Striving for Excellence in Taqwa & Character

Posts tagged ‘life lessons’

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.

(more…)

Sparks of Knowledge

Book_of_life (2)

While having lunch at work we were talking about maternity leave and cover. One of my colleagues mentioned that for a suitable cover to be found for me I would need to become pregnant by April this year. I exclaimed that I would need to find the father first which may push the deadline a bit! This colleague is new to our team and didn’t know that I wasn’t married and she was so embarrassed. In reality, nothing is too great for Allah (the exalted). So it may work that way anyway!

What I am trying to point out is the advice I’ve heard on the preparation for parenthood. It begins with choosing a suitable spouse. One who is faithful and has good character then compatibility in other aspects important to you including life goals and aspirations. I found Alkahuthar’s Home Sweet Home a comprehensive course for those seeking to get married. Other courses are also available.

Marriage and parenthood, like all aspects of life, are enhanced with knowledge. Knowledge of the rights and responsibilities; etiquettes; best practices and lessons from other people’s experiences (laymen or experts). With that in mind, around 300 people attended Alkauthar’s Parenting Matters to seek knowledge on how to raise one’s children. Knowledge that is much needed in these in challenging times.

My take away key messages:

  1. Work on Developing Yourself

One of the most effective ways children learn is by example and emulating the adults around them. They pick up what you do so much more than what you say. So, if you want to instil in them good manners, truthfulness and modesty, begin with adopting them yourself.

Having self-confidence and a healthy self-image does a lot of good to your outlook on life and your decisions. This in turn would enable you to react in a balanced way to your children’s ever changing needs and “peculiar” choices. The catch, though, is that it takes work and review to build your character; work that should really start sooner than later.

Part of knowing who we are is to know what our priorities are and take action accordingly. Way before marriage and kids come on to the scene, did you ask yourself if your actions are aligned with what is truly important to you? Are you engaged with and committed to the words you utter? Are your actions leading you to achieve your goals in life? Do you have life goals that are specific and measurable? All these matter because when you become a parent, you’ll be in a better position to strike a work-family-life balance.  Many of the parents I know speak of the precious family moments they missed or would’ve missed because of other less important engagements getting in the way.

  1. Your Spouse is Your Supporter

At the course, one of the students mentioned how they wanted to raise their children to have good manners, however, some family members undermine that and even have a bad influence on the children because those adults use foul language and are disrespectful. The teacher responded that family ties should not be severed but parents’ first priority is the child’s wellbeing and upbringing. So if they live with those family members they should move out and even limit their interaction with the children if moving out wasn’t enough. This maybe also be a solution for parents who want to raise their children in a different manner to the way they were raised and aspire to instil in them different values.

In situations like these and all other situations, the husband and wife need to be on the same page. It is unfortunate when you see couples who are not just on different pages, their books are of different genres!

Your choice of spouse should take in consideration the kind of father or mother you think they are going to make. Spouses should complement each other, are each other’s adviser, aid and clemency. Enjoy the good times and support each other during the tough ones.

  1. Wisdom is the Lost Property of the Believer

Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Wisdom is the lost property of the Believer, let him claim it wherever he finds it” Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2687

There were many principles taught in this course which actually makes a lot of sense. The solution for the various situations parents go through could differ because of a particular issue. Also, an expert or knowledgeable person may not be available for consultation. However, if the parents learn the general principles, they could make their own informed decisions taking into consideration other points particular to that specific situation and lessons learned from previous experiences.

In addition, there was much mention of opinions and advice from experts in the field of family and education. Being a Muslim does not go against making use of beneficial knowledge and is in line with the Quranic teaching {So ask the people of remembrance (the scholars) if you do not know} 16:43.   In fact, when Muslims adhered to their faith and religious practice they became interested in the world around them and sought to understand its phenomena.  They excelled in the fields of medicine, geography, and mathematics among others.

Blog posts

Many other students attended the weekend course. A group of them decided to share what they learned. They decided to write brief articles including summaries and thoughts. These in no way are a substitute to attending the course and learning directly from the teacher. I hope these articles will highlight important points for consideration when raising children and that there is a whole world out there of feasible solutions to problems parents are facing. I will be posting these articles at Muslimah etc. over the next couple of weeks.

Abu Masood Uqbah bin Amr Al-Ansari Al-Badri (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said “Whoever guides someone to virtue will be rewarded equivalent to him who practices that good action”. Muslim