Husbands, Preserve the Sunnah!

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“The best of you is the one who is best to his wife and I am the best of you to my wives.” (At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)

While endorsing the blessed Prophet’s (sa) Sunnah, the above hardly comes across in conversations between men. I wonder why? Supporting one’s spouse is as significant as offering timely and appropriate Salah, giving Zakah, observing Saum and performing Hajj. Because when a husband and wife have a partnership in harmony, mercy and understanding in their attitude towards each other, they are seeding the grounds for a firm and strong Muslim household. This house will then become a home where children will observe their fathers as not just bread winners, critics or harsh dictators, but active, flexible and eager coaches demonstrating the true spirit of service. Some ideas to catch on:

1, Do what you can do most easily

When inquired about the Prophet’s (sa) role at home, Aishah (rta) is reported to have said: “He did what one of you would do in his house. He mended sandals and patched garments and sewed.” (Adabul Mufrad).

Fix a deal with your wife regarding the chores you can take on effortlessly and regularly. That can give her some relief- especially if you have small kids, or many children, or a hectic social set up; or a working spouse due to financial needs. Just remember to honour your commitment as you are being counted on.

2, Don’t become a house husband, just balance it out

Aishah (rta) also once replied: “The Prophet use to keep himself busy serving his family and when it was the time for prayer he would go for it.” (Bukhari)

Men fear that if they begin to offer help at home, they might be taken for granted. For this very reason, it is important for you to inform your wife and your family about your exact availability.

Then be theirs in the real sense. Let them play with you, talk to you or work along. It is a great bonding time which maybe men underestimate. When it is time for your Salah, office, studies, exercise, etc. get up and leave.

3, Learn to enjoy homely tasks

I know that in most Asian cultures, men are accustomed to being served. They have their mothers, sisters, and later wives and daughters fetching for them or cleaning after them. But surprise, surprise! When Aishah (rta) the wife of the Prophet (sa) was asked: “What did the Prophet use to do in his house?” She reported to have said that: “He milked his goat.” (Ahmad)

Not everything about a culture is beneficial, especially if it conflicts with your Deen. And we don’t want to pass on questionable legacies to our sons rewriting the script of mistakes we are making today. If the beloved Prophet (sa) didn’t find milking a goat womanish or useless, I am certain that there is plenty of stuff men can lend their hands with to their wives.

Just as charity begins at home, so does service to the family. It hardly weighs much to smile at strangers but frown at home.

Offer help to outsiders but boss around in the family. Or be a diligent worker outside the house but be a slacker at home.

This Sunnah, if preserved well today, can bring revolutionary changes at home. It is not just about sharing the burden. It is about caring from the heart. And your reward lies with Allah (swt) (As Sami) The All-Hearer.

Manage With Patience

Patience plan aheadIt was 6:15 a.m. Sobia woke up with the buzz of her alarm. She woke up in an instant as it was already late for Fajr prayer. She hurriedly rushed into the bathroom and performed ablution. She prayed and after that she quickly woke up her kids for school and made their breakfast. Then she got busy with her daily household activities. This sounds simple but not for Sobia. She could not manage all her tasks at the same time. She got angry and frustrated at times. She was not able to manage her level of patience. For those who are short tempered or get aggravated over the workload, be it at home or anywhere, you can maintain your patience level by following the few practical ways mentioned below Insha’Allah:

1. List your routine (make a things-to-do list)

Grab a paper and pen and jot down all the tasks you have for the day. In this way you can cross out the ones that are done. This will give you a clear cut idea what sorts of tasks you have. You can also prioritize your list depending on what you need to do first. Remember not to procrastinate. Once the list is done start moving on with the tasks required earlier. This will save you from the havoc of workload, and you will feel relaxed once all your jobs are divided for the day.

2. Learn to manage time

Manage your time according to your duties assigned. Think about what would require less time and which one of your jobs is time consuming. Dividing your time wisely will save you from haphazard situations and you won’t feel guilty later. Time management is the basic element. It saves you from chaotic situations.

3. Stick to your time-table

Try to stick to your time-table. Do not hesitate to relax. Take some time out for yourself also. If you are fresh and relaxed then you can manage chores efficiently. Keep this running in your head that you will enjoy after all the stuff is done. So, get started and take a deep breath.

4. Family time

No matter how busy you may be, you ought to take out time for your family. You can always share your difficulties with your elders and they are likely to give you a wise advice as they know the phase you are going through. So never forget to take a few moments out of your busy schedule and take Dua of your elders.

5. Sit back and relax

Take a preview of your day or week. Think of all the chores that have been accomplished. Feel proud of that. Appreciate yourself. Share your victory with your family or a close friend. Think of your mistakes and weaknesses. Assess it and relax for you accomplished your desired tasks.

Protract patience and live your life peacefully. May Allah (swt) give Barakah in our time and guide us to use it wisely. Ameen!

Ask the Savvy Parent: Kids Bored at Home

im-bored-cover-e1372184590438Dear Savvy Parent,

My kids complain that I am always asking them to study. They feel bored at home and with me. What should I do?

Dear parent,

First of all, your children are all aged 10 and under. They are still very young. Why do they need to study so much? Constantly pushing them to study isn’t helpful at all. Some parents put way too much pressure on their children from an early age to succeed academically. I understand that in some countries this is considered to be a cultural norm, but as a teacher, I can tell you that pressure and constant study is NOT an effective method for learning, regardless of culture.  Education should not be just about memorization and forced learning; it should be about understanding the material. Memorizing and understanding are two completely different concepts. It is important as parents and as educators to instill a love of learning without pressure.  Learning shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be boring or tedious. Make it fun; be creative; make it into a game and most of all, be encouraging! Remember, a child is more successful when the experience is enjoyable.

Encouragement versus praise

Most parents enjoy praising their children with words like “Well done!” and “That looks great!” However, research shows that encouragement (not praise) has a more significant effect upon a child’s motivation. So what is the difference between praise and encouragement, you might ask. Though they sound like the same thing, they are not. The difference is that words of praise lead the child to rely on YOUR assessment of his or her accomplishments, while words of encouragement lead him or her to form THEIR OWN positive assessment of himself or herself. Examples of encouragement are: “Look at that drawing; I can tell you have spent lots of time on it. It must be a great feeling knowing you worked so hard on it,” or “It didn’t work out the way you planned, did it? I can tell you are upset about it, but it’s okay. I know you will try again next week. What could you do differently next time?”

Next, you say your children feel bored at home and with you. Do you spend time with your children just having fun? If not, set some time out in the day and spend some quality time with your kids, as a family. Have fun, play with them or do something with them that they enjoy. One of the best and most obvious things about spending quality time with your children is developing stronger and positive relationships with them. Be sure that both parents also spend individual time with each child. This will help build memories as well as trust. This is an integral part of having a healthy family dynamics as well as happy children. The benefits are endless, so set aside one-on-one, quality time with your kids.

Quality Time Ideas- What Does It Look Like?

  1. Cook or bake together.
  2. Play sports.
  3. What are their hobbies? Do some with them.
  4. Have a family movie or games night (age-appropriate, of course).
  5. Go on a bike ride or walk together.
  6. Read a book together; this works great for younger children.
  7. Make a craft or start a project together.

These are just seven of the hundreds of things you can do together. Start making quality time for each child. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make!

Insha’Allah I hope this helps. Happy Parenting!

The Savvy Parent