What are We Sowing?

Vol 3-Issue 1 What are we sowingWe reap what we plant. In a far away land, a long time ago, a boy was born blind. His widowed mother – the good Muslimah that she was – did not lose hope in her Dua and pray she did, continuously. A few years later, the boy’s sight returned. Al-humdulillah.

She realized that her village was not befitting for her son to excel in Islamic education, so with her son in hand, she migrated to Makkah. There she saw that he was being instructed in Quran and Hadeeth, the latter becoming the young man’s focus. He went out far and wide collecting Hadeeth and compiled a Hadeeth book that sits next to the Quran in authenticity, forgetting not his mother that had raised him well. His mother named him Muhammad Ibn Ismail, and many of us know him today as ‘Al-Imam Al-Bukhari.’

Consequently, how often is it that a farmer plants wheat and it comes out as a sunflower? You may say, never! For how can someone farm the seed of one plant and expect some other plant to grow. It just does not happen. Similarly, some parents leave their children waddling in the mud of television, music, movies, and disbelieving friends. Then when the child reaches grade 12 and asks to go to the final dance with a girlfriend, or when he enters university and stops praying, or when he gets married to a Kafir and himself becomes one, then the parents say: “What happened?”

It is the harvest of what we planted. If we do not raise our children to be obedient, where do we expect them to learn? If we do not practice Islam ourselves, who will be our children’s example? How do you teach a child to wake up for Fajr, when he sees his own father and mother sleeping in, day after day? You may ask, how do I raise my children to be good Muslims, obedient to their parents? Consider the following:

Firstly: Be wise – prioritize. Children will only hold in high esteem what parents give significance to. If straight A’s in school, achievements in sports and laurels for other extra curricular activities is what mom and dad will aim for their child and provide grounds to acquire, that is just what the child will earn. If parents pay no heed to their kid’s spiritual development alongside they cannot expect him / her to turn into a saint and obey Allah (swt) unconditionally. Simply because it was never a priority set out for him in his early life.

Hisham Ibn Abd Al-Malik missed a son of his during Jumuah one week. When he met him later, he asked him: “Why did you miss Jumuah?” His son replied: “My donkey couldn’t make the trip.” His father then said: “Couldn’t you have walked!” For an entire year after that, Hisham Ibn Abd Al-Malik made his son walk to Jumuah.

Secondly: The piety of the father and mother reaches the children. In the Quran, Allah (swt) recalls for us the story of Khidr (as), and how he rebuilt a wall for two orphans: “And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town. Under it was a treasure belonging to them and their father was a righteous man…”  (Al-Kahf 18:82)

Allah (swt) protected these orphans because of the piety of their father. In Tafseer it is said that it was their grandfather seven generations back!

Sa’eed Ibn Jubayr said: “I often lengthen my Salah for the sake of my son, perhaps Allah (swt) may protect him (because of it).”

The bitter pill is that if we want to reform our children, we start fixing ourselves first. When we shout at them with clenched fists, a throbbing pulse, and a foul language sprinkled with accusations, what kind of a role model do we present? An immature adult who clearly has things out of control but wants to show his kids who is the boss?

Sow the seeds of patience, forgiveness, and understanding at home. Quit being careless, judgmental or extremely uptight about trivial stuff. Insha’Allah, you will see spring in bloom. Just remember the law of nature ‘what you sow is what you reap.’ And no harvest comes overnight. It only appears in time.

Mother – Our Door to Paradise

Vol 3-Issue 1 MotherBy Umm Isam and Muhammad Al Shareef

When my brother learnt about his bosses’ mother’s sad demise, he went to pay his condolences to him. His boss, a director of a multinational corporation established in the UAE, explained helplessly: “I can’t go back to my native country. It’s too dirty. Besides, my brother is arranging the funeral. I am so depressed that I am flying out to Hong Kong for a break.”

My brother just stared at this man in absolute silence and disbelief. This is not fiction. It actually happened.

Another mother that I am reminded of is my grandmother, whom I often caught holding on to my uncle’s crumbled graduation photograph that had seen better days. She held on to it for almost twenty years or so before dying, hoping that one day her son would come to visit her. Her son, who was not able to do so because he had a phobia of flying by planes. Can you believe that? This is not fiction either. It actually happened.

These were the sons, who gave up Paradise for trivial pursuits of the world.

Islam has a special place for parents, especially mothers. The following are some examples of it:

Allah (swt) has commanded us: “And your Lord decreed that you should worship none but Him and that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both attain old age in your life, then do not say to them Uff (a word of disrespect), nor shout at them; rather address them in terms of honour. And lower for them the wing of submission and humility through mercy. And say: ‘My Lord! Grant them Your Mercy, as they brought me up when I was small.'” (Al-Isra 17:23-24)

Ad-Daylami collected from Al-Husayn Ibn Ali (rta) that the Prophet (sa) had said: “If Allah (swt) knew any smaller word than uff (tsk) to be disrespectful to parents, He would have decreed it to be Haram!”

Ibn Hazm has said: “(Obeying ones parents) means placing their pleasure above the pleasure of anyone else, including ourselves, our wife, and kids, etc.; obeying them in everything they command or forbid, whether it agrees with our desires or not. Offering them with everything they desire, whether they ask for it or not that too with kindness and mercy.” But balance is essential. Obedience to parents does not also mean that one should be disobedient to Allah (swt) or denies rights of other relations such as spouse and children. Wisdom and justice should be the guiding factors for every offspring.

Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-Aas (rta) reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “(Of the) major sins are: to ascribe partners to Allah (swt), disobey parents, murder someone, and to take a false oath (intentionally).” (Bukhari)

Abu Hurairah (rta) reported: a person came to Messenger of Allah (sa) and asked: “Who among people is most deserving of my fine treatment?” He said: “Your mother.” He again asked: “Who next?” “Your mother” the Prophet (sa) replied again. He asked “Who next?” The Prophet (sa) said:  “Your mother.” He again asked: “Then who?” Thereupon he said: “Then your father.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The rights of a mother are three times more important than the father. Mainly because there are three troubles the mother suffers exclusively without the father sharing them.

Firstly she carries a baby in her womb for nine months in a state of weakness. Secondly she suffers labour pains to bring her child into this world. Thirdly for two years she suckles her baby, which disturbs her health, sleep and comfort. An ordinary individual cannot even dream of sacrificing selflessly to such an extent for another person.

Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-Aas (rta) has said: “A man came to the Prophet (sa) to give him his pledge of allegiance. He said: ‘I have come to pledge allegiance to you for Hijrah! And I have left both my parents behind crying.’ The Prophet (sa) commanded him: ‘Go back and the same way that you made them cry, make them laugh.'” (Ahmad)

Narrated Mu’aawiyah Ibn Jaahimah As-Sulamee (rta): “My father Jaahimah (rta) went to the Prophet (sa) and asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah (swt), I would like to go out and fight for the sake of Allah (swt), and I have come to you for advice.’ The Prophet (sa) asked him: ‘Is your mother alive?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ ‘Then stay near her,’ advised the Prophet (sa), ‘for at her feet is Jannah!'” (Ahmad and An-Nisai)

During the funeral of his mother, Al-Haarith Al-Aklee (rta) wept. When asked for the reason of his tears he said: “Why should I not cry, when one of my doors to Paradise has now closed?”

Those, who consider that Islam has given scant rights to women, must know that Allah (swt) has thrown every believer’s Paradise at his or her mother’s feet. This is the value of women in Islam and worth of an able mother. Can anyone match that?