Successful Parenting in the West – Dr Yasir Qadhi

Successful Parenting in the West Shaykh Yasir Qadhi
4th April 2019 – Manchester, Read Foundation Dinner (Paraphrased)
chirp
Family, family, family. The family is one of the greatest blessings given to humanity, if Allah didn’t want to give this gift He wouldn’t have. When Allah told the angels that humans will be created, he used the word Khalifa which is often mistaken for meaning vice-regent, but its technical definition means a generation that will keep on replicating, the regeneration of families, because the angels don’t have to have these, the angels don’t have families they don’t marry other angels and have children. The same angel that was created millions of years ago is the same angel that will exist till the end of times. But humans recreate a generation that regrows and looks after each other we are created differently from the angels. We are a nation of families, we are species that Allah has created in a different manner to angels, that why Allah mentions the word Khalifah. The talk today is short and significant about raising children in the west, I’m going to share some benefits that I have myself learnt and acquired from the experience I have.  I have 4 kids and three are teenagers so I want to share with you 7 rules from my own reading and research. Anything good I share is from Allah(SWT) and anything else is from Shaytaan and me.
First Rule – There are no rules.
Anybody that tells you they have the magic solution on how to be a better parent is lying, simple as that. Anybody that promises you that if you follow this piece of advice and I can guarantee that your children will come out like this, that advice is lying, miskeen. One famous child psychologist wrote a famous book about this, and that he had a PhD from Harvard etc. that before I had any children I had 6 theories about how to raise kids, now I have 6 kids and 0 theories. There are no rules to, nobody can guarantee or promise you that this technique will make your kids better, or more Islamic there is more educated. This also explains why the Quran and Sunnah don’t come with detailed manuals on parenting; there is more in our books about fiqh of wudu and Salah than about how to be a parent. That is not because astaghfirullah Allah intentionally left it out, it is because parenting is something you learn as you go along. It is child-sensitive and parent sensitive. It’s unique. How you raise one child will not necessarily be the same as how you raise the second child. It is something you learn on the job, and the training is your own life. So even the shariah does not have specific guidelines.
There is no massive book that can be written but because advice has not been recorded in prophetic traditions, also they are culture sensitive what works in one culture might not work in another culture, and what works in one neighbourhood might not even work in the house. So there cant be no manual, It’s just general generic advice, that can be universal, that you have to think about contemplate and adapt too, that’s the first rule.
2.        The second rule is responsibility begets actions and knowledge begets responsibility.
The goal is to be a better parent that’s conscious that you are responsible in eyes of Allah, every parent should want to study and learn. Knowledge of the deen and Dunya. Benefit from Islamic advice when your education will raise awareness that will raise responsibility that will create better parenting. Some parents spend time in one thing but neglect other duties fathers concerned about one aspect like making sure they work all hours and have money for their children which is important, and mothers are always worried about whether you are fed or warm and have a jumper on. Both are concerned about something else, who is concerned with the spirituality of their children most parents only realise when it’s too late then go to the mosque to the Imam asking what went wrong, the answer is what did you do for the last 15 years both parents mothers and fathers are responsible for the spiritual welfare of your child.
You need to have fear of God in your hearts that Allah will ask me and you about our children
If we don’t have love and fear in our hearts of Allah, If you truly love your children you would provide for their spiritual wellbeing
What did you do to uplift their spirituality? Our ancestors came from another country even if parents weren’t religious the society and culture forced you to practice Islam and go to jummah and there were safety mechanisms place, to ensure your child was looked after.
In this country, there are no safety mechanisms. We are so concerned about their physical upbringing but are we not concerned about their akhirah.
Rule 3 – Actions speak louder than words
Lead by example not by words. By helping your children you need to help yourself first. Exemplifying the values of our faith you need to embody them in yourself. Your actions have to be consistent in your whole life.  If there were to be a secret to who I am today, it’s my parents people want the kids to be like. Me I’m a nobody.
When I think of my parents I always see my mums face in the Quran, I remember her always reading the Quran as we were growing up. My dad always in the community, he built the first mosque in Houston in the 60s. I subconsciously grew up with this and took it in with me. They didn’t have to tell me to do this and that, I saw them doing it, I have the love of the Quran in my heart because I saw my parents with the Quran. It came with the home ambience that Allah blessed me with a child
When I was growing up sometimes, we lived where there was no mosque nearby. Typically one salah Maghrib my dad would lead in salah as a family.  10 years Mecca and Madinah I read maghrib and isha In the harams. But when I came back there were no mosques nearby.  Subconsciously, I started replicating with my kids with toddlers behind me what I saw my dad doing as I grew up, I started leading the Salah at home with my toddlers behind me. I realised then, this act came from what upbringing my dad gave me.
You need to show your kids what you want them to be in yourself. You need to change your life if you expect your kids to change. For the sake of your children lead a better life. Contemplate if you are truly a role model.  We are all sinners but we have to strive.
4.        Rule 4 – Your family generally needs your time. More than your money
I say this especially to those that work so hard and we leave the house for so long that we think in our promotions and paycheck that’s what my kids need, which is in important too but there has to be a balance, they need that but taking time out for their children is what they need the most.
Taking time out for your family, don’t trivialise spending time with your children. A book by Gary Chapman 5 languages of love for children. Strongly encourage you to get this book.
The child to be healthy and loved, that the physical touch of human nature is important. There is a hadith of the Bedouin seeing the prophet with his grandsons kissing and picking one and playing with them, and the Bedouin is shocked  because in culture you seem more macho and manly if you don’t show affection to your children,  and he asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) about this, and the prophet said:  ‘what can I do if Allah has taken mercy and tenderness from your heart.’
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) played with the kids several times. Even in Salah with the prophet, the Prophet made the sajood longer because a baby was on his back. The prophet Led in salah with a baby in hand and delivered the khutbah imagine your local imam or sheikh doing that.
Secondly, he says in the book to use words of affirmations we love putting our kids down, especially in some cultures. Words of encouragement are good, we should criticise our kids at home in private.
Don’t belittle. Also, they will be the actions of acts of service you show them and rewards them with gifts.
Rule 5 – Be careful who your friends are.
Your friends will influence your children. They will influence your children and their children will influence your children. Birds of a feather flock together. Islam isn’t just road, you don’t just memorise Islam, and it is a lived experience. What do you do in your spare time, connect with a community and mosque community.  Once a week twice a week they should know the mosque, they should know the mosque community. It should be the ambience of the home.
Rule 6 – Pray WITH and FOR your family.
Pray with your family as jamaah at least once a day, make a salah, you lead it doesn’t matter how bad your tajweed, or how you say waladhaleen. Allah will still reward you and give barakah to your family.
And pray for your family ask yourself when the last time you prayed for your children was that Allah guides them
The Prophets (peace and blessings be upon them) made so many duas from their tongues for the children, if they as Prophets (peace and blessings be upon them) had to make dua for their children, then who are you and me.
It should be the regular and number one dua on your list. If you don’t make dua for your children, who else will. All these prophetic duas from Ibrahim etc are for you, that is Allah giving you the duas to make for your children.
Rule 7-  Do the best you can and leave the rest to Allah.
It’s Allah’s qadr look at Prophet Nuh (peace and blessings be upon him) was he a bad father no but look at his son, and look at Ibrahim (peace and blessings be upon him) and his father was Azhar but he had a son like Ibrahim (peace and blessings be upon him).
There are cases where kids are so away from Islam, for example, a family friend of ours, his son left Islam, which broke his dad’s heart, then after his father death then he repented and took the shahdah again because of the upbringing he remembered. That fathers dua was answered after he died.
The result is Allahs not yours.
Here we are talking about tarbiyyah of children and some parents don’t have the luxury to provide tarbiyyah of children in developiung countries, then someone has to or something has to take its place.CLoud
Question and Answers
1.      What do you do if your local mosque does not have a facility for women?
Not only having a section in the mosque a part of Sunnah, in this day and age, in this society not having it is problematic.
How do you expect women to prepare the next generation, if you take away the umbilical cords of community and Islam from them. Our women should be welcomed in the mosque, they are the future mothers of our next generation
Our women are going everywhere, shopping centres, university etc but the one place they need to be they aren’t allowed.  People quote hadith etc about them not being allowed in the mosque which is of opinion too but times have changed.  People should put positive pressure on mosques. Positive pressure is not negative. A number of the masjid in America have 4 halls, one major for brothers, one for sisters, one connected to the sisters’ soundproof room for women and children,  and one with brothers with children.
2.      My child suffers with anxiety and depression, what can I do?
Listen carefully, everyone has their speciality and people who study Islam, are not equipped to deal with anxiety, give everyone their right and haq of knowledge and only ask Imam and Sheikhs questions to do with their expertise
Go to a trained therapist, Imams will make matters worse, linking it to a child’s Iman, and this can lead to depression and suicide, which we know is increasing.  I speak as someone who trained for ten years at one of the best institutes in the world on Shariah and did not do one course on psychiatry.
3.    What is your advice on LGBT provision expected?
This is a deep and sensitive question that requires a lot of time that I don’t have.  As Muslims we are dealing with a crisis the like of which we have not dealt with before especially this issue.  As Muslims we lash with our internal and moral and external compasses
Outsiders of our faith accuse us of double standards when we want to we invoke the principle of mutual respect and tolerance but when it goes against we don’t like it.
There was a Christain mother in Alabama who didn’t want her child to study one chapter about Islam about the 5 pillars, we as muslims react with outrage what’s wrong with knowing about Islam and not reacting.  We always say live and let live.
Likewise, when our children are studying something we are critical of it.  Your child will live in a society where in order to live, it should have general knowledge of what’s going on. We are only reactionary we are not visionary, we only react. When emotions are so high intellect ceases to exist.  Our logic is integrally flawed. Our mosques and madrasah need to step up.  It’s not as though our children don’t need to learn about Sex Education. What provision are we providing them in this society and if we don’t agree with it, we need to think about where we are living and our surroundings.
We should engage and challenge things in an intellectual professional way and if not learn from those not of our religion but with similar backgrounds and beliefs on how to tackle these issues.

Not bothered!

Once upon a time, there was a boy called Ahmed.
Ahmed was never bothered 😕
He would wake up in the morning after brushing his teeth, whether he wore black or white he wasn’t bothered 😕
He had breakfast, two toast. Whether he had jam or butter he wasn’t bothered 😕
He walked to school or caught the bus 🚌 he wasn’t bothered 😕
Whether he was late or on time he wasn’t bothered  😕
He looks at the weather, whether it was the sun or rain he wasn’t bothered 😕
Lunchtime comes! Whether he has sandwiches or chips 🍟 he wasn’t bothered 😕
Hometime he runs home, smiling or crying, he wasn’t bothered 😕
“How was school?” It was okayyyyy. I don’t careeeee. He wasn’t bothered 😕
He gets ready for Madrasah with a cookie in his mouth. Learning sabaq, one page or half a page he wasn’t bothered 😕
He comes to Madrasah with a smile sits down and says I don’t know my sabaq!! Teacher says stand up! “Stand or sit I’m not bothered” 😕
He goes home and runs to bed. He thinks, “I’m just nottt botheredddd!!”
This was written to show how laid back some children are. How ungrateful children can be sometimes. I am sure many parents can relate to this.
Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia

Love Notes – Part 1

Love Notes –  Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim, Australia

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

love notes

  • A study looked at Muslim couples who get divorced:
  • Shaykh mentioned 68% of couples in the UK will divorce in the first 3 years of marriage.
    ○ Most of those who got divorced are educated
    ○ Many of them had the kind of jobs, where they intervene to defuse conflict
    ● The intent of the course is to speak about love to Muslims from a philosophical perspective
    ● We will talk about what makes you, you?
    ○ What does Islam offer, to make you the best of you
    ● Look at the words that are used to describe marriage and love in Islam
    ○ Imam Ibn Hazm coined the word soul mate – the first time westerners saw that a soul can love another soul

○ Imam Ibn Qayim RH has a book called Rawdat Al Muhibeen
○ Ibn Ul Jawzi RH – Said if a man does not know how to love, he should eat hay, because he’s a donkey
○ Muslims saw that we should cling onto one another and love one another so we can become khulafah on the earth → so that children can receive the earth in a way that is better than the way that we received it, that is the concept of khulafah
● There is no book of hadith that does not mention the love between the Prophet SAW and his wives
○ The year that Khadijah RA died, became the year of sadness
○ The Prophet SAW is a role model
● What the poster doesn’t show
○ Doesn’t show what’s behind them
● When the Prophet SAW talks about marriage, he says it’s half of your deen
○ You actualize a lot of the characteristics of Islam during your relationship with your spouse
○ The money that a man spends on his family is “sadaqah” [Muslim]

  • When you say the shahadah, it has conditions,
    ○ You begin to learn the importance of Allah when you gather knowledge [ilm]
    ○ The second step is [yaqeen] certainty
    ○ That leads you to [inqiyad] submission, which leads you to practice, in the way that Allah swt requested
    ○ Number 5 is [sidq] to be more truthful with Allah swt
    ○ and that leads you to [Ikhlas], having enough, other than Allah, put all my trust to
    ○ Last level, is love [hob] → you begin loving Allah too much to miss prayer.
    ● Love is the last level of worship, and some people worship things that they should, Allah doesn’t say worship he says love “yohiboonahu ka hob illah”
  • ‘Uboodiya (worship) → anything Allah loves for you to do, whether it is a word you say, an action you do, or a feeling in your heart
    ● We are not here just to talk about romance, we are here to talk about love, loving your dad, your mom, your country.

 

Definitions

● The origin for the word “husband” or “spouse” is very different in English and Qur’anic Arabic
● Husbandry: “convincing a bull to sire a cow”
● Other words for “spouse” in the Quran
زَ وج ■
● [2:35]
● two distinct, unique individuals that upon joining, become one so you don’t see the seam between them.
ِلبَاس ■
● [2:187]
● your inner intimate garment is called libas; nobody is as close to you as that garment
● “libas ul harb” the armour of war, she is the shield from the dunya
َصا ِحبَة ■
● 42 words for love in the Arabic language
● Sahib: the one that walks with you for life

ن
قُ رةَ أَ ْعُي
● [25:74]
● “fills the eyes of your husband”
● “there is no provision greater than that of a righteous woman. She is a women that when a husband sees her, he feels happiness in the heart” [Muslim]
ِحصن ■
● She’s your fortress, palace, castle
● You are the moat that surrounds her
بَعِلي ■
● [11:72]
● “My spring/fountain of all good”
● He is the one that showers me with good, with his words, his wealth, etc
● That is how Sarah describes Ibrahim (AS)
● He created the heavens and earth in truth. He wraps the night over the day and wraps the day over the night and has subjected the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term. Unquestionably, He is the Exalted in Might, the Perpetual Forgiver. He created you from one soul. Then He made from it its mate… [39:5-6]
○ When Allah talks about all these dualities (heavens/earth, night/day, sun/moon), He inserts one singularity: one soul.
○ when you get married, you’re two separate entities that come together from one pairing

 

Opinions on Marriage

  1. Marriage will make me a better Muslim
  2. Marriage will protect me from falling into fitnah and haram
  3. Marriage will make me live happily ever after
  4. In marriage, you cannot hate the person you love
    ○ One of the strangest things about love: the person you love the most…it’s a fine line between despicable hate and love
    ○ genuine love can transform into hate bc you’re investing so much love in that person
    ○ healthiest marriages: achieve equilibrium between love and hate knowing it’s okay to hate things the person does
  5. Marriage will heal all my past wounds
  6. Marriage is a piece of cake if you marry the right person
  7. Marriage benefits men more than women
  8. Love is enough to sustain a marriage
    ○ The economy is rough LOL – when the economy is rough, divorce sky rockets
    ○ Prophet (SAW) – One of the things we look for in marriage is “Malihah”, her wealth
  9. Religious practising Muslims have a perfect marriage FALSE
  10. Marriage is a natural process that you can figure out on your own FALSE
    ○ requires thought, DETERMINATION
    ○ Prophet (SAW) to Jabir (RA), a man who told him got engaged: “did you look into her eyes” – meaning did you find love in her eyes? Did you spend enough time looking into her eyes to know she’s the one? Marriage isn’t something you just come by!

So exalted is Allah when you reach the evening and when you reach the morning. And
to Him is [due all] praise throughout the heavens and the earth. And [exalted is He] at
night and when you are at noon. He brings the living out of the dead and brings the
dead out of the living and brings to life the earth after its lifelessness. And thus will you
be brought out. And of His signs is that He created you from dust; then, suddenly you
were human beings dispersing [throughout the earth]. And of His signs is that He
created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He
placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the
diversity of your languages and your colours. Indeed, in that are signs for those of
knowledge.
Surah Rum [30:17-22]

– He speaks about light and day – He speaks about the lifeless earth coming back to life and thriving with vegetation – Then he talks about the soul vs dust – And in the middle of all these he talks about the relationship in partners, and it is no longer about the dualities, it is about the singularity

→ Someone from yourselves, mates He likes it to- “signs” His about talking by verse ends AND begins -إِ ن فِي َٰذَِل َك َلَيَا ت – saying, “pay attention” – Prophet (SAW) – when Adam was created, our souls were created “like ants” – there’s a moment where the soul is brought to life. you’re born into this life and your soul itself is not extinguishable – Prophet (SAW) (Hadith of Imam Bukhari) – The souls when they were created in the time of Adam, they were brought into groupings, and the souls became familiar with one another – A long essay is written about this hadith, and it says if there is a bright soul, and it enters into a room of 1000 dark souls, and one bright soul, that soul would attach itself to the other bright soul – souls gravitate to each other … or make you hate each other’s guts – The concept of soul mates for us isn’t just husband and wife – your bffs, your parents, your teachers – scent is powerful – sometimes you might smell something in the air, maybe Coco Chanel like grandma wore…sometimes it really takes you back to a certain time in your life – Your soul remembers people, just like your scent does, and it brings warmness into your heart he said he ,(soul) روح the about asked was SAW Prophet the When – couldn’t say much that is in the knowledge of Allah and we don’t know much about it – Sometimes our soul pushes back people we should be attracted to, and that is because we need to purify our soul effort requires purification – قد أفلح من زكاها – – we attempt to connect with people for marriage and on paper they seem like reasonable candidates…but at that moment when you push back someone who is good, his soul might be too clean, and your soul might be a bit tarnished – your soul might not be accessible to that righteous man/women Good the with up matched usually is Good The – الطيبون لطيبات –

When you are looking for marriage – you need to make sure your soul is accessible to pious souls – don’t always put it on the other person

 

Quranic Stories about Spouses

The Qur’an is a holistic document that outlines a lifestyle for us. There are many lessons and examples for us to draw from.
Adam (AS)
○ He asks for a “sahibah”, someone with him
○ Jannah is not enough. You need someone who loves you
■ Even the shaheed, looks behind and Allah gives him the news of them joining you
○ Allah creates for him and blesses him with his wife Hawa’
○ Allah tells Adam (AS) to not eat from the tree as Iblees is an enemy to you and Hawa [20:117]
■ (according to hadith, the greatest thing that the little shayateen can do to make Iblis happy is to convince a man and his wife to split up)
○ Iblis wanted to uncover the blessing that Allah SWT gave Adam, and expose their bad
○ Responsibility for the sin is greater on Adam (AS) (very different from other scriptures)
■ [20:121]
○ Adam AS and Hawa RA were separated when they descended to Earth
■ Jeddah got its name from Jaddah, the Arabic word for grandmother. It is where Hawa’ is believed to have descended
■ Adam AS ‘arafa-ha, or, “recognized her” a little before Maghrib and it is the same day we commemorate on ‘Arafa during Hajj
■ That is when Adam made that dua’a “Rabbana dhalamna anfusana…”
“Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us
and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.”
■ That dua’a and that moment of worship commemorates a moment of love that millions of people recreate on Yawm al ‘Arafa
■ Then they came together, and worshiped Allah SWT The first place that a person made sujood to Allah SWT was Adam, inside the fortified walls of the ka’abah.
Ayyoub (AS)

○ Lots of time people say, we should have patience/endurance like Ayoub (AS)
○ For the first 50 years of his life, Allah gave him prosperity
■ (he had 7 daughters and 7 sons, wealth, the people who he was sent to preach to accept him)
○ After 50 years of prosperity, Allah began to test him.
■ The earthquake made his house collapse and children all died at once;
■ All his servants were killed and wealth looted;
■ people thought he was a false prophet, because “why would God do this to a righteous prophet? he must be cursed.” everyone left his side;
■ His body became decayed and sickly
○ His wife stayed. This man who had everything, lost everything, except his wife
■ The woman who was a mistress of the house became a servant
■ People did not want to be near her as to not “catch her curse”
■ She would ask Ayoub to make dua’a to Allah, and Ayoub said “I am shy to ask Allah after 50 years of prosperity, to ask Allah for relief after only 4 years of hardship”
■ His wife came back with food and when he asked where it came from she pulled back her scarf (she had cut her hair and sold it for food)
○ After seeing his wife suffer, this man (AS) of patience made dua’a “My lord harm has touched me and my family, and you are the most merciful of those who show mercy”
■ It was as if Allah was just waiting for him to ask…
■ A spring gushed forth and Ayyub (AS) drank from the spring, and became young and has been given their life again and everything returned to him
■ The thing that moved Ayoub was love, it is that he loved his wife more than his own patience
○ The right of the servant is to be put before the right you owe Allah CIRCUMSTANTIALLY
■ If your wife (or mom or dad etc) falls sick, and you were going to hajj and your ihraam is on and your foot almost out the door, you stay.

→ The right your family member has on you is greater than that obligation to Allah
■ Abdullah Ibn Mubarak RH – Went for hajj and saw a dream of those who made hajj and their hajj was accepted. He saw the face of a man and where he lived
● Abdullah immediately went to see him. Upon meeting the man, he found that he had not made hajj! The man said that he was on his when he saw an impoverished man. He realized that he that the wealth he had planned to use to go
Love Notes By Sh Yahya Ibrahim 5 to hajj would be enough to get the man in need on his own two feet. So he gave it to him and made dua’a that he would get to go for Hajj later. THAT is the man that Abdullah saw with a shining face.
● Prophet Dawood (AS)
○ King of his time, had many wives
○ Looked over his marketplace and saw a beautiful woman. He asked if this woman is spoken for? They said no, but she is promised to the general.
■ for a moment Dawud (AS)’s heart thought “if that man becomes Shaheed… Allah give him Jannah” lol
○ (In Surah Saad)
■ Allah sent two men (really angels) that jump in front of him and he reels back. One of them says “don’t be scared, we are two men that are quarrelling. He has 99 sheep and I have 1 (representing blessings), and he keeps desiring my 1 sheep to complete his 1 00.
■ Dawud says, he has wronged you to even suggest that he should give you your sheep.
■ Then it clicked in his mind that it was a test from Allah! It was a message indicating that he (AS) have been blessed with so much, and that generally is the one who has that one sheep…so Dawud (AS) fell in prostration
○ The stories of the Quran are full of love and passion
Nuh (AS)
○ Imagine you are some sheikh, and you are on the pulpit for Juma’a and you are telling it as it is…Then your wife walks out and says “It’s all nonsense! He is making it all up!” Your son is sitting there and saying, “PSHHH, don’t listen to this guy. He knows nothing.” (People would be like, when your family believes, then come talk to me lol”)
○ Your wife and your son become adversaries and they become leaders of those who disbelieve
○ Imagine that is you, just a sheikh – Imagine being the Prophet of Allah
○ Nuh AS never gives up
○ Nuh is on a ship on land that has been experiencing a drought for years and people are looking at him like he is crazy – until Allah swt orders the sky to let down its rain, and the sky gushes until the waves become the size of mountains
■ And Nuh asks his son, belief in God so I can let you on the ship, his son says, I don’t believe in you or your god or your ship, I’ll go up to that mountain and it will protect me from the waters
■ So he says, my son, none will be protected except those that are on this ship, and then he refuses and he becomes one of those who drowned
■ Nuh says to Allah “When you promise, it is true, you said you would save me and my family, he is part of me and he drowned” so Allah said, “he is not your family, forget him”
● The illegitimate is not to be loved, Allah will always get you out of those drowning waters and until the last moments Allah will provide you what is good – but he will never make the illegitimate, legitimate
● What makes you and I who we are? Why are the stories of the messengers something that still resonates with us?
○ Part 1: Jasad – 70% of us is water, 30% is organic
■ The difference between us and pigs is less than 1% (genetically speaking)
■ In the Quran: Those who know God, but do not accept God are like Cattle
○ Part 2: Mind
■ Rational being, we think and can anticipate what is happening
■ Allah has blessed the son of Adam with the mind, drugs and intoxicants are haram because they take away the mind
■ Don’t think that animals do not have emotions and feelings too
■ Sheikh plays this video
● Sometimes we think we are the only beings that actually matter
● Ibn Qayim writes 60 pages on Allah quoting the ant
○ Ant knows delegation & authority
○ Knows what is home & what isn’t
○ It knows name “Solomon”, and his troops (knows our functions)
○ And the ant makes an excuse (if they trample you then they don’t know)
○ Ibn Qayyim lists 11 types of language that the ant uses
■ Allah inspires the bees regarding how it can live its life
■ Don’t ever think that the world around you is meaningless, simple experiments show that there is so much more in the world that Allah created
■ They are a nation, just like you are a nation
○ Part 3: Soul
■ There are 3 components, and this 3rd part is what makes us insaan
■ The majesty of the soul lives in the heart – The heart is the throne of the soul
● The chest is what protects the heart
● Haritha (one of the sahabah) is walking and the Prophet SAW says how are you and he says I woke up a mu’min, Prophet SAW said why? He said when I pray it is if I see Allah but I do not see him; when I sin, I see the fire, but it is not
Love Notes By Sh Yahya Ibrahim 7 there; When I do good, I see Jannah, but I do not see it – So Prophet SAW touches his chest and he says you are a believer
● Hope, mercy, love of God is in your chest, it is important to keep that spirit true
● When Allah talks about Imaan he says Allah opened his chest to Imaan (that is the imagery given to us by Allah SWT)
● That is why the heart is so important to talk about love because the heart is what governs the rest of us
● When your heart is closer to Allah, it is easier to come closer to people à that is the beauty of the dua’ of Musa “’ishrahly sadry”, open my heart to people
● The premise of this class is to bring our hearts closer to Allah so that we can come close to his servants
■ The 3 levels are ascending levels
■ Islam also has 3 levels, Islam, Ihsan and Iman; Each of those 3 levels matches our 3 parts
● Islam (Jasad) – You must physically say the words of the shahadah, pray, fast, do Hajj, and give zakat, Islam matches the physicalness of you jasad
● Imaan (Akl) – Matches your mind, the 6 articles of faith cannot be qualified/rationalized, but they are believed. Iman came to subdue the rationale that pulls you away from Allah
● Ihsan (Ruh) – Even though you cannot see Allah in life, your heart is always aware of Allah. Everything you witness in life connects you to Allah
○ Imam Sufyan al Thawri is walking out of the masjid, and a man begins to abuse him, his students try to stop him, he says no leave him and he says “I know the sin that I did that brought this upon me”
○ Imam Sufyan RH would give his students 3 rules when teaching them:
■ Correct what is between you and Allah, and he will help you correct what is between you and mankind
■ Fix what is between you and Allah privately, he will make your public good with others
■ Remember Allah when you don’t need him, and he will know you when you need him
○ There are angels whose job is to catch our hadith (dua’a) and throw it back at us because it is not worthy of ascending – hadith of the Prophet SAWarmour

When You’re Gay and Muslim – Finding Allah’s Meaning in All of It

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/altmuslim/2017/07/when-youre-gay-and-muslim-finding-allahs-meaning-in-it-all/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaignFBCP-MU&utm_content=altmuslim

Waheed Jensen is a Muslim male in his mid 20’s, struggling in this world with being young, open-minded and gay, trapped in a global community of Muslims who claim to follow Islam but lack the application of its most basic tenets. Working to make the world a better place for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. A version of this article appeared on Altmuslimah and VirtualMosque.com.

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Ever since I began trying to understand life, one of the crippling realizations about the Muslim communities I reached was this: We tend to bury our problems in a dark hole, dismiss them and hope they will never come back to haunt us. But they often do. We overlook many of our familial, social and cultural issues until they multiply and are about to explode in our faces; at that point, we are notorious for pointing fingers and crying over spilt milk.

Our room is filled with elephants that we barely have an inch to stand, yet we remain oblivious and hope things will get better.

Allow me today to describe one of those elephants. A strange elephant. Allow me to dissect it and hand it over to you, that you may ponder and hopefully open your heart and mind.

Let me start off by saying these three words: I am gay.

Even though you do not know who I am, and maybe the mere fact that I just came out to you right this instant may offend you, confuse you or drive you away from reading the remainder of this article. Let me assure you, this is not one of those articles that tries to promote homosexuality or deliver an airbrushed and Islam-oriented version of all those pro-homosexuality arguments.

Yes, I am gay and I am Muslim, and I am here to offer you a small glimpse into a journey of struggles, passions and hopes. I do not intend to delve into the story of Prophet Lut and his people, talk about the evolution and progression of the LGBT community during the past century, present arguments for or against same-sex relations, or even try to prove my own opinion. I really hope you can read and reflect, and I pray that this small effort of bringing the picture a little closer to you might make the slightest bit of difference in raising awareness, and hopefully open healthy discussions on the topic.

I wholeheartedly believe, in concordance with Islam and its teachings, that sodomy is a major sin. I am against same-sex marriage and intercourse, and I am not in favour of any progressive movements that attempt to explain Quranic verses about People of Lut or sodomy from a modernist or post-modernist approach – in other words, arguments that try to find a leeway and claim that that is a legitimate Islamic perspective.

I hope that this will not drive away readers who are excited about the topic but may be uncomfortable with my statements. I have adopted this position after years of introspection, research, counselling and personal prayer, and I am coming forth today to share with you some of those experiences.

Why Am I Different?

Homosexuality has been present in humanity for centuries, and for as long as it has been there, homosexuals have been struggling with themselves, their families and society at large. To me personally, there was always something different. I could feel it in me from a very young age. Something that I could not explain to others because I thought they would not understand, let alone accept, or maybe because I was too young and immature at the time that I was not entirely sure what ‘it’ was.

It crystallized around puberty; when all the raging hormones started kicking in, those tendencies became obvious. And then the real struggle began.

The struggle led to an explosion of questions. “Why am I different? Why am I not like the rest of my friends or family members? Is this even normal? Am I sick?” Not finding the proper answers, I kept on putting these questions aside. “Maybe it’ll go away. Maybe it’s just a phase.” In my case, it never went away and it was not a phase.

With time I learned that this is something abhorred religiously, culturally and socially. So I tried to adapt. “How do I balance between the feelings and tendencies I have with what my religion, culture and social norms dictate?” So I began a journey of self-exploration and interacting with others, learning from religion, media as well as prominent persons, like religious scholars and major social figures. My schemas kept changing, and I kept on adapting.

Many of us may be brave enough to rebel against what others seem to ‘dictate’ on us, while others suppress their urges, often hiding their identities from those closest to them, generally out of fear, or maybe because they are not just ready to come out yet. I belong to the latter group.

To this date, I have never had the courage to tell my parents or close family members, but I have come out to a close friend of mine a few months ago, and he was extremely supportive Alhamdulillah (all praises to Allah).

One of the most dangerous pitfalls I have personally experienced was thinking that God hated me. He was mad at me. “I must have done something wrong in my life to deserve this ‘punishment’… If God does not accept homosexuality, then why am I a homosexual?” Whether Muslim or not, people struggling in silence can be more prone to deviating to dangerous paths.

So, you find many struggling homosexuals also dealing with bullying, drinking problems, substance abuse, domestic violence, poor academic performance, career problems, pornography or sex addictions, sexually-transmitted diseases, mood disorders like depression and anxiety, and many other issues. (1) I had my own share of bullying, academic problems and mood disorders. Our struggles multiply with time, and many even contemplate suicide.

This is especially true in cases where the individual tries to discuss the issue – often it is just those desires or thoughts that are tackled, not the actual act – with his/her parents or family members who are not receptive to those ideas. If not shown sympathy, care and love, he/she is often shunned, harassed, scorned and sometimes even tortured.

A lot of gay men and women are forced into arranged marriages, taken to local Imams to ‘heal them from their calamity and wrath of God’, or even killed. (2) Some of them take their own lives by themselves. Others live in constant torment while some flee their homes and families in search for a more welcoming environment. That and many have not even yet engaged in any sexual acts whatsoever.

Why We Have Difficulty with Other Muslims

This is why I, along with many fellow homosexual Muslims, find the Western alternative very striking: It offers acceptance and understanding. Things that we dearly miss in our communities, even though we may realize deep down that there is something terribly wrong, the fact that there is someone who accepts us and fights for us and not against us is incredibly more appealing. When we try to talk to other Muslim seemingly-pious and God-conscious brothers and sisters about our sexuality and are shunned by their lack of empathy, respect and understanding, would you find it surprising that we take comfort in talking to non-religious people about our struggles in hopes to find an open mind and a loving heart?

Ironically, the spirit of Islam is all about empathy, tolerance and understanding, yet the practice of Islam carried out by many Muslims shows the opposite.

Trust me, I understand that it is a difficult topic to open up with others, especially people coming from conservative backgrounds. It is difficult news for you to receive, just as it is difficult for me to handle, let alone share with others. However, the fact that I choose to come out to specific people means that those people are exceptionally special to me. To us.

It takes a lot of courage, incredible determination and a full dose of anxiety and fear to even think about coming out to someone, that you can imagine the damage we have to endure when the other person dismisses us or shows no empathy or mercy. It seems like a lot to handle if you ask me.

I remember the first time I decided to come out to someone, I was going through an overwhelming period in my life, yet Alhamdulillah I had some seeds of piety and religiosity inside me. I was around 18, and he was a non-religious psychologist and counsellor. I went to an appointment with him, tried to beat around the bush but ultimately came out to him. And, he was accepting. Later on, I found out that many struggling homosexuals came to him for advice and counselling.

I was hoping that, with the aid of therapy, my orientation would change – this is scientifically known as reparative or conversion therapy; while many studies have been conducted on it and some patients have reported success, a great number of psychiatrists and counsellors have reported failure and more harm done to the patients than good. The progress of my visits culminated in him putting forward the idea of accepting who I am and going all the way with it – in other words, experience my entire sexuality without restraints.

At that point I was really uncomfortable with his proposal, as it was against my Islamic beliefs and my own virtues.

During that same period, I was doing my own reading and researching, trying to find a proper Islamic “solution,” crying for help and praying that I am guided to what Allah pleases. One of the most heartwarming responses was given by a psychiatrist who also has a profound knowledge of Islamic shariah (legal rulings). He was hosted on a TV show, and he was speaking so graciously, so open-mindedly, that his words hit the right chord and I was immediately awe-struck. I cried after finally having found an answer with which my heartfelt ease.

That was pure bliss, Alhamdulillah.

Why Am I Homosexual?

The gist of the talk is the following: Homosexuality as an orientation is a disorder in one’s fitrah (human nature and disposition). “Treatment” of such a disorder involves therapy, familial and social support, personal discipline and a whole lot of other things. However, this therapy, which is tailored on a case-by-case basis, may or may not work. The mode of therapy is different between individuals, just like every case of homosexuality is different between people.

Mind you, the term “therapy” here is used loosely to mean dealing with the issue from different aspects rather than reverting one’s sexual orientation.

If many of us, homosexuals, dive deeper into our childhood and upbringing, we can pinpoint certain events that have taken their toll on us one way or another. Many of us have experienced child abuse, be it sexual, physical or intense emotional abuse that was brutally damaging to our body and soul, or lived in dysfunctional families that ultimately caused a lot of psychological damage. (3)

I, for one, had my own share of psychological and sexual abuse as a child from people closest to me and witnessed intense domestic violence that crippled my mind for a decent period of time. Such events were so incredibly powerful that they became ingrained in my psyche and took their toll on my thinking and behaviour.

Others have been desensitized to issues related to sexuality and gender roles from a young age, that their perception of masculinity and femininity is quite erroneous. I can recall several stories of struggling homosexuals I know who grew up in homes where one parent was more dominant in their life (e.g. present most of the time while the other was absent, provided greater emotional, psychological and social support while the other did the exact the opposite), such that either parent’s gender became more dominant on their lives and personas, and hence their perception of gender and sexuality deviated from the normal.

It is worth noting, however, that many people grow up in normal environments with no such issues during childhood, yet end up finding themselves attracted to the same gender. So there is no discrete thumb rule or cause as to whether someone will end up identifying as a homosexual or a heterosexual. It is not a simple black or white situation.

In addition to the above, it has been asserted that there are other acquired causes – we are bombarded on a daily basis with sensual and sexually-explicit material, from billboards, magazines and newspaper articles, to online material on social media websites. Sex and sexuality are heavily emphasized in TV shows, readings and discussions, whether openly or not. We have become accustomed to seeing semi-naked and naked bodies, our concepts of beauty, femininity and masculinity have radically evolved over time and we have become desensitized to these matters. (4)

There is an unbelievable amount of time and resources spent on creating better bodies: muscular, dreamy and good-looking men, and gorgeous women with “perfect” facial and body features. In addition, many of the inter- and intra-gender boundaries have drastically changed over time. Taken together, these matters overwhelm the human mind, and the effects are undoubtedly palpable.

Again, these and countless other events affect people’s heart, mind, body and spirit differently. People struggle to cope in different ways. Some people, like myself and countless others, may eventually find themselves with a specific worldview, having had a culmination of experiences, as well as a specific orientation that may or may not be modifiable. Just like these examples are struggling in and of themselves, homosexual thoughts and tendencies are no less than struggles as well.

Will I Have a Partner in Life?

When I see married men and women sharing affection, enjoying companionship and raising children, it hurts. A lot. Not the jealous I-hope-they-lose-all-that kind, but the painful realization that this is not something I can ever attain. Because of my situation, my ibtila’ (struggle in life), the idea of marrying someone from the opposite sex is not practical at all or even fair for me or my potential spouse. Many shuyukh advice homosexuals to get married for their tendencies to dissolve; while this may work with a handful of people, a large number of us does not find it physically or mentally plausible.

Many of the things other people, including those shuyukh themselves, take for granted – like relationships, marriage and having children – are the exact things we struggle with day in and day out. Personally, and unlike Muslim heterosexuals, I do not have safe and lawful options through which I can channel and fulfil those desires. Therefore, I try my best to remain steadfast and struggle for the sake of Allah. If that is not incredible Jihad, I do not know what counts as such.

While it may seem unfair and even preposterous to some people to keep struggling and not fulfil our desires, especially in this time and age, that is where the beauty lies. Within Islam, we are not held accountable for our thoughts, feelings, desires and tendencies as long as we do not act upon them. There are three ideas worth mentioning here.

First, Allah has promised in the Quran that He “does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity” [2:286]. Taken in line with Islamic teachings, this means that Allah knows how painful my struggle is and knows that I can handle it. Every time I ponder upon this idea, I am overwhelmed with incredible awe and gratitude. Of all people across centuries, He has chosen specific people for this particular test. Indeed, life is nothing but a few years and the True Life is in the Hereafter, so no matter how agonizing the struggle is, there will be an end to it.

Second, there is an immense reward and unimaginable blessings, both in this life and the Hereafter, by staying true to God’s decree and struggling for His sake. The greater the struggle, the more the rewards in sha Allah (God willing).

Third, and just like the popular saying goes, “when God closes one door, He opens another.” So, if issues like intimacy and procreation may seem like dead ends for Muslim homosexuals, we find openings in other aspects of life. Many homosexuals across history have been known for incredible gifts in writing, public speaking, music, cinema, scientific discoveries, literature and art. (5) Studies have reported that homosexuals exhibit high levels of empathy and compassion compared to heterosexuals. (6)

Because we have suffered and are constantly struggling, we have big hearts that know no boundaries. If we utilize our God-given gifts wisely and for the greater good, we can do wonders inshaAllah.

We All are Trying to Find Answers

Of course, there are Muslim homosexuals and pro-gay rights advocates who adopt a completely different perspective. Some try to balance between their religious duties while keeping in line with their orientation; in other words, they carry out their desires yet remain true to their duties. Others denounce Islamic rules altogether arguing that in modern times, such rules do not apply, hence they call for a reformation in Islamic laws taken for granted as solid foundations of religion.

Others are still struggling between balancing Islamic law and their own sexuality, searching for answers that provide them with ultimate satisfaction.

I am in no way trying to prove myself right and others wrong. This article is solely intended to highlight some of the struggles I go through as a Muslim homosexual, and I have taken the liberty at some points to speak on behalf of fellow struggling homosexuals because of our shared tribulations. Whatever your position is on this matter, I respect you and love you as a human being, your desires are legitimate and in no way make you less of a human being.

However, based on my beliefs, I do not accept specific actions that you may do which go against Islamic law. And there again, you are no less of a human being, and I still respect you as an individual. This falls at the heart of Islam – if someone like me who is struggling with his/her own desires can adopt such a stance, then so can everyone else. Maybe if we focus less on demonizing other people and concentrate more on helping one another, things would start to change for the best.

If you are a homosexual reading this, please know that my heart is with you. I of all people understand the daily struggles you are going through, and I salute your bravery and high spirit. Please remember that Allah is Merciful and Forgiving, no matter how much people tell you otherwise. Stay strong, and if you ever fall into the traps of Shaytan (the devil), repent to the Almighty with a pure heart and know that He accepts and welcomes the sincere. Pray to remain steadfast. Fasting is a powerful weapon so try your best to fast regularly.

Also, try to do sports and channel your energy in healthy ways. Surround yourself with the good company of pious people, and keep daily companionship of His Book. Pursue a higher purpose in life, for you are already on a high track. Trust me, I understand that the struggles may reach excruciating levels – it is at those moments that our inner cores are tested.

Make your struggles entirely for His sake, and they will be worth it. You will come out stronger and braver than before. With today’s explosion of sexuality and acceptance of same-sex relations, do not swallow the bait. Keep yourself in the company of Him for that is all that ultimately matters.

If you are a heterosexual reading this and assuming you may be uncomfortable with such a topic, I understand that this may be overwhelming for you at first glance. Take it easy on yourself, and certainly take it easy on others. We all have our own struggles, so let us make this journey we call life a little bit less difficult for one another. Let us shift our focus from pointing out each other’s faults and instead work together for more empathy, compassion and love.

There is a difference between respecting someone and accepting his/her actions; the former must be there at all times. If we disagree or have different lifestyles, and certainly if we make mistakes, please do not judge us. Bear with us. Listen to us, be there for us, for if you ever need us we will be there for you.

Even though we may not get the chance to experience what it means to have a spouse, be intimate or even raise a family in this life, I pray that Allah accepts our struggles for His sake and fulfil our desires in the Hereafter. Yes, I am a gay Muslim, and I am proud – proud that Allah has chosen me and many other brothers and sisters for this particular struggle in this life. And for that, and for all His countless blessings we say, Alhamdulillah.

“I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you… I love you. With all my heart, I love you.”
(V for Vendetta)

1. Lee, R. (2000). Health care problems of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients. Western Journal of Medicine, 172(6), 403–408.
2. Kesvani, H. (2015, April 18). Meet The Gay Muslims Living In Straight Marriages. http://www.buzzfeed.com/husseinkesvani/gay-muslims-in-straight-marriages
3. Schneeberger, A. R., Dietl, M. F., Muenzenmaier, K. H., Huber, C. G., & Lang, U. E. (2014). Stressful childhood experiences and health outcomes in sexual minority populations: a systematic review. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 49(9), 1427-1445.
4. Qadhi, Y. (2009, April 13). Dealing With Homosexual Urges: Yasir Qadhi to Muslim Student. http://muslimmatters.org/2009/04/13/dealing-with-homosexual-urges/
5. Rictor Norton (compiler), “The Great Queers of History, Part 1: Born before 1800″, 1 May 2004 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/greatgay/greatgay.htm&gt;.
6. Salais, D. A., & Fischer, R. B. (1995). Sexual preference and altruism. Journal of Homosexuality, 28(1-2), 185-196.

Happy Mother’s Day…NOT!

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
mom
بسم الله الرحمن 
الرحيم
Each month yet I hold out hope,
Although as time goes on it gets harder to cope.
I’m more than conscious of my biological clock ticking away,
Without receiving a message from yet another friend to say.
They’re expecting and will be joining the exclusive motherhood club soon,
Don’t get me wrong for them I am over the moon.
My tears are for myself, struggling to deal with the idiots who pry,
Asking if it’s my fault or his and why!
Followed by unhelpful comments like ‘you can have one of mine’,
Or ‘just relax it’ll happen’ or to ‘God’s will just resign’.
I’m well aware thanks – that it will happen if it’s meant to be,
And no it’s not as simple as IVF or adoption just to get a mini-me.
The journey to motherhood for some like me is a roller coaster ride,
And days like Mother’s Day… all I want to do is hide.
And yes of all the things that I have- I should be grateful for I know,
But that doesn’t always help to ease the pain that’s for sure.
So this Mother’s Day when you are celebrating,
Spare a thought for those of us who are still waiting.
To one day be a part of the exclusive “motherhood club,”
And in the meantime with the ‘you don’t have kids so you wouldn’t understand’ line do not snub!
Muslim Sister (Allah grant her mercy and forgiveness)

Dear Mother: Why the double standards?

Written by Nadira Chhipa
dhikr-4
Dear mother, when you shout for Safiyyah to help you cook and set the dinner table please remember to call Ridhwan to assist you aswel. How is he going to learn to serve himself if you have been serving him for two decades?
Dear mother,  when you scream at Fatima for not making her bed or for throwing her wet towel on her bedroom floor please remember that 5 minutes ago you were waiting for Suhail to wake up so you could clean his room which looked like a tornado hit it. How is he going to learn to tidy up his personal space if you keep doing it for him?
Dear mother, when you check Halimahs phone as you have become suspicious of her spending too much time texting please remember to also ask Idrees to hand his phone over for you to examine. Why is he allowed to be on his phone 24/7 without you becoming suspicious?
Dear mother, when Amina hands over her report card to you and your face saddens with disappointment as she scored two Bs please  look closely at Ahmeds report card as he did not even achieve a single A, yet he was congratulated for passing. How would he improve if you do not encourage him to do better?
Dear mother, when you angrily question  Habiba for arriving at home five minutes late from campus please give Hameeed a call and ask him why is he two hours late. How would he learn to respect and value boundaries if you do not set any for him?
Dear mother, when you yell at Aliya for not attending family functions with you please ask Ali to accompany you to the next family gathering as well. How would he recognise and socialise with your family if he is allowed to stay at home alone all the time?
Dear mother, when you advise Faheema about her duties at home after marriage, her responsibilities as well her loyalties after Nikah,  towards her husband and his family please give Faraz the same advice.  How will he know how to assist his wife, respect his in laws, be a responsible husband, father and son in law if you do not advise him?
Dear mother, when you reprimand Hannah for raising her voice or back chatting when she is angry please do not ignore Hamzah’s disrespectful behaviour and anger control issues. How would he learn to control his anger, be gentle, kind and caring if you do not acknowledge his faults?
Dear mother, when you speak to Naeema about Zina, sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, relationships, drugs, bad influences as well as indulgences please do have that talk with Khalid. How would he learn to respect a woman’s body, mind and soul if you do not teach him. How would he learn to protect himself from evil if you do not teach him?
Dear mother, when you remind Raeesa to read her salah, fast in Ramadhan, cover her body, recite the Quran and Hadith please remind Muhammad to do the same. How would he become an asset to you as well as the Ummah if you do not inculcate the love for Islam in his heart?
Dear mother, remember the boy have been blessed with from Allah is your son today, a student of life tomorrow, a wonderful husband to a beautiful lady and an amazing father to your grandchildren in the future. Insha-Allah. Raise your sons to be independent and efficient, do not make your sons so dependent on you that they find themselves unable to cook, clean or take care of their daily chores without assistance. The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W), mercy upon mankind yet he did his own chores. Why are we following a tradition and culture that cripples men by not allowing them to serve themselves. Today there are some men who will not even eat if their food is not cooked, served and dished out to them  into their plates. This is a sad reality of generation of boys who feel entitled to everything being done for them by the females of their household. This is a sad reason for the breakdown of many marriages as the husband  expects to be served by his wife just as he  was served all his life by his mother and sisters.
Dear mother, let us change this mindset, let us raise respectful, responsible , successful, understanding, caring, loyal, humble and kind men who will be a means of comfort, peace, happiness. Ameen.
Dear mother, do not set double standards as this will cause chaos and destruction in your home.
Dear mother, we have the best example, let us raise our sons in accordance with the beautiful Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).
Dear mother, let us raise good men.
May Allah bless us mothers with strength, love, wisdom, patience and understanding always -Ameen.
Nadira Chhipa
1 Rabiul Awwal 1439

Nursery or Adversary?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaykum wR wB,

If we survey the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ, a similar understanding is found. The qualities of devotion to Allah and their families were at the centre of the praiseworthy qualities of women. For example, the Prophet clarifies the Islamic view regarding the best women and the central reason behind it saying, “The best women from the riders of the camels (the best Arab women) are the righteous among the women of Quraish. They are the kindest women to their children in childhood and the most careful of women in regards to the property of their husbands.” (Bukhari/Muslim) In this hadith the Prophet explains their goodness by being good wives and good mothers.

In another statement the Prophet ﷺ explains that one of the main aims of marriage is to produce and nurture children who follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in worshiping Allah and glorifying him. The companion Ma’qil ibn Yasaar narrated that a man came to the messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, I have found a woman who is from a good family and is pretty, but she does not bear children – should I marry her?” He told him not to. Then he came to him a second time and said something similar and he told him not to marry her. Then he came to him a third time and said something similar and he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Marry the one who is loving and fertile, for I will be proud of your great numbers before the nations on the Day of Resurrection.” (Abu Dawud/Nasa’i)

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeem Abaadi said in his commentary of this hadith, ‘Marry the one who is loving means the one who loves her husband; and the one who is fertile is the one who bears a lot of children.” {Awnul Mabud 6/33}

abcOh boy… I am going to do it again. I am opening the can of worms. Lighting a match in a dry forest. Shouting fire in a crowded theatre. Opening the floodgates. I am going to talk about something that will cause another round of Facebook unfriending, painful insults, and lots of people disagreeing with me. But as a man, a Muslim, and a chronically outspoken human being, I have to speak up. I have a platform – and I must use it. It is my moral responsibility to utilise my platform to speak up for those without such a public voice. I want to talk about… **takes deep breath**… ‘Working Mothers and their Responsibilities.’

“Most children are corrupted (and led to failure) because of their parents.” Ibn Qayyim RH, Tuhfatul Maudud bi-Ahkamil Maulud (p. 80)

By this point, some of you (especially those who know me “well”) will be thinking, “Oh God! What on earth is he going to say?” And others (who also know me, personally) will be thinking, “How can he talk about that issue? He doesn’t have kids!” Yes, what gives me the audacity to speak about such a topic, when I don’t have children? I actually thought about the same thing a few days ago, before writing this piece. I don’t know how long this article is going to be, simply because the whole thing has been going around my head for a long time. I wouldn’t be lying if I said a decade!

Just because I don’t have children, that doesn’t mean I don’t know anything ‘about’ children. I have taught children in a Primary School, and in a Madrasah setting for many years. And still offer tuition for teenagers in various subjects, as well as teaching Muslim youngsters Tafsir and Seerah. Which (hopefully) justifies my position, in writing this article. As I have understood and realised some of the causes and grounds why our youth are spiralling downwards.

You see I always wanted someone else to write it, I shall be totally honest. In particular – a female. And before writing it I scanned the web to see how much has already been written on the topic, especially by Muslims. I found a LOT of articles supporting the idea of working mothers, very few against it. I have a large extensive library (Alhumdu Lillah), I buy books on everything; things which are relevant and irrelevant, stuff that I need and don’t need (may need in future). So I searched how many books I had if any on ‘tarbiyyah/upbringing children, good mothers’ etc. I had a few on ‘tarbiyyah’, which contained sections on working mums, and others just generally in the early years with a child. But nothing extensive on working mothers, does it really work, the pros and cons.

This article below was written the day I started writing this blog believe it or not:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-30342/Working-mothers-risk-damaging-childs-prospects.html

*A sign from Allah, perhaps?*

Silhouette of depressive man

Like I said, I wanted to write this piece many moons ago. But what recently triggered me to put pen to paper is the statistic below:

“25% of Women in the UK suffer from depression.” (NHS Stats)

Mental health problems affect both men and women, but not in equal measure.

“In England, women are more likely than men to have a common mental health problem.”

McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T., Bebbington, P., & Jenkins, R. (eds) (2009). Adult Psychiatric Morbidity in England 2007: results of a household survey. NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care. [online] Available at: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB02931/adul-psyc-morb-res-housur-eng-2007-rep.pdf [Accessed 25 August 2015].

“And are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders.”

Martin-Merino, E., Ruigomez, A., Wallander, M., Johansson, S. and GarciaRodriguez, L. (2009). Prevalence, incidence, morbidity and treatment patterns in a cohort of patients diagnosed with anxiety in UK primary care. Family Practice, 27(1), pp.9-16.

“10% of mothers and 6% of fathers in the UK have mental health problems at any given time.”

Parker, G., et al. (2008). Technical Report for SCIE Research Review on the Prevalence and Incidence of Parental Mental Health Problems and the Detection, Screening and Reporting of Parental Mental Health Problems. [online] York: Social Policy Research Unit, University of York. Available at: http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/spru/research/pdf/SCIEReview1.pdf [Accessed 14 Sep. 2015].

When I tried to read further, I also came across this:

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jun/19/anxiety-depression-office-national-statistics

Nearly a fifth of adults in the UK experience anxiety or depression, according to the latest official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said a higher proportion of women than men reported that they suffered from the conditions, with the highest indication of anxiety or depression occurring in the 50-54 age group.

There was evidence of anxiety or depression in 19% of people aged 16 or over, with 21% of women reporting the symptoms and 16% of men.

Also, see below: http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/projectsresearch/mentalhealth

10% of men and 30% of women have had a previous psychiatric admission before they entered prison. A more recent study found that 25% of women and 15% of men in prison reported symptoms indicative of psychosis. The rate among the general public is about 4%.

26% of women and 16% of men said they had received treatment for a mental health problem in the year before custody.

And finally, more about depression: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23553897

My point from all of the above is to give the readers the gist of what percentage of people in the UK suffer from anxiety, depression and stress. And more importantly what proportion are men and women.

So the million dollar question is “WHY?” In such a developed country, or in the West in general, why do we see more people suffering from depression in particularly women? Well, as this article is being written to ‘help’ women I will add the site below for reference:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-in-women/index.shtml

Depression is not “one size fits all,” particularly when it comes to the genders. Not only are women more prone to depression than men, but the causes of female depression and even the pattern of symptoms are often different. Many factors contribute to the unique picture of depression in women—from reproductive hormones to social pressures to the female response to stress. Learning about these factors can help you minimize your risk of depression and treat it more effectively.

Figures for the lifetime prevalence of depression vary according to the criteria used to define depression. Using DSM-IV’s criteria for ‘major depressive disorder’ which are similar to the ICD-10 criteria for ‘moderate depression’, the lifetime prevalence of depression is about 15 percent and the point prevalence about 5 percent. This means that an average person has about a one in seven (15 percent) chance of developing depression in the course of his or her lifetime, and about a 1 in 20 (5 percent) chance of suffering from it at this very point in time.

However, these figures mask a very uneven gender distribution as depression is about twice as common in women than in men. The reasons for this uneven gender distribution are not entirely clear but are thought to be partly biological, partly psychological, and partly sociocultural.

Biological explanations Compared to men, women may have a stronger genetic predisposition to developing depression. Compared to men, women are much more subjected to fluctuating hormone levels. This is especially the case around the time of childbirth and at the menopause, both of which are associated with an increased risk of developing depression.

Psychological explanations Women are more ruminative than men, that is, they tend to think about things more—which, though a very good thing, may also predispose them to develop depression. In contrast, men are more likely to react to difficult times with stoicicism, anger, or substance misuse. Women are generally more invested in relationships than men. Relationship problems are likely to affect them more, and so they are more likely to develop depression.

Sociocultural explanations Women come under more stress than men. Not only do they have to go work just like men, but they may also be expected to bear the brunt of maintaining a home, bringing up children, caring for older relatives, and putting up with all the sexism!   Women live longer than men. Extreme old age is often associated with bereavement, loneliness, poor physical health, and precarity—and so with depression. Women are more likely to seek out a diagnosis of depression. They are more likely to consult a physician and more likely to discuss their feelings with the physician. Conversely, physicians (whether male or female) may be more likely to make a diagnosis of depression in a woman. Perhaps you can think of some other reasons why depression is twice as common in women than in men, in which case please do let me know!

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hide-and-seek/201205/the-7-reasons-why-depression-is-more-common-in-women

1280x240-Homeworking-Hub-Image-1280x240Some of you at this point are thinking, what does all this has to do with the title and Mothers working. The aim of this article is to help women, not have a go at them, nor give them a blasting. It is to help them understand what they really need to do and what they should be doing. Where their priorities lie. I am not in a position to say this, but I don’t think most women understand. As humans, men and women, we are like sheep and just follow the trend. And women, in particular, are suffering from stress and depression because society demands too much from them I believe. Where they should have been placed and what their primary roles were, has been lost and disillusioned.

When you sit down to reflect on what your vision is for your life, how do you know that the vision you’ve chosen is, in fact, the right one? Is it by the level of happiness you are convinced that your vision is achieved, would give you? Or is it the fame and attention you know you’ll attain if you fulfilled it? It would be a shame if you spent years going up the ladder of life, only to find that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. Imagine if after all the effort you had exerted you found yourself on the Day of Judgment wishing you’d spent all that time and energy pursuing a different vision on Earth, one that would have given you a higher status in the hereafter which, after all, will last forever. On the Day of Judgment, things will become very clear to us in the starkest of ways. We will see reality as it truly is and realize how short was the opportunity that we had on Earth as the following hadith clearly illustrates:

Anas ibn Malik narrates that the messenger of Allah ﷺ  said, “The most affluent of the people in this world, of those who will go to Hell, will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and dipped once in the Fire. Then it will be said: O son of Adam, did you ever see anything good? Did you ever have any pleasure? He will say: No, by Allah, O Lord. Then the most destitute of the people in this world, of those who will enter Paradise, will be brought and dipped once in Paradise, and it will be said to him: O son of Adam, did you ever see anything bad? Did you ever experience any hardship? He will say: No, by Allah, O Lord. I never saw anything bad and I never experienced any hardship.” (Sahih Muslim)

Let us look at marriage…

In comparison to other countries, couples in the UK are rather old when they decide to get married. The average age that men in the UK get married is 30.8 and the average age to get married for women is 28.9 years.

Yes, besides the fact that a lot fewer people are getting married than for instance 30 years ago, the age at which people are marrying has increased quite a bit. The average age for getting married 30 years ago was about 24 years (about 23 years for women and about 25 years for men). That’s about 6 years earlier than the current average age.

The average age that people get married is dependent on a couple of factors, such as religion, culture and the level of development of the country where they live. In countries such as India and Pakistan, it is common that the parents of the bride and groom arrange the wedding. Therefore the average age of getting married in these countries is only 17 years old. In Scandinavian countries, it is more common to get married at a later age. In Denmark the average age people get married is almost 31 years old. Also in Sweden, Finland and Norway, the average age to get married is well above 30 years old.

So we can see that in Europe and the West, people tend to get married later. This again is due to the pressure from social norms and culture. E.g. getting a degree, building a career, having a job etc. All of which there is no harm in doing. But women need to understand, Islam does allow you to seek knowledge and education. Islam does allow you to work and earn for yourself. But the greatest virtue for a woman in Islam is being a good mother and a pious wife. Already, some of you will think I am backward or old-fashioned, not with the times and not up to date. False. There is no need for us to be sheep and follow society. If we really and truly follow Islam, then let us see what Allah says in the Qur’an and Hadith about women and their roles. Every woman praised in the Qur’an, namely Asiyah (Radhi Allahu Anha) – the wife of Pharoah and Maryam (Radhi Allahu Anha) the mother of Eesa (Alayhis Salam) were praised for being good wives and mothers.

“And Allah has set forth an example for those who believe, the wife of Pharaoh when she said: “My Lord! Build for me a home with You in Paradise, and save me from Pharaoh and his work, and save me from the people who are oppressors. And Maryam (Mary), the daughter of ‘Imran who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into her through Our spirit (Gabriel), and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and His Scriptures, and she was of the obedient.” [66:11-12]

The Prophet’s Companion Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari narrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) described the status of these two women by saying, “Many amongst men attained perfection but amongst women, none attained perfection except Maryam (Mary), the daughter of ‘Imran, and Asiya, the wife of Pharaoh. And the superiority of Aishah to other women is like the superiority of tharid (a dish) to other meals.” (Bukhari)

People also talk a LOT about Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Anha), and how she was a businesswoman. No doubt about it! She was one of the richest women in Makkah. But, after marriage, she handed the business to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). She (Radhi Allahu Anha) then had six children with the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). When the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) would meditate in the Cave of Hira, Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Anha) would walk from Makkah to Jabal Alnoor (Mount of Noor), then climb up to the Cave of Hira, twice a day to deliver the Prophet’s  (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) food. Let us look at both sides of the coin, not just the fact she was a businesswoman. She was a mother to the children of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), and what a great mother she was. Also, she was an amazing support to the Prophet  (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).working-from-home-jobs

Being a mother is not an easy task, right from the moment of pregnancy, till labour, till breastfeeding, then the early years. I will try to outline some of the most important duties of mothers and how much neglect we see in the Ummah today. It is not as easy as sending our children to nurseries for someone else, strangers, to nurture our children. Babies need their mothers. There are many things women need to consider before they just dump, yes ‘dump’ children. It may not be neglect in the eyes of the law, but certainly is in my eyes and possibly in the eyes of Allah SWT.

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as saying: “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The amir (ruler) who is over the people is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock; a man is a shepherd in charge of the inhabitants of his household and he is responsible for his flock; a woman is a shepherdess in charge of her husband’s house and children and she is responsible for them; and a man’s slave is a shepherd in charge of his master’s property and he is responsible for it. So each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock.” (Abu Dawud)

 

A contented, confident and well-adjusted child does not come about by accident but is the result of hard work mainly on the part of the parents. It is not enough to send our children to nursery and expect teachers to do our job for us. Primary education comes from the home environment and the first best teachers, are parents themselves. As Muslim parents in a non-Muslim society, we have to work hard to ensure that Islam is the focus of our parenting efforts.

The pre-school years are the most important and rapid of development, so this is the golden opportunity for us to nurture our children and help them on the path to becoming good Muslims of the future. It is a grave mistake to think that children are too young to learn or understand their surroundings. In fact, the opposite is true; the younger the child, the faster they can absorb information. A lack of varied stimuli and unsettled emotional surroundings are major factors in disruptive behaviour. We all want the best for our children, but often either do not know where to start or cannot find the time to implement our intentions. Remember, as parents, you will play a central role throughout your child’s life, but more especially during the formative years when there are fewer external influences.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-business/10214544/The-five-pros-and-cons-of-being-a-working-mother.html

Cons of being a working mother:

  1. Tiredness. There are no words to describe what it is like doing a 10-hour working day with a long commute when you’ve been up half the night with a teething toddler or a hungry baby
  2. When you can hear your child still crying and shouting ‘mama’ as you’re halfway out of the driveway
  3. Missing out – first words, first steps, playdates and classes
  4. Rushing home from work ‘early’ to put toddler girl to bed only to find she fell asleep 10 minutes before you got home
  5. Managing the expectations of colleagues who just don’t get it

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jan/01/mothers-work-children-school-survey

Siobhan Freegard, the co-founder of Netmums, said the needs of young teenagers often takes parents by surprise: “The truth is that the older your children get, the more they need you emotionally. Once they get to secondary school, they also need a great deal of help to organise all the homework and other academic demands they’re suddenly faced with.”

Those surveyed admitted feeling uncomfortable with their choice to give up work with 60% saying they feel embarrassed by the expectation that parents will work more, not less, when their child reaches school-age. Almost 40% said they are made to feel they are “setting a poor example to their child” by not working. Just 20% said they felt their choice meant they were seen as a better parent.

Freegard said: “Mothers – and it usually is mothers – have been trying and failing to talk about this issue for ages. It’s a hidden topic.”

MUST READ: https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/i-have-marked-my-daughter-crying-my-feet-because-there-are-deadlines 

In the United States today, more than half of mothers with young children work, compared to about one third in the 1970s. Working mothers are now the rule rather than the exception. Women have been moving into the workforce not only for career satisfaction but also because they and their families need the income.

Even when there are no problems, however, a two-career family has to deal with issues that do not come up in other families. Parents may feel so divided between family and career that they have little time for a social life or each other. Both parents need to share household and childcare responsibilities so that one will not end up doing most of the work and feeling resentful. Parents will lose an average of about ten work days per year due to the need to tend to a sick child, to care for their child when child care arrangements have broken down, or to take their child to necessary appointments.

So mothers really need to think twice before they resume work after having a child. We often hear the word “necessity” used. ‘I need to work’. Necessity is an abused term, we need to look carefully at what is a necessity. Wanting a luxurious lifestyle isn’t; fabulous car, large extended house, expensive getaways every year. If that is what you want, then sacrifice the welfare of your children for the above – harsh, but true. Your children don’t need holidays nor expensive presents. We look around today, parents have given their children every gadget, toy, doll, bike and game they can imagine having. But, have they given their children sufficient love and care and attention. Nobody said bringing up children was an easy task, nobody said women cannot work *full stop*. But it is different once you have children, you need to understand where your priorities lie, it is with your children. Don’t follow society, don’t follow the women in the magazine, because you deserve better and so do your children. This is a sincere plea from a brother of yours.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/07/the-chart-that-shows-how-feminism-is-ruining-womens-lives/

In conclusion, I say that the best role, the most honourable and worthy role for a woman is striving to be a fine wife, a good mother, or both. This role does not only secure the best for a woman in the hereafter but also fits perfectly with her natural disposition. In her study published by Centre for Policy Studies in 2009, Cristina Odone, former deputy editor of The New Statesman (1998-2004) concluded that “far from being committed to a career, the overwhelming majority of women would prefer to opt out of it. Instead of finding satisfaction in full-time work, most women realise themselves in their other roles as carers, partners, community members, and above all mothers”. Furthermore, McIntosh and Bauer concluded that working women are “often felt overwhelmed and unable to keep up with their job and family responsibilities”. They added that “the working mother felt she had two full-time jobs.”  {A thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an MEd in the graduate school of Marietta College titled, “Working Mothers Vs Stay At Home Mothers: The Impact on Children.}

I ask our sisters in Islam to embrace their true role in society and reap the huge rewards that Allah has in store for them for fulfilling this role. I ask our brothers to support them in fulfilling this role. When we define a vision for our lives, we are seeking to make a contribution and leave a legacy. Your legacy, sisters is that if you take on the role that Allah has ordained for you, then you will positively affect the future of the Muslim ummah and ultimately the future of the world. That is a legacy beyond measure.

http://uswatulmuslimah.co.za/womens-issues/qaa/748-can-women-work.html

Please see Fatwa above

NB: I am not a sexist or a chauvinist. These are my sincere views for many sisters who seemed to have lost direction and guidance. If there is anything against Islam in this article which is explicit in Qur’an and Hadith, please state the evidence below. I shall happily retract my opinions. I understand many will disagree and disregard this article.

Allah knows best, to Him we turn and seek the truth.

Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia (One who is in dire need of Allah’s Forgiveness, Mercy and Pleasure)

16 Jamadul Akhar 1436

When you thought I wasn’t looking.

babyA message every adult should read because children watch you and do as you do, not as you say.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you make my favourite cake for me, and I learned that little things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I heard you say a prayer, and I knew that there is a God I could always talk to, and I learned to trust in Him.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it, and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn’t feel good, and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things hurt, and it’s all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw that you cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I learned most of life’s lessons that I needed to know: to be a good and productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I looked at you and wanted to say,’ Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.

By Anon.