Less is more: The Hazards Of Over-Parenting

 

parenting

Image Courtesy quotesgram.com

 

When my son was born- naturally, I was overjoyed. The mommy in me thought- now is the time to materialize the ‘to-do’ list I have been preparing since as long as I can remember.

My dreams,my desires, my wishes, my passions, my plans, my goals, my wants, my, my…and only my!

But, when things don’t go the way you planned in your head, you just tend to over-do it. You become somewhat reactive, and do more of something rather than less. If children are not listening to you, you most certainly will raise your voice, rather than lower it. If they are struggling with something, you jump in with plenty of ideas, rather than keeping quiet, or offering to help when needed. However, knowing that a softer voice would probably be more effective in getting their attention, but you have little or no faith at all in that notion.

With all the workshops, courses and webinars we have attended; the text we have read, and the discussions we have gone through; and thanks to the social media- there are strong assumptions that when our children are struggling, it means they need more: more attention, more time, more focus, more love, more rewards – maybe more warnings, and more punishments. Parents may wonder, for instance, if my daughter seems to be daydreaming lately, so perhaps, she needs more attention from her parents. My son isn’t doing too well in school this term/semester/year- perhaps, he needs more focus from teachers and parents. Or, my little one seems to have low self-esteem,  maybe he needs more love, acknowledgement, praise and rewards.

Stop Over-Giving, Over-Admiring, Over-Rewarding, and Over-Sharing

Anything in excess is never good. Mommies need to be wise enough to strike a balance between emotional needs, physical and material needs. How to attain that wisdom? We have many options now, but don’t delve too much in it for you will begin to over-think about matters which don’t even exist.

Maybe for some kids and for some parents, this is true; but, most of the time it is not. Often, giving more of those things is a sure way to impair our children, and you may push them towards being dependent all the time. Even though, we react this way out of unconditional love, we can be causing the very opposite outcome of what we intended.

One thing parents really need to be trained for is- to make your child independent; because, face it- you will not always be around to make things better for them. Why not start earlier and make them more responsible?

Years from now, when my son was still an infant, I was watching a talk show. This woman’s philosophy to make a child in-charge, made me realize how important it is to start early on. Don’t do everything for them, that way your prime focus is not to spoon-feed your child. What she said after made so much sense to me. When you are doing every little thing for your child, one – you are paralyzing them; and two – when your child is all grown up, you miss doing chores for them. And hence, you feel you have nothing left to do anymore. You end up in misery, and this causes major issues when you become the dreaded mother-in-law. When instead of you- someone else is running errands for your son.

From the very first day, we’ve been conditioned to over-do for our kids. By over-giving, over-rewarding, and over-admiring, we are contributing to their ultimate dependence on, perhaps, everything.

As a result, many kids believe, they can’t manage their schoolwork without help from their parents. Children don’t feel good about themselves- unless they are acknowledged by others; while some do not know how to regulate their lives without getting others’ time, focus and attention. Unconsciously, we as adults have encouraged dependence, rather than self-reliance in our little Ummah. Kids get addicted. And sometimes, we get our own validation by feeling useful and necessary through over-doing for our children. But in the end, they learn helplessness rather than resilience. Teach them to be responsible for little things at a tender age, give them job tasks according to their age, strength and understanding. Never underestimate your children’s potential.

That’s also, where we over-look Sunnah of the Prophet (sa). The ultimate example and inspiration for our little ones, who would not just do his own work, but help around the house.

Tolerating our Kids’ Pain

Being empathetic to people, especially to children is really important, to understand ones feelings, emotions and needs.

We hear all the time that in order to be a good parent, partner, or friend- it is important to fulfill others’ needs, and be empathetic to their feelings. Yes, that is important, but only up to a point. This perhaps is quite challenging for any parent, especially mothers.

For example, a teenage girl has issues with a friend at school. The parents empathize with the teen’s pain and struggles so much that each time the child has issues, they rush to solve it. Some may go to the extent of running, and picking the child- as soon as the youngster shows signs of distress. They would do whatever they could to make her feel better, assuring her that she hadn’t failed, and she was just not ready.

Same goes when a child who comes home, and complains about his teacher(s). Coming to the child’s aid instantly, may paralyze the child’s ability to deal with matters ultimately.

In such a scenario, would it be possible for the teenager to become more responsible and learn to deal with issues, without being too dependent each time? Her parents could have encouraged her to challenge her fear, manage her anxiety, and regulate her own emotions.

If you, as a parent, acknowledge your child’s struggles, efforts, pain and distress without rescuing them from it, each time- they can irrefutably grow up and become a more autonomous and responsible individual.

Naturally parents need to be more tolerant towards the child’s pain. Although, it can be very challenging to wisely pick and choose where to empathize, and where to let go. It is only when parents can raise their tolerance level for their child’s pain that their child can be motivated to do the same and not break down.

Is more ever better?

Is more the right solution? Is it ever better than less? You be the judge.

Try doing more for yourself and less for your child. For instance:

  • Empathize less, cater needs less, and focus less on her. I came across this piece where someone suggested- let your child get bored. It is then when the child will learn to entertain or busy themselves. But, if you as a parent begin to sympathize, suggest alternatives, and solve problems for them- they will come to you each time. I remember, as a child, when my parents’ friends would come over, we kids were left on our own without my parents suggesting what we should play. We (most of the times) never came to them grumbling, or whining that we are bored. I believe that’s why we came up with very creative games and kept ourselves busy. We, as parents, don’t give our kids a chance, and end up complaining about what we have hammered in them.
  • Think less about fulfilling your kids every need, and more about helping them take charge for themselves. A classic example- don’t go running back to school so that you can give homework books your child forgot – this attitude will never make them responsible individuals. Again, this is very age dependent- but try to begin as soon as possible. Also, never try to rush to replace something your child has lost due to carelessness.
  • Think less about your children’s feelings (all the time), and more about helping them function at their best. A mother telling her child, “You may not feel like apologizing to your cousin, but I am holding you accountable to do the right thing.”
  • Think less about giving into their whining and complaining, and more about helping them deal with problems and fine-tune themselves. “I know that you hate doing your chores, but when I ask you to do them, I expect them to get done. You can be unhappy about it, but please find a way not to drag others down when you are unhappy.”

Be there for your kids in the ways they actually need you, but move out of their way otherwise – learn to know the difference.

Letting Go

Surely, as a mother, you were repeatedly told by teachers, family, in-laws and friends, or acquaintances- that your kids seem to need more from you—attention, time, focus, recognition, rewards, approval—stop and think hard about it. You must have taken a couple of guilt trips each year as well. Clear your mind, take a deep breath, relax, get all the pre-notions out of your head, and in your quiet comfortable space, ask yourself- Does your child really need it? Are you actually a careless, negligent mother? Be honest to yourself and not judgmental. If so, then of course you should do more of what they need from you.

Remember to communicate…always talk, converse, discuss.

Nevertheless, in the more likely scenario, they are getting more than enough from you. Hence, it’s best for them if you cut back, and let them struggle to find their own legs. Letting go will leave you feeling wobbly at first, but with practice and time, you will find your own strong legs to stand on.

Lastly – Do not raise your children to financially provide for you. Raise them to worship Allah (swt). If you give your children everything, but haven’t given them the Deen, then you haven’t given them anything. Give them the Deen, which is everything. Teach your children Quran, and Quran will teach them everything Insha’Allah.

When the Caliph Helped Ireland – Untold History

22At a time when really difficult images are being associated with Islam, we have a long legacy of contribution to the world. This legacy should not be hijacked by rogue organizations. The world and the media should not do the injustice of associating the classics with the fake. What did this Muslim world look like from the inside? First, it was a civilization of kindness and empathy which supported other humans.

During the Great Famine in Ireland (1845 – 1852), a disease filled the potato plantations, which was the main food at the time especially amidst the poor. The harvest was severely affected that year; a lot of people died, and the Irish dubbed it as the Great Hunger. They say a million people died, and a million people fled from the famine. A million is a lot of people to die.

It isn’t that there wasn’t any food in Ireland; there was, but Ireland was subjugated by the English. A lot of property was owned by the English, so in order to pay for living on the land, the produce was sent back to England and the poor died in Ireland.

Eventually, news of this reached the Ottoman Caliph that Christian people were dying in Ireland out of poverty. Please help. This was the time when the Ottomans had some internal problems as well. However, the Caliph felt a huge sense of responsibility and out of his deep humanity, he promised: “I will send ten thousand silver pounds to Ireland.”

However, he was not a reckless ruler and recognized that Ireland was under the stewardship of Britain. He found out that the British queen Victoria was giving only two thousand silver pounds to help out Ireland.

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Justice in Islam

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By Tasneem Vali and Hafsa Ahmed – Freelance writers

The Justice of Allah (swt)

Allah (swt) is Supremely Just, His actions and decisions are based on His Justice and Wisdom, even though we may not comprehend them as such with our limited knowledge.

Sometimes this world seems unjust to us. A murderer may walk free, and even if he is punished, the punishment may not do justice to the severity of the crime he committed. How can a person, who murdered a 100 people, be brought to complete justice in this world? He cannot be put to death a hundred times.

Similarly, an innocent person may get wrongly accused and serve a lifetime in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Bad people may seem to be leading a great life, while good people are suffering.

That is why we, Muslims, believe that a day is fixed, when complete justice will be meted out. Its duration will be 50,000 years, and not an atom of good or evil will be overlooked. So refined will the justice of Allah (swt) be that not only the visible actions but also the hidden evil intent behind apparently good actions will also be taken into account.

Even animals will be given justice: the animals without horns will be given horns and a chance to have a go at the horned ones. Then, both will be reduced to dust. It was narrated from the Prophet (sa) that he said: “Allah (swt) will judge between His creation, jinn, men and animals. On that Day, Allah (swt) will let the hornless animal settle its score with the horned until, when there is nothing left to be settled, Allah (swt) will say to them, ‘Be dust.’ At that point the Kafir will say, ‘Would that I were dust.’” (at-Tabari)

The final culmination of Allah’s (swt) justice will be in the form of Paradise and Hellfire, where people will be rewarded or punished for their actions. However, Allah(swt) will forgive many and admit them eventually into His Mercy, as long as they believed in His oneness and His final Messenger (sa).

As His best creation, we must also uphold the quality of justice in our lives.

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Rebranding our Understanding of Justice

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By Hafsa Ahmed and Tasneem Vali – Freelance writers

In today’s world, branding is one of the most important marketing concepts of any product, person, business or advertising strategy. Islam’s branding strategy is ‘Adl (justice), which is a dominant theme throughout the Quran and the fundamental concept, from which all human rights evolve. In this article, we address the need to reconstruct our modern concept of justice, as defined by secular laws, and accept justice as an Islamic brand – the concept of ‘Adl.

“It’s not fair!” Most parents would agree this is the most frequently used phrase by their toddlers to get what they want. Although sometimes exasperating and mostly funny, it reflects the intuitive sense of justice in our young children, who have just learnt to speak. They have not yet been tainted by the world and indoctrinated into its system of justice and equality. Yet they call us out when something does not feel fair. As soon as it is disturbed or denied, this sense of balance sets of an alarm in us, no matter how young we are.

To reinforce and refine these innate human qualities of integrity, honesty and justice, Allah (swt) sent revelations and messengers. “And for every Ummah (a community or a nation), there is a Messenger; when their Messenger comes, the matter will be judged between them with justice, and they will not be wronged.”(Yunus10:47) Throughout his life, Prophet Muhammad (swt) served as a beacon of justice, guiding us to be fair and just, even when we are faced with unsurpassable injustices.

As Muslims, we must comprehend and implement this Islamic brand of justice in our individual and collective lives with as much fervor, as we fast during Ramadan. The presence of Dhulm or injustice must be as abhorrent to us as stealing or murder.

Allah (swt) repeats His command in the Quran in several places. “Verily, Allah enjoins Al-Adl (i.e. justice and worshipping none but Allah Alone – Islamic Monotheism)…” (An Nahl 16:90) “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor…” (An-Nisa 4:135). “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:8)

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The Prison Drive

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Before stepping into Karachi Central Jail for women and juvenile, my heart was racing. The melo-dramatic scenes from movies painted the most unwelcoming picture in my mind. Karachi’s April sweltering heat was no support either.

My first visit into a prison was arranged by an elderly philanthropist Mr. Salahuddin and another kind lady Yasmeen Apa, who have been committed to bring relief to the imprisoned for over ten years. Now Hiba has humbly joined hands with them to strengthen their mission, Insha’Allah.

The world inside a jail is very different from yours and mine. The very blessing of a life by choice is what is missing. We can shop for ourselves, choose to eat what the heart desires and buy the finest to wear. But inside a world, where you have been thrown behind the bars, most are forgotten. They live a life others choose for them, which is not very pleasant. The days seem long and empty. I cannot imagine what the nights would be like, especially in power outages.

Meeting the inmates, I discovered that some women were victims of circumstances, while others committed crimes in rage and in retaliation of oppression. There were also criminals by choice. But it was hard to tell by their faces, who was who. Most seemed desperate and pitiful. Everyone had a story. Some had hope for release, as their cases were under trial. Some had been sentenced for life and had no hope.

There were old and weak women. There were young mothers, who had delivered babies, while incarcerated. Some were middle aged. Some were in their early twenties. I met university post graduates, bankers, college students, home makers and illiterates.

The heart wrenching reality highlighted domestic violence, familial disputes, marital disharmony, broken love affairs and fraud contracts. Absence of justice was at the heart of every problem. And hence there was fury, disappointment and rebellion as a resulting emotion. In our glorious past, Muslim rulers brought justice to the common people as their number one priority. Since enforcing the law and dispensing justice is not important anymore, the fabric of Muslim communities is unweaving with all ugliness.

Hard efforts of responsible and sensitive citizens, such as Mr. Salahuddin, have borne some fruit. Together with Yasmeen Apa, he has established a sewing centre for women inmates to stich their clothing. Their young kids have a school to learn at. They also have monitored access to a computer and TV. He has set up an electric water cooler, had the walls painted and helped them keep the barracks clean.

Some other philanthropic organizations have arranged for Quranic Tafaseer and Tarbiyah programmes for the prisoners. As most inmates seem eager to reform and are happy to receive any kind word of advice or guidance.

Hiba has mainly taken up the mission to facilitate the following:

  1. Payment of bail and fines of deserving victims.
  2. Initial transportation of inmates and rejoining with their families after their release.
  3. Distribution of Quran and Sunnah based books and literature for character building.
  4. Supply and distribution of daily need products to inmates personally. This includes soap bars, detergents, unstitched clothes, toys for kids, etc.
  5. Arrangement of occasional meals and snacks.

The Quran states: “As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakat) are only for the Fuqara (poor) and Al-Masakin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds) and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam) and to free the captives and for those in debt and for Allah’s Cause (i.e. the Mujahidun – those fighting in holy war), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything), a duty imposed by Allah And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.)” (At-Taubah 9:60)

If any Hiba reader wishes to offer his/her Zakat for the prison drive, they can donate to:

Hiba Magazine

A/c# 0113-0100592984

Meezan Bank Karachi

For any queries, you are welcome to call:

021-35343757 or 0336-2806295 (9:00 am to 1:00 pm)

Rabbana Taqabbal Minna Wa Minkum. Ameen.

Exclusive Interview with Dr. Bilal Philips

IOU logo

  1. We often observe that Muslims hide behind their inefficiency by saying ‘Qadar Allah (swt)’. We know that trust in Allah (swt) demands time; however, people do not use their full potential and when they fail, they simply say that it was fate. What is the correct stand on this?

Well, no doubt their failure is Qadar Allah (swt) but it does not mean that Allah (swt) made them fail. They failed, because they did not do what was necessary to succeed. For Allah (swt) to have given them success despite their inefficiency or lack of efforts, then that would encourage us in that way. Hence, Allah (swt) may give to some people, who do very little, the success and those, who do a lot – failure. However, generally those, who are successful, have made considerable efforts, and those, who have failed, did not make the necessary efforts. It is a simple cause and effect principle.

Our efforts do have a role to play, and we are told to make the necessary efforts. In fact, the Prophet (sa) has said that Allah (swt) loves it that whenever we do anything, we do it to the best to our ability. Perfection or the best practice is a part of Islamic teachings.

 

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Tips to Improve Your Relationships

25 top five

  1. Trust is the crust. Be trustworthy. The Prophet (sa) was known as the ‘trustworthy one’ even by his enemies. Be honest and follow through on your words with your actions; don’t backbite, as it quickly erodes the trust.
  1. Invest with love. Focus on giving, instead of taking. Invest in the relationship, without keeping count or expecting anything back from the other person. Instead, expect your reward from Allah (swt), and Allah (swt) will put Barakah in the relationship.
  1. You feel, I feel. Show empathy. Step into the other person’s shoes and show them with your words and actions that you understand how they feel. When the other person feels understood by you, it will break down many barriers and take your connection to another level.
  1. Bridge the gap. Communicate with authenticity. Make it safe for you and the other person to speak openly at all times. Doing this respectfully will massively improve your connection and also reduce any resentments and misunderstandings that would have otherwise built up.
  1. To err is human; forgiveness is divine. Expect that others will make mistakes. On one occasion, the wife of the Prophet (sa) became jealous and broke a plate; he reacted with patience and forgiveness. Accept that the other person is human, just like you. Treat them how you would like to be treated.
  1. Pop the love balloon. Give what the other person needs. Each person feels loved through different things, whether that is through kind words, gifts or quality time. Find out what the other person’s love language is and fill them up with it.
  1. Dua for others means you care. Truly care about the person. Show concern for their Dunya and Akhirah. This also means that maybe times you need to give them advice, which may be difficult for them to hear. Make Dua for them and trust in Allah (swt).

Transcribed by Saneya Qadir

An Eye for an Eye

eye for an eye

When media reports about domestic violence, cases of acid throwing and setting spouses on fire, a hue and cry is raised for justice for the victims. Politicians proceed to pass this bill and that legislation, which never see the light of day, and the brutalities continue.

Allah (swt) states: “And we ordained therein for them: ‘Life for life, eye for an eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth and wounds equal for equal.’ But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it shall be for him an expiation. And whosoever does not judge by that which Allah has revealed, such are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers – of a lesser degree)” (Al-Maidah 5:45)

If only a wise soul could hand over the Quran to the current rulers and let them realize that a Muslim country does not require further legislation. The commands are crystal clear and only need to be implemented with courage and determination.

Any husband, who unjustly resorts to physical abuse, can be held by the state. The wife can avenge him for his mistreatment by demanding an equal punishment to be carried out by the ruler. Similarly, if a wife is the oppressor and causes harm to her husband, he can have the state carry out a similar sentence against her. Zulm or oppression must never be tolerated; otherwise, it spreads like a forest on fire. It is the nature of oppression that it does not take care of itself. It needs to be nipped in the bud.

And if the court of law (as is the case today) is unable to relieve the oppressed from her/his pathetic state, the elderly family members of both spouses must intervene for a just settlement. But in no case should the oppressed be left abandoned or alone.

Once, Anas’s (rtam) sister got into a fight with another woman. She physically assaulted her by breaking the woman’s tooth. The matter was taken to the Prophet (sa) for judgment. Quoting the Quranic Ayah, Allah’s Messenger (sa) ruled that the tooth of Anas’s (rtam) sister will be broken, too. To this,Anas (rtam) said: “By Allah (swt), this shall not happen.” Later the victim’s family forgave the culprit, and hence Allah (swt) answered to Anas’s (rtam) plea. His sister was saved.

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Introducing Justice and Fairness to Children

teaching justice to kids

Islam has given Muslims a set of values that were modeled with perfection by the last Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (sa). These values need to form the core of our character, because the best amongst Muslims is he, who has the best manners and character. The Prophet (sa) told us:“The dearest and nearest among you to me on the Day of Resurrection will be one, who is the best of you in manners; and the most abhorrent among you to me and the farthest of you from me will be the pompous, the garrulous and the arrogant.” (Tirmidhi)

As Muslim parents, it is our duty to inculcate these values in our children. The values we impart to our children today, consciously or unconsciously, will have a major impact on the Muslim Ummah tomorrow.  Justice and fairness is one such important value.

Justice and Fairness

Children’s understanding of justice and fairness is very different from that of adults. Children see black and white and are sometimes unable to understand or accept situations that don’t feel fair to them. Also, in their dealings with others, children have a hard time giving priority to being just and fair over what they desire.

Here are some ways to teach your children about justice and fairness:

Discussion Questions

This can be a preliminary exercise to the activities given below.

What does justice and fairness mean?Try to lead them to these answers:

  • Treating all people with honesty and respect.
  • Giving everyone equal opportunities.
  • Cooperating with one another.
  • Celebrating the uniqueness and value of everyone.
  • Making sure others are not treated badly.

Do you feel you’re treated fairly at home?

Are you treated fairly at school?

How do you feel, when someone treats you unfairly?

Is it okay to cheat for winning a game? Why or why not?

Do you think it’s fair your older sibling gets to stay awake later than you? (Or any other example pertinent to your family’ssituation.)

Relate to them some stories from the life of Sulayman (as), who was given the ability by Allah (swt) to make sound, fair and just decisions.

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A Child’s First Love – The Quran – An Interview with Mariam Apa

32 extra special

Abu Hurairah (rtam) narrated: Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “If Allah loves a person, He calls Gabriel, saying:  ‘Allah loves so and so, O Gabriel, love him.’ So Gabriel would love him and then would make an announcement in the Heavens: ‘Allah has loved so-and-so; therefore, you should love him also.’ So all the dwellers of the Heavens would love him, and then he is granted the pleasure of the people on the earth.

1. What are your basic qualifications and how did you initiate your Quran education?

I learned Tajweed, Tarjumah (translation), Tafseer, and Hadeeth from Madrasatul Banat Rasheed tul-Islam (Clifton branch) for six years. I have done several courses of the Arabic language with Sir Ibrahim and Sheikh Abu Khalid. In Madinah, I learned advanced level of Tajweed from the teacher of Masjid Nabvi. I did this in intervals over a period of three years and, Alhumdulillah, I am still learning.

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Add Barakah to Your Day Everyday

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Have you ever felt that you had a non-productive and lazy day, when you missed waking up for Fajr Salah and slept late till morning? There is a feeling of sadness, unproductivity, procrastination and somewhat loss of Barakah in the day, when you start your day late in the morning.

Who doesn’t want to spend a productive day, in which all the tasks are completed with ease? A day, in which you can feel Allah’s (swt) blessings, help and mercy are with you. You do not feel lazy and do not procrastinate. Well, the good news is – such a day is not a dream anymore!

Here are some tips to help make your dream day become a reality, Insha’Allah! The more regularly and completely you follow these, the more blessed day it will be.

  1. Wake up for Tahajjud

Set your alarm 20 to 25 minutes before Fajr, so you get hold of the most precious time of the night– the Tahajjud time! Preferably, offer Tahajjud prayer. If you are unable, then at least pour your heart out in making lots of Duas knowing that:

“The Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the night remains and says: ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer Him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will seek My forgiveness, that I may forgive him?’” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Seek forgiveness for your sins, make sincere and heartfelt repentance with a belief that Allah (swt) will forgive you and know that seeking forgiveness opens unimaginable ways for Barakah in life as well. Pour your heart out in Dua. Do not hold back –make Dua for all that is bothering you, for all that you wish in life. Pray for a blessed day ahead and be ready to have a blessed day, because you know that Allah (swt) always responds to what you ask for, especially in Tahajjud!

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Want a Happy Marriage?

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Allah (swt) says about marriage: “Waja Allah Baina Kum Ma Wadatan Wa Rehma.”You will find these beautiful words of the Quran applicable in all of your married lives. Allah (swt) says He put between you – between husband and wife – love, Mawadah, and it is passionate love. Allah (swt) says Mawadah Wa Rehma – love and mercy, because in the beginning of your marriage, you are very passionate and obsessed with your wife. You cannot think about anything else. When your friends call you, they go straight to voice mail, because you just got married and for about six months you are out of sight. But then, as marriage goes further, what is it that keeps it alive? Rehma – It’s the mercy towards your wife, mercy towards your husband, courtesy between you two.

A man comes to Umar (rtam) and says that he wants to divorce his wife. Umar (rtam) asks: “Why do you want to divorce your wife?” The man says: “I don’t love her anymore and I don’t find her attractive anymore.” So Umar (rtam) asked him: “Faina Raiaya?” What about the courtesy you owe to your wife?

Doesn’t she take care of your kids? Hasn’t she put up with you all this time? We, men, are very difficult creatures to put up with, and our wives put up with us, even if we say a couple of words here and there. In the end, they still put up with us. Right? Since they do quite a bit for us, we cannot just say: “Oh well, she doesn’t look like what I was imagining, when I didn’t lower my gaze and saw some things on TV. She doesn’t meet my expectations.” This is not a healthy attitude. If the believers watch their gaze, control their temptations and then they do the best with their wives, they will be the most satisfied and won’t have any temptations outside.

However, at the same time, sisters have to understand that Allah (swt) created men and women very differently. No matter from what background they come, for men, their biggest weakness is the same – women. In majority of cases, Allah (swt) has made women oblivious to this weakness of men, so they do not realize how bad it is. So when women read the Ayah about lowering their gaze, they say: “Oh yeah, I can do that. What’s the big deal? Why can’t men just lower their gaze?” They don’t understand the power of this desire that Allah (swt) put inside of us. The number one Fitna the Prophet (sa) fears for the men of this Ummah is what? Women, because it is a serious problem. So, if the wives understand that, then instead of condemning their husband, they would understand that the wife has a role of supporting her husband, and she can do that by warding temptations off from him, not by lecturing him.

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Meeting the King

Royal Gold Crown

“My best suit is out. I have my files with me. My presentation is ready. What else am I missing?” My husband pondered hard with a creased brow. I was staring at him from afar, amused at his meticulous preparation before meeting an important client. It just brought to mind, how conscious we generally are,before our meet up with someone significant or maybe someone who can bring a major change in our life.Be it a meeting with a prospective business partner, an appointment for a child’s admission into a school, a job interview or an interview for a club membership, we strive hard to make that first impression just right.

But how many times do we think of our meeting with the King of the worlds? How will it be? What will I wear? What am I going to utter? Where will it be? Will I be able to make that suave impression?

See, with people it is relatively easy because they just judge you for your veneer. They only know what is apparently produced in terms of results and reports. Thank God that they cannot read your inner fleeting thoughts. They are unaware of your real self and intentions. But Allah (swt) cannot be deceived. He knows His creation inside out. He is aware of our past as well as the future. Naturally, our effort for meeting Him should be tripled.

The Mother of the Believers Aisha (rtaf) said: “The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: ‘Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him, and whoever hates to meet Allah, Allah hates to meet him.’ I said: ‘O Prophet of Allah, do you mean hating death, for all of us hate death?’ He said: ‘It is not like that; but when a believer is given the glad tidings of the mercy and pleasure of Allah, and His Paradise, he loves to meet Allah. And when a Kaafir is given the tidings of the wrath and punishment of Allah, he hates to meet Allah and Allah hates to meet him.’” (Bukhari)

“Some faces that Day shall be Nadirah (shining and radiant). Looking at their Lord (Allah).” (Al-Qiyaamah75:22-23)

The people of Paradise will have a gathering with their Lord every Friday, on which they will have the blessing of gazing upon His noble countenance.

Denial or Heedlessness

But among our own ranks and families there are many individuals, who seldom talk about Allah (swt). Their lifestyle choices do not depict their belief in the Day of Standing. Their vision does not perceive beyond this materialistic Duniya. The Quran repeatedly has profiled such people with stern words and a very tragic end.

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DIY Tips for a Clear Skin

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  1. Homemade face wash

Mix gram flour (Besan) and turmeric powder (Haldi) in the ratio of 3:1 and put it in an air tight jar. When required, take 1 tbsp of this mixture add little water to mix then apply and rinse it off. For acne prone skin, add some drops of lemon juice, mix it well and apply – this will serve as a gentle cleanser.

  1. Natural moisturizer

Put in a bowl 4 tbsp of organic coconut oil (in solid form) and squeeze juice of 2 lemons into it. Whisk it, until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Keep this mixture in a jar and store in the fridge. Use this moisturizer after cleansing or a face wash.

  1. Blackheads removal

Mix 1tbsp of white toothpaste with 1 tbsp of baking soda and a little of water. Apply it on affected area, gently rub it with a clean, soft toothbrush for 2 minutes and then rinse it off.

  1. Green tea toner (best for acne prone skin)

Boil ½ cup of water, put in one green tea bag and let it sit until cool. Remove teabag and squeeze it out. Pour the tea into a bottle, add 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (unpasteurized is preferred), screw lid on tightly and shake the mixture. Your hydrating facial toner is ready! Use cotton pads to apply on skin after cleansing in mornings and at night time. Apply moisturizer when dried.

  1. Aloe Vera acne treatment

Take extract (transparent pulp) of 1 leaf of Aloe Vera. Now, take a small amount of it and rub it on your face. Leave it on the face for 10-15 minutes. Wash it off with cold water. Repeat this process daily to prevent and reduce acne.

Compiled by Hira Naqi

Motherhood vs. Teacher-hood

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I increasingly encounter cases upon cases of children with shattered confidence and broken personality issues, and most of them emanate from the tremendous desire of the mother to relinquish her “Mamta” (motherhood) role and assume the role of a teacher, for which she is singularly unequipped!

A child needs his mother’s motherhood more than her teacher-hood. In their enthusiasm to make their children smart, and under tremendous pressure from peers and schools, mothers in Pakistan are assuming more and more the role of a teacher at the expense of their motherhood role.

Motherhood is a natural role for the mother; however, the role of a teacher has to be learned and does not come naturally to everyone. Teaching requires aptitude, attitude, a soft nature, quest for knowledge, magnanimity, and hosts of teaching skills. These skills are in short supply even in those who have had formal training in teaching.

Why does the conventional teaching role conflict with the role of a mother?

The conventional teaching role is based on continuous monitoring of students: vigilantly guarding the space of the classroom, not allowing the students to talk or laugh, or move about, or go to the washroom, or drink water, or do anything without the teacher’s permission. The teacher tries to make the students totally dependent on her in the name of ‘maintaining class discipline’.

A mother’s role is starkly opposite. She naturally wants to encourage the child to talk and laugh more, be more independent, take charge of his own movements, get potty-trained earlier, go to the washroom on his own, eat and drink independently, socialize with other children, or in other words – not to be dependent on his mother.

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Reaping the Rewards of Ramadan

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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.

Time Management

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.

Worship

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

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.

Sharing

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.

Simplicity

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.