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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.


 

Etiquette of Social Media – Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

As main tools of communication and connectivity, Social Media is everywhere, and with immediacy. Ustad Amjad Tarsin calls us to ponder to what end? For what purpose?

Two individuals could be doing the exact same thing, and one is rewarded and one may be punished. What gives? What is the difference between the two?  Ustadh Amjad invites us to ponder on the value of purpose and intention in every deed and action performed by the individual; what makes or breaks our actions?
“As believers we do not go off on auto pilot” reminds Ustadh Amjad; the urgency lies in reflecting and making purposeful intentions. “Social media should not be a replacement for real life.”

Ask yourself, “what purpose is this for– to what end? How does this connect me to Allah ?” Sure , social media offers you anonymity from the creation and instant connectivity; but Allah is always with you and aware of all that you do–even before you think of it. What then have you to show your Creator? what is it that you wish to share with your Lord?

The believer should have purpose in life with God-consciousness and intentionality as the provisions and tools for true, long lasting success.

Cover photo by  MKHMarketing

Resources for the Seekers:

Crisis of Islam or Crisis of Humanity? It’s all a cause of concern – Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

Does the modern condition reflect a crisis of Islam or a crisis of Humanity? “For the Muslim its all a cause of concern,” says ustadh Amjad Tarsin. Allah has placed mankind as representatives of the Cosmos; this noble station calls us to responsibility. These experiences call us back to reflect on our relationship with the Owner and Maker of the Worlds.

In one of the talks given in Melbourne as part of the SeekersHub Australia Winter 2016 Tour, “Give Light: Prophetic Action to Heal Ourselves and Our World”,  Ustadh Amjad conducts a timely discussion surrounding the incessant crises affecting our modern experience.
Violence, turbulence, natural disasters and systematic tension and breakdowns…what is going on? Is this a crisis of Islam or a crisis of Humanity? In reality, through a spiritual perspective the concern is one and the same; the state of the world is a reflection of the state of Humanity. The relationship between corruption and the human condition is a reflection of what we have caused with our own hands. Allah has placed mankind as representatives of the Cosmos; this noble station calls us to responsibility. These experiences  call us back to reflect on our relationship with the Owner and Maker of this world.
What is our relationship with Allah? Our modern perspective calls us to agitation and critique of religion; Why are people almost allergic to Faith? We as people connected to faith, what is our response in trying to contribute to healing and rebuilding of communities?

What are we doing in our own lives to show how relevant and beautiful faith can be especially in a modern and caught off society?

The Prophet ﷺ said that faith itself is 70 odd branches, the statement of ultimate reality is the testimony of faith and the lowest branch of faith is removing  something harmful off of the road. As believers we see the small gestures in life as reflections of faith : whether a smile on the face, or picking something off of the street; these reflect acts of faith.

“Our faith is not just reflected on the prayer rug; but reflected in every aspect of our lives,” proclaims Ustadh Amjad.

Truth in Allah will call us back; either He will guide you with Beauty and inspiration, or you will be confronted with tribulations and difficulty in order to move things around and for human beings to redirect themselves to God. Corruption has been reflected in the land and the sea, really so that we may return back to Allah.

Resources for Seekers

Cover photo by Dave Lo Sapio.

Embracing Otherness as the Prophetic Sunnah – Imam Khalid Latif

The Prophet’s ﷺ reality and his personal  relationships call to diversity; he was exposed to diverse people of gender, colour, age and ethnicity from a young age; this theme furthers throughout his  lifelong relationships. Imam Khalid Latif  invites us to meet such personages as Umm Ayman Baraka and engage with otherness through the lens of love and empathy.

Imam Khalid urges us to reflect on the nature of identity, he tells us that we go through the steps of self affirmation and we place ourselves in boxes of identity, and once we do that we compare ourselves by that which we are not. The Prophet ﷺ was able to be an individual for all people, and generations for all time; this behooves us to ask ourselves who we are  and what our relationships are really based on.

Resources for Seekers

Cover photo from flickr. We are grateful to ICNYU for this video.

A Timeless Love – The Prophet ﷺ and Khadijah, by Habib Ali al-Jifri

Habib Ali on The Prophet and KhadijahHabib Ali Al-Jifri beautifully recalls the loving companionship of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his loyal wife Khadijah. He explains how this love story began and continued even after she passed away; and most importantly, what lessons we can learn from this story for our own marriages.
Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life is one of SeekersHub’s most popular courses. Register today for any of the 30+ courses on offer – places are very limited.
This video was recorded for the “Love & the Beloved” CelebrateMercy webcast about the Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ married life. See more videos at CelebrateMercy.com and subscribe to on YouTube.

Resources for seekers:

Should I Seek Forgiveness from a Girlfriend I Wronged Before I Was Muslim?

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: Assalamualikum,

Before converting to islam, i had a relationship with a girl. A few months before converting, I broke of all relationships all of a sudden.

Now that i am married, and am a muslim, I often feel guilt that i was unjust towards her.  Should I now approach that girl to seek her forgiveness?

I am reluctant because it might complicate things, but it is true that i was unfair to her, and that she might hold a grudge against me in her heart… and my fear is that she will accuse me on the day of judgment for breaking her heart, and being unfair to her.

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

Assalamu alaikum.

Dear Brother,

Thank you for your question.

While you may not have been a Muslim when this relationship occurred, you obviously had a sense of morality.

If your wife approves, I would suggest writing a note of apology after asking Allah’s forgiveness for whatever harm was done. Even if the woman does not accept your apology, you have done the ethical thing and can move on.

Regards,

Zaynab Ansari

What do I do if I Develop Strong Feelings For a Brother I am Friends With?

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badradduja

Question: Assalamu alaikum,

I’m a teenage sister.

I have been friends with a guy. He is a great person and a good believer, but we have fallen into the trap of shaitan and got a little carried away with our friendship. I fell in love with him. it just happened. i had no control over it. and he loves me too. since we don’t want to disappoint Allah and gain a part of his anger, we promised each other that when we grow up and are in the age for marriage, we will come back for each other and marry. since then we ended our phone contacts and even our friendship. though from heart we still do consider each other best friends.

We all realize how big a sin we have committed since a boy and a girl are not permitted to have any sort of relation ship. I want to ask you, if we have anything important to talk about, can we talk? and all the promises that we made to each other, are those valid? and can we still keep love for each other in our heart?

Please help me out.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I hope you are well. Thank you for your question.

Alhamdulillah you have done the right thing by ending your relationship and communication with the brother. InshaAllah you will find that Allah will place baraka (blessings and increase) in your life and your endeavors because you are striving to follow His command.

Can you talk if you have something important to discuss? You should not continue communication, especially since you know that there is an attraction between you. If you allow yourselves to get in touch, it could likely become a regular allowance you give yourselves and it will be harder to discontinue communication. If something is extremely important, consult a learned and God-conscious person for their advice on how to get the message across to the brother without unnecessary interaction.

Are the promises you made valid? There is nothing that invalidates your promises to each other to get married in the future. But there is also nothing that makes them binding upon you if your future situation calls for another line of action. You are still young and many things can happen in the future which could make marrying each other an unsuitable, or even undesirable, event. If things change in the future and you have other marriage prospects, you could consider having him be notified in an appropriate manner in order to avoid ambiguity in the issue.

Can you continue to love him? You cannot necessarily control the feelings you have towards the brother. You need to however control how you act upon them. Feeling inclined towards him because of his praiseworthy traits is fine and natural. But do not dwell on your feelings toward him too much until you are in a position to get married because it will make it difficult for you to keep your distance. When you think both of you are ready, be sure to involve your parents.

May Allah grant you success.

Wassalam,
Sulma

Checked and Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Eid Mubarak: May Allah Makes These Days of True Rejoicing – Eid Message, Reminder, and Free Gift from SeekersGuidance – mp3 of an amazing night of nasheed

 

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In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful
 
EID MUBARAK
May Allah make these days of true rejoicing
 
Dear SeekersGuidance students, supporters, and friends,
 
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
 
I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits. The teachers, managers, and SeekersGuidance team would like to wish you Eid Mubarak. We ask Allah Most High to make these days of rejoicing in the blessings of Allah, worldly and spiritual, and days of returning to Allah through recognition of these blessings.
 
May this be a true Eid for us, insha’Allah. The Early Muslims (salaf) would say: “True Eid isn’t for those rely wearing new clothes. Rather, true Eid belongs to those whose obedience increases.”
 
The root meaning of Eid is, “that which returns, time and again; and rejoicing.”
 
The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “They are days of eating, drinking, and remembrance of God.” [Bukhari]
 
Making Eid a True Rejoicing & Return
 
Make these days of rejoicing and reconnecting with family and friends. Repair strained relationships. Visit and contact friends and family whom you have fallen out of touch with. Do this as a spiritual action, seeking the pleasure of Allah, for the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) mentioned that from the best of faith is mending relations.
 
And make these days of rejoicing and reconnecting with Allah Most High. Turn to Him in thankfulness. Turn to Him in love. Turn to Him with a sense of awe and awareness of both His Beauty and Majesty. Look at where you are in yourrelationship with Allah, and do three things: [1] resolve to leave those specific actions you do that are most odious to Allah–of the forbidden actions; [2] resolve to begin doing (or becoming more consistent in) those actions that you are most remiss in–of the obligatory actions; and [3] make a general repentance from all that is displeasing to Allah, and make a general commitment to turn to Allah in life, and to seek His pleasure through making good your submitting to Him, in accordance with the radiant, life-giving example of His Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him).
 
 

 

And Allah alone gives success.
Stamp - Faraz Rabbani.jpg
Faraz Rabbani
Executive Director, SeekersGuidance
on behalf of the teachers, managers, and team at SeekersGuidance

 

 


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Emotional Distress: Dealing With Broken Relationships

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

Question I am going through a period of depression over a relationship with a non-Muslim girl that has ended. I have asked for forgiveness for my mistakes. The consequences of this relationship have been an abundance of negative feelings and troubling thoughts that have taken over my mind including jealousy, suspicion, withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, hurt, and sadness. I was wondering if there is an Islamic procedure to rid the mind of unwanted thoughts and give me peace of mind.


Answer:
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend on the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions, and their followers.
Dear Brother,

Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for your question. I pray you are feeling better.

My advice is to learn from your mistakes in a positive way. Instead of dwelling on negative thoughts, look within you to see why you entered into this relationship. How can you become a better Muslim and a stronger person from this experience?

To feel hurt at the end of a relationship is natural. However, given the nature of the relationship, you should be thankful to Allah it has ended. Maybe this was Allah’s way of calling you back to Him.

You should make dua for this woman and ask Allah to guide her. And you should move on with your life. One of the best ways to do this is by being of service to others. Are you young, healthy, and single? If so, there is so much you can do for the Muslim community and the larger society. But before you help others, you’ll have to rectify yourself. Give priority to your spiritual needs. What do you need to grow in your Islam, Iman, and Ihsan?

Finally, please read this excellent answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, “Fighting Depression through the Remembrance of Allah.”

Once you make time in your life for prayer, Qur’an, dhikr, and salawat upon the Messenger, you won’t have time to dwell on the negative.

May Allah Ta’ala give you healing,

Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

July 25, 2010/Sha’ban 13, 1431

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq is a wife and mother residing in the southeastern United States. She graduated from Abu Nour University’s precollege program in 2000 and has remained active in teaching and studying sacred knowledge through SunniPath and SeekersGuidance. She holds undergraduate degrees in history and Middle Eastern Studies and is a certified public speaker.