Seeds of Tomorrow

seedlings-wallpaperHolding and caressing a baby in the arms is one of the most emotionally fulfilling experiences in life. Then watching a baby grow and thrive is the most rewarding feeling one can ever get. Getting to know a newborn baby in the first few days and weeks is also a thrilling experience, which reaches far more than just caring for his daily needs. It’s like a new chapter of life, in which the baby is the main actor. The baby learns about his parents, the family and the surroundings. He learns to speak his cutely incomplete words “Ma” “Didi” and a variety of others. It is an unforgettable time for the whole family watching a tiny person making sense of the world around him, and his cute gestures are captured for a lifetime.

As this seed grows into an individual through this beautiful experience of caring, parents also develop a sense of maturity and responsibility.

“Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world…” (Al-Kahf 18:46)

Children are a source of vigour to the heart, joy to the soul and pleasure to the eyes.  They allure us towards worldly life. Many parents forget the need of proper upbringing of their children, because of their intense love for them; deviating from the right parenting techniques, fulfilling their children’s wrong desires and demands. More than material items, children want time and love from their parents.

Parents are like teachers for their children. If teachers wish to succeed in providing the curriculum in a disciplined and safe environment, they spend time on preparing a lesson plan. Likewise, a parent’s long-term plan is absolutely vital for the development of a child’s physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual life. We all do some planning in our life subconsciously, but tend to ignore that for our after-life investment, because we are so much busy in worldly gains. Those, who plan for efficient parenthood, are eventually rewarded and become proud parents of their shining stars.

The importance of nurturing children is similar to plants in the nursery. The culmination of a plant is a healthy tree with flowers and fruits. Parental care here does not simply mean providing children with good food, dress and shelter. It includes proper education, the inculcation of good behaviour and attitude towards human beings and other creation. Those, who create havoc in the society and become a menace to humanity are generally known to have unfavourable upbringing.

a parent’s long-term plan is absolutely vital for the development of a child’s physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual life.

Unique Child-Parent Relationship

Parents need to change their approach, as the seed is growing slowly and gradually into a beautiful flower – from nurturing the baby to a teenager, and finally a grown up. When I was a teen, I experienced the worst of my mood swings. From extreme happiness to bleakness and bewilderment, all my emotive mood swings were perfectly handled by my parents. As a teenager, when I was too pre-occupied looking at myself in the mirror for hours, conscious about looking beautiful, my clothes and my skin, my parents often used to get annoyed; but it wasn’t deliberate, and finally they started to understand. I had always boasted to my mother, “You don’t understand me!” and she used to respond “My dear, it’s an experience of forty-eight years of my life; I have seen the brutal realities that you haven’t. I may not understand you, and I’m sorry if you’re unhappy, but I can’t see you like this.” This way my mother expressed her immense care and love.

I had the magical feeling and thinking, “It will never happen to me!” whenever my mother would narrate a few of her experiences regarding life. Belief in this magic always made me feel: how can anyone betray you if you truly love him? And my brother always thought he can safely drive in a daredevil manner. But, unfortunately, I was always wrong; whatever my mother said was like an interpretation of the future, which always came true. And, then I used be like, “Oh my Allah (swt), this is exactly what my mom told me.”

So my dear readers, if you ever start thinking your parents are a pain, or that they get in the way, then you lose. Because, when you put your parents in an old folk’s home and forget about them, you can be sure that your kids will put you there one day as well and forget about you. Islam instills into us love and care for our parents, because they helped us take our first step, nurtured us and cared for us like diamonds. The Holy Quran says:

“And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.” (Luqman 31:14)

Back to My Deen

jankie / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

And that was the moment of dawn. I had always been negative about my family being too pressing about practicing the Deen; even the very minute details of it. Sometimes, I felt it just got too hard on me. I – being a typical teenager, studying the typical academic curriculum in a typical academy. Yes, I was no different from the typical Karachite teenager girl. My family wasn’t that typical though; they were conscious Muslims, pushing me onto the As-Sirat-e-Mustaqeem to their best, while I stayed persistent in my search for new excuses to fend away their instructions.

All praise to Allah (swt) only, the blissful day came, when I finally agreed upon getting enrolled in an Islamic institute for a formal Islamic education. At the time of admission, I was a tad bit distressed to see the staff wearing a scarf and gown, scurrying about. The very thought of picturing myself in the same attire was quite nabbing. Since I had missed out on the orientation day, the management offered me to join that day only so as to avoid missing out on the following day’s work. I hesitantly agreed and was led to the lecture hall.

The air inside was grasping. Hardly a moment after my entrance, the period was signalled over by the mesmerizing recitation of the Quran, resonating through the insulated walls. And much to my disbelief, the only sound that reverberated in the midst of the recitation breaks was that of ruffling bags and a soft thump of books being placed against the desks. Not the slightest of whisperings could be heard from the tired dozens, nor could I spot them mouthing signals to each other. All I saw was a multiple pair of hands raised to their chest level, eyes focused upon them, mouths vibrating to the playing audio. As the Dua finished, I looked around and found the most charming and polite girls in such a big number altogether; they filed out neatly for some other activity. I joined them up, my heart trembling with the uncertainty the future is impregnated with.

The next two days proved to be of some of the best days that I treasure. All around me were girls fairly my age, exhibiting lovely smiles and offering lively Salams. Although, I would feel odd amongst them intermittently, the feeling was not that much dominant, and I was often at ease. They all seemed to be a part of one family, and I – a newcomer to them. Basically, the general impression that I perceived was that they all belonged to highly religious, dedicated families, even more than mine, and were perseverant Muslims as individuals.

Days passed, and the new month began. The van fee was due by the fifth of that month. My dad dutifully cleared the charges well in time. On the morning of the fifth, as I sat with my new friends in a circle before the lessons started, the talk was casually diverted to our social problems. I was much taken-aback and awed, as I intently learned the mind-boggling scenarios they were captured in. One of them, a fresh-graduate dentist, lamented about her dad’s resentful attitude towards her Islamic affiliation. He termed her as an ‘extremist’. Another eighteen-year-old narrated with sagging shoulders but gleaming eyes: “My dad already has big problems with my scarf. I wonder the shock he’ll be in, when he sees me veiled, Insha’Allah.” A third one had a similar story, too. “My parents reckon I’m going wacko with my veil and gloves and shoed feet, compared to my previous exhibition of the latest fashion, they totally think so.”

Before it got too long, I shot an inquisitive look at the many distressed, endeavouring souls and inquired plainly: “Err, I can empathize with you. I mean, I really feel sorry for you, but surely, they are your parents and they love you and all, so it’s just a bunch of intimidating responses for the time being, right?” The dentist managed a hoarse snort-kind-of-laugh and explained: “The time being? I wonder if it would ever end before the finish of this course. Do you know we’ve been holding off the van driver for our fee payment these past five agitating days? Can you imagine the utter shame and abashment we get drenched in, as we walk out of our bungalows each morning, the driver’s judging gaze whipping us up expectantly, his tongue going haywire inside his mouth, as he resists an accountability from us, the luxury of our shipshape houses mocking at our failure to produce a skimpy amount of fee for our daily conveyance, just because our parents are adamant to have us leave this place.”

The mesmeric recitation began, and I was cut short. I thanked Allah (swt) for His countless blessings upon me, and for the timely commencement of the Tilawah, for I was lost speechless. And that precise moment, it dawned upon me that all through my life, I had been a Muslim by chance, rather, by force. With the Ameen of the Al-Fatiha echoing in my ears deafeningly, I solemnly pledged to myself to become a Muslim by choice – a choice that only the chanciest of people get to avail.