(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]

Shaikh Hussain Yee’s Words of Wisdom

paperpenDonning a brown shirt and a cap, the Sheikh was seated in the centre of “Fajr Academy’s” training room. His voice was tranquil yet firm, his face was radiant yet purposeful, his eyes scanned all across the room filled with teachers seated in awe before him. It was inspirational to be in his company and here is what he had to say:

As a Muslim

He is someone, who maintains a fine balance between physical, mental and spiritual needs. Why does a Muslim need to be like that? Well, if his body is weak, his mind is weak, too. And if his mind is weak, he cannot seek knowledge. And what is the best knowledge? That you can act upon right away. Why? It is because every person’s needs are different. Be proactive and be a part of the circle of people of knowledge. So you may ask them questions. That is the fastest way to learn your Deen. Also remember knowledge without action is not beneficial. Allah (swt) and the Prophet (sa) hate such individuals, who only listen but do not act upon what they hear.

As a teacher

At my educational centre in Malaysia, I teach my students that this is your home. Keep it clean and don’t litter around. I teach them to sweep the floor and wash the dishes, because this requires a special set of skills. It is an art to clean correctly; otherwise, you are just wasting soap and water. Your heart should be in it. Yes, something as insignificant as cleaning. The whole point is that whatever you do in Islam, you must be committed with your heart and soul. Also, don’t just be a Mualim or Mualimah. Be a Murabbi. The difference is that a Muslim comes and delivers the lecture and leaves unbothered. But a Murabbi imparts knowledge, monitors that it is implemented and keeps supervising, until it is properly imposed. Our Prophet (sa) was a Murabbi, too.

I teach my students to participate. I tell them that when Allah (swt) calls, you must respond. If you don’t, you are not the chosen one. Similarly, when I call you as a teacher, you must come willingly. When you will need me, I will be there for you too. We are a family. I have students who have become fathers and now their children come to me as students. So I am practically a grandfather of hundreds of children.

Your mind is a home for right knowledge. It is counter-productive to seek incorrect knowledge, as it corrupts and confuses your mind and thoughts and ultimately – your actions.

The best way to strengthen your soul is to perform DhikrAllah. Remember Him much. Recite:

“Rabbi Aainni Ala Dhikrika Wa Shukrika Wa Husni Ibadatika.” (An-Nisai)

(“O Allah (swt), help me to remember you, to thank you and to worship you in the best manner.”)

Why do we need Allah’s (swt) help in remembering Him, offering thanks to Him and worshipping Him? Why can’t we just do it on our own? Mainly because this only holds value if performed in the manner Allah (swt) commanded us to do and the Prophet (sa) taught us to do. We cannot please Allah (swt) in any self-created or self-innovated way. It may lead us and others towards misguidance unknowingly, and we might end up displeasing Him instead.

As a servant for community

The supreme manner to offer gratitude to Allah (swt) is to use your health, time, knowledge, and resources in His way. Each time you receive something from Allah (swt), know that it is time to give back by sharing with others. Everything the Lord (swt) granted to you is a Nai’mah (blessing).

Our community needs to be trained with patience. At my centre in Malaysia, my wife and I first clean the rooms before the initiation of any activity. Next, we put up signs around the rooms to educate people for different purposes and mannerisms. Even then many people fail to follow instructions and behave otherwise. They are insensitive to others. We take extra effort to correct Saf (rows) in the Jama’ah (congregation). I do not begin leading the prayer, until all the rows are straight, worshippers standing shoulder to shoulder and toe to toe with no gaps in between. I have a senior sister to signal me from among the ladies to begin, once the same has been achieved on the female side.

Also, significance of Jama’at (group) is very critical. When you are alone, you are exposed. Find creative ways to unite the Ummah. If you had been on the spiritual journey of Umrah or Hajj and had companions along, host gatherings every month, taking turns and inviting them. Your kids will learn the importance of being an Ameer and uniting the Ummah.

As a father

In today’s age, I will strongly advise fathers to remain a step ahead of their children – frisk their school bags and belongings discretely. If you ever find something objectionable, talk to them about the importance of honesty, without confrontation. If the child still conceals or lies, go another round of Ahadeeth and Quranic verses that highlight the dangers of lying. If the kid reveals the truth, which might be disturbing, do not yell at him/her. Otherwise that will be the last time the child will ever confide in you.

Muslim families must internalize the Asma-ul-Husna. Learn and bring into your discussion the ninety-nine names of Allah (swt) with your family. Allah (swt) should be present and not passive in your lives. And when you are gone, your children will remember Allah (swt) the same way you did at every step of their lives.

As a husband

Trust is the single most important ingredient of one’s marital life. My wife and I have no secrets. She remembers my passwords more than I do. At times, when I get any indecent message from unknown female talking rubbish, I show the message to her first, so that it doesn’t create any Fitnah between us. We simply ignore it and the problem takes care of itself. But if you keep secrets from each other, it has adverse effects later.

Also there needs to be a balance between Dawah and home responsibilities. If you have not taken care of the minimum at home and stepped out for community service, it will become a bone of contention and domestic disputes. Take care of your homes first and then the community.

Adapted by Rana Rais Khan from a talk held at “Fajr Academy” (Karachi)