Productive Muslim sums up outing tips for productive muslimahs of the Ummah to have enjoyable yet productive timeout.
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The older people are never a burden, but a blessing and a source of Barakah for the home and the family. Their experience and life stories can enlighten you in a way that no book or novel ever can.
If you see anyone around yourself- please be a source of pleasure and help for them. Listen to them; they are the people who have no careers, no success, and no vacations to look forward to. The major portion of their life is past them. It’s them and their sickness. Imagine how depressing! If they are in your homes, or you know them by any other source, it becomes your responsibility and duty to look after them; make them feel important, and let them take part in everything that matters.
The best thing you can give them is your time, and your patience to understand them- even if they can’t hear you properly, are not able to remember anything that you told them the other day, their behaviour changes with you frequently, or if they require extra time to carry out the daily life tasks. Realize that this phase comes with physical as well as emotional weakness.
Before brushing off the thought aside, all of us should keep in mind that this age could come to us too; we are all aging, and if not now, but at one point in our lives, we might go through the same dilemma.
It’s when they leave you that you realize how much they have taught you, and how much effect their presence had- even if they were bedridden. When I lost my grandfather, I realized that there was no one who could replace him. After his death, I used to find folded pages of useful articles in magazines and newspapers that he kept for me to read, for which I never had the time when he was alive. He was the one who had all the time of the world to listen to my tantrums, laugh at my silly chatter, and share jokes with me. He would talk about his love for photography, his travelling experiences, and the things he learnt from them; never did he talk about his illnesses, or the pain he was in- but it was his love that made us all look after him.
Therefore, help them out- not because they need it- but because you can look after them, and do things for them; help them not because they are old and weak, but because you are young and active. Believe me these people can be your gateway to Jannah. You can take their prayers, and Duas, and conquer the world and hereafter.
The increasing number of old homes in our society is a clear indication that most of us have failed to consider them important, value their right to be respected, and no more recognize their part in our upbringing, well being and happiness.
These words sum up what you attain and lose- if you take care of your elder ones, especially when they are your parents. A Hadeeth says: May he be disgraced! May he be disgraced! May he be disgraced, whose parents, one or both , attain old age during his life time, and he does not enter Jannah (by rendering being dutiful to them) (Muslim).
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Dates are a miracle food that gives us tons of benefits. They are packed with a host of nutrients that provide several benefits for health; it is eaten as a regular dry fruit by most of the people. Many people consume dates as a staple food.
Dates contain vitamins, minerals, protein and they are a good source of fruit sugar. . They also contain magnesium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorous and chlorine. Dates are rich in fiber- they contain both fibers soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps to lower the level of cholesterol, and insoluble fiber prevents from constipation.
The American Nutrition Center recommends an intake of 20-30 grams of dietary fiber per day, which can be supplied through dates. Dates are also good for gaining weight.
Why dates are useful for your health?
Calcium and magnesium are important elements for skeletal growth, and balancing the body bone structure. Dates contain high level of calcium and magnesium, which protect the body against bone weakness, and preventing from osteoporosis.
Rich in Iron
Dates contain iron, which is highly recommended for those who suffer from iron deficiency. Moreover, it is great for blood purification as well.
Great energy booster
Dates are a good source of sugar- this sugar is not glucose, which rapidly raises the level of blood sugar but the fruit’s built in sugar does not. Dates are considered as the perfect snacks for an immediate boost of energy.
Organic sulphur is present in dates. This is not a very common element to find in fruits. But, it has excessive health benefits, including the reduction of allergic reaction and seasonal allergies. Dates can fairly handle the problem of seasonal allergies with its benefits of organic sulphur.
Dates possess sugar protein and many essential vitamins, which are good for health. Thin and slim people who are willing to raise their weight eat dates in even number. One-kilogram dates contain 300 calories, and the calories are enough to fulfill the day demand of your body. Of course, you should not eat just dates throughout the day, but if u want to increase your weight, you need to eat it
Why break the fast with dates?
Breaking the fast with dates is a Sunnah. Breaking ones fast with dates, as well as, praying before Iftar, are both mentioned in the Hadeeth.
“The Messenger of Allah (sa) would break his fast with ripe dates, then he would pray. If those were not available, he would eat dried dates. If those were not available, he would drink some water”.
Breaking the fast with dates is considered healthy, because dates contain high level of natural sugars. Sugars travel most quickly to the liver, where they are converted into energy more quickly than any other nutrient. Muslims have an immediate need for this energy when they break their fast, for they need energy to perform their sunset prayers. Ironically, when a person eats, the body uses energy to digest the food. Eating large quantities of food immediately after fasting is not healthy for the body. Eating a date first helps the body start its digestive process, and gives it the energy to deal with the secondary, more complex foods, eaten during Iftar.
Dates are also high in vitamins, and thus, eating dates daily during Ramadan is like taking a daily multivitamin. This daily multivitamin can create a stronger and healthier body fit for fasting. Dates also have a special place in Islam. In fact, they were one of the Prophet’s (sa) most frequently consumed foods.
Annually, Ramadan gives us the greatest discount to stock up Hasanat for our Akhirah account. The rate is exceedingly profitable, so it is important to consider the best ways of using this opportunity for everyone in the family, especially the head of the household.
Proper time management is the key in order to avail limited time offers. A daily schedule helps stay focused on what is important. Wasting valuable time by sleeping away the hours should be curtailed. Rather, sleep should be kept to the minimum. Watching TV should be limited to only those broadcasts that are truly beneficial, like live Taraweeh broadcasts from the Haramain. Similarly, ensure that all Eid shopping is out of the way prior to Ramadan, so that the entire family can utilize the last ten days for worship in the best possible manner.
Time should be reserved for personal and collective worship, throughout the day. This includes the daily Adhkar, Quran recitation, Qiyam, congregational prayers, Taraweeh, etc. As the head of household, encourage your family to participate in worship. Take the younger ones with you for the prayers, especially Taraweeh. Even if they do not participate fully, just being in the Masjid and seeing worshippers pray together in the special Ramadan atmosphere leaves a lasting impact on their young hearts and minds.
Learning is another beneficial activity that one should establish both at an individual as well as a family level. Personally, one can use Ramadan to memorize a portion of the Quran or understand its meaning, or study some Ahadeeth daily. The family can also learn together. Last Ramadan, while walking to and from the Masjid, my son, who was six, memorized some Surahs of Juz Amma just by repeating after me. Older kids can be asked to research the background of these Surahs and report back to the family when the family is together, for example, while driving, sharing meals or sitting down for a family study circle. The younger ones can be asked to draw and colour whatever they have heard.
Ramadan is also a time for sharing, whether it is food, clothes, wealth or knowledge. Some may disagree, but I have found that rather than arrange Iftar parties throughout the month for the rich, where people participate in food orgies and end up missing Taraweeh prayers, it is better to supply food to the less privileged members of society, for example, the needy, students, bachelors, orphans or travelers. Taking your kids with you for daily rounds of food distribution engenders a love of giving and an appreciation of the blessings they have in their lives. Projects can also be developed through Zakat money, which many Muslims choose to pay during this blessed month.
To free up time for all of the above activities, both for us and for our families, it is important to keep food shopping, preparation, presentation and consumption to a minimum. A simple meal can suffice daily for Iftar as well as Suhoor. Husbands can help by doing groceries quickly using a shopping list at a less crowded time of the day and not picking faults in food presented to them. They can go for a simple Iftar of dates and water and have dinner after Magrib prayers. This will ensure that the ladies of the house get sufficient chances to reap the benefits of these days and do not have to spend extra time in the kitchen.
Sons, husbands and fathers play a big role in helping to maximize the benefits of Ramadan for themselves and their families. A family, which is led properly to utilize Ramadan time for worship, learning and charity, can hope to achieve the real spiritual goals of this month, Insha’Allah.
“Verily! Those who call you from behind the dwellings, most of them have no sense.”
This verse was revealed for the Bedouins. Understand that the life of the Bedouins in the desert is very rough and very harsh. They came to the Prophet (sa) to understand some matters of the religion. At the time, the Prophet (sa) was inside his private chambers. Instead of exhibiting patience, they started to call him out from outside. This verse is admonishing them for their impatience. Note it gives no excuse for their behaviour. It simply says that they “have no sense”. As Muslims, we are obliged to behave responsibly and conduct ourselves as individuals who use their intellect, not as those who have no sense.
“And if they had patience till you could come out to them, it would have been better for them. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
One can imagine that the Bedouins, for whom the previous verse was revealed, must have felt terrible that a verse came directly to admonish them. Allah (swt) is comforting them here. He mentions that He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. If the aforementioned acts of impatience were done out of ignorance, He will forgive. However, now that the warning and the solution is clear, one must not fall prey to impatience. The solution is to repent for previous behaviour and reform one’s ways to ensure one is patient and respectful towards the Prophet (sa).
“O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done.”
Consider whom this verse is addressing: “O you who believe” or the believers. Essentially, this means that the instructions that follow are for the believers. Whoever follows these commands will be considered as a believer. Question is: Believe in what? Answer: Believe in Allah (swt) and believe in the commands He has given.
Let’s analyze the verse in more detail. “…a rebellious evil person…” – who is he? The Arabic word is ‘Fasiq’. Literally, Fasiq is derived from the word Fisq, which refers to a date, whose skin is peeling off. It essentially refers to a person, who has deviated from the right path. People can be guilty of either major Fisq or minor Fisq. Those, who engage in the latter, are still considered to be believers. However, those, who do major Fisq, are not considered to be Muslims, because they have crossed all the limits set by Islam. A Fasiq can exercise Fisq in terms of behaviour (calling out to the Prophet [sa] from outside his chambers) or in terms of religion.
Now what happens if someone comes to you and brings you some news? You have to:
People usually go to extremes in following the two-pronged approach. They either refuse to accept any news from the disbelievers, or they accept it without question. True believers take the middle approach. If the person bringing the news is not a believer, verify it and if needed, discard it without giving it a second thought.
If a believer brings some news to you, again, you have to analyze the content. What is this news about? If the person is telling you about someone committing adultery, you immediately discard the news. This is because of the condition that whoever accuses one of adultery has to bring four witnesses, and if this testimony proves to be false, the person bringing the news will be lashed 80 times. Moreover, this individual’s testimony will not be accepted ever again and he will be termed as a Fasiq.
The word used for news in the verse is Naba. Naba refers to major news that has a great impact. Such is the impact of the news that it can affect one’s hearts and one’s relations with others. This is why verification of this news is extremely important, before acting upon it. If one acts upon the news without verification, one falls in the category of being judgemental. One’s attitude towards the other person starts changing. This takes root, until the two people concerned part ways totally.
What are the specific types of news that you do need to verify?
Note: You have to verify with a clean heart and clear intention. What would happen if, in the above example, you start accusing your husband the minute he sets foot inside the house, without giving him a chance to explain? What if you would start checking his cell phone, when he is not around? If you do this, then it simply indicates that you totally believe what your friend said. Since you believe without verifying, Allah (swt) will make your doubts seem as reality. Remember that incorrect ways of verification lead to more doubts. Your heart should not take any sides without verification.
The wisdom behind verification is to ensure you do not end up harming anyone emotionally, out of ignorance. Harming emotionally means backbiting, giving a cold shoulder, discussing negatively with others, etc. You don’t know the true story because you heard only one side and believed it whole-heartedly. Remember that every story has two sides. If you never heard the other side, it means you judged the person whose news was communicated to you, while that poor person has no idea what is being spread about him or her. What if you would later find out that the news was false? Remorse and regret would naturally follow.
Prophet Muhammad (sa) warned us about the punishments for those, who bring news and create rift/enmity between people. It is reported from Hudhaifah (rtam) that news reached him (the Prophet (sa)) that a certain man used to tell tales. Upon this, Hudhaifah (rtam) remarked: “I heard Allah’s Messenger (sa) saying: ‘The tale-bearer shall not enter Paradise.’” (Muslim)
Don’t make it your job to spread people’s news. Refrain from gossiping. Vain talk about people creates enmity and hatred. Some people do this in relation to scholars. They ask one Sheikh about a matter, and then they go to another and ask the same question. Then they quote the first Sheikh to the second one and thus create differences between them.
A very important aspect of spreading information is forwarding emails. Do you verify the content of emails before forwarding them? Are you especially careful with anecdotes and incidents from Islamic history that are written without any references? This is how this verse applies today, when there are Blackberries and Iphones in almost every hand.
Another key point is that you yourself have to be careful. Don’t put yourself in a situation, in which others get a chance to judge you. Consider the following Hadeeth:
Narrated by Ali bin Al-Husain (rtam): Safiya (rtaf), the wife of the Prophet (sa), told me that she went to Allah’s Apostle (sa) to visit him in the Masjid, while he was in Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan. She had a talk with him for a while. Then she got up in order to return home. The Prophet (sa) accompanied her. When they reached the gate of the Masjid, opposite the door of Umm Salamah (rtaf), two Ansari men were passing by and they greeted Allah’s Apostle (sa). He told them: “Do not run away!” And said: “She is (my wife) Safiya bint Huyai.” Both of them said: “Subhan’Allah! (How dare we think of any evil), O Allah’s Apostle?” And they felt it. The Prophet (sa) said (to them): “Satan reaches everywhere in the human body, as blood reaches in it (everywhere in one’s body). I was afraid lest Satan might insert an evil thought in your minds.” (Bukhari)
As we can gauge from the aforementioned Hadeeth, it is better to clarify before you are questioned.
13-15: Excellent. You definitely realize that your schedule needs to follow the toddler. It is also good to note you do not make allowances for others which disturb your toddler. That said, do realize that unexpected and unplanned events happen, and one must be prepared to deal with them.
9-12: Fairly good. At times, you are able to distract your toddler from negative behaviour, but do remember to use time-outs sparingly and at the end, have a chat with the child about acceptable and non-desirable behaviour.
8-5: Good. You mostly employ a strategy to ignore your toddler’s negative behaviour. At times, it is the best technique. However, you need to know when you need to step in and be firm.
4 and below: Oh dear! You seem to be caught up in reactive parenting. Categorize your child’s behaviour into “I can ignore it” and “I can distract him/her”. These two strategies work wonders. Remember toddlers repeat their parents’ oft-used sentences when they start speaking – be positive and inculcate positivity.
Masoor Dal Pakoras
Mr. Zafar, a concerned father of a three-year-old, has arrived at his office, completely distressed. His daughter was not admitted into a prestigious preschool. His wife has already filed a complaint at the institution where the toddler underwent a six-month-long programme supposed to prepare her for the pre-school admission test.
Mr. Hassan, Mr. Zafar’s colleague, has other worries on his mind. His teenage son is bluntly refusing to work with the chemistry teacher, whom they have hired for tutoring him in late evenings. He is also not interested in Mr. Hassan’s proposed extra-curricular activities, which would look so good on his resume for college application.
Although the scenarios of Mr. Zafar and Mr. Hassan are to be taken with a good dose of humour, many parents nowadays find themselves in similar situations, micromanaging and over-analyzing the lives of their children. The recent decades have witnessed the rise of a distinct style of parenting, which has come to be known as ‘helicopter parenting’ – paying extremely close attention to experiences and problems of children, particularly at educational institutions, or, in other words, hovering over their heads much like helicopters. It is believed that some of the factors contributing to the rise of helicopter parenting are the increased academic competition, the exposure of child abduction stories in the media and the highly competitive environment of the global economy.
While a healthy parental concern about children is a positive phenomenon, over-parenting can result in such unwelcomed developments as lack of problem-solving skills and self-esteem in children. Some children might become so dependent on parents that they would require ‘helicoptering’ well into their college and beyond, while others might simply rebel against the tight grip of their parents, as they get older.
What are helicopter parents like? Here are some key characteristics:
As well-meaning parents, we all have the innate wish to protect and provide for our children. However, at some point, we should ask ourselves whether we are doing too much for them. Here are some healthy ways of slowing down the propellers and avoiding the trap of over-parenting:
Slowing down the propellers and giving the children space might not be easy. Today’s society loves high achievers and believes in pressure-cooking success. It’s time for human parents to get back to the basics and learn confidence from the instincts of mama-bird, who knows just the right time to kick the babies out of the nest.
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We need to educate ourselves with the compulsory rules of writing a “will” in Islam. The topic is huge, but I will try to be as brief as possible. If Allah (swt) wills.
Allah (swt) has decided our will for six relationships- husband, wife, son, daughter, brother and sister. We “cannot” write anything for these relationships in our will. They will get what is written for them in the Quran.
Similarly, we cannot leave in charity more than “1/3” of our wealth. Remaining is the right of the above mentioned six relations. Charity is recommended to be done within the lifetime. Once we leave this world, we can part 1/3 of our wealth for charity.
Sadly, daughters and wives do not receive their rightful shares from the inheritance. Allah (swt) has taken our right to make any changes in the will He has made for the above six relationships.
Anyone, changing Allah’s (swt) decision, shall be answerable to Him in the hereafter.
Will and gift are different. Anything given when one is alive is a gift. All children must be given equal amount of gifts under Islam.
There is a narration of a Hadeeth by Al-Nu’man ibn Basheer, where he said that his father brought him to the Prophet (sa), when he gave him a gift, to ask the Prophet (Allah (sa) to bear witness to it. The Prophet (sa) asked: “Have you given something similar to all your children?” He said: “No.” He said: “Then take it back.” Then he said: “Fear Allah (swt) and treat your children fairly.”(Bukhari)
Allah (swt) has stressed again and again to divide the wealth after settling debts. Once the debts are settled, whatever is left, can be divided amongst the six relationships according to what is ordered in the Quran.
A person has authority of writing a will for 1/3 part or less from his wealth only.
Formula: Wealth – Debts – (Charity, if written in the will to the extent of 1/3 of the total amount left) OR (anyone can be given 1/3 of the total wealth if it is in the will. Relatives, needy and poor are recommended) = Wealth remaining for distribution among husband, wife, son, daughter, brother and sister.
With regard to the distribution of personal belongings, we do not have the right to state how they should be distributed after we die, because the share of each heir has been defined by Allah (swt), and He has explained who inherits and who does not inherit.
So, it is not permitted for any person to transgress the limits set by Allah (swt), because Allah (swt) has warned against doing that.
Allah (swt) says in Surah An-Nisa (interpretation of the meaning),
“Allah (swt) commands you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females; if (there are) only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of inheritance to each if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers or (sisters), the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies he may have bequeathed or debts. You know not which of them, whether your parents or your children, are nearest to you in benefit; (these fixed shares) are ordained by Allah (swt). And Allah (swt)is Ever All‑Knower, All‑Wise.
In that which your wives leave, your share is a half if they have no child; but if they leave a child, you get a fourth of that which they leave after payment of legacies that they may have bequeathed or debts. In that which you leave, their (your wives) share is a fourth if you leave no child; but if you leave a child, they get an eighth of that which you leave after payment of legacies that you may have bequeathed or debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third, after payment of legacies he (or she) may have bequeathed or debts, so that no loss is caused (to anyone). This is a Commandment from Allah (swt); and Allah (swt)is Ever All‑Knowing, Most‑Forbearing.
These are the limits (set by) Allah (swt)(or ordainments as regards laws of inheritance), and whosoever obeys Allah (swt)and His Messenger (Muhammad sa) will be admitted to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise), to abide therein, and that will be the great success.
And whosoever disobeys Allah (swt) and His Messenger (Muhammad sa), and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein; and he shall have a disgraceful torment.” (An-Nisa 4:11-14)
There is no reason why we should not give our nephews and nieces whatever we want of our wealth whilst we are alive. As they are not our own children, we are not obliged to give to them all equally. We can give gifts to those whom we love, and to whoever we wish; or to whoever among them is in need according to his or her need. Try to give to those who are religiously committed in ways that will help them to obey Allah (swt). It is also permitted to leave to them one-third, or less of your wealth- so long as they are not your heirs.
It is permissible to alter a will by the heirs- only if- it is made against Allah’s (swt) orders, with the intent to protect the deceased from Allah’s (swt) wrath. Similarly, it is a great sin to alter a will for personal gains. It is a great sin to deprive anyone of his/her share of the will.
And Allah (swt) knows best.
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Observing the struggles of young girls with pre and post marital life, I was forced to search the reasons of their constant strife.
Let me explain you one thing before we move on to find answers to these questions; and the duty of the parents regarding this issue is that we should understand that Islam and Muslim culture are very distinct entities.
Islam is our religion, our belief, but Muslim culture is what we practice in our day to day life.
We Muslims, often confuse religion with our regional cultures- because somehow Islam is considered to be integrated deep in our lives- which on profound insight can reveal that Muslim culture is very different from Islam.
The core issue is that girls are mostly brought up in a way where their hymens are considered much more precious than they themselves. They are to be married as soon as possible so that parents can be acquitted from this responsibility of presenting the girl with her intact virginity to her true owners. In this quest of parents, most of the girls have to face numerous problems with their individuality, faith and lives which I am daring to address here. I will try to throw light on these problems one by one highlighting the points where parents need to ponder.
Firstly, parents have to remove the generation gap, and try to understand, and accept the challenges of the modern age with a new and fresher perspective. For example- when you are trying your best to protect the virginity of your girl in this generation, the old orthodox method of keeping her locked up (metaphor) at home can yield worst results in this contemporary age.
You cannot prevent them from falling into Fitnah, but you can help them learn how to get out of it. Give them a good (not strict) spiritual environment to grow up in, and then trust them with their choices; if you truly succeeded in bringing them up well, then you will never have to struggle with them at any age.
Secondly, parents have to let their daughters attain good religious education as well as best modern education possible. Most of the girls are deprived of education, or forced in to this by cultural criterion. Hence, a girl is not appreciated by family where you will hear things like: “Why study so much when you know you will end up doing household chores after marriage?” Or “Islam gives more importance to your husband and family than your education” or in worst case, “
You are a woman; your sole purpose is to raise children.” This kind of attitude towards your daughters will only cause them to rebel (a gift of modern age).
Islam gives rights to all
Islam gives all rights to women to get education, and marry whenever and whoever she wants to. I know that you are trying your best to convince your daughters; but convincing them that Islam orders you to do so, or our culture demands this, is yielding some serious consequences; where girls- whenever in their life given a chance- try to break free from these shackles of “religio-cultural” prison.
You may find real life examples of Aminah Wadod, Ayaan Ali and many other women like them who are now questioning the genuineness of Islam.
Thirdly, parents usually don’t aim to see the compatibility of both parties before marriage. A girl, if she is crossing the age of twenty, is forced into marriage- as parents fear that no one will accept her after this because our motto of marriage is “the younger the better”. This is very frustrating for young girls as they are married usually against their will. Despite of her difficulty to accept her marriage, she is forced to comply with her husband, and in-laws- no matter what; and again people take support of Islamic rulings, and tell her to bear all what comes because Allah (swt) and His messenger (sa) asked her to be obedient to her husband, and not to go against his will.
The avalanche behind ‘I do’
In this scenario, where she is married without her consent- a marriage for which she has to repress her dreams, or even herself. And, when she finds it difficult to cope with, she is told to be patient- as Islam demands wife to be submissive to her husband. The only refuge Allah (swt) and His messenger (sa) also become cruel and unjust in her eyes.
What do you think it will result in? Only in disobedience or “heresy” for which you can find numerous examples around you- when a married girl would be found guilty of extra marital affairs, hostility towards children, self-loathing and in extreme situation, suicide.
Marriage in Islam
Marriage in Islam is a very blessed act which aims to safeguard modesty, practice intimate love in a legal way, build a strong family, and a generation who would be spiritually, mentally, and physically strong enough to uphold and implement Islam in the entire world etc. But, my question for readers is that: Is today’s Muslim marriage fulfilling its objectives? A girl as a daughter, wife, and a mother is the most important part of a family; and when, this oppression and confusion becomes a part of her life- she can’t find an escape; she just chooses to give up life, which makes a huge impact on the society as a whole. Children brought up by such a mother would be spiritually dead and will just be another blemish on the Muslim Ummah.
My advice to parents is to get out of this mesh of religious teachings, and cultural norms. Learn true principles, and objectives of Islam; and neither be victims nor victimize your children with religion brimmed with cultural beliefs; and “enter Islam completely” to shun such grim culture.
Do distinguished fathers grow out of the soil? What is the formula of extraordinary fatherhood? And how is it achieved? Here’s how it all begins.
Selection criteria for the right husband
The Prophet (sa) said: “If anyone comes to you and you’re pleased with their Deen (religious following) and Khuluq (character), marry them! If you don’t, there will be corruption and great harm on the Earth.” (Tirmidhi)
There’s no mention of the man’s academic excellence, income, bank balance, size of family, or looks – the criteria we feel is exceedingly important today when marrying off our girls.
What fills the scales of standard is a man’s comprehension and commitment to the application of his Deen; a man who stands out in terms of a lofty character, as he will have the final say in the house, establishing the same benchmark for the rest of the family. Being the Ameer (leader) of his family, he is one level above his wife; hence, besides having Taqwa (God-consciousness), he is also required to demonstrate high mannerisms.
Living by the Nikah
The Khutbah-e-Nikah (marriage sermon) states: “O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.” (Al-Imran 3:102)
Multiple disputes can be resolved when spouses check themselves against the above command of Taqwa and complete submission to Allah (swt). This Ayah specifies what the state of a believer should be at the time of death.
“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam) and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Hawwa) and from them both He created many men and women; and fear Allah through Whom you demand (your mutual rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you.” (An-Nisa 4:1)
This Ayah clarifies what should a believer’s relationship be with his Rabb (Lord).
“O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His messenger (sa), he has indeed achieved a great achievement.” (Al-Ahzab 33:70-71)
This Ayah demands the kind of communication a believer should have with the others. If the above three conditions are met, Allah (swt) will take care of the rest for His slave.
The role of a father
When applying their parenting skills, fathers generally refer first to common sense, next to culture, and period. How many of them ever read about their roles as fathers in the Quran and the Sunnah? Do they invest time in themselves to become improved fathers and better deliver their roles?
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“Beta, your wedding is just around the corner. You are about to become a member of another family. Treat them like your own. Be patient if there is something you dislike about your husband or in-laws. Always be nice to your Saas (mother-in-law). When your husband returns home in the evening, take care of his needs, dress up for him, serve him a delicious meal…”
As daughters or granddaughters, most of us have heard such statements of advice from our elders at the time of marriage. And rightly so. The question arises: do the sons receive a similar set of instructions at the time of tying the knot? Experience and probe tells us that boys seldom receive such advice. Generally, the onus of keeping a marriage intact is more on the wife than the husband. And when the marriage passes through turbulent waters, the wife is the first to be held responsible for not being patient, grateful, dutiful… while not putting much blame on the one responsible for manoeuvring the boat. Have we placed too much of a burden on the daughters as compared to our sons when it comes to balancing relationships in a marriage? Are we, as their elders, to be blamed for not grooming our sons into responsible husbands and fathers? Do we only preach them to be dutiful sons, while neglecting their commitments towards other relations? Have we failed our sons?
An interesting aspect is that we want our son-in-law to be the most perfect husband, but when it comes to our own sons, we take a somersault. If our son-in-law is kind and affectionate towards our daughter, he is showered with praises and declared to be the best husband on earth. But when our son displays the same attitude towards his wife, we say he is a Zann Mureed (henpecked husband). Double standards!
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“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” (Pablo Picasso) But how do people find their gifts? Allah (swt) inspires hearts through different means. Some are motivated simply by observing the magnificent signs of Allah (swt) in His creations. Others are guided by the turn of events in their lives. Yet for some it is the role models around them that lead them to a higher purpose.
When we explore the men in our history, almost all of them are found to be leading their kith and kin to higher lives. It was not their mission to earn careers and leave behind monetary legacies. It was their centre of focus to raise a child who was God-fearing, chivalrous, and intelligently serving the community. And many of them naturally began with their own sons, students, or subjects. Following are some incredible stories and incidents:
Ibrahim Ibn Adham narrated that his father offered him one Dirham to memorize one Hadeeth as a reward.
A boy came to Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz (rtam) with a group and started talking. Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz asked (rtam): “Is there any elder person in your group?” The boy replied: “A man is known by his heart and tongue not by his age. Otherwise, you would not have been the Khalifah.” Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz (rtam) agreed: “You are correct. Please proceed.” This boy was eleven years old. At the end of the conversation, Umar (rtam) said: “Give me some Naseeha.” The boy did.
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Imam Al-Ghazali – Muslim theologian, jurist, philosopher, and mystic of Persian descent
The alchemy of happiness is a guide to transform the essence of man from baseness to the purity of the angelic state. This transformation is through increasing one’s knowledge of Allah (swt). However, before you can begin to know Allah (swt), you must first know yourself. This starts with the understanding of a human being’s two distinct components:
There are five steps to understand the heart:
The body is in a constant spiritual struggle between being held captive by appetite and anger and using them as a weapon to attain spiritual fulfillment. If the heart acts at the advice of the intellect and keeps appetite and anger under control, a part of happiness will be made accessible. But if the intellect becomes a prisoner of anger and appetite, the kingdom will become desperate, and the heart will be destroyed.
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How can a believer tell that Allah (swt) is happy with him? Is there any sign?
If a person is doing what pleases Allah (swt), then he or she should feel that He is happy with him or her; otherwise, what was the point of Allah (swt) telling us to do what pleases Him? We don’t have to wait for any divine sign like a bolt of lightning from the heaven, stars, and so on. It is enough to know and feel certain that we are doing what pleases Allah (swt).
How does Islam describe happiness? Are there any examples from lives of the Sahabahs? Does our present-day definition of happiness differ from that of Islam?
Happiness is when we experience a state of emotional and spiritual satisfaction or pleasure, which is the ultimate happiness. We know from the lives of the Sahabahs that they were happy in the presence of the Prophet (sa). They were happy even in giving away their lives, when needed, for Allah’s (swt) pleasure.
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