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Is It Allowed for My Mother to Give Preference to Me Over My Brothers in Her Will?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: My beloved mother has always maintained that she wants to give her jewelry and property to me and not my brothers (I’m an only sister of 2 brothers). Can she do that?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

If other members who are entitled to the inheritance agree to this, it would be permitted for you to take possession of such wealth. [al-Mawsili, al-Ikhtiyar]

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Fabio

How Should I Deal With a Mentally Ill Mother?

Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian

Question: As Salam Alaykum,

My mother is seriously mentally ill. She fluctuates between emotional extremes. Because of this I have endured a lifetime of severe emotional abuse. I can’t go on living this way with her bullying me. What can I do?

Answer: Wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

The Divine Command

Allah Most High says in the Holy Qur’an:

وَقَضَى رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِنْدَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُلْ لَهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُلْ لَهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِيمًا (الإسراء 23)
Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour (Qur’an 17:23).

In this verse, Allah has prohibited us from uttering the word “uff” (translated above as “a word of contempt”). In Arabic, the word “uff” signifies the slightest degree of annoyance or displeasure. The scholars point out that Allah’s prohibiting us from uttering even the word “uff” to our parents means that greater forms of harm (e.g. verbal abuse, physical harm, etc.) are even more reprehensible.

In addition, Allah Most High says in the Holy Qur’an:

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَى وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ (لقمان 14)
And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command), “Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal (Qur’an 31:14).

Notably, throughout the entire Qur’an, Allah does not command showing gratitude to anyone other than Him and one’s parents (as in the verse above). These and other texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah show the incredible emphasis that Islam places on honoring one’s parents. For more, one could consult Imam Nawawi’s Gardens of the Righteous (Riyad al-Saliheen), of which chapter 40 is titled “On dutifulness to parents and maintaining ties of kinship.”

A Command Not Unconditional

Although we are obligated to maintain honor and respect for our parents at all times, this does not necessarily mean that obedience to them is obligatory in every situation. Please carefully read this Shaykh Faraz Rabbani’s article, which clarifies this issue in great detail.

Given your mother’s mental illness, obeying her when she requests your personal information or that of your daughter could very likely result in serious worldly harm coming to you or your daughter. Hence, you do not have to obey her in these requests. Of course, you should maintain respect and politeness, even when denying her requests. In doing so, you may want to consider enlisting the help of someone who has influence over your mother such as her parent, spouse, sibling, community leader, or religious scholar. Such people can assist in convincing your mother to respect your rights as an independent adult and also to obtain the professional medical care that she clearly needs.

Turning to Allah

Finally, after taking all worldly means to resolve this situation, you should not forget the greatest means of all: turning to Allah, the One who brings ease after hardship. This can be done by increasing in all forms of worship such as prayer, dhikr, fasting, giving sadaqah (charity), etc. In particular, prayer and supplication in the last third of the night is one of the greatest means for one’s requests to be answered. Also, the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) taught us to make the prayer of need (salah al-hajah) for any worldly or other-worldly need that we have. The prayer of need is very simple: It is essentially to raise one’s need to Allah Most High, by performing ritual ablution (wudu), praying 2 rakats (or four), and then making whole-hearted dua to Allah. Any dua is acceptable, but duas that have been transmitted in the Sunnah are best. The dua which has been specifically transmitted in relation to the prayer of need (as recorded by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah) is as follows:


لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ الْحَلِيمُ الْكَرِيمُ
سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِين
أَسْأَلُكَ مُوجِبَاتِ رَحْمَتِكَ وَعَزَائِمَ مَغْفِرَتِكَ وَالْغَنِيمَةَ مِنْ كُلِّ بِرٍّ وَالسَّلامَةَ مِنْ كُلّ إِثْمٍ
لا تَدَعْ لِي ذَنْبًا إِلا غَفَرْتَهُ وَلا هَمًّا إِلا فَرَّجْتَهُ وَلا حَاجَةً هِيَ لَكَ رِضًا إِلا قَضَيْتَهَا يَا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِينَ

La ilaha il Allah Al Halim al Karim
Subhan Allahi Rabi Al ‘Arshi Al ‘Adhim
Al Hamdullillahi Rabi Al ‘Alamin
Ass’aluka mujibat rahmatika wa ‘aza’im maghfiratika wa al ghanima min kuli birr wa al salamata min kuli ithm
La tada’ li dhamban ila ghafartahu wa la haman ila farajtahu wa la hajatan hiya laka rida ila qadaytaha ya Arham ar Rahimin.

There there no god but Allah the Clement and Wise.
There is no god but Allah the High and Mighty.
Glory be to Allah, Lord of the Tremendous Throne.
All praise is to Allah, Lord of the worlds.
I ask you (O Allah) everything that leads to your mercy, and your tremendous forgiveness, enrichment in all good, and freedom from all sin.
Do not leave a sin of mine (O Allah), except that you forgive it, nor any concern except that you create for it an opening, nor any need in which there is your good pleasure except that you fulfill it, O Most Merciful!”

Wassalam,
Umer Mian

Photo: Danumurthi Mahendra

Mother of "cucumber, not cooker bomb" toddler, in her own words

Editor’s note: In January 2016, a British Muslim mother was called in for a meeting by her 4 year-old son’s nursery school. The managers informed her that her little boy had been referred to a ‘de-radicalisation’ program after drawing what they alleged to be a ‘cooker bomb’. Shocked by the news, the mother reached out for help on the private Facebook group, Muslim Mamas (see their public page here). Muslim Mamas is a close-knit group of some 9000 Muslim mothers from around the world. This mother now shares her story in her own words for the first time, though the story has been reported in The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph and other news outlets.

Assalamu’alaikum,
Some of you may have heard about the four year old boy, whose nursery wanted to send him to a deradicalisation programme for mispronouncing ‘cucumber’. Well, that was my son. I’ve been a member of Muslim Mamas for a while now and wanted to share my story with you all.

“He told us it was a cooker bomb”

One afternoon back in January 2016, when I dropped my little boy to nursery, the nursery manager and deputy manager called me into a side room and presented me with a document, together with some drawings that my son had drawn. I recognised the drawing straight away, as it was a recent one. It was of a man with a knife. My son had told me it was ‘daddy cutting a cucumber’ so I told the school managers this straight away. They were unconvinced.
“Well, that’s not what he said to us. He told us it was a cooker bomb,” the nursery manager replied.
I was blindsided by this. My son has never talked about bombs at home. I was so confused and upset. At that point, I didn’t immediately associate his pronunciation of cucumber as “cukkabum” with a “cooker bomb”. I’d never even heard of such a thing.
cucumber-bomb
The school then showed me two other scribbles by my son. They said he talked about “pulling a string in Africa.” I explained that my neighbour’s cat used to visit our home frequently and my children often played with the cat by pulling a string. Sadly, the poor cat got run over and, not wanting upset them by telling them that he had died, I told the kids that the cat had gone to Africa to be with his family.

“Prove yourself innocent”

Again, the nursery manager dismissed my explanation and told me that they were referring me to Channel. I had no idea what Channel was, but assumed it was social services. I asked the manager if this was the case and she told me that yes, they did work together and that they would help me raise my children in the ‘right’ way. By this time I was in tears and pleaded with her not to refer me. But her reply did little to console me.
“Your kids might not be taken off you. You can prove yourself innocent,” she said.
I was distraught! I continued to plead with her. She asked me what he was watching on television and I told her that he liked his superheroes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers, but I would put a stop to this immediately if it would help (and I actually did go home and do this!). I even banned their Disney movies, as the nursery manager described one of my son’s drawings as that of a train blowing up. Incidentally, this is the opening scene in Toy Story 3.
Nothing was going to help me that day. She told me I’d already been referred and I had to “sign the referral form”, which I declined to do. I couldn’t – it just felt wrong to sign a document I did not agree with. My son, according to the nursery’s own description is a very ‘gentle’ child. I couldn’t accept the things that they were now suggesting about him.
I left the meeting and went home. My husband was away, so I telephoned him and explained the situation. He told me not to worry and reminded me that our boy always says “cukkabum” when he means “cucumber,” so obviously they’d misheard him. It then became clear to me what had happened.

“Cucumber, not cooker bomb”

I called the nursery manager immediately, with a renewed sense of hope and told her about his mispronunciation of the word “cucumber”. My son was still at the nursery and I told her to go and show him a cucumber so that it all becomes clear. However, the nursery manager was not willing to discuss things any further and told me that my son had already been “referred” and it was out of her hands. She then asked me again about signing the document and I once again refused. She informed me that she would “have to put down a reason”.
I felt really pressured but I’d spoken to my husband and my sister and they both advised me against signing something I am not comfortable with. So I held my ground and I told her firmly I wasn’t going to sign it as I didn’t agree with it. I hung up at the point and felt really worried about how I was going to find someone who could help me. I felt bullied and was ready to ask the police for help. I didn’t realise then what I realise now: this is state supported bullying.
I frantically called people who might be able to help me. I knew the school was wrong. Had I not been a Muslim Asian, I wouldn’t be in this position. I even messaged Tell Mama and was ignored.

Teachers now legally obliged to report concerns around terrorism

In Luton, where we live, you’d think it was easy to find help but there is no local organisation to help our community in situations like this. It’s actually more like the opposite. People don’t want to get involved, even though they know it’s wrong. They’re scared of the repercussions.
Eventually, I was put in touch with Rehana Faisal, who is a local Muslim community activist. She came round to see me and I went through everything with her. She asked me if I knew what Channel was. I told her I didn’t. It was Rehana who told me that Channel was a de-radicalisation programme and that teachers are now legally obliged to report concerns around terrorism. Apparently, this is called the “PREVENT duty”. I was horrified. She called a local solicitor, Attiq Malik of Liberty Law Solicitors, for some advice and the two of us then went to the nursery together for another meeting.
Rehana talked the nursery manager through what had happened and tried to encourage her to apply some common sense and recognise that the referral was misguided. The nursery manager again stated that the referral was a done deal. Rehana asked the manager if there was something else that had triggered this referral because it seemed ridiculous that they had taken such drastic action over a child’s mispronunciation. Did they have any other concerns about the parents? You see, I wasn’t new at this nursery. I had a seven year relationship with them. Thus far, it had always been a positive one. In November 2015, there was a parent-teacher evening and I was told not to bother coming in because my son was so lovely and gentle.

Questioning children appropriately

The manager told Rehana there was nothing else of concern apart from this one picture, to which my son couldn’t mispronounced “cucumber”. To be clear, my son never said the word “bomb”. This whole incident was never about what my child said or drew. It was about their perception of what he said. My son did not say the word bomb, they did. And they repeated it to him in their questioning. As Rehana pointed out to them, had the staff member he was speaking to questioned him appropriately, without leading questions, they would have realised what he was actually saying. In fact, he, according to their own records told them that a ‘cukkabum’ was something you cut!

“Did Jimmy Saville look like a paedophile?”

At this point in our meeting, the nursery manager repeatedly asserted her position that the referral to Channel had already been made. I was really upset at this point and was crying. I asked her, “Do I look like a terrorist to you?!”
The manager, looking directly at me replied, “Well, did Jimmy Saville look like a paedophile?”
I was shocked. Rehana witnessed this exchange and couldn’t believe how unprofessional the nursery manager was. Rehana informed the manager that we had sought legal advice before attending the meeting and if the nursery chose to pursue this, then so would we. We would go to the press if necessary. We then walked out of the meeting.
That evening, Rehana and Attiq came to see me show their support. Attiq then introduced me to someone from an organisation called PREVENTwatch and discussed what could be done next. They helped me draft a very detailed letter, which I gave to the nursery. They also told me to unblock the kiddy channels and assured me it was normal for kids to be into Power Rangers and the like!
The nursery manager on numerous occasions tried to speak to me alone over the next few days but I just didn’t trust her or anyone at the nursery anymore. Speaking to them was the last thing I wanted to do after being treated this way.

Backtracking

Soon after, I was given a letter by the nursery manager that said they had never made a referral but that everything they had said to me was according to government guidelines. This was a blatant lie. I know this because they had, possibly accidentally, given me a document which clearly states that my four year old has been referred. They had clearly backtracked and I strongly believe this was because they realised, I now had support and backing.
The last few weeks have been a steep learning curve for me. I didn’t know much about Channel or Prevent but I do now. Channel is supposed to be a ‘consensual’ programme but my son’s nursery tried to bully me into it. That’s not right. The whole policy isn’t right. It is not only flawed, it is also deeply discriminatory.

Don’t Take It Lying Down

I decided to talk about what happened to me in the hope that it will help others who find themselves in such a position. I want people to know that they must not put up with it. I originally spoke to the BBC Asian network and the story was then picked up by other news outlets. After that I was on the morning program on BBC 3 Counties Radio and Inspire fm. I also gave an interview to Luton on Sunday and the Guardian and was on ITV news Anglia.
I hope that this helps people to understand how flawed PREVENT is. It is a policy which is supposed to be making us safer, but it is hardly doing that. I felt scared, intimidated and discriminated against. It cannot carry on. I hope by speaking up myself, I will encourage others to also speak up.
My son is still at this nursery. Some of you might think that it’s a strange decision to leave him there. To say I feel awkward is an understatement. Everyday, I drop my son off to people that I no longer trust. However, my son loves nursery, his friends and his keyworker, who wasn’t present in any of the meetings that the nursery managers had with me. I’m not sure who flagged my son as a ‘radical’. His keyworker is so lovely and always has pleasant things to say to me. I’ve decided I don’t want to disrupt my sons life due to the incompetence of some prejudiced staff members.

Teachers as Spies

While I’m upset at the way the teachers in my son’s school dealt with this matter, I feel sympathy for the teachers who have been forced to act as “security services” in schools. They are given 1-2 hours training and are expected to spot the very complex signs of “radicalisation”. Unfortunately, too many of these “signs” focus on the Muslim Community.
So that’s my story. I’m still struggling to come to terms with what has happened but I want to keep talking about it, and I pray that this helps others.  I never dreamed I could be treated this way, in my own country, as a British Muslim.
If any of you find yourself in this position – GET HELP. PREVENTwatch is a national organisation who can help. If you are in Luton, you can look up Rehana Faisal and Attiq Malik. Speak to them.
As a community, we all need to speak up. Our “community leaders” and elected representatives need to speak up. Let our teachers teach rather than behave like the police or like spies!
I want to end by expressing gratitude for the help and support I’ve received from family and friends, through this horrid ordeal! As for the nursery, I am yet to receive an apology from them.
Anonymous

Cover photo by Keoni Cabral.

Should I Listen to My Husband or My Mother?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Having been recently married, I am noticing a general conflict between the advices from my husband and my mother. I love both of them and do not wish to upset either of them. Should I obey to my husband or my mother?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for your sincerity in refining your character and improving your ties with your family.

Balance

The key here is balance and discretion. The first year of marriage is challenging because you are now learning to balance the new roles in your life – wife, daughter-in-law, daughter, friend etc. Over time and through trial and error, inshaAllah you will get the hang of it.

Time

Ensure that you spend time with your mother – she is probably missing you. Give her gifts, call her, and be of service to her. Do the same for your husband.

Istikhara

If you are absolutely stuck in a matter and are unsure how to proceed, please perform the Prayer of Guidance and wait to see what unfolds.

Please refer to the following links:

Balancing Marital Privacy Against Living with My Mother
Is the Husband’s First Priority His Parents Whereas a Wife’s Her Husband?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My mother has never been good at expressing her love towards me.

Her behaviour has caused me a lot of pain. She forced me to marry a guy just because it would look good in the eyes of people and that marriage ruined my life.

She lies all the time. I have come to a point where I don’t even feel like talking to her. Things are tense with my brother also. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for wanting to do things right by your mother.

The rank of your mother

Mu’awiyah ibn Jahima reported: Jahima came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, I intend to join the expedition and I seek your advice.” The Prophet said, “Do you have a mother?” He said yes. The Prophet said, “Stay with her, for Paradise is beneath her feet.” [Sunan An-Nasa’i]

As difficult as it might be to hear this, your mother still has rights over you. Please commit to completing this course, The Rights of Parents, to give you a better idea about the rank your mother has, and your responsibilities towards her. Although she sounds like an extremely difficult person to be around, she still deserves to be treated with respect and kindness. You do not need to agree with or condone what she does, but you do need to fulfil your end of the deal. Allah will not question you on what she did, but He will question you on how you responded to her. May Allah helps us all be patient with our parents, as they have been patient with us.

Dealing with her

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Give each other gifts and you will love each other.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]

Accept that your mother has a very bad habit of lying. If you don’t expect anything different from her, then you are less likely to be disappointed. If she chronically denies having lied to you, then pushing her to tell the truth will only aggravate both of you and worsen an already strained relationship. She is the way she is, and she is a test of your good character. You can apply this to your brother, too.

Focus on building bridges. Make happier memories with her, if at all possible. Make her tea or coffee. Buy her gifts. Help her with errands. Focus on her positive qualities, especially the fact that she gave birth to you and raised you into who you are today.

Boundaries

Please see a counsellor, psychologist or life coach to help you learn how to stay well despite your mother. It would help to learn coping strategies as well as better communication and conflict resolution methods. A good therapist will help you see your contribution to this problematic interaction with your mother, and help you change things from your end. You cannot change your mother’s behaviour, but you can learn how to better manage your own behaviour.

Tahajjud

Never underestimate the power of dua. If you want lasting change, complain about creation to the Creator. Allah knows the contents of mother’s heart, and He alone can change it. Wake up before Fajr and make heartfelt dua for Allah to help you. Perform the Prayer of Need.

Motherhood

I pray that Allah blesses you with a righteous and loving spouse, and grants you the gift of children. Once you have a child of your own, you will be better able to forgive and appreciate your own mother, despite all the pain she has caused you. I pray that Allah grants you the chance to be a more loving mother to your own children.

Please refer to the following links:

Dealing With a Dysfunctional Relationship With Parents
I Can’t Stop Misbehaving With my Mother. What Can I Do?
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Answering the Call: Carry the Future for Syrian Refugees

Laith Majid cries tears of joy and relief that he and his children have made it to Europe. Photograph: Daniet Etter/New York Times/Redux /eyevine

Photograph: Daniet Etter/New York Times/Redux /eyevine

Year of Sadness

To say that this past year or so has been difficult is an understatement.  My father passed away in August 2014 when my youngest son was only 11 weeks old. Navigating through my own intense grief while caring for my infant son and energetic 4 year old was more than I thought my mind, body and soul could carry. The little spiritual reserve I had left was being sucked away by watching the state of the Muslims around the world sink further and further into disarray; Syria, Iraq, Myanmar, Afghanistan and the list goes on. Then the Paris attacks happened – as the world magnified on the Muslim community across the globe, particularly breeding fear against Syrian refugees, I was sent into a state of frozen numbness as I consumed every story, post, news clip and article that flashed across my iPhone screen. I started having nightmares and waking in the middle of the night anxious about the growing backlash and Islamophobia against the Muslim community. During these wakeful nights, through crashing waves of tears I began to do something I hadn’t done in a while – talk to God.  I wept for my broken heart to be mended and my empty soul to be filled up again. I begged for inspiration and direction with the hope for a clear sign that God had heard my call. 


Answering the Call

“Fa inna ma’al ‘usri yusra. Inna ma’al ‘usri yusra. Verily, along with every hardship is relief. Verily, along with every hardship is relief (Quran, Chapter 94, verses 5-6)”. 

No matter how many times I read those verses, when relief finally overcomes hardship in my life, it never ceases to amaze me. Through those conversations in the darkness of the night, the storm inside of me began to calm and I could see the tide turning.  God All-Mighty undoubtedly answered my call in direct and subtle ways.  

During this tumultuous time, I stumbled upon this quote by writer Maria Karim: “A glimpse of Allah’s limitless mercy is that He sends the right people at the right time with the right words or gestures to remind you that you are not alone, to reinforce that you are not forsaken, to repair your weak faith so that you can resolve your life with hikmah (wisdom) and to restore your complete tawakkal (trust) in Him so that you rely on Him alone. Blessed are those who are able to pull themselves out of self-pity and depression because they eventually realize the intensity of being taken care of by Ar Rahman, Himself.” Every word felt as if it was written just for me. It was the sign I was searching for.

Shortly there after, “the right people at the right time with the right words” began to appear after I posted this rare personal note on Facebook: “I’m having nightmares [about recent events]. I need to get off Facebook for a while”. 

AnsweringTheCall-ReemaQadry-pic3In response, messages of concern, support and love started pouring in – not just from my many Muslims friends but most impactful from my friends of other faiths.  This was the healing balm that began to mend my brokenness. The most significant message came from Jessica who wrote me several encouraging messages. One said, “I’m glad you’re feeling some support from those of us who refuse to accept all the hatred and misinformation.” After a few exchanges she posted the following: “I’m collecting used baby carriers to send to [Syrian] refugee mothers in Greece. If you have any or know of someone who would like to donate, please put them in touch.” She was referring to the very non-profit I had bookmarked for future follow-up days before but had forgotten about – that organization was Carry the Future.

Openings 

As a mother of young children it is easy to feel isolated and helpless not being able to serve the community like I could when free time was plentiful; but how could I feel hopeless and despair when I was steeped in all of these immense blessings given to me by God, while many like the Syrian refugees had lost everything?  Inspired by my recent awakening, I began to brainstorm ideas about how I could make a difference and motivate others to do the same. I thought of Syrian mothers when my arms would ache from holding my crying, teething baby all day and I would imagine those Syrian mothers holding their crying, teething babies knowing that they had to continue walking; continue carrying their children; continue on for the sake of their children’s future. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and responsibility, which compelled me to do something to ease their load.

AnsweringTheCall-ReemaQadry-pic4Many people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike want to help Syrian refugees but find it difficult to parse through the many options out there. That’s how the idea came about to support Carry the Future, which has a simple and specialized cause – provide new or gently used baby carriers to Syrian Refugees along their travel route. Volunteers are on the ground in Europe fitting parents with carriers as they get off boats and ferries and on to buses to continue their journey.

To make it easy for people to participate, I created an Amazon wishlist with a few carrier options and shared it as a post on Facebook. My goal was simple – take your concern and turn it into action – buy 25 carriers for Syrian refugees.  The post inspired many of my friends to share and contribute and some even created their own campaigns. While I was sending out messages requesting support – at the very moment I was typing Shaykh Faraz Rabbani’s name, he was already sharing my post (SubhanAllah, another miracle), which resulted in a mini-viral effect. 164 carriers we’re bought in less than 48 hours and the numbers are rising!  This whole experience showed me that with faith, a little effort and some creativity we can all have an impact.

AnsweringTheCall-ReemaQadry-Pic2Ruminations

At a time where world events have caused Islamophobia in the West to reach an all time high, it is easy to become consumed by fear and anxiety. Here is what I’ve learned along the way and advice I first and foremost give myself:

 

  1. Connect with God and the Prophet (peace be upon him) – Our teachers (may God bless them all) have taught us that prayer/dhikr can move mountains and is the best remedy to ease our troubled hearts. Recite a set number of prayers on the Prophet (peace be upon him) everyday. Find a litany (like Wird al Latif) that you can recite day and night. Make an abundance of istighfar as is recommended in times of trial. Listen to and recite Prayer of the Oppressed (Dua’ Nasri). And at every turn, talk to God.  He’s always listening.
  1. Replace “Slacktivism” with Activism – While social media can be beneficial in many ways, posting and sharing articles, news clips etc. can give us the illusion of productivity on social justice or political issues.  Instead of recycling other people’s ideas find ways to create and share your talent and skills with your community. Find a cause you’re passionate about and turn your concern for the world into action.  You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your couch to make a difference – just pick cause and get creative.
  1. Step Away from the Screen – Keeping up with world events is important but over-consuming depressing news on social media can be paralyzing and demotivating. It can wear away at your faith and spirit. Take a break to volunteer, read a book or better yet call your mom! 
  1. People are Inherently Good – Take heart and have faith in humanity.  Reach out to your neighbors, friends and coworkers. Smile. Be kind. Show the truth about our beautiful religion through personifying the values taught in the Quran as well as emulating the character of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him).
  1. Do not Despair – Our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) said “Even if the end of time is upon you and you have a seedling in your hand, plant it”. This is the ultimate example of hope. Don’t give up even when it may seem like all is lost.

I’m grateful to Shaykh Faraz Rabbani for asking me to write this and allowing me to share the story of how I arrived at campaigning for an organization called Carry the Future. This inspiring non-profit provides baby carriers for Syrian Refugees making their way through Europe. The meandering account above is one of loss, sadness and tribulation but also of miracles, blessings and openings.

If you’re interested in purchasing or donating gently used carriers for Syrian refugees please visit my Amazon wishlist or go the Carry the Future website.  Even better, start your own carrier drive!

By Reema Qadry

Reema Qadry is a stay-at-home mother of two boys, aged 5 and 1.5 years, residing in Seattle, USA.

Can My Brother Call My Stepmother Mom?

Answered by Ustadh Shuaib Ally

Question: As salam alaikum,

I grew up with my father, stepmother, stepsister, stepbrother, brother and sister. My sister and brother would call my stepmother mom. My stepsister would call my father Dad. In light of the following Hadith is it permissible to call them dad or mom when they are not really their dad and mom?

The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “If somebody claims to be the son of any other than his real father knowingly, he disbelieves in Allah, and if somebody claims to belong to some folk to whom he does not belong, let such a person take his place in the (Hell) Fire.” (Bukhari)

Answer: wa `alaykum assalam

Yes, it is permissible to do so, if real effective meaning is not intended, and one is using the terms for another reason.

Permissible Usage of such Titles

It is permissible to call a stepmother or stepfather (or father or mother in law) ‘dad’ or ‘mom’. Conversely, it is permissible for the adults in a similar scenario to refer to others as ‘son’ or ‘daughter’. This is often done out of a combination of respect, love and a desire to demonstrate that one is as close to them as one is with one’s own parents. It is not done to confuse lineage. In the scenario you’ve described, none of the children involved would claim that the stepfather or stepmother is their actual father or mother, or vice versa. It thus remains permissible.

The Meaning of the Textual Prohibition

What is prohibited in the narrations you mentioned (Bukhari, Muslim), as well as the first few verses of al-Ahzab (33:4-5), is the pre-Islamic practice that continued with the advent of Islam of confusing lineage by, for example, calling another a son and treating him as one in all legal respects, including inheritance and matters related to marriage.

Pretending in a real manner or claiming that someone other than one’s father or mother actually is so, especially when there is some lack of clarity regarding lineage, is therefore not permissible.

Sources: Fath al-Bari; Fath al-Mulhim; al-Tahrir wa al-Tanwir

Shuaib Ally

I Can’t Stop Misbehaving With my Mother. What Can I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: I have never been close to my mother.I always thought she is not good. She hurts my feelings and if she hits me I would hit her back.But now I have come to realize how bad it is to misbehave with my mother.
I want to be a good muslim. Please tell me how can I change myself to stop disliking her?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Abuse
I pray that this finds you well. I am truly sorry that you have suffered abuse at the hands of your mother and that it has pushed you to hurt her back. This is a deep wound which requires healing. Although there are deep cultural and faith taboos surrounding child and parent abuse, you are not alone in your suffering.
No, this is not a sin for which you should be stoned or whipped. However, you do need to apologise to your mother and make a sincere effort to not hit her again. Although it is sinful for her to oppress you, it is also sinful for you to oppress her.
Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,”If a young man honors an elderly on account of his age, Allah appoints someone to honor him in his old age.” [Tirmidhi]
“And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.” [Quran, 17:23]
Seek professional help
It would be ideal if both you and your mother could see a family therapist. Family therapists or counsellors are trained to help family members identify and then change problematic patterns of behaviour. Both you and your mother must be willing to change for this to be successful. Unfortunately, it is common for many parents to refuse any attempts at counselling.
If that is the case, I would suggest that you still see a therapist, counsellor or psychologist on your own. Finding a good therapist is a hit-and-miss experience, but pick one who respects your belief and value system, and helps you manage your anger.
Look into self-hypnosis or hypnosis by a trained professional. Hypnosis is one of the fastest and most effective ways to change automatic and ingrained behaviour.
Living arrangements
If you fear that your mother will hit you and that you will hit her back, is it possible for you to consider living elsewhere? Perhaps you can live separately until you can get your anger under control. Your mother wrongs you by abusing you, but that does not give you the right to strike out at her. It may be better for both of you if you limit contact while you heal.
Dhikr
To help soothe your heart, please make daily istighfar and read salawat upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
Self-care
Lean on your loved ones and trusted friends while you heal. Look after yourself during this time. Remember to eat a healthy diet and exercise to help you manage your moods.
Please see: Will Allah forgive someone who I forgive for wronging me?
and: A little fiqh on controlling one’s anger and: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long
wassalam,
Raidah
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Breastfeeding An Infant

Answered by Sulma Badrudduja

Question: Would breastfeeding an infant make the two mahram only to each other or to anyone related by blood to the feeder e.g. will the sister of the feeder be considered the child’s mahram or not?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Beneficent

In the Hanafi school, breastfeeding an infant under the age of two lunar years establishes a milk-relationship. The general principle is that the mahram kinships of suckling are the same as the mahram kinships of blood relations. Therefore, the sister of the woman who suckled a male infant, for example, would be the boy’s milk-aunt, and therefore there would be a mahram relationship between the two.

[Al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]

And Allah knows best.

wassalam,
Sulma

Checked and Approved by Faraz Rabbani