(Part 2) From House to Home

Family ConceptSilat-ur-Rahm is to keep regular contact and be in their service with politeness and courtesy. It means to exhibit excellent behaviour towards them. It is also said that reciprocation is not maintaining ties. It is not contingent upon their good behaviour to us. Whether they are practicing or non-practicing Muslims or non-Muslims, we are required to look after these relatives. The Prophet (sa) was asked a multiple times: “Should we offer good kindness even if parents are doing Haram or are abusive and oppressive? He replied: “Yes and continue to do it for Allah’s (swt) sake.” If any relative chooses to break off from us, it can be their choice and their decision to earn Allah’s (swt) wrath but we should never initiate it.

We are doing proper Silat-ur-Rahmi when it is hard and painful. When we don’t have any Dunya’s interest, it is literally at our own expense, that’s when we have done it. We are trying to maintain what is disconnected and broken. In Islam, it is one of the key obligations, and hence, most highly rewarded and also most punishable actions. What are we trying to achieve? We are trying to please them. Some of them may be easy to please while others very difficult. Some may be high maintenance people while others may have simple needs. Silat-ur-Rahm is a tailored thing. It is constructed around customs to please our relations. Silat-ur-Rahm is sometimes unfair but our deal for Jannah. Our attitude towards it should change from that of a burden to an opportunity because it makes the society healthy. Imagine sending gifts, relieving burdens and what not.

As Muslims we have been tasked to improve the society. For this job, we need more people to rise and tackle the situation. For this very reason such monumental emphasis has been placed upon Silat-ur-Rahm. The Prophet (sa) also offered Dawah to his family first then to others.

Silat-ur-Rahm is sometimes unfair but our deal for Jannah. Our attitude towards it should change from that of a burden to an opportunity because it makes the society healthy.

Mothers are most emotionally weak. They need our regular love and attention. They need to be called, hugged and talked to. Kindness and constant connection is the focus. Conversely for fathers obedience is the focus. If we do not call them regularly it won’t hurt them, but what they crave for is respect and control. They will always want to be part of our important decisions in life. The target is to manage expectations. However, obedience is in what is Maruf (good). There is no obeying our parents in anything Haram, or that which is not obligated. For example- if our father tells us to drink six glasses of water everyday, it is not necessary to follow him as it is not linked to the Akhirah.

Lastly, the nuclear family is the one that includes our spouse and children. Make no mistake but it is families that get married not just a man and a woman. One should marry someone who loves Allah (swt) more than his spouse. He/she will be a fair and Muttaqi partner lifelong. The Quran defines a marital relationship aptly. It is governed by love and mercy. Love is what makes the relationship kick off. It’s when we feel all the excitement and experience our honeymoon. This is like a T20 cricket match. However, its mercy that keeps the match going. When we are patient with one another, overlook faults and drop our expectations. Because we know that it’s a long inning.

Love is what makes the relationship kick off. It’s when we feel all the excitement and experience our honeymoon. This is like a T20 cricket match. However, its mercy that keeps the match going.

No matter what our struggle is in our marital life, we need to turn on the mercy button. Be easy about our own rights; think about the benefit of our children. When we are out of love, depend on Islam and Ehsan. Once a woman complained to Omar (rta) as the Khalifa about not being able to love her husband. He replied with anger that there were hardly any homes where couples lived a loving life. Real world is very different from the fantasy world we imagine or paint for ourselves. A husband takes precedence in obedience over his wife’s father. Every wife should try to earn such a relationship that her husband pleasingly values her desires and dreams.

About our offspring, we need to build a level of trust with them that they love us too much to hurt us. They do not fall into Haram fearing the impact it will have on us. If we are not our child’s best friend, there will be hundred others ready to become his friend at the drop of a hat. We ought to have more confidence in the relationship of love and stop outsourcing our child’s education. We can’t pay our way out by expecting others to do a good job, since we don’t want to do it ourselves.

Tarbiya cannot be purchased. We are lured into a false sense of security. Parents need to filter information after kids return from school because much Haram practices are happening out there; having said that, we can’t ban our kids from life. We can’t put them in a cave and teach them there.

Lastly and most importantly, it is not obligated to obey the in-laws; however, it is inconceivable for a God-fearing Muslimah to forsake her husband’s parents if she loves Allah (swt) and cares for her husband’s feelings. It is known that mothers-in-law have the hardest time letting go off their married sons in the Eastern culture. The West is not like that. Hence, every woman becomes the enemy she hated most once she steps into the shoes of a mother-in-law. The remedial measure is to part the families offering mutual space and respect. An arrangement should be made to look after old parents by their own children in terms of best care and quality time spent. Otherwise, it will be a punishable sin in the hereafter.

In conclusion to build the right family we must always read the Quran as if it is speaking to us directly. If we read it like a third party, we will never be able to reap the benefits of a fulfilling familial life. This was the attitude of the Sahabah. They never thought, “Oh what will happen to others.” They owned every verse of the Holy Book and internalized it to build a house to home.

Transcribed for “Hiba” by Rana Rais Khan from a talk at “Live Deen”, Karachi.

(Part 1) From House to Home

home_1361726270_540x540After becoming a distinguished practicing Muslim, a person’s primary concern becomes his family. Mainly because he realizes that his Akhirah is dependent upon it. A family offers diverse relations – people with obligatory rights, next come Silah-e-Rahmi and further Ihsani rights. If we don’t define them and do not understand these parameters, they become over-whelming. Because of a culture of respect in the East, we still have comparatively stronger family bonds. In the West they are not a priority for them. Parents don’t depend on their kids or vice versa.

We should be provoked into thinking about the value of children with respect to our deeds. There will be a time we will be needing support from our children. Our child could be the difference between fire and Jannah or one level of Jannah from another level of Jannah. This process of raising kids is called Tarbiya. We love our parents because of the Tarbiya they gave us. People of other religions love their parents because of love.

Islam commands not to even utter the word ‘Uff’ to our parents, but to say to them a respectful word. To lower our wings when we have learnt to fly great heights, at a time when we no longer need them. Before we begin to believe in our own nonsense and strut around with a puffed up chest, we better calm down. We ought to become humble and exhibit merciful kindness.

Allah (swt) states, “And ask Me about your parents.” (17:23-24)

We pray for them because of the effort they put into us when we were young, ensuring we turn out to be practicing. It is Karma- “do to them exactly as they did to you.” As a parent, we do not want a hassle filled life forever; hence, we go out of the way to raise a righteous child who will serve us in later years. When we are dead, our virtuous deeds will not end. Our child will come to aid us in the hour of need in our grave with his supplication for us and kind actions in the world transferring Sadaqah-e-Jariya.

A school and a Madrasa give Taleem (education). Their job is data input and processing, transfer of Ilm (knowledge). Hence, a teacher is called a Muallim. Parents on the other hand offer Tarbiya (nurturing) and are Murabbis. They invest intellectually and emotionally and spend time with each child on a one to one basis. This is a slow process that cannot be rushed.

Parents offer Tarbiya (nurturing) and are Murabbis. They invest intellectually and emotionally and spend time with each child on a one to one basis.

A child is like a canvas. It will display whatever we paint on it. We need to spend time with our children with love and patience and produce something worthwhile. It’s like preparing a ‘Murabba’- the science of creating a fresh fruit jam reveals how it requires many months to get the right texture, flavour, colour, etc. It needs regular monitoring. People value products of time, care and concern. Actor Brad Pitt is known to have bought an entire jam factory in France in appreciation of their distinguished taste. Imagine a child is similar. He/she stands out among others when the child has been raised likewise.

A child literally worships his parents; hence, Tarbiya should be done early. The main job should have been done by the age of seven. Reason being that as a child grows up; he realizes that there are other adults and influences in his world too in the form of teachers, friends, gadgets, etc. The kid might just decide that I can be like any of these big guys. We should become the person of trust our child can come to at any time and age of his life. This cannot happen if we keep relegating our responsibility to others. Our tangible and quality relationship makes the difference. A well-tended garden that has been seeded watered and pruned stands out in comparison to a jungle that has been left to grow on its own.

Tarbiya should be done early. The main job should have been done by the age of seven.

It seems in the modern day and age, the father’s role in a Muslim family is over-emphasized. It needs to be realistically assessed. A responsible father has to earn a decent living for the family, he is obligated to be at the Masjid five times of the day and he is also needed to be at the helm to lead many community service matters. That doesn’t mean that the fathers go missing or indulge in nonsense or behave irresponsibly.

Alongside the role of a mother is understated as a Murrabiya. Traditionally many scholars and men and women of great feats and achievements were raised solely by their mothers. Mainly because Allah (swt) has granted a natural generic skill set to women. They have an intrinsic bottomless well of patience within them. I observe this as a teacher too. Though I hope to deliver high quality of education to my students, but I do find myself struggling with kids. At times, my mind is blown away. But my female counterparts have a phenomenal ability to be patient with children.

Traditionally many scholars and men and women of great feats and achievements were raised solely by their mothers.

The greatest manifestation of mercy is in the womb of the mother. The baby receives complete charity in the form of oxygen, fluid, food, etc. If she cuts the cord, the child dies instantly. Hence, in the Arabic language the word ‘Rahm’ stands for a mother’s womb and from this another word ‘‘Rahma’ is derived which means mercy. People of Rahm are your family and ‘Silat-ur-Rahm’ means people connected to you with this link.

The Prophet (sa) emphasizing the family ties stated: “The one who does not maintain family ties will not enter Jannah.” (Bukhari). Ulool Arham are the womb relations from your mom i.e. her brothers and sisters.

Our obligatory rights are upon our family members with blood ties or our Mahrams by relations. This is a small group of people that include our father, mother, grandparents, grandchildren, father’s brothers, father’s sisters, niece, nephew, etc. This does not include our cousins whom we can marry. So technically if we do not maintain ties with our uncle (Father’s brother), it is a punishable sin, whereas if we ignore our ties with our cousin, it is not punishable. We need not look after him/her if we do not want to. Grandparents enjoy the same obedience and rights as our parents do.

(Transcribed for “Hiba” by Rana Rais Khan from a talk at “Live Deen”, Karachi.)

[To be continued Insha Allah]