[Twins of Faith Karachi] Family Matters by Br. Adnan Rashid

familyAllah’s (swt) greatest gift to Muslims is Iman (faith). Something they never pursued and were awarded effortlessly. But what is Iman? It is belief and action combined together based on the Ilm (knowledge) one has acquired. Yes, it’s a pre-requisite that Ilm must be followed up by Amal (action); otherwise, Ilm is not even considered to be Ilm.

Iblees (Satan) is most knowledgeable. He maybe is more learned than all the Ulema of the world collectively. Why? Because he has been around the longest. He was there even before Allah (swt) created Adam (as). And he worshipped Allah (swt). So where did he fail? How did he become Rajeem (the cursed and rejected one)? Significantly, because he failed to act upon the knowledge he earned. He recognized Allah (swt) to be the Supreme Creator, Who solely deserved to be worshipped, but blinded himself to His divine guidance. Hence, Ibless became a Kafir. Ilm without action is a recipe for Jahannum.

Numerous orientalists and non-Muslims have studied Hadeeth and Aqueedah in more depth than many Muslims on Earth. But it doesn’t save them. Knowledge and action are intertwined. One is vain and useless without the other. If we are granted knowledge and we do not act upon it, we are considered to be hypocrites. If we do not have knowledge and we act as per our desires, we can cause Fitnah and perform Bidats (innovations in Deen).

Abu Hurairah (rta) once saw an old man with a young boy. He advised the lad about the Islamic Adab: “Do not walk ahead of your father and do not sit before him.”

We need to approach our families with the knowledge of the Quran and the Sunnah, especially when delivering their rights upon us. Family is one of the greatest blessings from Allah (swt). It is an important opportunity to please Allah (swt) and enter Jannah. As Muslims, we must recognize who is who in the family. It is essential to understand the value and status of your parents, spouse, children and extended family.

Orphans are the ones, who know the true importance of having a family. Once, our beloved Prophet (sa) was travelling along with his companions (rta). Suddenly, he came to a halt and began to weep. His companions (rta), unable to see his grief, cried along with him, until Umar ibn Al-Khattab (rta) asked him: “Ya Rasool Allah (sa), why are you crying?” He replied: “My mother is buried here.”

Why did Allah (swt) place Jannah beneath the mother’s feet? Because it can only be attained by serving her. After mentioning Shirk as an unforgivable sin, Allah (swt) places disobedience to parents next in line. They can either be our doors to Jannah or gateway to Jahannum.

Once, the Prophet (sa) descended the pulpit thrice, and each time he uttered: “Ameen”. The companions (rta) asked him, why he did so? The Messenger (sa) explained: “Gabriel (as) visited me and informed me: ‘Woe to the person, who finds Ramadan but doesn’t enter Paradise.’ I said: ‘Ameen.’ Then he said: ‘Woe to the person, who, upon mentioning your name, doesn’t send Salawat upon you.’ I said: ‘Ameen.’ Lastly, Gabriel said: ‘Woe to the person, who finds his parents in their old age and fails to attain Jannah.’ I said: ‘Ameen.’ ”

Appreciate your ties with the kith and kin and pave your way to Jannah.

Abu Hurairah (rta) once saw an old man with a young boy. He advised the lad about the Islamic Adab: “Do not walk ahead of your father and do not sit before him.”

Many times kids do not out-rightly misbehave with their parents, but it’s that one shrug of shoulders, gesturing of the eyes or wrinkling with their forehead that does it all. The Quran doesn’t even permit us to utter ‘uff’ to them. If a word shorter than that would have been known, that would also have been forbidden to say against one’s parents.

How Allah (swt) defends the honour of a mother? When Maryam (as) gave birth to Isa (as) and brought him to her people, she was falsely accused. At the moment she pointed to Isa (as,) who was still an infant in the cradle. He spoke for his mother as a miracle. Allah (swt) granted him the power to do so. Isa (as) confirmed to the people that he was special. He was most importantly a slave of Allah (swt), He had been given a book (Injeel) from Allah (swt), he had been made a prophet of Allah (swt) and he was obedient to his mother.

I see the Western society collapsing from within. I have seen kids curse their parents. It’s an unbelievable phenomenon. Their family institution has disintegrated. On the other hand, Islam is great. It gives the right to people they deserve. Appreciate your ties with the kith and kin and pave your way to Jannah.

Transcribed by Rana Rais Khan from Br Adnan Rashid’s talk at Twins of Faith Karachi, organized by Mercy Mission.

Discovering Your Middle Child

MiddleChildAs I was sitting on my prayer mat with hands lifted in Dua, tears were rolling on my cheeks. After performing my Isha prayer, I was begging to Allah (swt) for Sanya! My daughter Sanya (10) is the second of three siblings.

What is wrong with her? Your query is just! Have you ever come across the picture, in which a happy newborn is in the lap of her happy eldest brother, while the middle child is angrily ignoring both siblings? The caption reads: “The moment he realized, he was now the middle child!”

This middle child of mine is a problem for me. Sanya – a problem child. Should I say it for my talented daughter? Let me share my feeling about her!

Maria is twelve and Yasir is six. The eldest and youngest are quite reasonable, while Sanya always creates a problem for me. She disapproves of what is favourable to all of us. When I have to accommodate my offspring for any program, a refusal by her disturbs me, for then I have to revise my suggestion. Her argument in each matter creates a dispute. She is harsh in commenting. What and why goes wrong with her? Let me share some incidences.

Both the girls went with their aunt to a neighbour, who served fruits to eat. Maria tasted all of them pleasantly, while Sanya coiled and declined. The daughter of the host, who was a professional doctor and mother of a girl, exclaimed “That is why her (Maria’s) skin is glowing – she eats fruits.” I felt the toxicity of her remark that resulted in disturbing Sanya for weeks; but I must say she didn’t forget that negative response.

She went with me to a social gathering and was standing beside me. A girl from the guests pointed towards her eyes and said to her companion, “Look! Such beautiful eyes!” I noticed anger on Sanya’s face, which she later expressed as follows: “Look at this girl! She didn’t notice my poor health, just my eyes… the only good thing I have… she has a devil eye on them.”

I didn’t know that girl, but felt sorry about Sanya’s gesture on her comment. However, soon after that incident, Sanya’s eyesight got weak and doctor suggested wearing glasses. I am afraid she would relate it to that remark she got.

She is cross when her fellows are joyfully excited over a matter – either going on a picnic, getting the news of a teacher’s absence or getting a free period; whatever makes all laugh and enjoy, she over-reacts about it. The noise in the class makes her unhappy. When her siblings get any advantage by breaking any rule, she teases them. All these acts depict discipline in her nature, of course; but her isolation makes her more frustrated.

Surprisingly, all near and dear ones are concerned about her. What is she doing? What is her plan/schedule? Everybody wants to follow her. This concern makes her angry or maybe a little proud, I don’t understand. Being a child, she should like being cared about – why does she react negatively to all this care? It leaves me puzzled and worried. I get especially embarrassed during social interaction.

It does not mean that she has no good qualities. She is the most obedient child of mine. She gets up in the morning at my one call! She helps me with such domestic chores as washing dishes, spreading the cover, answering the calls, teaching younger brother and more. She is sharper and more confident than her sister, which satisfies me, as she can defend herself in any situation. May Allah (swt) save my children!

She has a good sense of humour. I enjoy her wittiness! She is definitely an extrovert. Then why pretend as an introvert? It confuses me! I know she has leadership qualities, because her friends and cousins try to follow her. I wish she would turn into a polite, contented girl; an expressive and determined girl, who didn’t like the society and termed its people as hypocrites. I feel helpless. I think she needs some counseling.

I was sitting on a prayer mat, thinking about how my life started with kids. Maria, the first born in both families (maternal and paternal) was a beautiful and adorable child. She gained so much love and care along with many gifts from grandparents, uncles and aunties!

Sanya, born just 18-eighteen months after Maria, was totally different from her sister. As she grew up, everybody noticed she was more active, expressive and creative. Her learning was pronounced. She started reciting poems at a very early stage.

At the age of four, she was admitted to school. It is a big change for a child, but for her it was harder, as she missed her first week of school because of her sickness. Plus I was in hospital, as my son was born. Although I am not a psychologist, but as a mom I realized that her absence in the first week of school did not allow her to interact properly with teacher and fellows. My assumption could be wrong, but the reality is that she had a class of nearly forty hyper students; when they cried, she coiled.

Today, at each PTM (parent-teacher meeting), teachers complain about her lack of interest in class. But the fact is that she is never given a chance in co-curricular activities. She is a good writer. She expresses her thoughts eloquently through her writing. In the last PTM, I complained to the teacher about her ignorance towards Sanya: “Many of her compositions have been published in different magazines.” In a lighter mode, I told her that “in future, when she becomes a famous writer, you would say she was your student; but now, you do not even acknowledge her for her skill. This is her last year with you – she will be moving on to secondary class. Kindly, take notice and cooperate.” The teacher was surprised and promised to look into the matter. But unfortunately, when next day she was shown the magazines, she remarked, “These are published due to her grandfather!” It dimmed Sanya’s delight, and the worst was that teacher lost all the magazines having the record of her compositions! Due to all this, Sanya got upset, which affected her health.

Recently, she misbehaved with me at the time of supper. I was hurt, so was praying about her. I know she has a remarkable personality, but how can I make an ease for her? I cry and feel that Allah (swt) is answering me:

“I gifted you a unique creature of mine! Would you thank me?” Oh yes, I take the challenge, trying to stand up. Then somebody came and put her head on my lap: “Mama, sorry – I have taken bread with curd.” She was crying. I hugged her. She was Sanya, my little angel. I kissed her shining eyes and wet cheeks. I have to handle her with the care she deserves.

Coming to Terms with Familial Issues

family-bondingAnd Allah has made for you in your homes an abode (An-Nahl 16:80).

Are we playing our part in making our home a peaceful, serene abode? Is our sense of responsibility towards other family members still substantial enough to make our family an institution within itself?

We’re living in times when shamelessness, rebellion, corruption and self-obsession are at their peak. A righteous, practicing Muslim has to be all ears of the social dilemmas that surround him/her. In this day and age, one of the biggest shields that can protect us from falling trap in the social issues is being united with our family and home.

Most of us quickly jump to expectations first. We tend forget the transient nature of this Dunya and the perpetual, yet to come Akhirah. The temporariness of this world implies that nothing here would be perfect or ideal, because perfection is the attribute of Jannah. Nouman Ali Khan in his talk highlighted that an ideal Muslim does not exist rather there are ‘ideal ways’ to deal with one’s family.

I genuinely feel for the current familial crisis that we are in. I see in my home and other families that we have reduced the home to a place of eating, sleeping and resting or worse, using it as a place of entertainment. 

One of the biggest realities of life is that we have to deal with that tough member(s) of our family, who we get hurt by occasionally. Family issues, within the home have become really common and we all need a way out of them. However, like all other problems, there are no shortcuts to this. After having considered the basics of parental psychology and relationship psychology, I have realized that we have to encounter the tough relative to our best capabilities rather than wanting them to change.

I observed around, within my family, friends and my work place, I looked for the common error that most of the families were making. That sibling who comes home late, that parent who argues with you on wearing Hijab or not, that uncle who calls you a Mawlana, or the in laws who are always sarcastic about you, all have to be faced at some point in life. The indifference, the carelessness or rudeness within a family can rust the ties until one of us realizes that improvement can be made. Instead of hopelessly closing the file and locking that cabinet, we need to reconsider that relationship in a number of ways. The best of people in Islam have had the toughest of family members, even sometimes non-Muslims. Aasia had Islam’s enemy as her husband and she prayed for a house in Jannah; Yaqoob (as) had disobedient sons except Yusuf (as) despite of his hard work into parenting. We can take numerous examples by reviewing the Ahadeeth and boost our morales.

We need to reconsider this reality; no matter how hard we try, we can’t change the person if he or she is not willing to change. We can only work on ourselves as the biggest room is the room for self-improvement. Nuh (as) did not change his wife neither did Ibrahim (as) change his father. They kept their duty to Allah (swt) and are the blessed legends of Islam today.

We can’t change the person if he or she is not willing to change. We can only work on ourselves as the biggest room is the room for self-improvement.

In dealing with an apathetic family member, we often make the mistake of repeatedly quoting Ahadith and Ayats, in the hope that they will realize. This can work at times but not always, because we are not working on the root cause; each family member has a need to be heard, to be understood and respected. We need to first identify what they are responsive to and then give our sound advice.

Yusuf Estes, in his talk Family Development, highly discourages the blame games we play at home with our family or even our relatives. After a particular situation, we start talking in ‘if’ terms. ‘If you had listened to me, you could’ve  . . .’. Such statements only ruin the Islamic atmosphere of the home. Today’s parents and even youth have developed the habit of cursing each other. If a 13 year old doesn’t listen to the mother, the mother yells ‘Allah will deal with you.’ If the brother doesn’t switch off the music while the sister is praying, she yells right after finishing her Salah, ‘Allah will ask you’.  We should really stop and ponder over our choice of words and the temperaments at our homes today. Is the love for our family so less that we can think of Allah (swt) questioning them on the Day of Judgement?

A strange heated friction exists between siblings, parents and even grandparents. We have become so aggressive verbally and non-verbally that it ruins the very roots of our relationships. 

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (rta) that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “The strong man is not the one who wrestles others; rather, the strong man is the one who controls himself at times of anger. (Muslim)

A strange heated friction exists between siblings, parents and even grandparents. We have become so aggressive verbally and non-verbally that it ruins the very roots of our relationships. This friction prevents the youth from coming home early or the parents to get up and have discussions with their kids. The interpersonal relationships are deeply affected shaking the grounds of trust, sincerity and love. We need to choose our battles wisely, we need to prioritize the unwelcomed advices we give. Before taunting a young boy to keep a beard to become a true Muslim, we need to find Khushoo in our own Salah and ensure its regularity.

Unfortunately, what has become of us? The intrinsic values that the Sunnah of our Prophet (sa) imbibed in us are gradually sinking somewhere. A significant issue that exists between families and within a family is the different opinions they have about Islamic aspects; the elder brother follows the Hanafi school of Fiqh while the younger sister follows the Sha’afi  school of Fiqh. Moreover, there are other minute differences such as the sister ridiculing the younger brother for listening to the lectures of Shaykh or an Ustadh regularly instead of respecting her. One method of dealing with such a scenario when one faces opposition through opinion is to motivate the relative or the family member to seek further knowledge and also humbly accept the imperfection that one’s knowledge might possess. Over and above, the Sahabah (ra) and the Salaf (ra) spent their entire lives as students of the Deen and never complained. Similarly, the Shaykhs we tend to criticize harshly have spent much of their life studying Deen and serving people. How can we question the sanctity of their knowledge in a second?

I genuinely feel for the current familial crisis that we are in. I see in my home and other families that we have reduced the home to a place of eating, sleeping and resting or worse, using it as a place of entertainment. We should strive forth and amend our modes, tone and even our non-verbal gestures. Each act of kindness and piety should begin from within the home.

When making changes to our behaviour towards our family, we should keep in mind that each step that we take for improvement is for Allah’s (swt) pleasure. Ibn-e-Taimiyyah rahimullah has magnificently summed up an advice regarding relationships:

“Anyone whose heart is attached to the creation, hoping for someone from the creation to help him or provide for him or guide him, then his heart submits to them and to the degree that his heart submits to them, he becomes their slave. This holds true, even if he is outwardly a ruler or a guardian over those whom he treats as masters. The wise one looks at realities and not appearances. So if a man’s heart is attached to his wife, even though it is permissible, his heart remains a prisoner to her, and she may rule over him as she pleases-though outwardly he is her master and her husband. In reality, he is her prisoner and her slave, who cannot escape or go free. Indeed for the heart to be taken as prisoner is a much greater matter than for the body to be taken as a slave or prisoner. Even a body that is slave can have in it a serene heart, peaceful and happy heart. As for the heart, that is a slave to other than Allah (swt), then that is true humiliation, imprisonment and slavery.”

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