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Question: My in-laws won’t stop telling me how to parent

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My in-laws won’t stop telling me how to parent, I feel so trapped, is there a way out?

The way in to this is through your husband, so naturally one would assume the way to deal with it is to take it to your husband for a way out (solution). But, no, that rarely works because those are his parents, they have rights over him and of course  – those are his parents. Just as we would hope our child does not scold us on behalf of our spouse, we would also not want our husband to be that person. Of course the inlaws are not out to get you, to them it is their blood they are looking out for, their grandchild, their love, their interest, and your child. So the way around it?

Well, you’d have to develop thick skin – so much easier said than done, but it’s possible. Keep telling yourself they care, they’re bored, and that you’re the mother and it is your right to parent your child the way you and your husband decide. Also, try tucking some headphones in your ears with Quran playing and drown out as much of the noise as you can. There’s not much to be done about their complaining,  but if your husband has to hear it and bring it to you then gently tell him that you’re trying your hardest; resist all temptation to vent to him about. He knows his parents well, and he will love you even more for not making it an issue for him (even if they are). Eventually older people will move on to something else but if you’re able to find them a hobby, then that would be wonderful. Distract their attention, often times their nit-picking is boredom and a need for attention and has nothing to do with how you parent. One more thing, every time their remarks get to you, then make dua for them. Make it out loud, there’s nothing wrong with that. You may find yourself making dua the entire day, but that’s a good thing right? Dua will protect your heart from getting hard in any way, and also from the whispering of shaytaan, InshaAllah.

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Question: Frustrated Husband with Wife Undermining His Role

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My wife keeps undermining my authority infront of our kids, no matter how many time I tell her I don’t like that she keeps doing it!! I’m very frustrated and don’t know what to do, any advice?

There’s likely two issues at play here: one could be an insecurity about who she is as a mother. This would mean she feels the need to always give her two sense, or play the hero for her children. It could also mean she feels the need to protect them from anything she feels is negative and will make them sad. That also is an insecure mother, as she yearns their approval/attention/love by feeling it necessary to always keep them satisfied. Another issue that might be looming is an underlying resentment she holds towards you. If there is/are issues that bother her in your relationship, she may feel that she can pacify that pain/disappointment by interfering with your relationship with yoru children. This is likely an subconscious action, but through resentment, she also lacks respect, and with a lack of respect she will openly question your decisions without thinking of how it makes you feel.

It is probably best that you deal with the root, since the surface issue doesn’t change when you ask her to stop doing that.  The best way to deal with a woman is gently, and no defensively – this is extremely, extremely hard. The male ego is a fragile delicate thing. But if you want to see a change you’ll have to brace yourself for any negativity, anger, resentment she may have, allow her to express it, then apologize.  It doesn’t mean she’s right, it means you want to start again and work towards establishing a stronger home. So for the sake of Allah, keep your heart clear, your mind strong, and make amends.  It’s the first step to creating respect between you both. Take note of her complaints, and what you see as truth try to adjust yourself accordingly (without making a point of telling her).

This will eventually create a safe place between you both to communicate, so she doesn’t feel attacked nor do you. With that said, your authority will be better respected, because she already knows it bothers you, she will change her ways, once she see you change yours.

We are funny creatures like that – but someone has to start.  Get the reward of good intention and be the first to do it. May Allah grant you success, and make your wife and children a coolness and comfort to your heart, Ameen.

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Raising An Obedient Child – Step 3

Putting Parenting Together (Step 3 of 3 )

I have previously discussed step 1 and step 2 in raising an obedient child. As we progress to the final step, you’ll notice that it doesn’t get easier. This step isn’t really a “step”, it’s more like a foundation piece; an absolutely essential requirement in working towards raising respectful, God-conscious, considerate children, InshaAllah. So, step 3 – creating a system.

Learning to create a system is by far the hardest step because for the first 15 years of our children’s lives we have to remain extremely diligent about ensuring they have understood what’s expected of them (step 1) and that we have created avenues via dialogue and example to instill true value in their lives (step 2).

This “system” is not necessarily successful because of the actual system you choose to use in developing expectations and purpose in their lives, but rather its’ success is found through consistency. Ah, that word!

This Is All Us

Being consistent as a parent will make or break any efforts put forth, regardless what we’re hoping to do for our children. With that said, it is also important that parents also maintain a united front in the face of opposition, which I mentioned previously, but this is often why consistency suffers. One parent keeps up while the other let’s things slide. Children will whine and complain, but when creating and implementing a consistent system in the household both parents must be in agreement and remain steadfast. Even in a single parent homes, or in step-parent families all parties involved in the rearing of your children ideally should be on the same page. This isn’t always possible, but when they’re with you let them know why you’ve chosen to do what you do (of course if they’re too young then just keep doing your best and know that Allah Knows your intention and sees your efforts).


When we try to nurture qualities in our children without actually believing that there is true purpose in it, then after a while we’ll stop. It’s like going on a diet or maintaining a healthy daily living – if you aren’t truly convinced it’ll harm you, then after a while you’ll go back to it. So it’s important that we deeply value what we set out to instill and let our principals be a driving force behind the way parent.  

Parents Are Human Too

Now, it may be that we do believe in we want for our children but we’re weak ourselves, and tired, and have our own issues, and have to deal with opinions of family and, and, and – it’s true, this life is a test- that’s why there’s Jannah, right? InshaAllah.  So, what now?  Where do we start in creating this system and also being a stronger, better us to impart the same onto our children?

Ready, Set, PRAY!

We start with dua (sincere supplication) – consistently, without fail, after every single salat, InshaAllah. Ask, beg, cry, turn to Allah Alone seeking the strength to do what it required to be a better you, and for your children to be a coolness and comfort to all. This dua “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.” was mentioned in the Quran in Surah Furqan – 25:74. There’s wisdom and purpose in everything we find in the Quran, thus we need to learn to harness the strength and power of the words of Allah with sincere conviction.

With a promise to ourselves to make dua every single day without fail we can begin our journey to be the best parents possible, and rest assured we’ll never feel like we’re there yet, and that’s okay – actually that’s a good thing because it keeps us striving towards “purposely parenting”. Effort is our requirement, results are from Allah Alone.  Make your efforts be strongly motivated, small, consistent steps as that will form the stepping stones for this “system” and unlock the secret to establishing consistency, InshaAllah.

Reaction Matters

Another point to always incorporate in this system is the concept of consequence. Naturally every action has a consequence: good or bad. It only works to the betterment of the child if they are able experience these consequences without parents being lax in allowing a concrete or even natural consequence to be apparent. So basically, don’t keep saving them because you feel bad (tough love, if you will?).

If they are not working hard in school they will do poorly, earn your disappointment, maybe lose the trust you gave them in completing their work away from your supervision etc. Then, of course if they do something well, like going for salat without being told, the consequence would result in a parent’s praise, affection, and/or appreciation for their steadfastness. As the child gets older, then consequences need to advance to non-tangible things, such as trust. An example would be that parents can offer more or less independence to their children depending on level of trust they’ve established by proving their responsibility or lack of etc. 

Bring It In

The point to understand here is as our children get older they too are faced with chaos, pressures, and “norms”. Their beliefs and character will be questioned by society, so it’s important they grow up with stability (values) in the home based on a vision of what parents want for their children (expectation), along with a clear indication of what they fail to lose or gain by doing or not something (consequence).

It requires diligence but again nothing truly amazing happens without sincerely striving hard for it on some level, right?

 InshaAllah, soon we’ll cover the ONE character trait that parent’s can focus on which will lead to righteousness (guaranteed through Hadith), bi’ithnillah, by the Facilitation of Allah (ameen).

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Raising An Obedient Child – Step 2

Raising an obedient child muslim child

Purposely Parent  (Step 2 of 3)

Assuming you’ve read step one, you’ll be clear as to what exactly an “obedient child” looks like – by my definition. While it may have a selfish connotation suggesting a parent wants to control and dictate the life of their child, in actuality an obedient chlid is the outcome of instilling values in their lives from a young age. This is the essence of step 2.

Start Yesterday

Raising a child to be conscious of our Creator, to live with purpose, to learn what is actual worth valuing,  all starts from birth – literally, well, actually it can be argued it starts even before conception, such a picking a spouse that has the same vision for their offspring. We know as believers there is a dua to be recited when spouses have relations, thus protecting the child from Shaytaan. Then when the child is born, we are taught to recite Adhan (call to pray) in their ear, and give a very tiny bit of chewed date. We also know, to have an aqiqah (sacrifice) and feed the people among the poor with the meat, as well as name the baby with a good name and remove their hair. As a parent, every Sunnah we do with an intention to Please Allah will result in goodness for our children, InshaAllah.

Unite Firmly in Fundamentals

It is imperative that a child is taught from young the fundamentals of Islam: the various duas, how to make wudhu, how to perform salat, how to read Quran, memorize surahs of Quran, learn to contemplate the blessings they have etc. This task is upon BOTH parents to achieve, which is why it is critical to pick a spouse that also desires this for their future offspring. Parents have to unite in their efforts and be on the same page in order to be able to offer a consistent and stable environment required for the nurturing of strong, believing offspring. Kids are smart – any weakness they find, they will quickly use it to divide and conquer (not maliciously, but simply to get what they want). Their nafs (lower self/desires) are searching for the easiest, most pleasurable activity to keep busy with. Obviously, they lack the knowledge and wisdom to understand that what they do in their youth will dictate the course of their lives (for the most part, not always, and Allah Knows Best) – herein stands the purpose of parenting.

 The idea is to prepare our children to deal with reality – this world, the hereafter, the choices offered, and the potential consequences. We are better parents when we purposely parent, therefore being mindful of what we teach and guide our children towards.  Parents are to parent children, guide them in youth (teenage years), watch them as adults, and always keep supplicating for them!

Imams Cannot Change Your Child

Unfortunately, too many parents take their complaints to Imams when their children are 12, 14, 15 even 25 about how their children don’t listen, are rude, don’t do anything all day, have a girlfriend or boyfriend, want to marry a non-Muslim, won’t cover appropriately – and on and on (May Allah Protect us all, ameen).  Raising a child to be obedient to Allah doesn’t start when you see trouble, and are unhappy with their choices, it starts before they are able to make choices. Imam’s can only offer advice, which may or may not fall on deaf ears. The good actions of parents however are a priceless when it comes to teaching our children goodness.

Parents are parents because they have been assigned the task of directing and guiding their children through their early years, even if their child would rather do, act, or say something else. If they are not taught from early childhood, and if they have no example of the character we wish them to have, then how can we expect amazing results (good manners) in their adulthood? The Sunnah of Allah if that an effort is required. These efforts start the moment you realize an effort is required – like right now, yah, now NOW, not just now.   

Bis’millah – we start in the Name of Allah, and continue the journey of parenting with purpose. Next post is the last step, which I feel is absolutely fundamental in incorporating into Muslim parenting practices (sounds kind of corporate eh? But who said parenting isn’t work?).  Stay tuned! InshaAllah

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Raising an Obedient Child – Step 1


The Game Plan

The concept of an obedient child seems almost “OLD SKOOL” – I mean, what is an obedient child? Does that entail a child that follows their parent’s orders without question or maybe it implies a child has no ambition in life except for what they are told?  Maybe you have a different idea of what it means, but just so we’re on the same page let’s clarify. When I refer to an obedient child, it basically means a respectful child, one who may or may not agree with you but will always maintain a high level of respect in doing so. This also includes an ambitious child, one who considers and seeks the advice of their parents because they value their parents opinions (again, even if they don’t agree). Lastly, it’s the child that understands that people – especially their parents and family, have rights upon them.

Sounds a bit complicated, no? While as an adult we can break down the characteristics of an obedient child, it doesn’t actually mean we are to explain it to them and hope they suddenly transform into this considerate, polite, God-conscious being. Instilling a sense of purpose, self-respect, and gratitude is required to nurture the trait of obedience. Emphasizing obedience ultimately to Allah is the foundation necessary for good character – after all, a parents’ disappointment will only go so far, but to feel the pain of failing the Ultimate Authority?… a soul cannot rest well.

Set Markers

Expectation builds awareness for children, as it sets standards and gives them a measuring tool to track their progress. This isn’t hard to do as long as both parents work together in establishing set expectations, and also start from the beginning (toddler age). So practically that would mean setting small milestones in their early ages, such as: learning to say thank you, not allowing for disrespectful actions like throwing things, hitting or yelling. As they get older, in their elementary days, then advance your efforts by expecting them to be disciplined in completing their work without you checking on them all the time, to keep their things organized, to clean and pick up after themselves and to be conscious of what is good in Islam and what is not (ie. lying, shamelessness, swearing etc.). Thereafter, as a child reaches adulthood according to Islam (puberty), then expecting them to be responsible in offering salat (prayer), to help in the house without being told, to study in the hopes of being the best they can be and so forth.   

Establishing expectations does not mean a child will always achieve them; honestly it’s unfair and unrealistic to think our children won’t make mistakes, talk back, skip class, or even fake/lie about praying their salat from time to time. However, with set standards in place, their conscious won’t allow them to rest easy when their actions counter these expectations. Human nature kicks in and works to our advantage. Consider it like programming software – like it or not they will be programmed (just as we are), as a parent you have the right to authorize what goes in and with diligence you are also able to repel anything deemed negative or trying to override your programming. When households are void of setting standards, then the consequence to action(s) will go unnoticed – good or bad. Consciousness of what we do is the stepping stone of knowing who we are, and with that knowledge we have the ability to constantly work on being better.

The Fine Line

Be sure to set expectations that are reasonable. Failing to be balanced often results in a reverse effect. Generally speaking, if parents maintain an Islamic inspired standard such as refining character, speaking good or remaining silent, being mindful of Allah etc. then balance is set. If parents raise their children with the notion they have to own a big house or be better than their cousins etc., then they are stripping their children of true purpose in life. Without understanding purpose we cannot sustain obedience to Allah, therefore as parents we have to maintain standards according to our religion.

Setting a standard is what I consider the first step (out of three) in nurturing obedience in a child, wa Allahu Alam. In the next two posts I will go through step 2 and 3, so stay tuned!

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Question: My parents are divorced so does that mean I have a broken home?

Muslim child divorce home

It’s not a broken home unless something inside the home isn’t working. Yes, it can be argued when a mom and dad aren’t together then the ties of family are broken. But when a mom and dad can’t get along, they argue a lot or have habits that cause serious issues to the family unit then to go their separate ways is actually a solution.  Often times a very tense and aggressive family life is what’s broken and not the other way around.

Sometimes the greatest blessings are hidden in less than perfect situations. So don’t get down on yourself for what is not in your control, but try to understand that the best thing for everyone isn’t always what seems to be ‘normal’.  Worry about making sure the home you’re in is always conscious of Allah, that will automatically bring peace and make home life complete. Tried and tested 😉 Alhamdulilah!

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Being Muslim in the West – How to Feel Safe

Being Muslim in the west

Western Muslims, now more than ever, are faced with what is coined as “Islamophobia.” It is a phrase that encompasses the fear of the unknown but also creates a threat to Muslims across the globe based simply on the fact that we are Muslims.  While many questions arise, two remain at the forefront – What is the root of the problem? How do we deal with it?

The Root

It’s not Trump, it’s not ISIS, it’s not Illumanti and, no – it’s not Michael Jackson’s subliminal messages in Thriller (or other artists). While they all definitely don’t help the problem, they are not the cause of it. For us to attribute the state of our ummah to any of these people (plus many more out there), we would be losing sight of who true power belongs to – Allah, the Owner of All Things.

The ummah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is in turmoil because we have forgone many of his ways (salla Allahu alayhi wa salam). Just as the Muslims faced defeat in the battle of ‘Uhud for not following the orders of the Prophet (peace be upon him), we too are faced with a similar predicament for not following him. Our numbers are great, but our stance is weak. During the early years of Islam, the ummah was small but firm on obeying the orders of the Prophet (peace be upon him). They were keen on adhering to Allah’s words and purifying themselves. Thus, while they were tested, they were still victorious. Now fast forward 1400 years later and ask yourself, what do we do as one that is part of the ummah of Muhammad (peace be upon him)?

Re-Affirm Our Faith

 Our natural survival instinct is screaming out to protect ourselves,  based on that rationale many feel the need to conceal our faith. Worse yet is our attempt to abandon the “weird” things so that we are seen to be “moderate” (relative to the devil’s influence). Waswasa, or the whispering of Shaytan, calls us to fear the oppressors and to be ashamed of the fact that we identify as being Muslims. We are Muslims – every one of us, by choice. If that’s not your choice, then you need not continue. If it is, then understand that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a mercy to mankind and emulating his ways with sincerity will not evoke harm but rather earn the protection and mercy of Allah, insha’Allah.

In the battle of ‘Uhud, a segment of the army (approximately a third of it) went back to Madinah. The Muslims that remained were angered by this until they were reminded by Allah that He is in Control. While it appeared as if the group left, they in fact were sent away by Allah to protect the true believers from the hypocrites. Having said that, conviction is from yourself, and only with sincerity can you find yourself with success.

Expect the Help of Allah

Success, protection, aide, sustenance; everything good is only through Allah, period. So after re-affirming your faith, keep strong to the path of Allah by following the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the guidance of the Quran. You don’t need to be a scholar. The basics are where we are: enjoin good, forbid evil, be truthful even if against yourself, remain pure at heart and mind, fulfill all obligations of rights upon you with goodness, approach Ramadaan/hajj/zakah/salah with enthusiasm and sincerity, be kind to neighbours, mend and hold ties with kith and kin, speak good or remain silent, feed the needy, adopt haya (shyness, humility, modesty), shun all forms of interest (riba), surround yourself with people of high moral and ethical standards, reflect on words of the Quran and lastly fear the day when you will stand before Allah. By holding fast to the basics, you are able to choose good in all your affairs without hesitation caused by peoples peculiar stares. There are no discrepancies in the above, so make no excuses for yourself. 

Facing the RIGHT Now

Begin your day with the strongest dua of protection: Ayatul Kursi. If you truly love your faith, if you truly trust Your Lord, but you know the nature of the people then the protocol  requires a couple minutes in the morning and evening to invoke Allah for protection by His Glorious Words. If we are sincere, the solution is here. There is no need to compromise your religious beliefs (5 daily salat, hijab, halal food etc.) for fear of the people; the promise of Protection is with the recitation of Ayatul Kursi.

Fear of the Unknown

It is human nature to fear that which is unknown to us. It doesn’t help that the media portrays Islam as evil, but falsehood is very weak while truth will ALWAYS rise above. Therefore, know that just as Islam was strange when it first came, and the people responded aggressively, it grew quickly in the hearts of the people across the Middle East, Africa and parts of Europe. Now (post 911), it is known to all -especially in the Americas. The entire world knows that Islam exists. This is the plan of Allah. Our duty and our test today is to be diligent in remaining steadfast (adhering to Islam’s comprehensive code of conduct with a pure heart) and to be confident in the truth. Lastly, a hadith to deeply ponder (even if you’ve heard it before):

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Islam began as a something strange and it will return to being strange, so blessed are the strangers.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 145

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Positive Influence – Be the Change You Want for Your Children

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Today’s world is filled with much strife, the days of calm seem to be a distant past as our youth seem to grow so fast, yet, so slowly too. Issues such as #BlackLivesMatter, #IStandWithAhmed, #DumpTrump, etc. are heavy for children to be worrying about. While on some level they do worry, on another level they remain immobilized by the many distractions that surround them. Somewhere between Care Bears and Alice Through the Looking Glass, things just got messed up.

Sifting Through Social Norms

There is probably no role more challenging than raising a Muslim child in the 21st century.  Cultures and society in general are infused with practices contrary to Islam. A simple example is magic. Magic is acknowledged in Islam as a test, but make no mistake, it is a major sin that entails shirk (associating partners with Allah), another major sin – in fact, the greatest sin that exists. Yet we treat Disney movies and their world of magic as mere entertainment and not an ideology contrary to our faith.

With so many subtle influences in our lives, it is hard for us, the adult Muslim, to be the best that we can be. We fall short in creating a solid standard of morals and ethics in line with the core values of Islam. While we, parents, struggle to maintain our own Islamic identity, we inadvertently leave our children to seek out standards for themselves – in essence, a role model.

Finding A Role Model

Roles models are essential to each person’s overall growth simply because one of the greatest human challenges is to remain motivated, and role models motivate. They direct others through actions and not simply by spurting out words. They are a force of energy that captivates people through achievements, through a defined and unwavering set of principles, through hardship and ease, and through conviction. The stronger the role model is, the more composed and well-rounded the student (in this case, the child) will be, Insha’Allah.

Real Role Models

For children in today’s world Batman qualifies as a ‘role model’ and how he overcame the adversity of his parents’ death, or X-Men and their quest to show the world we are all equal.  As our children get older fictional role models don’t cut it anymore, and it evolves into celebrities, sport icons, hip-hop artists, or for the more refined Michelle Obama (or maybe not?).  As a Muslim parent, I know we can do better. We have to do better, much better.

The companions of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) function as very real role models, as many stories outline their tests, and overcoming it. By speaking of their lives, and emphasizing it, children will naturally build a connection to the companions they feel closely matches their personality.

Children Pick Parents First

Islam places a heavy emphasis on respecting parents. We are commanded to honour them and to never speak to them in a harsh manner. Apart from the obvious reasons for this, we must understand the God-given blessing that exists between parent and child. Children will not go looking for another role model until they cannot find that direction, motivation or inspiration from their parent(s). The preferred choice is always the parent. We, the parents, are given this gift but often throw it away by spending our free time saturating our children’s lives with social norms and ideals, which are often contrary to raising a strong, confident Muslim child.

Parents are Human Too

It’s hard. Our nafs (desires/lower self) are tugging on us just as they tug at our children, but while Shaytaan may call out to us and whisper in our hearts, he has no power over us. Ultimately the decision to rise and be that example of standards; a role model, is on us, and in us – if we are willing.

Allah’s Messenger said that Allah said: He who comes with a good deed, its reward will be ten like that or even more. And he who comes with vice, his reward will be only one like that, or I can forgive him. He who draws close to Me a hand’s span, I will draw close to him an arm’s length. And whoever draws near Me an arm’s length, I will draw near him a fathom’s length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running. And whoever faces Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, I will meet him with forgiveness nearly as great as that, provided he does not worship something with me.


Despite being the adults, we (parents) sometimes find ourselves in the same predicament as our children. Who are our role models? Sometimes we are able to align ourselves with people of knowledge, and this always helps in dealing with the clamor of society. Still, even if we can’t, it’s important to remember that the role models of a Muslim are the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions (may Allah be pleased with them all).

There is an abundance of knowledge at our fingertips that can inspire and push us to strive to be of the same standard of Muslims that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us to be. An easy and great place to start is by reading the two-volume series entitled “Lives of the Companions” by Abdul Wahid Hamid. Or maybe stroll through an Islamic bookstore and start with what catches your eye. Choose the path and Allah will make a way Insha’Allah.   


As an Ummah, we are lost in the details. While continuing to seek knowledge is imperative in keeping us motivated, application of this knowledge is essential in keeping us steadfast. Our children will take lessons from what they see, more than what they hear. They will instinctively act according to what they recall seeing their mom and dad do, and only as they age and reflect will they consider what was said. It’s a battle to be the role model our children need us to be, but that’s the nature of this life. Either we rise to the challenge or lose the ones that we have been tasked to protect from the Hell fire.

O you who believe! Protect yourselves and your families (from) a Fire whose fuel (is) people and stones, over it (are) Angels stern, severe; not they disobey Allah (in) what He Commands them but they do what they are commanded.

Al Qur’aan – 6:66

May Allah Protect us and our families from His Anger, and Guide us to His Pleasure, Ameen.

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Ageless Parenting – Where Do Parents Stand?

Muslim parents

Statistics show that in the 1990s the predominant age of motherhood was between 24-29 years of age. In 2012, statistics show a steady shift to 30-34 years of age. With an increase of around 5 years, it should signify more “mature” parenting, right?

Sharing ‘Toys’ with Your Children

 If you take a moment to watch commonplace interactions between parents and children today, you’ll notice something strange – that is, both parents and children share a lot in common. In the 70s and 80s, there was always a distinct difference between parents and children. Children played video games while parents sometimes watched or occasionally joined in. These days, parents play video games and children get their own entertainment systems so they stop bothering their parents. Thirty to forty years ago, parents were on the phone making calls while children would interact at school or while playing on their front lawn. Now, children and parents are both on the phone. Years ago, parents and children had obvious wardrobe differences. Now, parents and children share clothing. The way parents and children spoke were also obviously different compared to now, including the expectations of how parent and child addressed each other. Previously, respect was the standard, but it seems that respect is now just wishful thinking. Doesn’t this make you go, “hmm?”

To Do or Not To Do

We, parents in the 21st century, have to ask ourselves which qualities of “ol’ skool” (70-80s) parenting worked and why and what didn’t work and why. Off the top, many would argue that the interaction between child and parent was lacking in the past. Thus, as generations moved on, they made a point of interacting more and “getting down to the level of the child.” At some point, this was a conscious decision, but now it seems to be a natural disposition. There’s a need among many parents to be accepted by their children, so words like “no” have become difficult and the expectation of respect is not even there. The idea is: if I object to my children’s demands, they my “hate” me, throw a tantrum, or worse still, they will compare me to their friends’ “cooler” parents. This is nothing but emotional blackmail. Our parents used it on us, and now our children do too. I’m not sure how we missed our turn to do it, but the reality remains that we’re getting played.

Your ONLY Goal as a Parent

‘A child will have many friends throughout their life, but they will only have one set of parents’– this is what it all comes down to  (I don’t know who said it, but it’s worth remembering). We love and adore our children such that seeing their pain is worse than feeling it ourselves, but our ‘nice-guy’ attitude is working to the detriment of our children. They NEED us; their parents, to ‘parent’ them by teaching them that there’s a way to address elders, that there are sacrifices being made for them so they should be aware of what the real world is like, that they are important to us but the world does not revolve around their needs, that waiting won’t kill them but too much sugar will. In a day and age where parenting seems ageless, the responsibility falls on us to be the ones to set boundaries, standards, and expectations – all with one goal in mind – Jannah!

Parental Priority – Adab  (Character)

Raising Muslim children requires a great emphasis on character. It’s the foundation of our goodness. Therefore, giving into societal norms where parents and children function at the same level will only destroy the foundation of our Ummah. Parenting is hard. There’s no question about it. Raising a Muslim child who is able to stand firm despite the onslaught of the media and the masses of ignorance is even harder, but it’s not impossible. We are teachers, just as the Prophet (peace be upon him) was our teacher. Thus, it is imperative that we rise to a level higher than our students (children) so they are gently coaxed into reaching their fullest potential in all facets of their being.  Our role will serve to push them to see a bigger picture, to rise higher, and to not assume that they’ve already made it to the top.

Abu Darda reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Nothing is heavier upon the scale of the believer on the Day of Resurrection than his good character. Verily, Allah hates the shameless, obscene person.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2002

Learning to Direct Free Time the Right Way

Moderation in Islam entails that we walk a middle path following the standard of Islamic practice and not social norms. By default, this will make a Muslim parent appear strange (or strict), but our job is to equip our children with the tools that they need to be their best, which means learning to control their desires. If we equip them with the tools of the masses that inherently destroy one’s mental, physical, and spiritual development (i.e. iPad, cell phones, etc.), then we are the only ones to blame.

The rise of the Ummah is the rise of standards, and the rise of standards is the rise of parental guidance.   We can give our children attention without breeding narcissism (which can develop as a result of something such as ‘the princess mentality’ instead of being a servant of Allah). The world makes it seem as if parents need to be with their children 24/7, which naturally will drive one insane and make one succumb to a constant need for just a few moments of peace. The reality is that we, parents, need to give our children the tools for them to learn to occupy themselves constructively (such as books, brain games, Scrabble, Quran Challenge board games, sports, drawing, crafts, trades, etc.).

Ibn Mas’ud reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The son of Adam will not be dismissed from his Lord on the Day of Resurrection until he is questioned about five issues: his life and how he lived it, his youth and how he used it, his wealth and how he earned it and he spent it, and how he acted on his knowledge.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2416

The Parent is ‘the Caller’

Raising a child who adopts the traits of a true believer is a distinction we make in raising our Muslim children. The choice is left to us parents to define the identity of a believer in our children. Our children are at our mercy – so giving ‘good’ needs to be in-line with Islamic standards of good. Peer pressure in parenting or simply to rely on our children to dictate what is good (through their happiness or sadness) will only result in their downfall. Ultimately, the choice is ours, but the consequence is theirs.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever calls others to guidance will have a reward similar to those who follow him, without detracting from their reward at all. Whoever calls people to misguidance will have the burden of sin similar to those who follow him, without detracting from their sins at all.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2674