It was after listening to a lecture from the “Dawa-e-Shafi” series by Ustazah Dr. Farhat Hashmi that I decided to write to her. The lecture was related to homosexuality. My motive for writing was the sake of a grieved mother, a student of mine, who had recently discovered that her 22-year-old son is gay. Ever since her discovery, she had been trying to figure out a way to guide her son away from this act of immorality out of concern for his salvation.
With Ustazah’s permission, I would like to share what she wrote in response to my letter:
Wa Alaikum Assalaam Wa Rahmatullah,
It is very painful indeed to see children caught up in such acts, especially for mothers who at times are so helpless that they go into a state of despair and depression. Very often mothers approach me with various disturbing issues concerning their children. This has continuously played on my mind as to how these children can be helped and their mothers consoled.
It made me reflect as to why children suddenly take a turn towards the wrong; maybe they are seeking attention or are involved in the wrong company; maybe they are watching movies or wrongfully using the internet; maybe some major change in their lives has made them emotionally and spiritually weak; or maybe they were hurt by someone and the negative feelings were building up inside of them. There could be a number of reasons but what is the solution?
A mother generally faces many challenges and obstacles, when dealing with her children. This in and of itself is a learning experience and an adjusting process for both the mother and her child. No great change happens overnight. It is a slow and painful process. Being a mother of four as well as a ‘mother’ to so many students and their children has, Alhumdulillah, enabled me to learn a lot. I wish to share with you what I have observed, learned, and understood.
When faced with such an untoward or unfavourable situation, what should we do? How should we react? Below are some of my very humble suggestions:
- Turn to Allah (swt). Offer extra prayers especially at the time of Tahajjud, seeking Allah’s (swt) help and guidance. Allah (swt) states in the Quran: “And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer)…” (Al-Baqarah 2:45)
- Make Dua. Especially when you unexpectedly wake up at night, make Dua, because that is the time of acceptance. Recite: “La ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahul mulku wa lahul hamdu wa huwa ala kulli shai’in qadeer. Alhumdulillahi wa subhan Allahi wa la ilaha illa Allahu wallahu akbar wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billahil aliyil adheem.” And make your Dua.(Bukhari)
- Continuously seek forgiveness.This is a solution to the problems of this world.It is related that a man came to al-Hasan al-Basri and complained to him of poverty. He said to him: “Ask forgiveness of Allah (swt).” Another man came to him, complaining that he did not have any children. So he said to him: “Ask forgiveness of Allah (swt).” A third man came to him, complaining of the barrenness of his garden. So he said to him: “Ask forgiveness of Allah.”
- Give in charity.Allah (swt) will give to you. The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Allah (swt) said: ‘Spend, son of Adam, and I shall spend on you.’” (Bukhari and Muslim) Sadaqah gives protection against all kinds of evil. Sadaqah wards off affliction in this world and punishment on the Judgment Day.
- Turn your attention to the situation at hand and rationalize. Reflect upon your routine and your child’s routine. Are you spending enough time with your child and is it quality time? If not, then set aside a portion of your day for your child – just you and your child. Sit with him. Talk to him. Even if your child is busy with something else, be present for them. Be around. Be available. So that when they need you, you are there.
- Bond with them.Take them where they would like to go. Do things they like to do, while keeping within the limits of the religion.
- Travel together. If possible, travel to another city or country for a short duration (e.g., a month or two) just so that you are alone with your child – only you and your child. No siblings, no one else. This will give you a chance to bond with and understand your child.
- Listen.Listen. Listen some more to them. Make them feel important and that you care for them. Be a friend.
- Trust them and keep them in your trust. Do not discuss your child’s problems or behavior with others, especially in front of your child. This can have a negative impact on the child and, in some cases, may also lead to severe retaliation.
- Be positive.Avoid a negative reaction and always speak positively. Acknowledge the good that they are engaged in and encourage them.
- Try to offer prayers in different Masajid. No matter where you are and what you are doing, instill in them the importance of prayer. Visiting different Masajid, even if it happens to be in a mall, will help to keep them focused.
- If needed, change your child’s circle of friends, because a person is known by who he befriends.The Prophet (sa) said: “A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend.” (Abu Dawud)
- Introduce them to good company. Introduce them to youth engaged in welfare work. Also, look out for gatherings where they can learn from the company of knowledgeable and experienced people.
- Again I will say: Duas. Continue making Dua to Allah (swt) for help and guidance. Allah (swt) states in the Quran: “And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad (sa)) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” (Al-Baqarah 2:186)
Insha’Allah, with the help of Allah (swt), you will see your child confiding in you slowly and gradually. You will see them turning towards the right path, even if very slowly. In the process, do not make them conscious about this change but at the right moments show your appreciation for their efforts.
I do hope that the above will be a source of support and guidance. May Allah (swt) make all children a coolness of their parents’ eyes. Ameen.