Lives and Legacies of Fathers and Sons

4 lives legacies of fathers sons

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” (Pablo Picasso) But how do people find their gifts? Allah (swt) inspires hearts through different means. Some are motivated simply by observing the magnificent signs of Allah (swt) in His creations. Others are guided by the turn of events in their lives. Yet for some it is the role models around them that lead them to a higher purpose.

When we explore the men in our history, almost all of them are found to be leading their kith and kin to higher lives. It was not their mission to earn careers and leave behind monetary legacies. It was their centre of focus to raise a child who was God-fearing, chivalrous, and intelligently serving the community. And many of them naturally began with their own sons, students, or subjects. Following are some incredible stories and incidents:

  1. Motivation for memorization

Ibrahim Ibn Adham narrated that his father offered him one Dirham to memorize one Hadeeth as a reward.

  1. Naseehah from a child

A boy came to Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz (rtam) with a group and started talking. Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz asked (rtam): “Is there any elder person in your group?” The boy replied: “A man is known by his heart and tongue not by his age. Otherwise, you would not have been the Khalifah.” Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz (rtam) agreed: “You are correct. Please proceed.” This boy was eleven years old. At the end of the conversation, Umar (rtam) said: “Give me some Naseeha.” The boy did.

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A 9-year-old’s stress


Summer vacation was over and the kids had just returned to school, starting their new session. It was still the first week in their new grades. One particular mother was having trouble putting the children onto an earlier bedtime schedule. Marium, her 9 nine-year-old would especially not co-operate. No matter what mum said and did, Marium would not just budge. Exasperated, mum requested her husband to take over before she ended up in an ugly tussle with their daughter. Following is the conversation between father and daughter:

Dad: “Marium, sweetheart, I want to talk to you. Mum is saying you are not co-operating much. Is something the matter? It seems like something is eating you.”

Marium: “I’ve got a lot of worries!”

Dad: “Really, well let me hear them all. Let’s talk in your room.”

Dad and Marium head to Marium’s room. Twenty minutes later dad comes out of the room smirking to himself.

A bewildered mum asks: “What happened?”

Dad: “Nothing. I put her to bed.”

Mum: “Just like that?”

Dad: “I wrote down her worries.”

Mum: “And?”

Dad: “And I read them back to her.”

Mum: “Then what happened?”

Dad: “I promised her that I will help her tackle her issues on the weekend. She put her list under her pillow, changed into her night suit and went to bed.”

The next morning when mum was changing Marium’s bedsheets, her list fell to the floor. Here’s what it said:

What’s worrying Marium?

  1. Messy closet and bedroom. She has to share her room with her younger sister Alyah who is a 4-year-old, not willing to put any stuff back in its place.
  2. Great deal of work at school and plenty of thick books to carry.
  3. Having trouble understanding the new Math chapter.
  4. Needs more spending allowance for school snacks as prices have hiked since past term.
  5. Lost brand new pencil case in school.
  6. Some younger kids in her school bus are naughty and irritating.
  7. Has no decent pair of sandals to wear to her best friend’s upcoming party.

Mum smiled as she read the note. She realized that as grownups we assume that only we have real troubles in life. It’s easy to forget that children can have them too. And just like us, they need someone to listen and take their worries seriously. For an adult they may sound childish and petty. But for a child they mean the world: a world they live in. The worst thing that an adult can do is dismiss or ridicule a child’s sentiments, terming them as senseless or wrong. As they say, you do not teach swimming to a drowning person. When listening to worries, just hear them out. Discussions can ensue at a later time. By then, some issues have already taken care of themselves and some are more open to be talked about.

“Children need to hear an unqualified acceptance of their emotions of the moment. A response that conveys full understanding without reservation or judgment empowers young people and grants them the courage to begin to deal with their problems.” (Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish)

Adapted from “How to talk so kids can learn”    

Culturally Yours

culturally yours

By Tasneem Vali – Architect, Academic Coordinator and Freelance Writer and Umm Amal – Freelance Writer

Wikipedia defines ‘cultural Muslims’ as being religiously unobservant: “People who identify themselves with the Muslim culture, because of family background, personal experiences or the social and cultural environment in which they grew up.” They are born into a Muslim household, but do not tread the path of self-discovery. The world is alluring to them, and they think it is not worth their while to explore why they are Muslims.

“O You who believe! Enter perfectly in Islam and follow not the footsteps of Shaitan (Satan). Verily! He is to You a plain enemy.” (Al-Baqarah 2:208) Allah (swt) commands that we commit ourselves totally to the way of life that Islam preaches. It does not allow us to deliberately reject an aspect of Islam, because we think it is outdated or rigid, only to accept another part we like and think is easy to practice. Entering Islam absolutely means that we have to follow its teachings without any exceptions and without any reservations.

The culture of Islam is universal. It means if adultery is a sin in Afghanistan, it is a sin in Germany, too. If gambling is prohibited in Saudi Arabia, it is prohibited also in Las Vegas. On the Day of Judgement, all people will be judged by the same standards. There won’t be a separate code of conduct for Muslims and non-Muslims. But Allah (swt) also celebrates diversity in many ways. For example, we all look different, speak in various languages, and possess unique abilities. Muslims all across the globe fast for 29-30 days but may enjoy their Iftar with Samosas or Hareesa or pancakes, etc. All are Halal and culturally relevant to Muslims belonging to different parts of the world. Where they unite is when they all pick up dates first at the call of the Adhan to follow the Sunnah to break their fast. This is the best amalgamation of Islam’s universal culture and a Muslim’s indigenous roots.

Similarly, Allah (swt) says: “O You who believe, eat of the lawful things that we have provided you with, and be grateful to Allah, if it is indeed He Whom you worship.” (Al-Baqarah 2:172) In this verse, we receive an important guideline about our sources of income: We must ensure our source of income is Halal (permissible) and blessed and it does not come from a prohibited (Haram) source. Thus, if we think as cultural slaves that an income earned through Haram activities, which might make a person wealthy and famous, is acceptable, we need to remind ourselves that the line between Haram and Halal is clear. There is no concept of Robin Hood in Islam; the end does not justify the means.

A trendy practice for show business stars is to thank and praise Allah (swt), and hold Him responsible for their successes, glory and honourable standing in society! Experience and common sense tells us that the lifestyle of entertainment contradicts most of the Quran and the Sunnah, in terms of illicit relations, drinking, shameless talk and attire. These are the signs of the transgressors, not those of the true believers.

Nevertheless, the road to Allah (swt) remains open: “And (commanding you): ‘Seek the forgiveness of Your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant You good enjoyment…” (Hud 11:3).

We have been invited to move from the darkness into the light. There are numerous examples of people giving up a disbelieving lifestyle for Allah’s (swt) pleasure. We have the examples of Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam) and Junaid Jamshed, the owner of a clothing line and in the process, a trendsetter in his own right. When he advertised his clothing line, he did not use models; a year later, other fashion houses emulated his concept. The latest ‘cultural Muslim’ coming of age is Shiraz Uppal, who tweeted, “There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in the way your Creator wants it to be spent.”

If we admire any celebrity or icon, we can email or send them inspirational and informative write-ups as soft Dawah. Who knows? Maybe they have never had a conducive environment or access to the truth, and we become their means to salvation. Allah (swt) always has a way out. We must recognize that we have a serious crisis of self-esteem and should use Islam to improve our understanding of the ‘approved’ way of life. It is crucial that we enshroud ourselves with Islam, step out of the cultural enslavement, and become one of those who submit to Allah (swt).

“[Our Sibghah (religion) is] the Sibghah (religion) of Allah (Islam) and which Sibghah (religion) can be better than Allah’s? And we are His worshippers.” (Al-Baqarah 2:138)

A Loser’s Gain

Image courtesy

Image courtesy

By Umm Ibrahim and Umm Amal – Freelance writers

Without exaggeration, we live in a time of economic hardship. With costs and prices spiralling upwards, even the ones who are generally well-off think twice before spending. It is quite natural for the budget to go awry every month, and the savings’ pool to decrease. Most of the individuals and families have thought of numerous and creative ways to save money and make the most of their earnings. However, there are quite a few techniques that do not, in the long run, save anything. Seemingly, they increase one’s income; however, they take all the Barakah out of it. Following are some of those techniques to beware of:

Investment Schemes Involving Interest

With a myriad of banks offering attractive investment packages with ‘certain’ fixed return, it is quite hard to shrug off the temptation to invest one’s savings. However, one must remember that all forms of interest are strictly forbidden. The same goes for buying houses, cars, laptops and the like on lease, which involves interest – on the face of it, you are saving money; in reality, you are incurring the severe wrath of Allah (swt), as per the following verse:

“Those who eat Riba (usury) will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaitan (Satan) leading him to insanity. That is because they say: ‘Trading is only like Riba (usury)’, whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Riba (usury). So whosoever receives an admonition from his Lord and stops eating Riba (usury) shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allah (to judge); but whoever returns [to Riba (usury)], such are the dwellers of the Fire – they will abide therein.” (Al-Baqarah 2:275)

Investment Schemes Without Investigation

This applies to the investment schemes of Islamic banks. Before you invest your money, you must find out where the Islamic bank itself is investing this money. If it is investing in the stock market (bay-trading) or other interest-based schemes, do not take the risk of investing there. Instead, choose an Islamic bank or scheme that invests in short-term government loans or securities that do not involve interest at any level.

Profiteering Techniques

If you own a business or are in a leadership position in one, you need to watch out for selling low quality or expired products and extracting one to two hundred percent profit out of customers. Hoarding products, creating an artificial shortage and fleecing the customers are again counter-productive. Understand that if the outcome of your business deal does not create a win-win situation for you and your customer, it is unfair and involves impermissible earnings.

Denying Inheritance

Family members need to be extremely careful about fair distribution of inheritance. Denying or delaying inheritance to deserving family members causes greatest rifts among blood ties; loss of Barakah is a natural outcome.

Withholding Charity

It is so tempting to cut down on welfare spending on an individual level – however, one must continue to give as much Sadaqah as one can even if it means curbing one’s own needs along the way – not doing so is again counter-productive towards increasing one’s Rizq.

In short, one may witness an increase in income by Haram means, but Allah (swt) decreases it by some other means which people are unable to see, like loss of health, disobedient children or spouse, earning of dishonour or mistrust, lack of peace in life, constant material loss, etc. Also, the level of pleasure keeps decreasing with an increase in Haram income. This further drives the individual on the misguided path to further seek satisfaction from prohibited sources. The end result is that one loses out in both the worlds.

Fast or Feast?


Before visiting any fast food outlet or restaurant, either for Suhoor or Iftar, ask yourself the following questions:

1)      What is my purpose of visiting? Am I going because of an important family occasion or is it simply a mixed gathering of my classmates that can easily be avoided?

2)      Will the venue comply with the sanctity of Ramadan? Will it be free of music, for instance? Will it ensure that the Dua for breaking the fast is recited, either over the speakers or through the television?

3)      What is the cost per head? It is Ramadan and each good deed will have multiple rewards. Do I think that this money could be given to a deserving individual or organization?

4)      Is the Iftar menu simple? Or does it contain twenty plus dishes, which will make me indulge, eat too much, delay my Maghrib prayers and make me too lethargic to perform the Taraweeh prayers properly?

5)      After having eaten out, will I remember that this is Ramadan and the whole point is to rise above food, instead of feasting at the end of the day?

6)      Ramadan is the time to train the soul. Will this feast fulfill the essential purpose of this month or further deteriorate the state of your soul?

7)      How many examples of lavish feasts have been cited from the life of our Prophet (sa) and his companions during the month of fasting?

Compiled by Umm Ibrahim and Umm Amal