Filial Piety: Being Dutiful Towards One’s Parents: A SeekersGuidance Reader

Filial Piety: A Collection of Trusted Resources on Being Dutiful to Your Parents

SeekersGuidance Readers provide the seeker with a purposely curated list of articles, answers, podcasts, and courses from SeekersGuidance on a particular topic. These guides serve as a gateway to knowledge and guidance. 

My Father Was Smarter Than I Though – By Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

It is a central Islamic virtue to be thankful to one’s parents, for everything they have done and continue to do for us. Allah Most High says,

“And We have charged man concerning his parents — his mother bore him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning was in two years — Be thankful to Me, and to thy parents; to Me is the homecoming.” (Qur’an, 31:14)

Thankfulness arises from recognizing another’s favor upon one. Allah emphasizes in the above verse that, like Allah’s favor, the favor of one’s parents simply cannot be repaid. After all, they were the reason for our existence and took care of us when we were helpless.

This recognition of parental favor entails both being thankful for what our parents did for us and also learning from their positive points. It isn’t easy being a parent in these rushed times — where so many matters vie for our precious hours and minutes.

But few matters are more important than our precious children and their proper upbringing. There are invariably positive lessons we can learn from in how our parents raised us.

Read the full article here: My Father Was Smarter Than I Thought – Faraz Rabbani

Articles

Parents Matter More Than Peers – Shaykh Hamza Karamali

Parents – Your Door to Allah’s Acceptance, by Ustadh Uthman Bally

Serve Your Parents Now Before It’s Too Late, by Ustadh Salman Younas

Prepare Yourself for Your Parents Old Age – Advice from Imam Tahir Anwar

Daily Qur’an Reflections: (15) Call to the Highest Virtues, Excellence with Parents, Human Honour, and Keeping the Best of Company

Supplication of Excellence to Parents – Du`a’ Birr al-Walidayn

The passing of Habib ‘Umar’s mother

Reconnecting With Family–Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil 

Can I Pay for the Hajj of My Parents? 

“To Mothers” – Moving Poem by Baraka Blue

The Passing of the Father and Grandfather of Ustadh Salman Younas

 

Questions and Answers

On Marriage

A sampling of some of the answers to questions about issues with parents in regards to spouses.  For more information about this subject please see our  Guide to Marriage: SeekersGuidance Reader.

The Virtues of Parents

Supplication of Excellence to Parents – Du`a’ Birr al-Walidayn 

The Noble Intention of Parents

Parents – Your Door to Allah’s Acceptance, by Ustadh Uthman Bally

Highest Virtues, Excellence with Parents

10 – Umm Ayman – The Prophet’s Mother After His Mother

Prayer of a Concerned Father, Surat al-Baqarah (verses 127-128)

How Can I Guide My Parents to the Right Path?

The Close Proximity of Single Mothers to the Prophet 

Authenticity of Hadith Stating That Paradise Lies Beneath the Feet of Your Mother

Navigating Common Problems

Dealing With a Dysfunctional Relationship With Parents 

How Can I Deal With My Difficult Mother in a Respectful Way

I Have Bad Dreams About My Late Father. What Can I Do?

How Should I Deal With a Mentally Ill Mother?

My Mother Is Not Muslim. How Can I Help Her?

My Mother Makes Supplications Against Me. Will Her Duas Be Accepted?

Can I Give My Zakat to My Father?

To What Extent Should I Obey My Mother? 

Should I Listen to My Husband or My Mother?

How Can I Advise My Mother to Come Back to Islam? 

How Can I Deal With My Elderly Mother Who Refuses Assistance

My Mother Does Not Want Me to Read up on Death and Judgement

How Can My Husband and I Should Split Time Between His Parents and Mine?

Can a Man Prevent His Wife From Visiting Her Parents?

My Father Is Emotionally Blackmailing Me to Get Married. What Do I Do?

What to Do When My Parents Reject My Choice of Spouse Because of Cultural Reasons?

How Can I Convince My Parents That I Am Not Ready For Marriage?

Why Did My Parents Reject My Potential Suitor?

 

Difficult Relationships With Parents

Am I Wrong to Not Want to Speak with My Parents?

How Do I Deal With My Toxic Parents Who Give Me Constant Stress?

My Parents Emotionally and Physically Abuse Me. Can You Help Me?

To What Extent of a Boundary Can I Have with Dysfunctional Parents?

My Parents Are Angry with Me and Hit Me What Do I Do?

My Parents Are Always Fighting. What Do I Do?

Do I Have to Obey My Parents If They Stop Me From Listening to Religious Talks?

 

General Questions On Excellence Towards Parents

Am I Sinful For Always Making Mistakes That Displease My Parents?

Can I Treat My Adopted Parents As My Real Parents?

Which Child Takes Care Of the Parents?

How Can I Take Care Of My Parents?

How Do I Obey My Parents If They Follow a Different Madhab?

Should I Wear the Hijab? – My Parents Don’t Agree

Rights of Parents

Promise to one’s parents

I Am a Convert and Live With My Adopted Parents. What Are My Obligations to Them?

Do I Have to Live with My Parents?

When May Parents Be Disobeyed, and How?

 

Continue Your Journey for Knowledge

All SeekersGuidance offerings are free. Convenient and reliable knowledge taught by trained and reliable scholars, delivered over a decade.

Sign up for an on-demand course, or engage in a structured live course.

Browse relevant articles, discover answers to your questions or listen to podcasts anywhere and anytime on inspirational and useful topics.

Visit seekersguidance.org for more.

Help Preserve the Spread of Beneficial Knowledge and Guidance

Through the efforts of our generous supporters, we have spread beneficial knowledge and guidance to thousands. Join the community of supporters and gift generously to preserve and transmit Islamic Scholarship – donate now by clicking here. 

Ten Things Children Can Learn from the Coronavirus

Ten Things Children Can Learn from the Coronavirus

By Hosai Mojaddidi

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, Most Compassionate

Source: https://www.instagram.com/hosaimojo/?hl=en

Earlier this evening, my husband was talking to the kids over dinner about the coronavirus (COVID-19) when the topic of how it started came up. He told them about the “wet markets” in China and further explained how different people across the world eat wild animals or bushmeat to survive.

Despite my subtle attempt to change the subject, which I found too revolting over dinner, they were eager to hear all the gory details about different types of animals that humans were known to eat.

I eventually walked away but first asked my husband to teach the boys about the incredible wisdom of our faith in prohibiting the consumption of specific types of animals, mainly carnivorous ones. 

Right now we have a golden opportunity as parents to make the most of this global catastrophe. Here are some ideas:

  1. Teach children about the fiqh of food consumption which includes the different categories of permissible/impermissible meat.
  2. Teach children and re-emphasize the importance of cleanliness in Islam, not just to wash their hands frequently.
  3. Teach children the importance of wanting for “your brother what you want for yourself,” and sharing/caring in this “nafsy nafsy” climate.
  4. Teach children the power of the prayer of Istikhara in times of uncertainty.
  5. Teach children that despite technology, modern science, etc., human beings will ALWAYS be weak and dependent on God, and this is PROOF. When a small invisible virus can bring the world to its knees, never underestimate the power of Allah. We will always be in need of Him whereas He is free of all needs!
  6. Teach children the value of time, because they will feel it being stretched in the next few weeks, months, etc.
  7. Teach children the value of the elderly, for they have been unjustly erased in our world and now many people will live to regret pushing them away.
  8. Teach children the value of their Masjid and community centers as events will be shut down and they will realize how much value being with fellow community members even for a few hours every week brought to their lives.
  9. Teach children the importance of saying “Bismillah,” and “Insha Allah”, as anything void of the name of Allah has no blessing.
  10. Teach children that this world is temporal, death is a transition and NOT an end, and no matter how one dies or when, the only thing that matters is that they die with the testification of faith (shahada) upon their lips.

May Allah increase us all, draw us closer to Him, and protect us from harm. Ameen.


 

About the Author

“For over 20 years I’ve had the honor of serving the Muslim communities in the greater Bay Area and Orange County/LA areas as an organizer, teacher, spiritual counselor, mentor, and mental health advocate.”

In 1996, Sister Hosai began to take classes at Zaytuna College, as well as help organize events and eventually became a recognized activist in the community. One of her main areas of focus was to help create a strong sisterhood for the women in the community by leading halaqas (spiritual study circles). In addition, she organized support groups, offered individual spiritual counseling & mentoring, and couples’ spiritual therapy.

In 2010 sister Hosai launched the website MH4M (www.mentalhealth4muslims.com) and began writing and sharing useful guidance on social media. The website gathered a global audience quickly.

Sister Hosai teaches at MCC Easy Bay monthy, as well as offering workshops and other talks to Islamic schools and masjids for the greater community. She shares timeless and practical advice through her social media channels.

Source: http://hosaimojaddidi.com/about/

 

Raising a Believing Generation by Habib Umar bin Hafiz: Choosing a Spouse

Raising a Believing Generation

(Two) Making Religion the First Criteria

 By Shaykh Amin Buxton

Children are a trust (amanah) that Allah most High has gifted us with. Raising believing children is a huge challenge and every pious parent passionately prays that they will be able to do so. We are blessed to have such guidance from one of the most illuminated scholars of our time; Habib Umar bin Hafiz. We will explore insights from Habib Umar bin Hafiz on how to raise the next generation of believers.

Habib Umar bin Hafiz is a master of the science of tarbiyah – nurturing of the human soul in the pursuit of perfection. Here, he turns his attention to tarbiyah as it applies to raising the next generation of strong believers. Exploring Abdullah Nasih Ulwan’s work “Child Education in Islam”, he gives important insights and principles that any parent, carer or educator can make good use of. The journey starts with considerations to be taken before embarking on the journey of parenthood and even marriage itself.

Our faith is the most important thing that we have. It is what enables us to have the best of lives in this world and the next. It should therefore be the main concern when it comes to choosing a spouse.

(One) The Purpose and Benefits of Marriage


What is meant by religion here is that both parties have a sound understanding of Islam, a full commitment to the rulings & principles of the Sacred Law, and practically apply its noble teachings & etiquettes. This understanding of Islam is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah as understood by the scholars who are the heirs to this tradition. It does not come from popular culture or custom.

Furthermore, the outward semblance of religiosity is not sufficient. A man once came to Sayyiduna Umar bin al-Khattab to attest to the uprightness of his friend. Sayyiduna Umar asked him: “Are you his neighbour? Have you ever travelled with him? Have you ever been in business with him?”

The man replied in the negative to all three questions so Umar concluded: “In that case, you don’t know him.”

It is in these situations – living next door to a person, travelling with them and doing business with them – that people’s true qualities come out. People are often seen to be ‘religious’ on the basis of a few outward practices, but their character and dealings may be completely contrary to Islamic teachings. The Prophet clarified this when he said: “Allah does not look at your outward appearance or your bodies. He looks at your hearts and your actions” (Muslim).

The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) mentioned the things that people generally seek in a spouse: “A woman is married for four things: her wealth, her lineage, her beauty, and her religion.” Wealth, lineage and beauty are legitimate qualities to seek but they are of course temporal and limited to this life. Religion is mentioned last implying that some people make it the final and least and important consideration. Then the Prophet said: “So choose the one with religion” (Bukhari and Muslim), clarifying that this should be the deciding factor when choosing a spouse.

In another hadith, he said: “If a person whose religion and character you are satisfied with comes to you with a proposal, accept his proposal.” Here the only qualities he mentioned were religion and character. Religion could be understood to be outward practice – fulfillment of obligations and avoiding prohibitions – and character could be understood to be the inward reality of faith. When these two come together in a potential spouse the marriage will be built upon firm foundations. The Prophet went on to mention the consequences of turning down such a proposal: “If you do not, trials will afflict the earth and corruption will become widespread” (Tirmidhi). This is the sincere advice of the Prophet and we have seen the effects in societies where this advice has been ignored and where the main criteria for marriage are financial or social.

In Surat al-Qasas, the daughter of Sayyiduna Shu’ayb says to her father regarding Sayyiduna Musa: “Father, hire him: a strong, trustworthy man is the best to hire” (Qur’an, 28:26). Once he knows Musa’s qualities, Shu’ayb offers him the hand of one of his daughters in marriage. Shu’ayb’s daughter describes Musa as trustworthy or ‘amin’ in Arabic which is of course how the Prophet was known in Mecca in his youth. It was that quality that attracted the attention of Sayyidah Khadijah and led in part to their marriage.

Conversely, it has been narrated that “if a guardian marries a woman who is in his care to a corrupt man, he has cut the ties of kinship with her”. It is as if he has cut ties with her by marrying her to a man who has no taqwa. Instead of that marriage being a means of connection, it is the opposite. Instead of connecting two families to each other and connecting to God, those connections are being severed. It can have disastrous consequences not just in this life but in the next. A man told Imam Hasan al-Basri that several people had asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage and he asked him who he should choose.

Hasan said: “Marry to her someone who has taqwa: if he loves her, he will honour her and if he doesn’t, he won’t wrong her.” It is customary for the father to say to the groom just before contracting the marriage: “I am marrying my daughter to you on the basis of God’s command – to treat her well as long as you remain married and if not, to release her with excellence and kindness.” 


About the Author

Shaykh Amin Buxton was born in London. He converted to Islam in 1999 and read Arabic and Islamic Studies at SOAS, University of London. He also studied the Islamic sciences in a traditional setting in both Syria and Yemen. He has edited and translated a number of books which include Imam al-Haddad’s ‘Beneficial Counsels’ and Umar al-Khatib’s ‘Prophetic Guidance’. Since 2017 he has resided with his family in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is involved in several educational and social initiatives including New to Islam Edinburgh and Rafah International. Shaykh Amin Buxton is producing a podcast for SeekersGuidance and is one of our esteemed internal scholars.

Cultivating Patience Through Your Young Children

Trust in Allah

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil explores how having small children can build patience and help you get closer to Allah.patience

When you are a mother to young children, one crucial virtue is developed over the slow and inexorable passage of time – patience. With little ones, everything is slowed down. They need so much support, from the minute they are born to many years after that.

Gratitude

Having little children also gives me so many things to feel grateful for. Basic acts that I once took for granted are suddenly so precious. Sleeping for long stretches at night, eating a meal, or drinking hot tea without interruption – these are the small blessings that I didn’t even realize were blessings, until I had one baby, and then another.

I became a mother upon the arrival of my first daughter, in June 2015. I have been either pregnant, breastfeeding, or both, ever since. Because of this, I have been living in a very different, almost altered, state of reality. The potent combination of oxytocin, broken sleep, cuddles, and tantrums have been the ultimate crucible for the straitening of my nafs.

I will surface out of this, someday, and I pray that the version of myself will be kinder, more patient, more resilient, and more grateful. Most of all, I hope I will sleep better.

Losing Control

Before I had children, I was impatient. I liked to feel in control. I liked life to go ‘to plan’. I was a meticulous planner, and I realized now how much I relied on external calm to help me attain some measure of internal calm. It would never last, of course. Allah Most High always sent me something to knock the wind out of me – again.

Now I’ve come to realize that with raising little ones, there is no control. There is only surrender, and embracing the chaos.

Babies Without Schedules

While I was a fresh-faced undergrad, I knew a mother who smiled at my carefully curated study timetables. She smiled, chuckled, then said, “Babies have their own schedule.” I had no idea what she meant. Ten years later, and I finally do.

Resistance to Reality Causes Stress

Stress is resistant to reality. And I can make a tough afternoon with my girls even harder by wishing I were somewhere else. What actually helps is taking a deep breath, exhaling, and accepting that this is hard, and asking myself – what do I need to nourish myself, right now? Often, everything feels worse when I’ve forgotten to eat, in the rush of feeding my kids. Filling my own self-care cup is the best way for me to meet the needs of my small children.

Accept the Untouched Planner

I don’t have a planner anymore. Actually, I do, but I rarely get the chance to use it. My eldest daughter draws cats on the mostly untouched pages, and she was so excited to see how I had circled her birth date in June, and wrote “My baby turns 4!”. She insisted that I write it again, so I did.

Something so unremarkable to me – writing words on paper – utterly enthralls her. And that’s one of the many gifts of having such little children. There are so many firsts, and everything is a marvel. They slow us down and bring us the gift of the present moment. Babies and small children are masters of mindfulness. It’s up to us to choose to be open to what they have to teach us, every day.


Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.

Parents Matter More Than Peers – Shaykh Hamza Karamali

* Courtesy of basiraheducation.org

Muslim Reflections on Leonard Sax’s The Collapse of Parenting

We want to transfer our religious values to our children. We want them to love Allah and His Messenger, to live moral lives, to be responsible and hardworking, to pray for us after we leave this world, and to bring joy to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) on the Day of Judgment.

But our surrounding culture works against us.

Leonard Sax argues that our surrounding culture works against us because (a) it teaches our children to value their same-age peers more than their parents and (b) it teaches us to treat our children like grown-ups.

Here’s an example from his book.

“Megan and Jim, both forty-something parents, had planned a four-day ski vacation between Christmas and New Year’s. Their 12-year-old daughter, Courtney, politely declined to join them. “You know I’m not crazy about skiing,” she said. “I’ll just stay at Arden’s house for those four days. Her parents said it’s OK. They have a spare guest room and everything.” So her parents went on the ski vacation by themselves, and Courtney spent four days at the home of her best friend. “I didn’t mind. In fact, I was pleased that Courtney could be so independent,” Megan told me.” (Leonard Sax, The Collapse of Parenting (Basic Books, New York: 2016 ), pp. 27-8)

Because of her surrounding culture, which teaches her to value her peers more than her parents, Courtney valued spending time with her friend more than with her parents. Because of the same culture, which teaches parents to treat their young children as grown-ups, her parents thought they were doing a good thing by letting her be independent. Because Courtney’s parents validated her belief that her friends matter more than her parents, she will be drawn to her friend’s values more than her parent’s. And because the surrounding culture has also cut her friend off from her parents, both Courtney and her best friend Arden will learn the “values” of the “culture of disrespect” that I described in my previous post.

The culture that surrounds us as Muslim parents is the same as the culture that surrounds Megan and Jim. The challenges that we face raising our children are the same as theirs. And the solutions, too, at a high-level, are the same.

The high-level solution is for us to develop a strong family culture in which both parents and children believe that parents (in a Muslim context, the mother even more than the father) are more important than the children’s same-age peers. If Courtney (you can replace her name with “Fatima”) had been part of that strong family culture, she would not have wanted to spend those four days with her friend; she would have wanted to spend them with her parents on their ski-vacation. And her parents would understand that if she wanted to spend those four days with her friend rather than with them, that was not a sign that she had grown up and become independent; it was a sign that they were failing in their goal to transfer their values to her.

That is why, when a man asked the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), “Who is most deserving of my good companionship?” He replied, “Your mother.” When he asked, “Then who?” he replied, “Your mother.” When he asked again, “Then who?” he replied again, “Your mother.” When he asked a fourth time, “Then who?” he replied, “Your father.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Leonard Sax argues that the key to developing this strong family culture is building parental authority. That, insha’Allah, will be the subject of my next message.

I encourage all of you to buy the book, read it, follow along as I explain, and please ask your questions here. Every week, I will select one of your questions to answer in this message.


Basira Education

Our mission is to develop intelligent and conservative Muslims whose grounding in the Muslim scholarly and spiritual traditions enables them to critically integrate modern science and culture into their religious worldview.


 

Including Our Children in the Halloween Discussion – By Hina Khan-Mukhtar

Sister Hina Khan-Mukhtar shares some practical advice and tips that other parents can implement when discussing tricky issues such as Halloween with their children.

From a young age, we taught our children some simple rules in the practice of our religion. Serendipitously, some of those rules then went on to later frame our family’s discussion around Halloween.

Rule 1

We don’t make fun of death. We treat the topic — which includes the grave and our eventual reduction to bones — with reverence and contemplation since it is a reality that we will all eventually face and since the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us to think about it (i.e. death) at least twenty times a day.

Rule  2

The unseen world — which includes demonic forces and the dark arts — is real, and we don’t make light of Satan, our avowed enemy. As the saying goes, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” In our worldview, Iblis is not a fictitious cartoon character meant for our amusement. Instead, he is seen as a constant reminder that this world is an abode of danger, and we must remain vigilant and focused until our very last breath.

Rule 3

Frightening people or deliberately causing them any grief or anxiety is prohibited for Muslims.

Rule  4

We cleanse our homes of all things ugly and unclean (including bones and cobwebs and dirt) so that we attract angels and the Divine Light into our lives. It is part of a human being’s fitra, or primordial nature, to want a home environment that is pure and pleasing to the eye and to the soul. A healthy human nature is attracted to light instead of darkness.

We never said anything trite like “Halloween is Shaytan’s birthday” or “trick-or-treating is like begging” or “candy is bad for you.” We only tried to get our children to look at the world around them with “the eye of discernment.” Once they had this perspective, it was no longer necessary to have to explain why we chose not to celebrate Halloween. They were able to differentiate between right and wrong, truth and falsehood, fun and heedlessness for themselves. A parent’s greatest task is not necessarily teaching their children what to think; rather, it’s teaching them how to think.

Having said all of that, when the kids were younger and more likely to care about these types of culturally popular events that were rooted in tradition and celebration, we did make sure that they got tons of candy, a fun outing called November’s Eve on October 31 (we didn’t call it a “Halaloween”), and discounted costumes (the non-spooky kind) the day after. Understanding that there is an allure to dressing up, our homeschooling co-op organized a Costume Day for the kids to enjoy during another month. 

For our November’s Eve event, we gathered on a friend’s ranch with other families and had a potluck dinner, face painting (nothing morbid or macabre), inspirational and amusing story-telling, nighttime hayrides, pony rides, anasheed (devotional songs)-singing around a bonfire, and hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows on sticks. We returned to our neighborhoods long after the local trick-or-treaters had retired to their own homes for the night. A wise teacher once told us, “For every haraam (prohibited act) that you stop your children from, you have to give them two halals (permissible acts) that they can enjoy.” That particular philosophy requires a lot of creativity and hard work on the part of the parents (especially in the early years), and November’s Eve was just one example of that philosophy in action. 

When my eldest son started attending public high school, I asked him if he ever felt that maybe he had missed out on something fun and crucial in his childhood by not participating in Halloween while growing up. He thought about it for a moment and then replied, “If we hadn’t had November’s Eve to enjoy, then maybe yes, I might have felt that way. But we always had somewhere fun to go on October 31st. When other kids asked me what I was going to do that evening, I was always able to tell them that we were going somewhere fun and we were going to have a good time too. In the end, that’s all that mattered anyway.”

This is a crucial reminder that most children aren’t interested in proselytizing to or lecturing other people about their beliefs, even if they are sincere in the practice of their faith. They simply want to fit in. Young people just want acceptable alternatives for the things they are being told that they can’t or shouldn’t do. It’s the responsibility of the adults to provide those alternatives and to include their children in the discussion of what kinds of alternatives are acceptable for all.

Rule  5

And the last rule we taught our children was that no one should be contemptuous of those Muslims who do choose to celebrate Halloween. The attitude we tried to teach was that we should be hard on ourselves but easy on others. Nothing is more off-putting than a self-righteous and judgmental “religious” person. Our job is simply to try to protect our own hearts and souls while also setting a good example and praying for the safety and success of everyone else for whom we feel any care or concern. “Wish people well while sticking unapologetically to your own principles” was the mantra in our home. Alhamdulillah.

A Nursing Mother’s Ramadan Reflections, by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil thought she knew what a challenging fasting day was…until she became a mother and began nursing her baby.

I thought that my hardest Ramadans were the ones I spent in Jordan, as a young student of knowledge. The days were incredibly long, and the blistering summer heat was like nothing I’d ever felt before. I missed the comfort of my mother’s cooking, and the familiar faces of my family and friends. In place of the loved ones I left behind, Allah blessed me with the warm company of new friends. May Allah reward the families who opened their homes to me, especially during Ramadan.
Almost a decade later, I find myself faced with an entirely different set of circumstances. I am married, living in Malaysia and nursing my baby daughter. She is almost one, and I am so grateful that she enjoys eating solids. Fiqh rulings about fasting while breastfeeding have taken a whole new meaning for me. Once, I would have thought it impossible. Nursing mothers like myself often experience a hunger that accompanies nursing a baby. Despite that, I’m realising how much Allah sustains my baby daughter and me, from heartbeat to heartbeat. Is it easy to fast while nursing a baby? Absolutely not. It’s humbling, it’s exhausting, it’s possible, and for now at least, I’ll keep going.

Tips for nursing mums:

1)   Drink plenty of water after iftar, alongside chia seeds soaked overnight.
2)   Have a solid suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and ask Allah to sustain you.
3)   Nap during the day when your baby naps!
4)   Express milk after suhoor or iftar, or both, if you need to.
5)   If you start getting unwell or your milk supply drops enough to impact on your baby’s nourishment, then know that it’s OK to stop fasting. Pay it back later, and look at the rules of fidyah for your school of thought. Some women can fast while nursing, while others can’t. Allah knows.

Extra Worship Is Another Matter

This Ramadan, I haven’t been able to step into a masjid, because my baby daughter doesn’t sleep through the night. Some nights, she can stay asleep for long stretches, and other nights, she wakes up continuously. I’ve made my peace with that. Instead of the luxury of hours of tarawih like in days gone by, I have precious moments of solitude as my daughter sleeps, or plays with her father and grandmother. These are the moments where I close my eyes and remember the power of intention. Every day looking after my baby is a day spent in love and service, for the sake of Allah Most High. Keeping connected to that intention is challenging, even on the best of days. What’s helped me stay present with that intention is listening to the SeekersHub Ramadan Podcasts in between putting her to sleep, feeding her, and playing with her. Mercy, forgiveness, and salvation – we are all in need.
May Allah help us make the most of the days we have left, help us be of service to others, and help us be pleased with His Decree.

Resources for seekers

The Arba‘iniyyat Genre between Past and Present

The Arba‘iniyyat Genre between Past and Present: Basis, Origin, and a Contemporary Example

By Massoud Vahedi

 

This overview aims to analyze a number of topics pertaining to the arba’iniyyat genre, which refers to the centuries-old practices of compiling forty-hadith pamphlets. This will be achieved by briefly looking at a contemporary forty-hadith series on Prophetic Parenting by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. To properly elucidate the style and content of this series, beforehand there will be some discussion on the arba‘iniyyat genre, its legal authorization, and its most famous example, namely that of Imam al-Nawawi. All of these issues contain rich debates and discussions which remain unexplored in the English language. Thereafter, a discussion on a specific subset of Shaykh Rabbani’s commentary on his own collection will follow.

Until the present age, arba‘iniyyat continue to emerge and be written, dealing with a wide array of topics, such as marriage, morals, character, and more. The basis behind the origins of the arba‘iniyyat composition rests on a significant hadith from the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace from Anas, Allah be pleased with him: “Whoever preserves for my nation forty ahadith from the Sunna, I will be an intercessor for him on the Day of Resurrection.” (Ibn Ady; al-Kamil) This hadith has been narrated through more than a dozen transmitters with various wordings, all of which suggest the immense virtue for collecting and writing forty narrations so that they are learnt and benefited from. Despite the grand majority of scholars declaring these reports to be weak, the consistent practice of scholars throughout multiple generations has been gathering forty-hadith collections. This practice began early on with the inception of the eminent hadith scholar Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak, then Muhammad ibn Aslam al-Tusi, who was followed by al-Nasawi, thereafter by Abu Bakr al-Ajuri, and so on.

Despite us observing countless scholars collect their forty-hadith pamphlets, the content and theme behind the collections vastly differ. Al-Nawawi notes that collections before him exclusively focused on one of the following topics: fundamentals of creed and theology (usul), subsidiary matters (furu‘) pertaining to religious ordinances and acts of worship, asceticism (al-zuhd), religious piety and manners, religious exhortations, and so on. However, al-Nawawi did something revolutionary in his own collection that would grant his forty-hadith collection an eminent status until the end of time.

Instead of collecting forty hadiths dealing exclusively on one question or topic, he collected hadiths whose content encompasses all of these topics and combined them in a unique way in his compilation. Secondly, he picked narrations which have been declared by past hadith masters and jurists as embodying the main teachings of the religion or being from its foundational principles. Thirdly, he only picked narrations which he deemed to be authentic, with most of them being collected by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Fourthly, he removed the long chains for the hadiths of his collection so the narrations could be easily read and memorized by laymen. Lastly, Ibn Rajab also mentioned on this topic that Imam al-Nawawi’s noble and pure intention behind the compilation of his arba’in also paved the way for its positive reception among the Umma.

One excellent example of a contemporary forty-hadith collection comes from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. His collection is entitled: Prophetic Parenting: 40 Hadiths on Raising Righteous Muslim Children. This collection contains hadiths pertaining to Prophetic Parenting, and has a comprehensive listing of hadiths which discuss how Muslims can be successful parents in the contemporary context we live in. The Shaykh extracts subtle gems from hadiths which the average reader may be completely unaware of. Owing to space constraints, regrettably only a few hadiths can be discussed here. The hadith that orders us to “marry the one of religion, so that you may be successful” (al-Bukhari and Muslim) has a number of hidden benefits that Shaykh Faraz skillfully extracts for his audience. Being a good parent is not something which starts after marriage, but actually well before the child is born. In fact, it starts even before one marries. In order to be a good parent, one needs to choose a righteous spouse that is actively concerned about the religious upbringing of their future children.

Secondly, a person might superficially read this hadith and think that the importance of being “one of religion” only applies while picking a spouse. But actually, upholding and sustaining religiosity also applies within the marriage, because otherwise the religious meaning and sanctity of the matrimonial bond will be lost in the middle of the journey. To only think that this applies while searching for a prospective spouse defeats the intended meaning. The key point here is that we can in religious terms actually become better spouses during the marriage. This is something that we can all improve on with ourselves and our partners. Another hadith in the Shaykh’s collection is: “If there comes to you someone whose religion and character is pleasing to you, then marry them. If you do not, there will be much tribulation and corruption on earth.” (Jami’ al-Tirmidhi) Shaykh Faraz derives two crucial benefits from this hadith. Firstly, we are reminded through this report that marriage is not an individual decision or matter. It actually has a strong social dimension as well. We can readily notice the social repercussions involved when marriages do not occur at a desired pace. To achieve this adequate rate of marriage both parties should be easy-going in decision-making.

Another hadith is reported from the authority of ibn Umar, that the Prophet Allah bless him and give him peace said regarding al-Hasan and al-Husain: “They are my two joys in this life” (Muslim). On this hadith the Shaykh beautifully explains how as Muslims we should not look at children as being burdens to be overcome, but as gifts that should be appreciated. Secondly, we should view them (and by extension our parenting) as being a means and vehicle to reaching salvation in the hereafter. We must be cognizant of the religious aspects as being a parent, because by doing so, we are rewarded for all the small and mundane things we for our children. By having the right intention, we will no longer see childrearing as being a collection of repetitive and mechanical tasks, but a duty and responsibility before our Creator which if done right means many good deeds.

Another hadith mentions on the authority of Abu Bakra how al-Hasan Allah be pleased with them would as a child would frequently would rise up on the back of the Prophet Allah bless him and give him peace when he prostrated during his prayer. The Prophet would rise up very slowly and put Hasan down gently. (Ibn Hibban and al-Tabarani) Here, Shaykh Faraz notes how in the Prophet’s actions there is a “sense of balance” between maintaining the serenity of the prayer and being flexible with a child’s playfulness. The key here is realizing this delicate balance and applying it today in our prayer places as much as possible.

We note that the Prophet Allah bless him and give him peace did not rebuke al-Hasan for his actions; in other words, he did not actively stop him from getting on his back. From this we can derive that natural childlike actions in the mosques are to be tolerated by parents. But when there are severe and excessive disturbances then deterrence is needed, lest the sanctity of the mosque or the quality of prayer of the congregants be violated. Regrettably, on the issue of children going to the mosques, many of us are often caught on one extreme and have lost the Prophetic model of balance and flexibility.

 


Massoud Vahedi is a Canadian doctoral student in political science. In terms of Islamic sciences, he has concentrated his studies in Mustalah al-Hadith (Hadith nomenclature) and Hanbali Fiqh.


 

Parenting – A Reader

Parenting can be a challenging endeavour. This reader gathers various resources on parenting from an Islamic perspective.

General Guidance

Rights of Children in Detail 

Islamic Parenting: Ten Keys to Raising Righteous Children – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Raising Muslim Children On The Straight Path-Shaykh Walead Mosaad

Ibn Khaldun on the Instruction of Children and its Different Method

Traditional Methods of Raising Children 

When Should Children Start Praying?

Helping our children find the light in dark times, by Hina Khan-Mukhtar

Six Steps to Instilling the Attribute of Courage in Muslim Children 

Rethinking Our Actions and How They Affect Our Children

Raising Children With A Sound Heart – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

The Sunnas of Parenting

40 Hadiths on Parenting

How To Make the Prophet Muhammad Real for Small Children

Raising Your Children with Deen & Dunya – Radio Interview with Hina Khan-Mukhtar 

Our Children: Nurturing the Prophet’s ﷺ Spiritual Intelligence

Explaining a Hadith on Disciplining Children 

The Prophet Muhammad’s Love, Concern, & Kindness for Children

Playing with your Children – Advice from Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz

 

Parenting in Challenging Situations

Parenting in the Age of Social Media, by Ustadha Rania Awaad and Hosai Mojaddidi

A Ragged Shirt and Toast Crust: Raising Successful Children

How Do We Deal With Parents Who Emotionally Abuse Their Children

How Can I Raise My Children in the West?

Who Gets Custody of the Children After a Divorce?

Is There a Dua Protecting Children from Bad Intentions of People?

How Do I Protect my Children from Bad Influences in Society?

How To Talk To Children About Death

How Is a Child with Autism Viewed in Islam?

Fitrah and What Happens to Children Who Die Before Puberty 

How to Raise Children in Difficult Environments?

Why Worry About Children If We Know They Will Go to Paradise?

Wanting Children and Infertility

Is It Obligatory to Try to Have Children?

Infertility: Why does Allah Not Bless Some With Children 

Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a

My Husband Doesn’t Want to Have Kids. What Can I Do?

Supplications for Having Children and For Dealing With Pain

Is It Obligatory to Try to Have Children? 

The Virtues of Having Children and Stillbirth

Reflections on 2018 – Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

As December draws to a close, Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil gives some reflections on 2018 and the growth that she and her family experienced.

I started to write this article when my daughters were asleep. Almost a year ago, my younger one was born in January.  Now I have an 11 month old and a 3.5 year old. It has been both a wonderful and challenging year of growth, for all of us.

Childhood beliefs

I am now a lot more forgiving of my own parents, who had six children in twelve years. My mother migrated to Sydney with us while my father stayed in Singapore to financially support us. These facts alone explain so much about my childhood beliefs. From a very young age, I learned that parental love and attention are scarce, and how stressful it can feel to be part of a racial and religious minority.

Now that I am raising two little girls in Malaysia, I hope to impart different messages to my daughters. I hope that they will learn that there will always be enough love, for both of them, and that Islam is something that adds hope, meaning and direction to their lives.

Divided Heart 

When I had only one daughter, she had my undivided attention. Now, I am always torn between both of them. Part of me feels guilty that even from my pregnancy, I struggled to be present with my second baby, like I was with my first. I try to make peace with the fact that it will never be the same, and I pray that Allah will fill in the blanks.

Ups and Downs of Parenting 

The upside of having two kids is how much they love, play and laugh with each other. It warms my heart to see my eldest daughter feed her baby sister, help change her diaper, or sing to her. Watching my baby try to copy her oldest sister – from pretending to read and even to write – never fails to make me smile.

But, because we are in the dunya, it is never perfect. I am so tired, every day. There are times when I wonder if I will ever sleep well again.

The importance of self-care

My biggest lesson from 2018 year is this – when I look after myself, I can look after everyone else better. When I neglect my self-care, I am more irritable, and less able to attend to the endless needs in my household. I am not only a mother to my children, I am also a wife, a daughter-in-law, a daughter, a sister, and a friend.

Looking forward to 2019

I hope that with the gift of 2019, I will be better able to ask for help when I need it. I plan to create a better routine for myself, my daughters, and the rest of my household. I plan to exercise more self-compassion when I make mistakes. I plan to be able to spend more quality time with my husband. I plan for longer hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Most of all, I pray for Allah to accept my good deeds, forgive my mistakes, and increase me in gratitude for His innumerable blessings in my life.


Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.