entrust your child to Allah (swt).”

The Incessantly Attractive Wife

Oct 10 - Bold and Beautiful

What is it that truly makes a woman beautiful or attractive to her husband? This is probably the most ancient and oft-asked question that women have sought answers to for centuries in their quest to maintain the bliss of their marital homes. Every year, women spend millions on cosmetics, fashion products and fitness programmes, as they go the extra mile in trying to preserve their youth for as long as they humanly can.

For some married women, this zeal increases with age, with the multitude of single, younger women swarming outside their houses and around their husbands, adding to their worries and insecurities about their looks. True, most women beautify themselves for their own happiness, not for the world; but it would be a lie to say that they do not do it to look good in front of others, too!

Yet, in the middle of this beauty paraphernalia, you will find a simple, practicing Muslim woman, who does not go to the gym or the salon as a routine; does not splurge on clothes at boutiques and does not purchase expensive cosmetics. Yet, from the way her husband pampers her, caters to her whims and steals looks at her in social gatherings, it is obvious that he is still in love with her, even after years of marriage and the arrival of children.

You wonder: “How does she do it?”

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (rta) said: “It was said to the Messenger of Allah (sa): ‘Which of the women is the best?’ He said: ‘The one who makes (her husband) happy when he looks at her, obeys him when he tells her to do something, and does not disobey him with regard to herself or her wealth in a way that he dislikes.'” (An-Nasai)

Many people misunderstand this Hadeeth to imply that a good wife should be physically very beautiful. Nay, “who makes (her husband) happy when he looks at her” means that the wife’s behaviour, character, looks and conduct together please her husband, whenever he looks at her.

Muslim women should realize that the best way to be incessantly attractive to their husbands is to make themselves sincere worshippers and believers of Allah (swt); to love and obey Allah’s (swt) commands and laws and to observe His limits. An indicator of Allah’s (swt) love for a slave is that His creation on the earth also loves that slave. It is a simple solution: love Allah (swt) and others – including your husband – will love you.

Here are some tips for achieving that:

  • Make self-grooming and beautification solely an act of worship intended for Allah (swt) pleasure first, before it being for the world or even yourself. He created the beautiful, unique you, and He deserves gratitude for it.
  • Be grateful to Allah (swt) for what you are, i.e., accept how you look and be comfortable in your own skin. Be happy with your height, natural weight tendency (skinny, chubby or fat), complexion, facial features and quality of hair. If you are short, you can never be tall, so focus on your other positive qualities. Each human being has unique gifts granted to them by their Creator. This acceptance of Allah’s Qadr (decree) will lead to inner confidence.
  • Be self-confident – this happens by gaining knowledge of the Quran and becoming closer to your Creator. Even a plus-sized woman can look attractive to her husband, if she is confident about herself, and a so-called twiggy-skinny woman with a ramp model’s figure can fail to attract her spouse, if Allah (swt) does not will it. Remember, there is no single definition of beauty. What is attractive to one man can turn off another. Nothing makes a person more attractive than self-confidence!
  • An attractive person has no self-esteem issues. Stop pointing out your physical defects to your spouse (“Oh, just look at my big bum!” or “Do I look fat in this?”) and instead, focus on your plus points. Your husband will automatically notice you, when he sees you take care of yourself, without whining to him to say that you look nice.
  • You do not have to go to a beauty parlour and splurge on a makeover worth Rs. 5000 every other month to achieve good looks. An epilator and some good pharmaceutical products (scented bath gels, shower creams, deodorants, conditioners and olive oil) at home can do wonders.
  • Keep yourself clean and fresh-smelling every day, removing unwanted hair from your body every two weeks and maintaining impeccable personal hygiene. This includes fresh breath, a fragrant body, squeaky-clean hair, sparkling teeth and smooth feet, with soles and heels free of unseemly cracks. It does not matter if your nails are short or if you have not applied make-up. Prophet Muhammad (sa) was immaculately clean, so we should focus more on cleaning our bodies and cleansing our hearts from malice than going for hair highlights and a manicure every three months.
  • Stop worrying that your spouse will look at others. Rise above such insecurities. So what if he looks elsewhere? Yes, it is Haram and it hurts, but if you bear it with patience, Allah (swt) will be sufficient for you. A strong, self-sufficient wife is the greatest turn-on for any husband. Self-sufficiency comes from positive thinking and positive actions that benefit others in society.
  • Read up about and keep a keen interest in your husband’s profession. This makes him stay attracted to you. When his wife shows concern about his professional life, he will definitely want to come home to her and discuss career issues.
  • “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Though this does not always apply, there is some truth in it. You do not have to be a gourmet chef a la Naheed Ansari to tantalize his taste buds – just practice making his favourite dishes, until you excel at it. This will nurture his love for you. Just do not try to become his second “mom”!

Your weight, height, BMI (body mass index), age and dress size are nothing but numbers. Either you can let these numbers thwart your optimism and control your self-esteem, or you can lead a balanced life in pursuit of Allah’s (swt) pleasure, according to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa). That will grant you the peace of both mind and soul. Then, even if your husband finds you the most attractive woman on the earth, it will no longer matter because through his pleasure, it is the pleasure of Allah (swt) that you actually seek!