Resolving family conflicts

familyIslam is based on a relationship with Allah (swt), with its creations and the world we live in. As soon as we come together, a potential conflict exists. But conflict is not unnatural. Of course with Allah (swt), there is no conflict- as He is Al-Aziz (The Mighty) and Al-Jabbar (The Compeller). Whatever He decides will be. However, between humans there exist differences. Allah (swt) wants us to take the best out of these differences. It is Allah (swt) Who has planted the seed of difference in our existence in regard to other human beings. Be it our colour, our nations, our tribes, etc.

We live in a community, and were not sent to live in a monastery or on top of a mountain. The Prophet (sa) said: “The believer who mixes with humans and bear’s their harm is better than the one who does not mix with people and bear their harm.” (Tirmidhi) Hence, the preferable way for the believer is to deal with conflicts positively as it contains good. But, as soon as we utter the word ‘conflict’, we think negative. We are trained to think that ‘we should avoid it, block it as it is bad.’ Circumstances without it are better.

The issue is, are we able to identify the good in the conflict? The following might just alter your perspective:

  1. Means for a change. Conflicts provide just that. When we change from what we were doing to something different, it highlights that our previous way of handling something was wrong. It shows a conflict between what we were doing versus the best way to do something. This spells the need for us to change to what is beneficial for all.
  2. Motivates us. Conflicts motivate us to do better. Otherwise, we are complacent and lazy about the way things are. Things either improve or degrade. The idea of going at one pace with no ups and downs is impossible. That is not life. That is the life of a stone. Living creatures experience change- whether it is a caterpillar changing into a butterfly, or a child growing up to be an adult. Allah (swt) states, “We created human beings in struggle.” (Surah Balad, 90: 4)) Struggle is a result of conflict. Gravity tells us to lie down, but struggle tells us to roll over. Gravity tells us to stay where we are. Struggle tells us to move, and eventually, we start walking. Struggle and conflict are part of our own development.
  3. Increases awareness of issues. Pain in life is important for us to know that things are not going in the right direction in life. Those patients, who due to a damaged nervous system are unable to feel pain, self-destruct themselves. Pain lets us know where our problem exists; otherwise, we would bleed and bruise to death. Similarly, conflicts identify where issues need to be corrected so we can repair and improve.
  4. Improves decision-making. Conflicts also cause decisions to be sought out more carefully. Through conflicts, some careful decision-making is reached; more precautions are taken and secure analysis is done.

    The attitude of gratitude is the most powerful attribute after believing in Allah (swt). Whenever you feel frustrated, distressed, in the middle of a conflict make Sujood-as-Shukr.

  5. Opportunity for self-assessment. It helps us to understand what we are really like. We might think of ourselves as someone very calm and understanding, but as the heat turns on our voices raise. It exposes our weakness. It is under conflict that we can take benefit for personal change to correct short comings that we are not normally aware of.
  6. Smaller conflicts defuse greater conflicts. If we can deal with certain issues by catching them at an earlier stage, we are then able to prevent greater harm at a later stage. It is nipped in the bud.
  7. Amusement, if not taken seriously. Differences can be put in place. If we have the ability to handle them in a non-serious manner, we can laugh about them. We all argue and later look back and laugh at it realizing that it was nothing to be uptight about.
  8. With every evil exists good. Can we capitalize on the positive and do not become overwhelmed and overcame by conflicts? Allah (swt) does not cause any harm, evil or bad to occur, unless there is a good side to it. Allah (swt) didn’t create Satan to commit evil. Likewise, Allah (swt) didn’t create Hazrat Adam (as) to disobey. But, He did provide them with the opportunity to ask for forgiveness later. The template for life is, ‘Repentance must follow error and sin.’ And the power of repentance is so great that the Prophet (sa) said: “One who repents from sins is like one who never sinned.” (Ibn Majah; Hasan)). Repentance is a higher level of worship. It is the reason for creation of sin.
  9. A means to get to know others. When we face a problem, we should work vigorously to deal with the problem and not the person. Also, we must understand that asking others and their listening to us doesn’t equate to agreeing to and obeying. We confuse ourselves when we say something and assume that others are in agreement. We need to ensure first if he/she accepts it or not.
  10. Develops Husn-e-Zan. In the course of a dialogue, words have impact. If in the discussion we accuse: “You said or you thought or you did…” it works like fuel on the fire. You are taking it right to the person. Instead, you may say: “I thought or it was my interpretation or I understood…” This does not sound confrontational. You are defusing the problem. Hence, beware of ‘you’ and ‘your’. Always give the benefit of the doubt to others by assuming the best interpretation they meant. To have assumed the worst, well in fact, it wasn’t intended at all, is bad.

Importance of gratitude

It is for us to take the good out of conflicts when they occur in families, whether it is between spouses, parents and their children or siblings. We need to look at the glass that is half full. Islam always talks about positivity. Muslims recite the chapter of Fatihah seventeen times daily. What is it? It teaches gratefulness. The attitude of gratitude is the most powerful attribute after believing in Allah (swt). Whenever you feel frustrated, distressed, in the middle of a conflict make Sujood-as-Shukr. This is the best cure. It was the Prophet’s (sa) regular practice. Sujood-as-Shukr keeps us in touch with the positive side of reality.

Ingratitude is so dangerous that the Prophet (sa) said the majority of women will be in hellfire as they are quick to deny good. It’s an alarming practice with horrible consequences. It is important for us to be grateful to Allah (swt) and then to our fellow beings. The Prophet (sa) said that whoever is not thankful to people is not thankful to Allah (swt). If the wives do not appreciate their husbands for what they have done, they are not thanking Allah (swt) either. Similarly for men, big displays of gratitude to Allah (swt) mean little if they mistreat their wives.

Some conflicts end in depression. Depression is the inability to recognize good. Hundreds of people are killing themselves due to it. Psychologists consider offering gratitude to be the best remedy for dealing with depression. As a general principle when resolving family conflicts this needs to be considered carefully. This is a huge topic. We can apply this principle to virtually all circumstances.

In any conflict, ask Allah (swt) what good does He want to bring forth? Then develop strategies. Difference between needs, values and beliefs are reasons for problems resulting between people in conflict. Though Pakistan has mostly a homogenous community, still there are some unique familial, tribal customs and values people carry with them as they come together in marriage.These are some foundations of conflict, but Allah (swt) commands us to resolve them.

We need to ask ourselves a very vital question: “Would I rather be happy or would I rather be right?”

Say ‘Go’ to your Ego!

In families, the biggest problem is communication breakdown. Marriage psychologists especially highlight this challenge. Men usually do not like to talk. Women always like to talk. There are different ways that people use to deal with their troubles. We must keep the dialogue going. We need to ask ourselves a very vital question: “Would I rather be happy or would I rather be right?” What if you actually give up when you have an opportunity to further go into conflict?

The Prophet (sa) states: “If a person gives up his argument in spite of being right, Allah (swt) promises him a place in Jannah.” (Abu Dawud). Some people insist that they will fight for their right, but actually, it is not always wise to be right and have the last say. One must analyze the situation. What is the greater good of the situation?  Greater good is in happiness. Allah (swt) has put a husband and a wife together for them to be in a state of love, comfort and happiness.  Do not let smaller issues be blown out of proportion.

Transcribed by Rana Rais Khan, editor Hiba.

10 Best Energy-Boosting Habits

healthHabits are the ways which we repeatedly do. It is a common saying that,

“First we make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

They have profound effect on our life and relationships. Following are some easy going tips which truly give a pop up and refreshing effect to our stagnant life; and also help us to be a better person and a good Muslim.

1. Sleep

Sleep is an integral part of our routine. Studies recommend catching  6 – 7 hours of sleep daily. An uninterrupted good night sleep boosts up energy levels and mood. Make a habit of giving a signal to your brain at Maghrib (sunset) that you are going to sleep at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. Put off all the gadgets and devices half an hour before your sleep time.

2. Recite the Quran

We, as Muslims, recite our holy book- but the idea is to develop it as a morning ritual before engaging into any other activity. Do it daily – you will notice that the whole day will be quite different and blissful from the previous one.

3. Work out / Exercise

Twice a day workout is the best thing to boost up your energy levels. Even a simple brisk walk for 30-thirty minutes is a way to keep apart a number of diseases and your weight in control. It also boosts self-confidence and is known to cure mild to moderate depression.

4. Drink plenty of water

Don’t wait till you get thirsty. Drink before the urge comes and in small gulps to avoid bloating.

5. Never skip the breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day to keep the energy levels constant throughout the day- but I am talking about a healthy breakfast. Oatmeal and porridge should be a must-have-everyday part of the breakfast.

6. Healthy meal plan

Include as many vegetables and fruits in your diet as you can. They not only make you full and release your urge to eat more, but also provide with the necessary nutrition and maintain weight- making you and your weight machine happy. Also meat should be limited to once a week.

7. Take Dinner Early

The dinner should be light and taken at least two hours before sleep. This will give enough time to the body to digest it- thus, preventing heart burn.

8. Be Positive

Try to be a person who can face any situation with

“Allah (swt), what an opportunity!” rather than, “Oh! What a Problem!”

Every person has difficulties, but whoever greets them cheerfully, will be the winner in the end. Count your blessings every day- this will be push you to next step.

9. Meditate

Give yourself sometime just before sleep to meditate. Close the door, take deep breaths and think about your day, yourself, your achievements and goals.

10. Get back to your goals 

Last but not the least- there are situations and happenings where we all lose our daily routine; but the best person is the one who reverts back to his routine as soon as possible. Stick to it!

Wish you all good health because without this bounty we can’t enjoy the blessings of our life.

Try it!


Try it,
Try a different lifestyle!
Trying such is truly worthwhile!

Try to change yourself, rather than others,
Try to accept mistakes and not point fingers,
Try to be patient and try to be grateful,
Try to be honest, sincere and thoughtful!
Try it,
Try a different lifestyle!
Trying such is truly worthwhile!

Try to wipe some tears and spread happiness,
Try to eradicate poverty and loneliness,
Try to race for helping the deprived in need,
Try to change your surroundings, pay heed!
Try it,
Try a different lifestyle!
Trying such is truly worthwhile!

Try to always keep pure your intentions,
Try to be the guard of your tongue and actions,
Try not to hurt other’s feelings, nor despair,
Try to be role models, make friends and share!
Try it,
Try a different lifestyle!
Trying such is truly worthwhile!

Try to mend broken hearts and serve the Deen,
Try to appreciate the positivity that you’ve seen,
Try to be an embodiment of truth and care,
Try to revive the Sunnah, to Quran please adhere!
Try it,
Try a different lifestyle!
Trying such is truly worthwhile!

Try to sincerely follow Allah’s (swt) commandments,
Try to avoid gaining His wrath and disappointments,
Try to please your Creator and not His creation,
Try to pass on this lesson to the next generation!
Try it,
Try a different lifestyle!
Trying such is truly worthwhile!

Classroom Management: Create a Positive Learning Climate and Culture

Sunnah in ClassroomA positive learning environment for children is vital to the success of your classroom. If the learning environment is not positive, curriculum can become monotonous and instruction teacher-focused rather than student-centred. Design a positive learning environment for your students by setting up norms, enforcing consistent consequences and reinforcing positive behaviour.

Say “please” and “thank you” to students. We should not take these words for granted anymore and keep in mind the importance of giving respect in order to earn respect. We should use these words in tests, homework, worksheets, presentations etc. When you say “thank you” for an answer given by a student, it shows you heard him and appreciated him, even if the answer is wrong.

Listen to Students. Students need our attention. We should be very careful that while listening to the students we are not physically turning away, sighing, frowning, rolling our eyes, talking to someone else or looking away. We show people how much they matter through our body language, whether we mean it or not. Body language can make a difference in the classroom.

Welcome every answer – right or wrong. Instead of students going through the process of their own mind-boggling, we want them to read our mind. Don’t set kids up for failure by just getting one wrong answer from them. In order to enhance learning, don’t damage the students’ self-esteem. When students start getting t all the wrong answers, they start to think something is wrong with them. Ask open-ended questions to promote divergent thinking. Ask “What do you think?” instead of “Why?” Say, “That’s not exactly what I’m looking for” instead of “Wrong answer.”

Allow positive feedback. Write each student’s name at the top and pass the blank papers. All students have to write honest, positive comments about each other. Read and discuss. Ask students to sign their names next to the comment to keep a check on their participation and positive attitude.

Establish expectations. You may be able to avoid many classroom management issues, if you establish your expectations regarding student behaviour early and keep them consistent. Laying down the ground rules early in your relationship with a class is quintessential to your achievement as a teacher. Your goal should be to involve your students in this task to ensure that they are aware of the rules and the consequences. There is another way to add to the ambience of your classroom – post the ground rules and always lean towards the positive, rather than negative reinforcing them throughout the session. When a student does not follow the rules, posting something on the wall will likely affect the entire class in a negative way, but posting something for each student, who did adhere to the rules, serves the opposite.

Set the tone for class. Teachers set the tone for the classroom setting. They are responsible for setting the tone of the class. If as a teacher you make an effort to be even-tempered, fair with your students and equitable in rule enforcement then you have set a high standard for your classroom. Of the many factors that have an effect on a classroom environment, your behaviour is the one factor that you can completely control.

Adjust your personality. The  characteristics of your personality affect the classroom environment. Are you humorous? Are you able to take a joke? Are you sarcastic? Are you an optimist or a pessimist? All of these and other personal characteristics will stand out in your classroom and affect the learning environment. It is therefore important that you take stock of your traits and make adjustments if necessary.

Solve difficult student behaviour. t has been found that disruptive students can really affect the classroom environment. It is vital that you place a firm discipline policy that you enforce on a daily basis. The key is that the teacher should learn to nip in the bud – stop the problems before they start by moving students or diffusing situations before they begin. However, it is difficult when you have that one student who always seems to push your buttons. Use all the resources available at your disposal including mentors, student counsellors, parent teacher meeting and if necessary seek help from the administration to keep the situation under control.

Create seating chart. Laura Stanley, a secondary school teacher in the UK, shares her thoughts about creating effective learning environment and using seating charts:

“Sticking to the seating plan is the best, simplest way to remember names. When you ask a question, use the plan to address the responding student personally. There’s no quick way to learn names, especially in a class of 30-thirty identically-dressed 11-eleven year olds. You’ll hear some staff saying things like ‘I always test myself to make sure I know all of my students’ names by the end of the first week’. Ignore them. There will be some names you still don’t know till the end of the session and this is normal. Your school should have a system with children’s contact details on and it will most likely have a photo. You can use this when you write reports.”

Assign classroom jobs for students. Primary and secondary classroom teachers can find a variety of jobs for their students. When you assign jobs to your students, you allow them to feel needed and important. Moreover, you get a helping hand in keeping your classroom running smoothly.

Here are some duties to get you started. The teacher can give the jobs fun, age-appropriate names like Hygiene Manager for tidying up the room or Foreign Ambassador to welcome visitors and new students:

  • Students can collect and distribute papers.
  • Answer the door, turn off/on lights when required.
  • Keep the classroom library in order.
  • Take the roll call.
  • Keep the classroom clean at the end of a class period or the end of the day.
  • Keep time to make sure that students (and you) stay on track.
  • Attend the class phone or run errands to the office.

Use non-verbal cues to keep students on track. Some ways to change behaviour without stopping instruction which redirects negative behaviour and reinforces positive behaviour – all without saying a word.

  • Hands Up: Raise your hand to show the students that they need to focus on you. When students see that you have raised your hand, Each one should raise their hand until the entire class has hands raised and are paying attention.
  • Lights: Switch off the lights to get students silent.
  • Proximity: If a student is being troublesome, walk over to the student’s desk and stand next to the student, until the behaviour has ceased. If this doesn’t work, put a hand on their desk or the back of their chair.
  • Recognise positive behaviour: Give a smile, a high five in the air, a sticker or “good work” sticky note.

Useful Tips for Managing the Classroom

  • For movement and interaction organize the physical space of your classroom. To do small group work, make it easy for students to pull their desks together. Set it up in such a way that it is easy for you to walk around.  You have thus created a classroom environment in which your movement around the classroom helps to make your teaching more engaging. This will also helps in classroom control.
  • One way to make the classroom safe for the students is make them participate and ask questions. No matter what a student says, make it a habit to react with respect. The best way is to model respect for your students and teach them to show respect for one another.
  • When you teach place mirrors next to the dry erase board and the chalk board so that even when you have to turn your back to write on the board, you can still keep an eye on students.
  • Ask your students to write on the board for you. It persuades students to be directly involved It helps them build up a basic skill –writing so that others can read what they write and most importantly it will save your time and energy and allow you to face your students which helps in good classroom control especially when you’re using active teaching methods that invite student participation. Students involved in the activity are not going to be quiet, hence enabling you to monitor their behaviour and  keep things orderly. Keeping the students engaged in learning in the long run will make your teaching more effective.


Putting together a classroom with the above thoughts in mind will create an environment where your students will thrive. They will feel concerned and responsible for their own learning as well as comfortable enough to actively participate in individual and group activities. Your encouraging reinforcement permits them to build self-esteem and be more successful students which will of course make you a successful teacher!

Navigating Our Mind

thinkingAbu Hurairah has narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “To harbour good thoughts is a part of well-conducted worship.” (Abu Dawood)

Often we, as human beings, have thoughts, of which we are ashamed of and feel glad that no one can read our minds. The Most Merciful forgives us for our evil thoughts, as long as we do not utter them or put them into practice. The following is a practical example explaining the Hadeeth, which encourages positive thinking.

Surrendering to our Thoughts

Many thoughts are uncontrollable; sometimes they are from our own Fitrah or nature, while at other times, they occur from the whisperings of Shayateen. However, the Hadeeth above is a proof that we can and should monitor our thinking and foster good thoughts. Various prominent Shuyukh teach that when we commit a sin, Shaitan tells us we are worthless, not worthy of gaining or even asking for forgiveness from Allah (swt); therefore, we should not even try to acquire it. Despite all this, it is of utmost importance for us to remember that Allah (swt) is Ghafoor ur Raheem (the Most Forgiving). He is even more forgiving than us to our own selves, and He is the Most Merciful. Remembering this attribute of Allah (swt) pushes us towards the act of seeking forgiveness from Him, and we repent immediately. Similarly, it is the backbone of our religion to have complete trust in Allah (swt) and have a good opinion about Allah (swt), for Allah (swt) says, “I am as my servant thinks of Me.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

Success is in our Hands – Take the Control!

Let us analyze this Hadeeth from the following perspective. Say you got hired somewhere and it was your first real job. It did not even last for two days. You had a bad experience at your internship, and you did not do well in college as well. Needless to say, these are depressing thoughts. It is important to first realize that you are entering into a thick fog of negativity, which will blind you from seeing clearly. Success is when you learn from your mistakes and improve. You cannot progress in life, if you think that you can never succeed. Negative thoughts are a great hindrance to your progress. If you keep trying, keep learning from your mistakes and keep strategizing, then, by the Will of Allah (swt), you will move forward – this is success.

We face such a challenge, when it comes to our five times prayer. It is important to keep our daily prayers at the top of our list, because if we miss even one, we are likely to miss two. And then they pile up, and it may become harder for some of us to make up for them. We might start thinking that there’s no use of praying even once or twice a day, because we can never manage all five of them. But we should never let these thoughts occupy our minds. We should always acknowledge that we succeeded in performing one or two of the daily prayers and realize that there is always a need and room for improvement. Hence, we should keep on trying to perform the other three prayers as well. Not only our thoughts of incapability are bad for our Deen, they are also bad for our overall mental and physical health. We should always think in affirmative: “Yes, I can do it! And I will do it as soon as possible and then follow through.” It is guaranteed that a positive and can-do attitude in our religious rituals will overflow into our worldly affairs without us even realizing it; thus improving our well-being Bi-idhnillah.

Similarly, when practicing a Sunnah of our Prophet (sa) or doing a good deed, we should never think that we are not good enough to perform this action. Rather, we should think of the deed as an opportunity to improve ourselves. If we ever think we are not noble enough, this is an indicator of a buffer inside us, and we should take immediate steps to fill it with goodness.

Loss – Punishment or Reward?


Our life is shaped by two types of important events. The first one belongs to Q1 and is termed ‘urgent’, such as a heart attack that needs to be tended to immediately. The second is Q2, which is important but not urgent, such as a patient who shows high potential signs of coronary issues leading to a heart attack. If Q2 actions are delayed, ignored or not attended to, they turn into Q1 situations, distressing us and resulting in losses.

Q1s are further divided into two types: internal Q1s and external Q1s. Internal Q1 could be when my car has been troubling me for days and needs to go to the mechanic for repairs. I have an extremely busy schedule; hence, I defer this visit to the motor mechanic, believing it to be a secondary priority. Hence, one morning, as I am driving, the brakes of my car fail and I ram into another vehicle. This is followed by an ugly brawl with the other motorist. I end up paying him for the damages, cursing my fate, being late for an important official meeting and succumbing to my frustration.

In this scenario, do I deserve sympathy from people or help from Allah (swt)? It was my choice to pend the car’s maintenance job and jeopardize my own and others’ life. Hence, this loss will be a source of Zulumat (darkness) and not a reward from Allah (swt). I earned this destruction with my own hands knowingly. Good fortune doesn’t hold forever. We need to learn to prioritize our life and be prepared, as we can’t read the future. Other examples of internal Q1 behaviour could be:

  • Studying at the last moment for exams and failing later;
  • Ignoring signs of a weak body, resulting in serious ailments;
  • Deliberately misbehaving with or annoying family members, causing disputes;
  • Forgetting about an official project or customer’s task, leading to reprimand from the boss or, worse, demotion or termination.

Now, we flip the scenario and imagine that my car was standing at a traffic light and another vehicle crashed into me from behind. What could I have done to alter this fate? Nothing. It was destined to happen. If I bear that moment with patience and recite: “Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Rajioon (I am from Allah (swt) and to Him is my return),” this loss is accompanied with Noor (light). It becomes an act of pleasure for Allah (swt), as I surrendered to His decree and remembered that my possessions are a trust with me that can be taken away at any time. I didn’t resist, realizing that what had happened was beyond my control. I saved myself and others around me from unwarranted stress, misgivings, self-beating and bitterness. This graceful response of a believer earns the highest ranks of honour not only in Paradise but also in the sight of those in this world, who perceive Allah’s (swt) magnificence. This is purely an external Q1. Other similar examples could be:

  • Saving yourself from disappointment, after learning that your best examination paper was not marked honestly;
  • Suddenly discovering that in spite of living a healthy lifestyle, you have been diagnosed with a terminal disease;
  • Despite behaving generously and in the family’s best interest, you are unappreciated;
  • You perform your best in the office, yet the promotion or salary increment goes to another peer.

In all such cases, when our plan is scattered like the leaves in the teeth of a cruel gale, know Allah (swt) has planned otherwise. Pray for patience and deliverance. And know that Allah’s (swt) plots are unmistakably based on His infinite wisdom and love for the believer. This should draw us closer to Him. We should refrain from hunting for logical answers we cannot comprehend, due to our limited mental capacity.

Internal Q1s, however, should be and can be consciously worked upon, as they are within our circle of influence and can reduce the stressors and Zulm we commit upon ourselves. List your most frequently occurring internal Q1s. Analyze where you are going wrong. Double your resolve to plan and prioritize your life. If a loss still intercepts you after that as an external Q1 situation, you can pray for Allah’s (swt) Noor to come and relieve you. It’s not a loss but a better deal!