Being Sisterly

sisterly

By Umm Ibrahim – Freelance writer

It is sad but true that most of the times, sisters with young children, who do not have the advantage of a large, supportive, extended family or who are not social enough to have a huge network of friends, end up facing their toughest times alone or with the bare minimum support of their parents. These tough times include post-marriage troubles, pregnancy, child-birth, illness, conflicts with husbands, or death of a close family member and the like.

Do YOU want to be among those who offer selfless support to the sisters in the family/ neighbourhood / community? Here are the top five tips which should help you embark upon this journey:

  • Take the initiative

Don’t wait to be asked. In this day and age, because almost everyone in the city has a self-centred lifestyle, people usually do not ask others for any help. If you are sincere, just think proactively and do what you think is most needed at the moment.

“My cousin passed away suddenly in Ramadan, and the news came in the afternoon,” details Lubna, a graphics’ designer. “We reached there and as Iftar time approached, we saw a couple of neighbours coming in with Iftar boxes for all the people who had gathered. We were very touched by this thoughtful gesture!”

  • Send over meals

While preparing meals, increase the portion size and send some over to the sisters in your neighbourhood, especially those who have small children, who are facing financial difficulty, or who work long hours. You cannot imagine the amount of Sadaqah you will gain for this seemingly small and insignificant gesture.

  • Grocery time

When setting out for the weekly or monthly grocery, make sure to ask your neighbourhood sisters, if they need anything. Keep asking, even if the say ‘no’ (out of courtesy) week after week.

“It took me four years of asking before my own mother began to ask me to bring over certain grocery items,” confesses Sarah, a home-maker. “I expect it would take others longer.”

  • Lend an ear or offer positive counsel

Sometimes, sisters just need an attentive ear to pour out their woes. Take some time out during the day to make courtesy phone calls. You can also go over for a few minutes, if the sisters are in the same neighbourhood. Helping a distressed sister seek out solutions or count her blessings can change her negative perceptions about her own life. Word of caution: This should not be done with the aim to gain material for gossip, and ultimately, resolve nothing.

  • Offer to babysit

This is easier said than done, especially if toddlers are concerned. However, if you do have children in the same age group, do offer to babysit. If the neighbourhood children feel comfortable in your house, it will be easier for their mother to drop them while going for a quick shopping trip, visiting the doctor or for other urgent errands. You may even take yours as well as others’ kids to the park to keep them from messing up the home.

Confident Mother Syndrome

confident mother

By Maria Elahi – Freelance writer

Confident Mother Syndrome is a rapidly spreading behavioural problem in today’s mothers, especially in our society. This phenomenon is repressing the morals of our children and youth; it is also making today’s kids unruly, uncouth and generally disrespectful towards their elders. Not only that, it is also one of the chief causes of destroying harmonious relationships amongst neighbours and relatives.

What is Confident Mother Syndrome (CMS)? 

CMS is the perception of mother(s) that their child or children can do no wrong: “My son? No, my son cannot do this… I know him.” Mothers are confident that their children cannot possibly cause the kind of mayhem of which they are accused.

As a result of this perception, a mother develops a mental block that prevents her from accepting any negative behaviour reported about her child. She defends her child ardently no matter what trouble he has caused. She even invents excuses for his negative behaviour.

It has also been observed that this problem seems to intensify in mothers as and when they have more and more children. The chief cause of this phenomenon is that a mother generally becomes more inattentive and neglectful of her younger offspring, once she finds out that her older kids have turned out to be just fine (well-mannered and responsible human beings). In other words, she becomes overconfident in the Tarbiyah (upbringing) that she has provided and loses focus towards the younger ones.

Causes

  • Love – the possessive sort that makes a mother biased.
  • Overconfidence as far as Tarbiyah (upbringing) is concerned.
  • Self-perception: “Since I am good, my blood cannot be bad.”
  • Reactive attitude and a tendency to blame others, if things go wrong, instead of taking responsibility for it.
  • Criticism against her child or children is viewed as a personal attack.
  • A combination of all of the above.

Consequences

  • Blind trust can turn your child into a perpetual liar. He will know that his mother is going to defend him or her no matter what. This would give him a false sense of security.
  • Would encourage him instead of preventing him from making trouble.
  • May develop attitude problems: cultivate arrogance, impudence and macho behaviour, which may turn him into a bully.
  • May corrupt his morals: make him rude, outspoken and disrespectful towards elders.
  • A children’s tussle has the potential to turn into a full-fledged adult brawl.

Solutions

  • Be fair: investigate the issue before taking sides. The Quran says: “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you).” (An-Nisa 4:135)
  • The real trouble-maker must be reprimanded and admonished to prevent him from making more trouble in the future. Use scolding, punishment, positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement (whatever seems appropriate under the circumstances).
  • Keep monitoring and counselling your child. Remember – the morals taught by mother remain with the child till his death. Motherhood is the first institution; make your institution the best.
  • Allow others (elders) to gently counsel him, if they see him doing something wrong – a stitch in time saves nine.
  • Be open to advice, criticism and opinions regarding your child – after all, who is going to benefit in the end?
  • Teach and encourage your child to apologize when he is wrong – it wins heart, heals emotional wounds and earns respect.
  • Make yourself his best friend – let him communicate to you all he went through. This way you can tell him where he was right, where he was wrong and what he should have done under the circumstances.

Disclaimer: CMS is not a psychological term; it is the writer’s observation, which has been confirmed and reinforced by an informal survey.

Talaq by the Qawwam

talaq

By Dr. Israr Ahmed

Scholar, teacher and founder of ‘Tanzeem-e-Islami’ 

Marital relationship is a sacred bond that should be respected and upheld during the highs and the lows of life. However, divorce is a glaring reality as well. In the wake of the rising instances of divorce, it is imperative to be aware of the conditions that govern this important issue.

It is ironic that in the present era, when vast communication channels facilitate discussion of every topic under the sun and encourage people to resolve issues through dialogue, a candid discourse on divorce is still considered to be a taboo.

There are plenty of reasons for not discussing this issue. The main reason, however, why people prefer to keep mum about divorce is because they fail to understand the Quran, despite reciting it often. Hence, they are not clear about the terms and the conditions that surround this important issue.

The subject of divorce, along with its method and its principles, has been discussed in detail in Surah Al-Baqarah of the Noble Quran. Divorce, if given in a proper manner as prescribed by Islam, does not sever all ties with the spouse in one go. It is mentioned in verse 229 of Surah Al-Baqarah that a window of reconciliation remains open even if divorce is given twice. This is known as Talaq-e-Rajaee. For Talaq-e-Rajaee to be enforced, it is imperative that divorce is given once during the woman’s condition of purity. In such a scenario, the period of Iddat is three Quroo (that is, the beginning or the end of the 3rd menstrual cycle).

Divorce given once

If divorce is given once, the marriage does not break. During her Iddat, a woman can live in her husband’s house with respect, so that physical relationship can be re-established between them, if they desire it and thus, they can reconcile. If the husband does so during Iddat, the wife cannot refuse and there is no need to renew the Nikah.

In verse 229 of Surah Al-Baqarah, it is also mentioned that a man can either retain his wife on reasonable terms or release her with kindness. During Talaq-e-Rajaee, if the husband does not reconcile during the period of Iddat, it becomes Talaq-e-Baenaa. This marks the separation of the husband and wife, and the Nikah breaks. Now, the husband’s right to reconcile ends, and if he wants to stay with his wife, he will have to remarry her with another Nikah. If after giving divorce once, the husband reconciles or remarries the wife and then at some other instance, he divorces her the second time, the entire process of divorce mentioned above is repeated. In a nutshell, the husband can reconcile during the period of Iddat and if he does not do so but decides only after Iddat that he wants to stay with his wife, he will have to renew his Nikah with her.

Divorce given thrice

If the husband divorces his wife the third time, after reconciliation or renewing the Nikah twice, then this is called Mughallaz. In verse 230 of Surah Al-Baqarah it is mentioned that if the husband divorces his wife the third time, then she is not lawful for him thereafter, until she has married another person. Giving divorce thrice ends the husband’s right to reconcile. The woman will have to leave the husband’s house, as she is no longer Halal for him. The period of Iddat in this final divorce is also three Quroo.

In verse 231 of Surah Al-Baqarah, it is mentioned that the verses of Allah (swt) should not be treated with disrespect. Hence, the rules mentioned therein should be strictly followed.

Giving Talaq thrice at once is called Talaq-e-Biddat. This type of divorce is highly disliked in Islam.

The woman, who has been divorced thrice, has the freedom to marry anyone she desires. If after her Iddat, the woman remarries, and her new husband divorces her or she becomes a widow, she can remarry her former husband, if she wills. This is known as Halala. It is not allowed in Islam to plan Halala or do it on purpose. The Prophet (sa) has cursed those who do Halala intentionally, and has declared such a Nikah as being contrived.

Khula

Separation between a husband and wife also occurs due to Khula. It is the woman’s right to obtain separation from her husband, if she so desires; however, in such a scenario she will have to return her Meher and go to a court of law. Even if the husband does not want separation, the court will order him to divorce her, because she does not want to stay with him. If the husband does not give a divorce, the court will nullify the Nikah.

The period of Iddat after the Khula is one Quroo (that is one menstrual cycle). However, according to a majority of jurists, in a Khula, if Talaq has been given by the husband, the period of Iddat should be three Quroo. In the instance of Khula, the husband does not have the right to reconcile during the period of Iddat. Nor after the period of Iddat they can renew their Nikah. Khula marks the final divorce.

Solution

As mentioned in the Quran and the Sunnah, it is better to give a divorce once only during the woman’s period of purity. The wisdom in this method is that there is room for reconciliation between the husband and wife within the period of Iddat. Even if the period of Iddat passes, the possibility of another Nikah with mutual agreement remains. Marital relationship holds a lot of importance in Islam, as a couple lays the foundations of an Islamic family unit and ensures sound and knowledgeable future Muslim generations. If divorce is given thrice, the husband loses his right to reconcile and they cannot have Nikah without Halala, the family unit breaks and the future generations suffer.

Based on a lecture on divorce as defined in Surah Al-Baqarah. Transcribed for Hiba by Dur-e-Sameen Zafar Khan.