Striving for Excellence in Taqwa & Character

Posts tagged ‘community’

Open Up To The Possibilities

Open up to the possibilities

‘What are the possibilities presented by this situation?’

I remember I was once asked by a psychotherapist, ‘why was I so excited and looking forward to Ramadan?’. A month of no-eating! I thought, hmm … how do I answer such a question? Do I go into the features and ruling of fasting in Islam? What clever, intellectual explanation do I give?

Then  I decided on giving my personal reason, away from any fancy words and concepts.

My personal reason at the time was ‘connection’. Ramadan was a time when I felt more connected with myself and my soul. The times of Iftar when the whole family comes together to break their fast was time to connect with my family. The whole fasting and worship experience made me feel more connected to Allah.

While fasting the month of Ramadan is a pillar of Islam and has many cultural practices involved in it, it is a personal experience. You make of it what YOU make of it!

Here is where stories from the Quran can give us a glimpse of our person choice and attitude. They are gateways to change our attitude to open our hearts to the possibilities that Allah presents us through what we call life. Because life happens! An attitude change that could add so much to our lives and Ramadan is a fantastic time to practice it.   (more…)

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I want to be invisible

I want to be invisible

I felt her anguish, pain and confusion.

I couldn’t tell her off for uttering those words. Neither could I bring myself to present her with those old images that attempt to exemplify the status of women in Islam.

As a Muslim woman she felt that she was under the spotlight, all the time. Whatever she says and does is under scrutiny. Whatever she doesn’t say and doesn’t do is also under scrutiny. She felt like a damned creature by her fellow human beings.

In her attempts to practice Islamic teachings her shortcomings were pointed out first or her strict adherence criticised instead of being encouraged and advised in a gentle manner. In her attempts to fulfil her roles as a daughter, sister, wife or mother, she is told that she could’ve done better rather than being told what she was doing well. In her attempts to be part of society and greater community she was seen as oppressed and someone who needs liberation rather than being appreciated for her actions and willingness to participate. She was expected to be fluid enough and transparent enough to fit into any situation without disturbing the status quo.

Among this confusion she ended up becoming so fluid and transparent that she no longer had a sense of who she was. She had become invisible but in reality that was not what she wanted. She wanted to be acknowledged for the human being she is. To feel that she is loved and accepted with all her flaws because in her heart she knows that no one can attain perfection.

My dear sister, know that you are loved and honoured by your creator Allah. He has made you in the best of forms and he has placed you on this earth for you have a great purpose.  A purpose that is great because it will give you satisfaction and closeness to your Lord. Seek not the approval of others because you are right in that no one can attain perfection. Instead, seek the Perfect, the Wise and All Merciful Allah.

Know that what he has given you of talents, skills and abilities are for you to draw nearer to him. Know that when you shine bright in service through him you are acknowledging and being grateful for what he’s given you. Know that when you listen to the lessons  your ‘shortcomings’ and past drawbacks are teaching you you’ll be able to hear lessons you’ll use on the journey ahead.

 

My Madrassa Years

10

My Madrassa Years

I was passing by her classroom and heard her telling the students off. Like really telling them off for not revising, for not doing their homework. Telling them off for not appreciating the value of their religion and faith. For not having that pride that would make one strive and put in the effort.

I do not know the trigger for all of this but I have an inkling for how it managed to progress to projecting the future of the Ummah. In her words and the deep emotions they carried I heard myself. Once upon a time I was also a teacher of young people and teens. I had felt so much frustration in their indifference. In their attitude that came across as if they were doing me and their parents a favour by attending the school on the weekends. I on the other hand felt like it was their duty to attend. How else will they learn their deen?!

After what feels like a million years and many tough lessons I believe the frustration was coming from within me because of me.

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Preparing for Depature

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We were sat at her place and she was telling me about a woman she knew whose husband had passed away. The issue wasn’t the ‘widow’ status. The issue was that this woman knew nothing about her husband’s business affairs. Absolutely nothing.

Not long after the death of the husband, it happened that his uncle relocated to the same city and took over the running of his nephew’s business. Now, we won’t turn this into a drama and imagine how the uncle may have embezzled or changed everything into his ownership! I have no idea what happened next.

When my friend was telling me this story (no names were mentioned!), she was trying to make a point. The wife needs to know her husband’s business, what he does, how he runs things , what he owes and what he is owed.  Otherwise, it won’t be only the calamity of losing her husband but also the calamity of losing hers and her children’s livelihood.

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The Heart of the Matter

By Hasfa I

 Gilr_face_and_heart (2)

A community imbued with moral uprightness always ascends. This is a universal principle that holds true at all times.  Children of good character are the building blocks of a successful community. Cultivating strong Islamic values and identity in early learning prepare children to be well balanced and nurtures healthy minds.  We want to raise our children to be well rounded characters that are disciplined, responsible and contribute to the community, an asset to the ummah.  The following are a few tips to help you build that strong character Insha’Allah.

The Foundation of Eman

Connect your child to the pillars of eman: belief in Allah, angels, books and revelation, messengers, the last day, divine will and predestination.  Teach your child lailaha ilallah that there is no God worthy of worship except Allah. The first sound our newborn child hears is the testimony of faith via the adhan being read near his ear.  Children are born on the fitrah so belief in the oneness of Allah is a part of their natural make up.[i] As an example the prophet Luqman’s (as) main focus was to establish Allah in his son’s heart by teaching him tawhid, that Allah (exalted he)  is One and the Only and He has no partners or associates. That Allah has knowledge of everything and is aware of everything you do.[ii]

Your Child is Unique

Appreciate that your child is an individual and certain aspects of their personality traits you cannot change.  This will allow you to work with your child to nurture him and guide him to reach his full potential that Allah has bestowed him with.[iii]

To Love and Rely on Allah

Remember Allah and his blessings together.  Explain to your child that whenever you remember Allah, angels surround you, mercy covers you and Allah mentions you to his angels.[iv] Nurture your child to love Allah by teaching him through everyday conversation who is it that provides us with everything and why it is important to obey Allah. When your outdoors admire the creation and comment how beautiful it is and how Great and Perfect Allah is.  Through your actions teach him how to make dua to Allah using His beautiful Names and Attributes, do a dua list together. Try to make a habit of reading 2 rakaats with your child and make dua to Allah, your child will soon pick up that when he wants something to first and foremost ask Allah.

And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).  And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him.  Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose.  Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things.[v]

To Love Allah’s Messenger and His Companions

Children love stories, provide them with the best examples of role models. Teach your child according to his level of understanding the life of the Prophet  (peace be upon him)  alongside teaching them Quran.   Tell them of the stories of the children around the Prophet (peace be upon him) how they fought those who tried to harm him, how quickly they responded to his call and obeyed his commands. How the Sahabah loved that which the Prophet (peace be upon him) loved and how they memorized the hadeeth.

Anas (ra) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

‘You will be resurrected with whom you love’[vi]

Build a Relationship with The Quran

Ibn Khaldun said teaching your child the Quran is among the banners that must be raised when raising him.  Explain to your child what the Quran is and why he is learning to read and understand it.  If you as a parent love and have a relationship with the Quran it’s so much easier for your children to have that as that love rubs off on them. Children love to imitate their parents.  Teach Quran in a beautiful calm environment so that your child wants to stay there longer.  Motivate your child by telling them that there is reward even for the one who struggles with his pronounciation of the Quran in fact that person’s reward is more since he is struggling to learn the word of Allah.[vii] Spend time with your child discussing the meaning and tafseer of what is being recited.                                                                            

In conclusion, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said

“Shall I tell you who are the best among you? The best of you are those who when seen are a means of Allah being brought to mind.”[viii]                                   

May Allah grant us the ability to raise our children with Ihsan (excellence)  and  who remind others of Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him)  ameen.

 

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Alkauthar Institute Weekend Course – Parenting Matters, The art of raising Righteous Children’. Taught by Sheikh Alaa Elsayed.

[i] Quran 7:172

[ii] Quran 31.16

[iii] Productive Muslim: Raising Productive and Confident Muslim Kids (part 1)

[iv] Muslim

[v] Quran 65:3

[vi] Bukhari/Muslim

[vii] Bukhari/Muslim

[viii] Tirmidhi