Make a wish list!

wish-listHandling kids in this technology era is not a piece of cake. We have to look after their needs and wants according to what the society has got for them. Also, greatest level of patience is required when we are opposing our children for something which is, undoubtedly, for their own betterment. Furthermore, we have to tell our children the advantages and disadvantages of technology- as one cannot escape the fact and figures around.

They come up with new ideas every day. Undoubtedly, the kids of this era are way more sagacious than we used to be at their age. Once, they start their nursery, they become more
brave and clever. These beauties with brains decide their dress codes and what they want for snack at school.

Just a few days back my son was telling me that he wants a black swimsuit like his friend and also a red water bottle. We must always listen to their demands and queries, but fulfilling each one of it is not a good idea.

Being parents, we must be careful about upbringing these precious pearls, so that they can become coolness of our eyes Insha’Allah. They should have the fear of Allah (swt) first and also the fear of parents. We should mould them in such a way that they should never hesitate in talking about their demands to us, and also ask Almighty Allah (swt) for help always. If they insist on taking a new model of x-box or a play station series or a pink laptop- don’t just hesitate or neglect their demands- rather, tell them that they have to pray to the Almighty Allah (swt) first who is seventy times more than a mother, and He knows what is best for us.

1. Ask for Allah’s (swt) help
Children should be aware of the fact that Allah (swt) is the Creator. He has created everything. All matters lie under His custody and He has the highest position. Moreover, He has absolute rights to distribute His wealth. We should always ask the Almighty for our needs and desires first
because nothing happens without His will. In the light of Ahadeeth, we can share this example that even when the shoe sole breaks, we have to ask Allah (swt) for help.
Besides this, we should also make it clear that whatever Allah (swt) decides for us is the best, and that we should not argue about it.

Parents can also tell them the Hadeeth about Dua which says that if a Dua is not fulfilled in the Dunya, Allah (swt) has got even better for you because He is Ar-Rahman.

2. Teach them right and wrong
Don’t let the children judge that you cannot fulfil their demands just because you cannot for some reasons; instead make the advantages or disadvantages clear about your decision. Tell them about the negativities about it, and that everything is good at a certain age. Also, don’t make promises; just tell them that as soon as they find it appropriate, and when the time will be right- you will try your level best to earn it.

3. Restrict their never ending list
Showering kids with lots of toys and getting all their demands fulfilled will not improve their character, rather weaken it. We should skip unnecessary demands of our children.

4. Take a look at the poor class
Very calmly just explain to your kids that a few people are even starving for the basic amenities of life. And Allah (swt) the Almighty has blessed us with a luxurious lifestyle. We should save a little bit of our pocket money to help the needy households. We can fix a specific amount to give every month which will ultimately reward us in the hereafter. This can only be done when we cut down our unnecessary expenses.

5. Count on your blessings
Allah (swt), the Almighty, has blessed us with health, wealth, family, education and so on. We ought to thank Allah (swt) for every breath we take. Hence, only listing down the things we are granted with will make us feel more thankful to our Lord.

Inculcating these habits in children will make them content in their lives; and hence, make them responsible individuals. Insha’Allah.

Shaikh Hussain Yee’s Words of Wisdom

paperpenDonning a brown shirt and a cap, the Sheikh was seated in the centre of “Fajr Academy’s” training room. His voice was tranquil yet firm, his face was radiant yet purposeful, his eyes scanned all across the room filled with teachers seated in awe before him. It was inspirational to be in his company and here is what he had to say:

As a Muslim

He is someone, who maintains a fine balance between physical, mental and spiritual needs. Why does a Muslim need to be like that? Well, if his body is weak, his mind is weak, too. And if his mind is weak, he cannot seek knowledge. And what is the best knowledge? That you can act upon right away. Why? It is because every person’s needs are different. Be proactive and be a part of the circle of people of knowledge. So you may ask them questions. That is the fastest way to learn your Deen. Also remember knowledge without action is not beneficial. Allah (swt) and the Prophet (sa) hate such individuals, who only listen but do not act upon what they hear.

As a teacher

At my educational centre in Malaysia, I teach my students that this is your home. Keep it clean and don’t litter around. I teach them to sweep the floor and wash the dishes, because this requires a special set of skills. It is an art to clean correctly; otherwise, you are just wasting soap and water. Your heart should be in it. Yes, something as insignificant as cleaning. The whole point is that whatever you do in Islam, you must be committed with your heart and soul. Also, don’t just be a Mualim or Mualimah. Be a Murabbi. The difference is that a Muslim comes and delivers the lecture and leaves unbothered. But a Murabbi imparts knowledge, monitors that it is implemented and keeps supervising, until it is properly imposed. Our Prophet (sa) was a Murabbi, too.

I teach my students to participate. I tell them that when Allah (swt) calls, you must respond. If you don’t, you are not the chosen one. Similarly, when I call you as a teacher, you must come willingly. When you will need me, I will be there for you too. We are a family. I have students who have become fathers and now their children come to me as students. So I am practically a grandfather of hundreds of children.

Your mind is a home for right knowledge. It is counter-productive to seek incorrect knowledge, as it corrupts and confuses your mind and thoughts and ultimately – your actions.

The best way to strengthen your soul is to perform DhikrAllah. Remember Him much. Recite:

“Rabbi Aainni Ala Dhikrika Wa Shukrika Wa Husni Ibadatika.” (An-Nisai)

(“O Allah (swt), help me to remember you, to thank you and to worship you in the best manner.”)

Why do we need Allah’s (swt) help in remembering Him, offering thanks to Him and worshipping Him? Why can’t we just do it on our own? Mainly because this only holds value if performed in the manner Allah (swt) commanded us to do and the Prophet (sa) taught us to do. We cannot please Allah (swt) in any self-created or self-innovated way. It may lead us and others towards misguidance unknowingly, and we might end up displeasing Him instead.

As a servant for community

The supreme manner to offer gratitude to Allah (swt) is to use your health, time, knowledge, and resources in His way. Each time you receive something from Allah (swt), know that it is time to give back by sharing with others. Everything the Lord (swt) granted to you is a Nai’mah (blessing).

Our community needs to be trained with patience. At my centre in Malaysia, my wife and I first clean the rooms before the initiation of any activity. Next, we put up signs around the rooms to educate people for different purposes and mannerisms. Even then many people fail to follow instructions and behave otherwise. They are insensitive to others. We take extra effort to correct Saf (rows) in the Jama’ah (congregation). I do not begin leading the prayer, until all the rows are straight, worshippers standing shoulder to shoulder and toe to toe with no gaps in between. I have a senior sister to signal me from among the ladies to begin, once the same has been achieved on the female side.

Also, significance of Jama’at (group) is very critical. When you are alone, you are exposed. Find creative ways to unite the Ummah. If you had been on the spiritual journey of Umrah or Hajj and had companions along, host gatherings every month, taking turns and inviting them. Your kids will learn the importance of being an Ameer and uniting the Ummah.

As a father

In today’s age, I will strongly advise fathers to remain a step ahead of their children – frisk their school bags and belongings discretely. If you ever find something objectionable, talk to them about the importance of honesty, without confrontation. If the child still conceals or lies, go another round of Ahadeeth and Quranic verses that highlight the dangers of lying. If the kid reveals the truth, which might be disturbing, do not yell at him/her. Otherwise that will be the last time the child will ever confide in you.

Muslim families must internalize the Asma-ul-Husna. Learn and bring into your discussion the ninety-nine names of Allah (swt) with your family. Allah (swt) should be present and not passive in your lives. And when you are gone, your children will remember Allah (swt) the same way you did at every step of their lives.

As a husband

Trust is the single most important ingredient of one’s marital life. My wife and I have no secrets. She remembers my passwords more than I do. At times, when I get any indecent message from unknown female talking rubbish, I show the message to her first, so that it doesn’t create any Fitnah between us. We simply ignore it and the problem takes care of itself. But if you keep secrets from each other, it has adverse effects later.

Also there needs to be a balance between Dawah and home responsibilities. If you have not taken care of the minimum at home and stepped out for community service, it will become a bone of contention and domestic disputes. Take care of your homes first and then the community.

Adapted by Rana Rais Khan from a talk held at “Fajr Academy” (Karachi)

Most common errors in bringing up Muslim children

generic-familyParents go through many hardships raising their children. Needless to say, they try to do their best to inculcate good values in them. However, in spite of all the effort, it is witnessed that conflicts accompanied by harsh behaviour become part of the day, especially after certain age. Parents love for their children is so over-powering that at times, the smartest of parents make the silliest mistakes. These mistakes are very common and can easily be corrected, Insha’Allah.

Right step at the right time

Introducing important things at the right age is extremely important. Times have changed drastically. Children grow up very fast. Islamic practices that are of paramount importance, such as offering Salah, wearing a scarf, covering of private parts, reading and understanding Quran and doing good deeds should be exercised as an integral part of growing up. Conflicts arise when a child is alien to Islamic practices and is told to make a 180 degree shift upon reaching puberty. It is a gradual process. Training children begins at the age of seven. It becomes gradually more intense between the ages of eight to eleven. The child must be a practicing Muslim at the age of eleven.

Actions speak louder than words

Parents teach good things to their children, such as controlling anger and respecting everyone, but fail miserably doing so themselves. Children will not do what they are told; they will always do, what they have witnessed. Parents need to become good Muslims first. Good practices by elders always bring good results in youngsters. Good can never come out of bad.

Wise selection to avoid rejection

Selecting the right resources for children is critical. Many kids find the conventional “Maulvis” and “Bajis” unimpressive. Once repelled, are very difficult to put back on the track. Hence, it is very important for a child to get impressed first in order to respect, understand and follow a teacher. Selecting a teacher, who is educated and also empowered with knowledge of Quran and Sunnah is a tricky part for parents. It is very easy these days to acquire lectures in English language on CDs or by downloading MP3s from the internet. There are several good scholars all around the world. Alhamdulillah. Any scholar, who speaks in the light of Quran and Sunnah only, is good.

Turning over a new leaf is not a cup of tea

At certain point in life, some parents are blessed with Hidayah from Allah (swt) and become religious. A person newly reverted to Allah (swt) is generally over charged with Iman. If reverts are parents, they would expect the children to become religious, too. There is nothing wrong in that, but it should be realized that it cannot happen overnight. This would be a gradual process, which would require a lot of patience. Parents should act intelligently, instead of emotionally.

By giving a good Tarbiyah, we equip our children to handle the burdens of life, and they have the tools they need to have for a successful afterlife. Parents must make prayers to Allah (swt) for children. They must realize that our work is making continuous efforts without losing hope, and Hidayah and results can only come from the Creator – Allah (swt).

Parenting in Violent Times – Teach Your Kids the Lesson of Peace

Islam-Peace-ReligionIf you ask any teacher involved in mentoring teenage kids in schools and colleges about the general character of their pupils, ‘Churlish’ is most probably going to be their unanimous rejoin. This churlishness is well replicated in our overall social conduct and no area in our societal landscape is empty from this churlishness. Whether it is religion, politics or culture, the violence has spread its wings all over the place. Sometimes, as a society we try to fool ourselves by branding it as “Foreign Propaganda “, but unfortunately, the approach of “putting a curtain” has badly intensified this malady and it has now gone fatal for our social and religious fabric. Where we can blame our state and politicians for their bad policies, on the other hand, we cannot also ignore the heedlessness of parents in protecting their kids from this social and ethical illness. Our strong family system is indeed a matter of pride for all of us and it provides us with a matchless tool to modify our social tendencies. The outcome will solely depend on how effectively and smartly we utilize this tool to get the desired results. Parents happen to be on the driving seat of a ‘’family car’’ and can easily steer the whole family either towards the ‘’danger zones’’ of violence or could drive them towards “lush gardens’’ of peace. Following are some proposed ways on how parents can train their kids to be peaceful and modest individuals:

  1.  Remote control your kids: Traditionally in a family, the TV remote control is kept with the Dad during prime time hours when all the family members gather before a television in their living room to enjoy some family entertainment. If you feed your young ones with violent Hollywood action flicks and Bombay Underworld based Bollywood movies on a daily basis, it will not be a surprise if your kids eventually distance themselves from Quran and Sunnah and learn the violent customs depicted in those movies. Do research and find appropriate channels and programs that can infest them with peace and love.
  2.  Give dialogue a chance: In my opinion, the violence in our society is mainly rooted in the fact that we do not want any difference of opinion and have forgotten to co-exist with different schools of thought. A society tends to have differences and will only sustain if it learns to bear it unreservedly. As a parent, you can teach your kid on how to deal with differences in a peaceful manner by engaging yourself in a dialogue with them on matters in which they differ with you. Like, for instance, if your son wants to study commerce and in your judgement engineering will suit him instead, rather than imposing your opinion on him try to explain the basis of your judgement and listen to him if he has stronger reasons. This dialogue will not only help your son to become peaceful but will also bring affability to your house.
  3. Do not shout, be kind: Mothers are extremely possessive and passionate about their kids and therefore lose calm as soon as anything goes slightly astray. Houses in the country rock with ‘Mama’s’ loud and powerful shouts that can be heard by every kid in the neighbourhood. Sometimes it also gets physical which has worse implications on the mental development of a kid. Mothers need to learn gentle ways to control their kids so that the kids grow up as more confident and serene. If this motherly aggression is not controlled, resultantly our clerics and politicians will continue to be aggressive in their speeches and conduct.
  4. Serve them peace, use a dining table: Keeping in view the contemporary hectic lifestyle in which parents do not have the luxury to spend a lot of time with their kids, dinner is the only time when you can pull a healthy conversation with your kids. Inspire them by reflecting on the life of our Prophet (sa); expand on his compassion and forgiveness. Teach them how dialogue averts devastation and wars open doors to chaos and mayhem. In return of their favourite deserts, ask them to contribute towards the conversation and share their ideals of peace and love.
  5. The kitchen strategy: Many studies have indicated the affects of food on personality building. The excess of meat makes a person more violent and aggressive while the use of vegetables bends a person towards docility and modesty. Follow a proper diet plan that should comprise different sources i.e. fish, mutton, beef, chicken, and vegetables distributed equally. Keeping in view the economic and health benefits, use vegetables more often than meat. It will not only improve the physical health of your kids but will also help in boosting calm in them.
  6. Nip the violence in the bud: The early years of a kid are the most important in his personal development and are the high time when parents need to play their role. They need to be attentive of any growing inclination in them towards a violent way of life. Analyse, where they go wrong and mentor them duly. Talk to the school teachers and get their feedback on kid’s personality. Your hard work will reward the whole society with peace and prosperity.

The existence of human civilization and its progress is hidden behind our ability to remain peaceful and modest. Deviance will bring with it lethal implications for our societies and cultures. It is extremely important to keep our cultures and religions unpolluted from violence and extremism. Keeping in view the milieu of Pakistani Society, family is the basic unit and is normally governed by parents. Therefore parents need to act as role models of peace and gentleness and teach their kids to be peaceful and tolerant. This will help the society to change its current character of aggression and can restore itself to its original fabric of harmony and co-existence.