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The Best for Mankind, by Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Allah wanted us to be the best of mankind FOR mankind! The nature of this dunya encourages us to cooperate and live together, as Allah (Most High) said in Surah Al-Maidah (2):  “And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.”  Allah (Most High) created us to be together on earth; we need to support each other and to hold each other’s hand in this path.

The-name-of-Allah-1Allah (Most High) has said that He has made us the best Ummah (Surah Al-Imran, 110), but being the best is actually not in it of itself, but rather it is being the best for mankind.  It is to be the best in guiding, helping, serving and being there as a support for mankind.

That being said, help may only be sought from those who are able to support others, and only people with the purest and kindest of hearts can be in a position of supporting and helping others.  That is why the best Ummah is that with the best of characters.

Allah (Most High) praised Rasulullah (peace be upon him) for his great and exalted character in Surah Al-Qalam (4): “Indeed , you are of great and exalted character.”  Rasulullah (peace be upon him) also told us that the most beloved to him are those with the greatest of akhlaq (characters or manners).  [at-Tabarani, Al-Awsat, 7697]

Having the best of akhlaq is one of the purposes of this deen!

In correcting, maintaining and improving ourselves, we often mistakenly look at the symptoms of our illness, rather than treating the cause of our sins.  In looking at the causes of all sin and evil, our Ulama say the source of all sin and evil are three things:


Arrogance

Arrogance was the first sin to be committed, and was done so by iblis. Because of his arrogance, he refused the command of Allah (Most High) to make sujud for Adam (May Allah be pleased with him). Arrogance is not a visible attribute, but rather an internal attribute that manifests itself in actions and words.  When someone feels that he or she is better than everyone else, or when someone feels so happy and content with themselves to the extent that they think that there is no one like them; these are aspects of arrogance.  These forms of arrogance can lead someone to be like firoun (the pharaoh), who thought he was a god.  It can even lead people to be like the Quraysh, who saw Rasulullah (peace be upon him) only as an orphan, and thought it was not possible for him to be chosen as a Prophet, especially because they felt they held greater status.

The heart of an arrogant person is always filled with hatred.  That is why Allah (Most High) said in Surah Al-Araf (146):

“I will turn away from My signs those who are arrogant upon the earth without right; and if they should see every sign, they will not believe in it. And if they see the way of consciousness, they will not adopt it as a way; but if they see the way of error, they will adopt it as a way. That is because they have denied Our signs and they were heedless of them.”

Allah (Most High) also says in Surah An-Nahl (23):  “Assuredly, Allah knows what they conceal and what they declare. Indeed, He does not like the arrogant.”

Rasulullah (peace be upon him) also mentioned, as narrated in Sahih Muslim, that no one shall enter Jannah even with a half an atom’s weight of arrogance in their heart!

 

Greed

Adam (May Allah be pleased with him) left Jannah due to greed, as Allah (Most High) says in Surah Taha (120):  “Then Satan whispered to him; he said, “O Adam, shall I direct you to the tree of eternity and possession that will not deteriorate?” Even though Adam was told not to eat from the tree, he ate because he was promised a eternity, and because of this desire, he was removed from Jannah.

Rasulullah (peace be upon him) mentioned, as narrated in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim, that mankind becomes old, but two things do not age with him, greed for wealth and greed for a longer life.

Allah (Most High) tells us in Surah Az-Zumar (30):  “Indeed, you are to die, and indeed, they are to die.”  We forget this reality, and instead we want to have more of everything.  Allah (Most High) also reminds us of this in the following ayahs:

“Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.” (Surah Al-Imran, 114)

“Indeed, Allah [alone] has knowledge of the Hour and sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs. And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul perceives in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”  (Surah Luqman, 34)

“And for every nation is a [specified] term. So when their time has come, they will not remain behind an hour, nor will they precede [it].”(Surah Al-Araf, 34)

We should also remember the Hadith that was narrated by Abdullah ibn Omar (May Allah be pleased with him) when Rasulullah (peace be upon him) told him to be like a wayfarer in this dunya.

Also, we should remember the words of Imam Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) when he said dunya is travelling away from us, and, as such, dunya has given us its back, but al akhira is travelling towards us; both dunya and al akhira have children, so be from the children of al akhira, because no action is taken without accountability, for tomorrow there is only accountability!

 

Hasad (jealousy and envy)

Hasad is the very trait that Allah (Most High) asked us to seek refuge from in the verse of Surah Al-Falaq.  Hasad is also the first sin to be committed by the children of Adam, when Cain killed Abel out of jealousy, and it is the worst of attributes.  Hasad is when you see all that is good as being deserved by you and no one else!  Allah (Most High), by relating to us the story of the children of Adam, is telling us the extent that people can go to via hasad, and the level of crime that hasad may cause them to commit.

In speaking about hasad, Allah (Most High) mentions in Surah An-Nisa (54-55):

“Or do they envy people for what Allah has given them of His bounty? But we had already given the family of Abraham the Scripture and wisdom and conferred upon them a great kingdom.”

Rasulullah (peace be upon him) also mentioned in a Hadith narrated in Bukhari and Muslim, that we should not hate each other, have jealousy or envy, turn our back on others, and should not cut our relations; rather, we should be in the slavehood of Allah (Most High) as brothers.

fire-burn-woodIn a Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him), in Sunan Abu Dawood, Rasulullah (peace be upon him) mentioned that we should be away and warn from hasad, as hasad can do to hasanat (good deeds) what fire does to wood.

Also, Syedina Hasan (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I have never seen an oppressor who looks like he is being oppressed!  This is the reality of hasad; you see the people of hasad always upset and crying upon seeing the khair in others.

Abdullah ibn Masud (May Allah be pleased with him) also mentioned that we should not be the enemy of the blessing of Allah (Most High), as those who have hasad towards what Allah (Most High) has given others.  The problem of hasad is not the fact that one is jealous or envious of a particular person, but rather it is having issue with Allah’s (Most High) decree!

All three attributes mentioned rotate and serve one another.

May Allah (Most High) remove from us all these blameworthy attributes, and may Allah (Most High) fill our hearts with His love and the love of Rasulullah (peace be upon him). May Rabbi guide us, and may He make us the Ummah that spreads khair and helps everyone, and in doing so, is the best FOR mankind!

Raising a Muslim with Manners by Hina Khan-Mukhtar

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Photograph by Audrée Marsolais.

I once asked a scholar for advice on what we should be teaching our children and he immediately responded, “Adab and akhlaq (manners and etiquettes). Parents don’t emphasize these enough anymore.” He went on to define “adab” as “the appropriate action, attitude, and response in any given situation”.

Another scholar once said, “Adab beautifies everything it touches. We have Muslims who know rules and rituals; we don’t have nearly enough Muslims who know how to have adab. Sell your misbaha (prayer beads) and go buy some adab instead.”

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated, “I have only been sent to perfect good manners.”

It was at a friend’s house that I saw copies of the books “Islamic Manners” by Shaykh Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah and “How to Raise a Gentleman” by Kay West lying side by side on a coffee table.

“What are these all about?” I asked, picking up one of the books and flipping through its pages.

“That? Oh, nothing,” the mother of four boys shrugged nonchalantly. “Just making sure nothing falls through the cracks is all.”

The concept fascinated me. A systematic way of making sure that our sons are learning the proper etiquettes and manners? Sign me up!

Pooling elders and friends, I asked around to find out what they thought are some basic adab and akhlaq concepts that all children should be learning while under our tutelage and here are just some pointers we came up with…

1) Personal Grooming and Hygiene

Like me, how many moms have cringed when hugged by sons drenched in that particular stench of sweat, sunshine, and sports which seems to be specific only to growing boys? I try not to grimace when I see the state of their “holey” socks and their long fingernails, but it’s hard not to be repulsed when you’re a fastidious girly-girl like I am. Instead of nagging, I have tried to set them up for success by providing them with their own “grooming kits”. We trekked out to the local drugstore and bought nail clippers; deodorant; floss; and travel-size containers of toothpaste, soap, shampoo, cologne, and bandages. Packed in a zipped-up case, all of the boys’ grooming essentials are easily accessible whenever they are heading out the door for a sleepover at a friend’s or a weekend visit to the grandparents’ or even a two week trip overseas. We have tried to inculcate in our sons the Friday routine of showering, perfuming, and dressing neatly in their best clothes (no ripped jeans!) for Jumah (Friday) prayers, and one of the sunnahs (traditions of the Prophet Muhammad) that they follow is to clip their fingernails before leaving the house for their weekly act of worship. Having their own set of nail clippers readily available in their grooming kits ensures that I don’t ever have to hear the excuse: “Sorry, Mama! I couldn’t find the nail cutter anywhere! What was I supposed to do?”

When my older two hit the age of puberty, my husband Zeeshan sat them down and talked to each of them about the fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) behind ritual cleaning and purification. He provided them with clippers and razors and instructed them in their use, explaining how they were supposed to groom themselves as young men from now on. Mothers of girls have told me that they have demonstrated for their daughters how to dispose of sanitary pads in as discreet a manner as possible, wrapping them up in layers of toilet paper before tucking them deep into trash cans so that they are not visible to the next person who comes to throw something away.

Back when our sons were first becoming independent, I taught them how to do istinja (the ritual washing of private parts after using the restroom), showing them how they needed to use their left hands to clean themselves and then firmly cautioning them against touching the toilet flush or sink faucet with anything but the dry right hand afterwards. One girlfriend recently shared that her mother taught her and her sister that part of good manners entailed leaving the istinja can full of water for the next person. Just one more etiquette I’m going to add to my checklist from now on!

2) Being a Good Guest

When my older two were younger, I would do a quick review with them before they left us to spend the night at anyone else’s house. (I still follow this routine with my 11-year-old by the way.) I tried to keep my instructions short and simple so that they weren’t overwhelmed, but there were quite a few basic instructions that I made sure to drill into them over the years:

  • Make your bed (or fold up your bedding if you were camping out on the carpet) to the best of your ability first thing in the morning.
  • Close the toilet lid and dry the counter after you’re done using the restroom.
  • Either wash your dishes, put them in the dishwasher, or place them in the sink (depending on what your host prefers) after having your meals.
  • Compliment the chef!
  • Clean up the games and toys after you’re done playing.
  • Don’t open closed doors, cabinets, closets, drawers. Ask for whatever you need; don’t go searching on your own.
  • Notice what chores your friends help with and offer your assistance as soon as possible.
  • Thank Auntie and Uncle and your friends for hosting you before you leave.

Years ago, my boys had a friend over with whom they were playing Hide-and-Seek all over the house, running upstairs and downstairs. At some point during the game, Shaan came running into my bedroom with his friend Yusuf following closely behind — except that Yusuf came to a screeching halt at my bedroom door as if he had just slammed into an invisible force field. “You have to come out and play in the loft, Shaan!” he called to my son while holding onto the door frame with both hands. “I’m not allowed to go into parents’ bedrooms!” I remember taking note of the fact that this little boy clearly knew what was and wasn’t off-limits in other people’s homes; since then, I began talking to my kids about boundaries and respect for privacy as well.

3) Being a Gracious Host

Every now and then we have friends and relatives come to visit with whom my children may or may not be familiar. Before their arrival, Zeeshan and I make sure to give the kids some background information about the guests and suggest some topics for conversation. I once overheard someone trying to make friendly conversation with my son where he (my son) would respond with polite but short answers that didn’t carry the conversation any further. I later took him aside and told him that part of being a charming conversationalist and a gracious host is making people feel important, like you’re actually interested in talking to them. “If you can’t think of a topic to discuss, just ask polite questions that show that you’re genuinely interested in getting to know them,” I said. “Don’t be nosey. Be sincere. If nothing else, just ask them what they think of California.”

I was really impressed when I went to visit a girlfriend recently. She and I relaxed in the family room while her son and daughter took over the kitchen, emerging one after the other to serve us water and tea and cookies on a little pedestal stand. My friend didn’t have to get up even once. Her daughter was no more than 10 years old and her son was only 11. I left inspired, rushing home to show my own kids how to balance cups on a tray and to explain the importance of using coasters when serving glasses of water. I want my guests to feel like they’re being taken care of the same way I felt pampered in her home, insha’Allah (God willing).

Being shy isn’t an excuse that any of my friends have allowed their children to use to get out of greeting elders and guests. Modesty and shyness is part of our religion and no one should be forcing kids to be anything they’re not, but saying salaams (greetings of peace) is a non-negotiable for most families who are teaching their kids manners. I have noticed that the children with the most impeccable adab always say “Assalaamu alaikum” (peace be upon you) and “Walaikum as salaam” (and upon you be peace) instead of the generic “Hi!” and “Hello” when greeting fellow Muslims. They are also quick to jump up and offer their seats to elders.

Other signs of budding ladies and gentlemen are kids who insist on carrying adults’ bags and packages for them (and refuse to take “no” for an answer), teenagers who walk guests to the door and beyond when it is time for them to leave, little ones who offer visitors water before they even have a chance to ask, and children who put away the smart phones and laptops when elders engage them in conversation.

4) Being a Kind and Considerate Friend

As parents, it is our job to teach our kids how to be a good friend and how to fulfill the rights their friends actually have over them. Part of learning manners and etiquettes is knowing that you are never allowed to backbite your buddies (i.e. saying that in their absence which they wouldn’t like to hear in their presence), that you must always return any items you’ve borrowed in exactly the condition you received them in (and replace/compensate for anything that is broken or lost), and that you must be willing to pick up the phone and call with your congratulations when someone dear to you receives good news and with your condolences when someone is dealing with bad news. A cousin recently told me how touched she was when her eldest son’s good friend called to give the whole family his heartiest congratulations upon hearing that his friend had been accepted into a prestigious university. A few years ago, we had a health scare and were worried about the upcoming test results for one of our sons; tears sprang to my eyes when my son’s friend telephoned to wish him the best and to reassure him that all would be well, insha’Allah. (It was, alhamdulillah.)

We teach our kids that adab entails having a healthy, sensitive understanding of how people around you are feeling and then responding appropriately to those feelings. One of our favorite quotes is from the author Jonathan Swift: “Good manners is the art of making people comfortable. Whoever makes the fewest people uncomfortable has the best manners.”

5) Being a Model Student

When my son began attending public high school, he was startled by how different the rules of engagement between teachers and students seemed to be when compared to the adab he was expected to have with his mentors in all the years of homeschooling prior. Giving up your seat for seniors, helping them carry heavy items, greeting elders first, and not interrupting or talking back are all givens. In an Islamic learning environment, however, our adab goes to another level. Many of my friends have taught their kids the subtleties of sitting in front of scholars and teachers. They are cautioned against ever pointing their feet towards their instructors and are instructed to always have a pen and notebook ready for note-taking. No one should be sitting around with a glazed look in their eyes while a speaker drones on; that is considered to be the height of disrespect. Muslim students also do not make jokes at the expense of their teachers and wait until the end of a lecture to ask their questions.

What I have found, however, is that all the books and discussions and checklists are pointless unless manners and etiquettes are actually actively being modeled for our young ones. Kids are like sponges, soaking up everything around them. When squeezed, whatever is inside comes gushing out. There’s a reason why people say “His/her parents raised him/her well” when commenting on someone’s refined behavior. It is up to us parents to rise to the occasion and be whatever we want our kids to be, insha’Allah. In the process of trying to prepare the next generation to be more considerate and compassionate than the dominant culture around them, it’s quite possible that we’ll improve our own worlds as well.

May Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) grant us all success! Aameen (amen).


The author, Hina Khan-Mukhtar, is a mother of three boys and one of the founders of the homeschooling co-operative known as ILM Tree in Lafayette, California, which now serves over 30 homeschooling families in the East Bay. In addition to teaching Language Arts to elementary, middle school, and high school students, she has written articles on parenting and spiritual traditions for children and is involved in interfaith dialogue.


Resources for Seekers:

Raising Children With A Sound Heart
Why does Allah Bless Some with Children and Others not?

Raising Your Children with Deen & Dunya – Radio Interview with Hina Khan-Mukhtar
Raising Children with Deen and Dunya
Making Ramadan a Time for Young Hearts to Grow
Ibn Khaldun on the instruction of children and its different methods
Islamic Parenting: Ten Keys to Raising Righteous Children
The Prophet Muhammad’s Love, Concern, & Kindness for Children
On Parents Showing Righteousness to Children
Habib ‘Umar bin Hafiz’s advice on duas to read during pregnancy and labour and for infertility

The Reality of Bad Manners – From Imam al-Haddad’s “Two Treatises” – Immersing in the Sea blog

The Reality of Bad Manners – From Imam al-Haddad’s “Two Treatises”

Read this following today in Mostafa al Badawi’s Introduction to Imam Haddad’s text, “Two Treatises, Mutual Reminding and Good Manners, and thought it was a powerful, needed reminder for myself. Posting to help keep the lesson close at hand.

“It is bad manners of the most sever degree to be informed that the Hereafter is immensely better than this world and is everlasting, yet prefer this world and concentrate all one’s energies therein. It is bad manners to be informed that it is possible to draw near to God, yet decide that the effort required to do so is too troublesome and so settle for the minimum necessary to barely escape the Fire. It is bad manners to be informed that some people ascertain profound knowledge of God through contemplation, yet decide that other things are more important as the objects of your concerns. It is bad manners to devote time and energy to studying the insignificant and the ephemeral, yet neglect to devote equal time (at least) in studying that which helps deliver one from chastisement in the Hereafter and from moral indifference in this life. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said “God loathes those who are learned in the affairs of this world but are ignorant of the Hereafter.”

For it behooves those who have been gifted by God with intelligence and skills to apply these gifts towards what benefits them in the most profound way, to gain knowledge and insight about the Real and the purpose He has created us. This is not to say that one should abandon the world  altogether; on the contrary, Islam encourages excellence in things of this world, but not at the expense of matters related to the Hereafter and religious conduct of one’s life. Detachment from the world is a thing of the heart, a mental attitude, an objective view of prioritization, so that one does everything that is required to do but without inordinate preoccupation. As for studying the sciences of the religion., it is a duty that that no Muslim can evade. “Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim man and woman,” said the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). This goes side by side with learning a trade, a craft or obtaining higher university degrees.”

~ Mostafa al-Badawi, Translator’s Introduction, Two Treatises: Mutual Reminding and Good Manners (by Imam Abdullah ibn Alawi al-Haddad)

Connect with Allah & His Messenger: Free Daily Class on Tafsir & Prophetic Character (7-8 pm) – at SeekersHub & Online

In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful

Connect this Ramadan

–Connect with Allah & His Messenger: Daily Class on Tafsir & Prophetic Character (7-8 pm, Eastern time)

Daily at SeekersHub (www.SeekersHub.org)

2355 Royal Windsor Dr, Unit 10, Mississauga, ON

and through live broadcast online…

SeekersHub (www.SeekersHub.org), a project of SeekersGuidance, invites you to join us in making this month of consistent benefit through daily study of the Qur’an and the beautiful person and qualities of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk):

— Connect with Allah & His Messenger: Daily Class on Tafsir & Prophetic Character (7-8 pm) —
– with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Qur’anic Commentary (tafsir): Explanation of verses describing the qualities of the believers, from Shaykh Ahmad Jami’s beautiful commentary, “Sifat al-Mu’minin fi’l Qur’an al-Karim.” This will not only deepen our understanding of the Qur’an, but give us much direct insight, inspiration, and guidance on how to become more pleasing and beloved to Allah.

Prophetic Character (shama’il): The person & personality of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), through complete study of Imam Suyuti’s summary of the Prophetic qualities, “Zahrat al-Khama’il `ala’l Shama’il.” This will give us deeper insight into the one described by Allah HImself as being, “the most beautiful of examples for whoever seeks Allah and the last day,” in order to grow in love and veneration of him, and to strengthen our commitment to follow his beautiful way, outwardly and inwardly.

This class will also be broadcast online via Livestream:

http://www.livestream.com/​seekersguidance?t=835377


For SeekerHub’s full Ramadan Connections program, see: Ramadan Connections.


Helpful Organizational Tools for Muslims

Helpful Organizational Tools for Muslims

This brief post is intended to highlight organizational tools that may be helpful to Muslims on a practical level. These tools are simple aids but they can do a lot to keep track of one’s deeds (muhasaba) and in seeing one’s progress there is immense motivation to continue and to challenge oneself. Let’s get started…

Daily Goals and Tasks

This Monthly Tracker is helpful for students in keeping track of lessons, reviewing notes, personal struggles, health and fitness goals and other tasks that are repeated on a daily basis. You can download it here, fill in your daily repeated tasks and simply check them off for each day. Try focusing on goals such as praying on time, performing sunnah and nafilat, eating less than usual, safeguarding yourself from certain sins, being generous and caring with others. There is research to suggest after 21 days a repeated observance will become a habit and after 40 days it will become ingrained in one’s behavior.

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“Allah loves those deeds that are consistent.” (Hadith)

Keeping track of Qadha (missed) Prayers

At times, when Muslims become more practicing in their religious observance they may realize that they have old prayers to make up that they used to miss at one point in time. This Qadha chart is helpful in keeping track of 1 years worth of 5 daily prayers. This may seem daunting but if one sticks to a schedule they can make short work of this. Please see our answers section if you have any questions regarding the fiqh.

Planning for the Moods of Friends and Family

It can be hard to understand how people work but its important to try our utmost to accommodate people through adab, akhlaq and give them 70 excuses if we find any fault in their behavior. This Mood Planner can help you keep track of what affects the moods of your friends and loved ones and how to cheer them up. One can keep track of sensitivities, likes and dislikes, past experiences, and plan based on their personal idiosyncrasies.

“The most beloved of people according to Allah is he who brings most benefit, and the most beloved of deeds according to Allah the Mighty, the Magnificent, is that you bring happiness to a fellow Muslim, or relieve him of distress, or pay off his debt or stave away hunger from him…” [Tabarāni]

Keeping track of Worship

Many people nowadays have an iPhone or a related Mac product (you may be using one now!). One great App that is worth getting is QamarDeen. Its free and it keeps track of your the quality of your prayers, charity, fasting and latest Qur’an readings. It’s a great way to assess yourself and challenge yourself to do more.

“Blessed be He in Whose hands is Dominion; and He over all things hath Power. He Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.” (Quran, 67, v. 1-2)

See also:

Remember the Milk

5 Best Getting Things Done Applications

Video: 5 Types of Divine Forgiveness – Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa

5 Types of Divine Forgiveness – Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa

A description of the character of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of God be upon him), a discussion of the Islamic virtue of hilm and the 5 types of Divine Forgiveness a Muslim can receive from Allah.

To view more of Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa’s lectures visit here

Six Steps to Instilling the Attribute of Courage in Muslim Children – Ustadha Shireen Ahmed, SeekersGuidance Instructor

Six Steps to Instilling the Attribute of Courage in Muslim Children – Ustadha Shireen Ahmed, SeekersGuidance Instructor

by Umm Umar (Shireen Ahmed) 

As parents, there are many attributes we want to teach our children. We want them to be kind, upright, humble, thoughtful, well mannered… the list is endless. When it comes to being courageous, there are a few concrete steps we can take to guide our children in this direction:

1. Build confidence. Teach children to keep trying, even when they initially fail. This scenario often comes up when they are playing, especially when building structures, that often can come crashing down. Helping them to increase their determination and see the fruits of their efforts on various small projects, can help them to become more confident about their own abilities.

 

As a parent, we also need to teach them to realize the full meaning of “la hawla wa la quwatta illah billah”, that they have no power

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or ability without help from Allah Most High. This helps them to achieve the balance between being confident, yet not arrogant. When one realizes they only are able to do what they can do, because Allah Most High has granted them that ability (and not through just their own efforts), they in turn become more grateful to their Creator, for His innumerable blessings upon oneself. This type of realization also helps a child to turn more towards their Creator when they need help. When they want to achieve something, it should be a habitual practice to begin with the name of Allah (basmala) and to supplicate that Allah Most High gives them success (tawfeeq) in their efforts.


Parents should also encourage their children to become more independent as they grow older. Giving them new responsibilities, with tasks they can reasonably fulfill – can teach them that their capabilities become much more vast as they age.
2. Overcome fear. Children should be taught to express their fear instead of being paralyzed by it. Help create situations for them where they can gradually “get over” any unfounded fears they have.

For example, if they don’t want to go upstairs alone one could teach them to say “la hawla wa la quwatta illah billah” or “hasbiAllah wa ni`mah wakeel” and to repeat that as often as they feel fear. My mother used to encourage me to recite Ayat al-Kursi whenever faced with fear. This type of turning to Allah Most High when in a state of need, can help them to complete tasks rather than avoiding them.

3. Face the Unknown. Encourage your children to have bravery in new situations. The most common example of this is when meeting new people, especially adults. They need to be taught to smile, speak loudly, and to shake hands when meeting new people when you are with them. They should not be hiding behind you, or whispering so softly that the person cannot hear them. This takes time, but your coaching in this area will help them in the long term.

4. Do the Right Thing. This is perhaps the most important area where we need children to demonstrate courageousness, confidence, and independence. Muslim children need to be able to stand up for their beliefs, despite any negative repercussions it may have. This means if everyone else is dating at their school, they have the confidence to say, “I’m not into that.”

They need to be able to take a stand in the face of peer disapproval, and this will take place when you are not present. This is where many of our youth fall, as they can put up one face towards their parents, and yet a completely different (and often contradictory) appearance in front of their peers. The topic of how to help children in this area is very vast, so I will just give a few brief pointers here. Children should realize that even though their parents may not see them, Allah Most High knows and their actions are being recorded. They should feel a degree of shame to be found in any sort of disobedience to their Creator, when He has blessed them with innumerable blessings in this world. Encourage them to be careful about who they choose as close friends, as this will in turn affect their own character development. One can also use the example of the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) as a role model, how he stood up to a whole society to stand up for the truth.Indonesian Kids Laughing.jpg
Another innovative way this idea of standing up for the truth, and doing the right thing can be addressed with our youth is have them listen to some of the Native Deen songs on this subject, “My Faith, My Voice” “I Am Not Afraid to Stand Alone” and other songs.

5. Set a Good Example. Children often watch their parents as examples in how they deal with scenarios where they may feel afraid, or sick, or when they experience great loss. They should be hearing you supplicate to your Creator in times of need. Complaining or saying “if only I had done this (or that) this wouldn’t have happened” would be considered to be blameworthy. Rather accept the decree of Allah Most High, and exemplify patience and courage when you are forced to deal with misfortune. May Allah Most High protect us all from this.

Abu Hurayra said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer although there is good in each. Desire that which will bring you benefit, and seek help from Allah and do not give way to incapacity. If something happens to you, do not say, ‘If only I had done such-and-such.’ Rather say, ‘The decree of Allah. He does what He will.’ Otherwise you will open yourself up to the action of Shaytan.” [Muslim]

Anas said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed by a woman who was weeping at a grave and said, ‘Fear Allah and show fortitude.’ She said, not recognizing him, ‘Leave me alone. You have not been struck by such an affliction as mine!’ She was told, ‘It is the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.’ She went to the door of the Prophet and, finding no one guarding the door, she said, ‘I did not recognize you.’ He said, ‘The time for fortitude is at the first shock.'” [Agreed upon]

Other good examples we can set before our children are examples from the Seerah. Our Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) demonstrated the attribute of bravery many times, and he is our ultimate role model.

Anas ibn Malik (رضي الله عنهم ) said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) was the best of the people, and he was the most generous of the people, and the bravest of the people. One night the people of Medinah heard a loud noise and they became overwhelmed with fear. The men went out to see what the noise was, only to find the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) riding his unsaddled horse, and coming from the direction of the noise with his sword wrapped around his neck. He said to them, “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid. I found (my horse) very swift”.

The companions also often exemplified courage, and this can be see especially in the examples of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq or Sayyidna Ali (رضي الله عنهم ).

Other beneficial examples we can set before our children is that of our parents or other older relatives who have stories of how they overcame adversity, such as moving to a new country or faced danger, yet succeeded. This in turn helps the children to have greater respect for their elders, and helps them to have more admiration for them.
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6. Avoid Foolish Bravado. Being brave does not mean we should encourage our children towards risky activities or stunts to prove courageousness. One should not take unnecessary chances or neglect safety in a futile attempt to prove bravery to others. Rather, one needs to balance physical courage with common sense.

Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The strong man is not the one who throws people in wrestling. The strong man is the one who has control of himself when he is angry.” [Agreed upon]

May Allah Most High give us success in raising our children in the best way, and may we instill good character in their hearts, ameen.
About Ustadha Shireen Ahmed
“The responsibility of raising righteous children is both one of our greatest challenges and opportunities in life.”
Ustadha Shireen Ahmed (Umm Umar) inspires her students as a living example example of what is possible when one is committed to gaining sacred knowledge.  Teacher, student, activist, mother, wife — Umm Umar shows that it is possible to balance worldly responsibilities with the pursuit of knowledge.
Umm Umar was born and raised in Canada, where she graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology. During her university studies, she was actively involved in MSA work at the local and national levels. After graduation, she set out to formally pursue sacred knowledge, studying Arabic at the University of Damascus and Islamic studies at Jamia Abi Nour and taking private classes in Qur’anic recitation, Prophetic traditions,, Islamic Law (Hanafi) and the Prophetic biography.
While living in Jordan, Umm Umar helped establish SunniPath’s online courses. At SeekersGuidance, she is the Course Development Manager, bringing years of and insight to facilitate meaningful Islamic learning online.  After ten years abroad she returned to Toronto, Canada, she resides in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and three children. Between continuing her studies of the sacred sciences and homeschooling her children, Ustadha Shireen is working on her first publication, a translation and commentary on a classical Islamic text on parenting, Simt al-‘Uqyan (Thread of Pure Gold).

Habib Ali al-Jifri – Lessons on Anger, Forbearance, and Disciplining the Soul Through Prophetic Wisdom – from the RIS Knowledge Retreat

قبس النور المبين من إحياء علوم الدين – دروس وخطب – موقع الداعية الإسلامي الحبيب علي الجفري

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Lessons by al-Habib Ali al-Jifri on explaining “The Ray of Clear Light of the Revival of the Religious Sciences” written by al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz, delivered at this year’s excellent Reviving the Islamic Spirit Knowledge Retreat.

Lesson One: The Blameworthiness of Anger
Download: Lesson One (right click to save)
* Renewing intention when attending gatherings of knowledge
* The rank of knowledge & scholars
* Terms and the science of purification of hearts
* The rank of the sciences of excellence and purification
* Answers to issues arising regarding Imam Ghazali and his Ihya’
* An overview of the “Book on the Blameworthiness of Anger, Malice, and Envy”
* The contemporary importance of this Book
* The harms of anger

Lesson Two: The Reality of Anger
Download: Lesson Two (right click to save)
* The wisdom behind the creation of desires
* The true understanding of freedom
* Freedom of expression, and anger when sacred symbols are violated
* The reality of anger in a human
* The principles of dealing with anger and the way of balance

Lesson Three: Can Anger Be Extinguished Through Spiritual Discipline?
Download: Lesson Three (right click to save)
* The outward and inward effects of excessive anger
* The harmful inward results of anger: malice, envy, thinking ill of others, etc
* Looking with insight at the tricks of the ego is a great means to Allah
* Spiritual discipline isn’t possible without anger
* The praiseworthy balance
* Anger and how it is directed: the case of the Danish cartoons

Lesson Four: The Virtues of Restraining One’s Anger
Download: Lesson Four (right click to save)
* Beginning with questions from the students
* The cure for the misgivings that lead to anger
* Allah has made us responsible for that which is closer to the Sacred One (al-Quddus) and not to lower selves (nufus)
* The vitues of restraining one’s anger for the sake of Allah
* A poem in praise of Imam Ali Zain al-Abidin and the meanings of forbearance it contains
* The contiguously transmitted (musalsal) hadith on love

Lesson Five: Forbearance (hilm)
Download: Lesson Five (right click to save)
* Why forbearance is superior to restraining anger
* Knowledge is through strudy and forbearance is through forcing oneself to be forbearant
* Forbearance is a sign of complete intelligent and the submission of one’s capacity for anger
* Correcting the understanding of strength for the sake of Allah Most High
* The meaning of malice (hiqd) and its harmful consequences

Lesson Six: Problems in Contemporary Muslim Life
Download: Lesson Six (right click to save)
* Lesson for Questions and Answers
* The reason behind the crimes of both terrorism and the fight against it
* Are we fulfilling our responsibilities as bearers of a Divine Message?
* The role of forbearance in our contemporary context
* The reason for the weakness in Islamic discourse: the weakness of the institutions of sound traditional Islamic learning
* Caution in whom one takes one’s religious understanding from
* The dangers of declaring other Muslims disbelievers (takfir) and of accusations of polytheism (shirk)
* Remembering priorities

From Habib Ali’s site.
In Arabic: قبس النور المبين من إحياء علوم الدين – دروس وخطب – موقع الداعية الإسلامي الحبيب علي الجفري
In English: http://www.alhabibali.com/en/news/

Lessons conducted at the RIS Knowledge Retreat: Knowledge Retreat 1430

The text in Arabic: The Condemnation of Rage, Rancor and Envy (pdf)

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Habib Ali al-Jifri, with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

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Habib Ali at Shaykh Talal Ahdab’s House, with a number of scholars and activists.

Pictures taken from Habib Ali al-Jifri’s web site. The first two pictures are (c) Reviving the Islamic Spirit, 2010, and taken by Umar Shahzad.