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My Husband Wants to Ban Me from Teaching Our Children.

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

Can a husband interfere in what the wife teaches her kids (assuming what she teaches is Islamically appropriate)?In particular, can the husband ban his wife from teaching her kids another language, for example due to his racism against that language?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Banning

As a general rule, it is not a good idea for a husband to ‘ban’ his wife from anything beneficial.

Deeper issues

It sounds like there are deeper issues within your marriage.

Husbands who like to control and ban often have deep fears, or feel insecure or disrespected in some way. Is it possible that he is worried that you and your children will speak about him behind his back, in a language he does not understand?

Perhaps you can invite him to your lessons, and encourage him to learn too.

Interference

What is the current state of your marriage? Do you and your husband feel deeply connected? Are you on the same team?

Reading between the lines, it sounds like your marriage has a lot of simmering resentment and hostility.

It sounds like you dislike his contribution to your education plans for your children. Please know that he is still their father, and it is important for him to be involved in their education.

Consider the example you are modelling for your children. They can sense the unspoken tension between you and your husband. They can also learn from you softening towards your husband, and choosing to let him back into your heart.

Obedience to Husband

I strongly encourage you to listen to Megan Wyatt’s podcasts and to explore the resources on her website, Wives of Jannah.

As unlikely as it might feel right now, please know that positive change within your marriage can start from you.

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

Intention for Seeking Knowledge by Imam Haddad

In this article, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani provides commentary on Imam Haddad’s famous “Intention for Seeking Knowledge.” Text and translation of this supplication is also provided.

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Actions are by their intentions, and each person shall have whatsoever they intended.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The reality of our actions is not merely what we do, but also why we do it. As Ibn Ata’illah explained, “Actions are lifeless forms, whose soul is the subtle reality of sincerity within them.” (Hikam al Ata’iyya)

Seeking Knowledge as a Spiritual Work

Seeking sacred knowledge (talab al-ilm) has been described in the Qur’an and Sunna as one of the highest of spiritual works. Thus, a sincere intention is particularly important.

Seeking knowledge can also be a source of honor and recognition in this world. This can be dangerous, as it can result in sinful inward traits such as pride, conceit, and arrogance. Only sincere intentions can protect a person, and fulfill the spiritual potential of seeking knowledge.

What is an Intention?

The scholars explain that an intention (niyya) is, “The resolve to (a) perform an act of obedience to Allah, (b) drawing closer to Allah thereby, (c) at the beginning of one’s action.” (Taftazani, quoted by Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar)

This has three components:
(a) “The resolve to perform an act of obedience” entails mindful, purposeful action. Bring to mind what are you doing, and that you are doing it as an act of obedience.
(b)“ … drawing closer to Allah…” entails bringing to mind that you are acting for the sake of Allah alone – seeking His Closeness, Love, Good Pleasure, and reward.
(c) “… at the beginning of the action,” entails pausing for a moment before you begin any action, at any time, in order to renew your resolve.

What is Sincerity?

Sincerity, or ikhlas, is the heart of Islam. It is defined by the scholars as, “Seeking to draw closer to Allah with one’s actions, without any ulterior motive.” (Qushayri)

Sahl ibn Abd Allah said, “The intelligent looked at sincerity, and the best description they found is that it is for one’s motions and rest – in private and in public – to be for Allah alone without partner, without anything being mixed into one’s motives. Not one’s ego, nor one’s whims, nor any merely worldly aspirations.” (Bayhaqi, Shu‘ab al-Iman)

Imam Haddad’s Intention for Knowledge: A Practical Means for Making High Intentions

Part of having sincere intentions (al-niyya al-saliha) is to reflect deeply on all the multiple ways one is seeking the Pleasure of Allah through one’s actions. This is called “multiplying one’s intention,” or ta’addud al-niyya.

Because such deep reflection is rare for most of us, the scholars compiled statements of intention to help us make high, transformative intentions before we act.

One such powerful statement of intention for seeking knowledge is Imam Abd Allah ibn Alawi al-Haddad’s “Intention for Seeking Sacred Knowledge.”

This intention defines both the ultimate purpose of seeking knowledge – “seeking Allah Himself, His Good Pleasure, Closeness, and Reward” –  as well as the multiple ways one can make one’s knowledge sincerely for Allah.

The scholars encourage making it a deliberate, purposeful habit to make such a statement of intention – in one’s heart or uttered – every time one begins studying, teaching, reading, or listening to Islamic knowledge.

Imam Haddad’s Intention for Seeking Knowledge


 

Prophetic Parenting: Q&A – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

The Prophetic Parenting series, taught by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani,  covers 40 Hadiths on raising righteous Muslim children. This segment of the Prophetic Parenting series covers some commonly asked questions and answers.

What are the three aspects of parenting?

They are tarbiya (upbringing) ta’deeb (instilling of adab) and ta’leem (teaching). These must come in order, and parents must have a plan for what they want for their children, and have goals. By raising them with concern, children will be led to have good character.

To what extent are we responsible for the choices of our children when they grow up?

We are responsible for taking the means that we can, but we cannot control outcomes. Normally, if the right means are taken with the right intentions, we can be reasonably sure to expect the right results. However, if you took the means but yet they drift, your responsibility remains to advise, and be of sincere concern.  You can do this without imposing on them or being overbearing.

If two parents do not agree, what should they do?

All affairs have to be through mutual consultation, with each other and with trusted elders and scholars. They should agree to have a healthy marriage, and how to discuss issues that come up in a respectful and safe manner.

About the Series

As Muslims, we take family and our children seriously. We seek clarity and guidance to raise upright, righteous, successful Muslim children who love Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani will cover 40 hadiths on parenting.

Beginning with how to choose a spouse while keeping in mind future parenting, to raising and educating children from when they’re small to when they are young adults. We will also see beautiful, faith-inspiring examples of the Prophet’s mercy, gentleness, wisdom, and excellence in his own parenting and dealing with children–while inculcating in them the highest of aspiration, discipline, curiosity, intelligence, and spiritual resolve.


Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa on Sura Luqman – On Entertaining Discourse

Sura Luqman emphasizes tarbiya, or spiritual growth, and is named after a great sage. In this series, Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa explores the meanings of this chapter.

Shaykh Ibrahim continues to give the commentary on this Sura, beginning with these verses:

From amongst people, are those who finance entertaining discourse, to deviate (others) to from the way of Allah without knowledge make it the butt of mockery. Those will have a humiliating punishment. And when our verses are recited to him, he turns away arrogantly as if he had not heard them, as if there was in his ears deafness. So give him tidings of a painful punishment. (31:5-6)

He explains that the nature of this world, is that it entertains you, at the expense of your future. Imam Abdullah ibn Masoud believed that the “entertaining discourse,” was music. In our times, the “entertaining discourse” is not only the music culture, but also film, sports, talk shows, and everything else found in the entertainment industry. These things aren’t haram in the general sense, but if they distract from the remembrance of Allah, they should be avoided.


With gratitude to Greensville Trust.


Resources for Seekers

Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa on Sura Luqman – On Faith and Belief

Sura Luqman emphasizes tarbiya, or spiritual growth, and is named after a great sage. In this series, Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa explores the meanings of this chapter.

Sura Luqman has 34 verses. Some say that all 34 verses were revealed in Mecca, while others say that all but two or three verses were revealed in Mecca. Regardless, it is classed as a Meccan sura because most of it was revealed there. This is significant, because Mecca was the place that the believers were spiritually raised, while Medina was the corroboration of the time in Mecca. As a reflection of this, the Meccan suras often had the theme of spiritual development, with reminders to remember Allah, as well of the afterlife. In contrast, the suras revealed in Medina focuses on various laws.Surah Luqman

As a Meccan sura, Sura Luqman touches on subjects relating to spiritual development. This makes it a good lesson for parents and caregivers, as many of these lessons are directly connected to child-rearing themes.

In fact our mother Aisha, Allah be pleased with her, who was raised in the environment of Mecca, said, “We first learned faith, and then we learned the Qur’an, (meaning the laws defined in the Qur’an), and it increased us in faith.” She also said in another narration, “Had we learned law before faith, we would have disbelieved or become hypocrites.”

In our times, there is often an overwhelming focus on implementation of the law, before faith has taken root. This is a dangerous approach, because it can distance the person from faith.

It is important point to remember for anyone supporting a person in their spiritual development, whether they be a friend, a parent, a child, or an extended family member. When helping someone, one should try their best to nourish them spiritually, rather than simply throwing the law onto them.


With gratitude to Greensville Trust.


Resources for Seekers

What Are the Proper Intentions to Be Made When Teaching?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I am a school teacher and I absolutely love my job. What intentions should I have every time I go into school to maximise the amount of reward I can get while teaching?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah for your question. May Allah reward you for striving to direct your intention at work to something meaningful.

Alhamdulillah, it is always a great blessing to work in a field that one enjoys, as this is not always possible for people. Despite this, every work can be rewarded if the right intentions are made, as the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Actions are according to intentions’ [al Bukhari, Muslim].

Teaching

Teaching is a particularly rewarding profession but also one that demands a lot of responsibility. As a teacher, it is not only the information that you deliver and pass onto students that matters, but also your persona and state. School teachers often spend more time with children in a weekday than the parents do, and this makes the responsibility and influence of the teacher very substantial. Among the noble sayings of the beloved Prophet ﷺ in regards teaching is,

‘Teach others, make things easy, and do not make things difficult. When one of you is angry, he should remain silent.’ [Musnad Ahmad]

Intention

In teaching, one could make the following intentions:
1. To seek Allah’s Pleasure and reward through teaching

2. To benefit oneself and others through beneficial knowledge

3. To nurture and develop future generations in a wholesome and proper manner

4. To fulfil a communal obligation for the sake of Allah Most High

5. To gain self-sufficiency and earn a halal income

6. To fulfil any duties to one’s dependents through a lawful income

7. To give charity to the poor through earnings

8. To show exemplary character in your behaviour and work so that students and colleagues are positively influenced and have a good opinion of the religion and Muslims in general

9. To use the intellect, skills, and physical ability that Allah has given you to help others for His sake

10. To uphold religious observances while being engaged and struggling with worldly duties

You may also find the following answer beneficial, as it includes other intentions which may be relevant as well as practical considerations:

How Do I Make My Nursing Career as Worship?

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Three Calls, One Answer…. A Message from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

This week, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani received phone calls from three leading scholars, all unable to teach and transmit Islamic knowledge due to crises. This shows the urgency of the SeekersHub Global Islamic Seminary initiative. Support us in preserving and transmitting the Prophetic legacy.

As-salam alaykum wa rahmatullah.

I received three phone calls from three scholars in different parts of the world this past weekend.

THREE PHONE CALLS, THREE CRISES

The first call came late Saturday night from a scholar I studied with in Damascus. He lamented that he could no longer teach because his students have all left due to the ongoing Syrian conflict. Even locals are scattered and scared to continue their studies with him.

The second call, on Sunday evening, came from a reputable scholar and dear friend of mine whom I’ve known for almost twenty years. He lives in a country where he is banned from teaching publicly or privately. He cannot even invite his students to his own home to convey Prophetic guidance, let alone being able to share it with the wider public.

On Monday,  just as I was sitting down for lunch at SeekersHub Toronto, the third call came, from Mosul, Iraq. It was from one of my most beloved teachers, Shaykh Akram ‘Abd al-Wahhab, a true master of the Islamic sciences and an amazing person of Prophetic character and wisdom.

When ISIS first took control of Mosul, Shaykh Akram was captured. Even after his release, Shaykh Akram was unable to teach due to ISIS’ threats against mainstream Muslim scholars. Now that Mosul has been freed, so I asked him, “How is the teaching now?” He said, “What teaching? All we have is destruction…but al-Hamdu li’llah.”

HELP TEACHERS GET BACK TO TEACHING

These three scholars, from three different centres of Islamic knowledge, are all unable to teach. If they can’t teach, their knowledge won’t benefit us or future generations – nor reach the wider public. This is something we ought to take very seriously.

This is what we are aiming to address with the launch of SeekersHub’s Global Islamic Seminary. We intend to find the most worthy scholars from all over the world and support them so they can dedicate themselves to teaching and mentoring future scholars.

The Hub here in Toronto will serve as a campus of this Global Islamic Seminary, so that we can link these scholars with local students and continue to produce future generations of scholars that will instill the Prophetic legacy in our children and communities.

YOU CAN MAKE THIS HAPPEN

All of this requires YOUR support. By helping us reach $75,000 in monthly donations, you’ll be helping us train the next generation of Islamic scholars who will service the religious and spiritual needs of Muslims worldwide.

Join hands with us as we strive to protect this Prophetic heritage of knowledge and service for you and your community through the SeekersHub Global Islamic Seminary. We received the calls, and this is the answer.

Is There Any Reason Why A Wife Can’t Teach Her Husband?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Is it permissible for a wife to teach her husband?

My husband recently approached me and asked me to teach him how to read Quran, because he doesn’t know.

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. I pray this finds you in the best of states insha’Allah.

It certainly is permissible for a wife to teach her husband in any matter of the religion, and it would be an act that carries great rewards. The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward.’ [Muslim]

Teaching Qur’an

Teaching the Qur’an carries a special virtue as the Prophet ﷺ stated, ‘The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it’ [al Bukhari].

At the same time, the way one teaches a subject, particularly the Qur’an, is very important.

Each person knows themselves and their abilities, and the decision to teach should be based on this. Not everyone makes a good teacher, and not everyone makes a good student. This is why the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Teach others, make things easy, and do not make things difficult. When one of you is angry, he should remain silent.’ [Musnad Ahmad].

It is very important for both teacher and student to be patient and respectful. This can be a potential problem when spouses teach one another, but not always the case. Therefore, make your decision based on your own personalities and dynamics of your relationship.

If you feel problems may occur, then it may be wiser for your husband to find another teacher. If there is none available, then you should teach him, as it is important for him to be able to read the Qur’an. However, I suggest that you, as the teacher, set some basic rules down before you begin any lessons, as well as discussing possible issues that may arise and how you will both deal with them constructively.

I would also encourage you both to pray Salat al Istikhara (The Prayer for Decision Making) before proceeding.

May Allah grant you both tawfiq in teaching and learning the Qur’an. I pray it is a source of bringing you both closer in love and respect towards each other and the religion.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

My Father Teaches a Problematic Version of Islam in the Local Mosque. What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My father has a deep aversion to the scholars of Islam. Despite this, he has persisted in teaching at the local Sunday School at the mosque. He spreads his strange ideas but his eloquence lends him an outward appearance of authority and people are swayed by him.


1) What are his rights over me should I call him to to an authentic understanding of Islam?

2) Is it obligatory for me to have the mosque prevent him from teaching?

3) Given my father’s state, if he asks me to forgo marriage to a less ‘cultured’ girl is it obligatory for me to do so?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for having such sincere concern for your father, and may Allah guide him to an authentic understanding of Islam.

Father

Many parents do not like being advised by their children, especially in matters of religion. If the direct approach upsets him, then try a different strategy. Model good character in your day-to-day dealings with him. Be of service to him, enquire about his health, and offer to run errands for him.

Perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night and ask Allah to guide him. Have hope in Allah, for He is the Turner of Hearts.

Masjid

It is obligatory for you to warn the masjid that he is spreading false teachings about Islam. Tenets of Islamic belief must only be taught by someone who has a chain of authentic knowledge, stretching back to the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace). It sounds like your father is a self-taught man who lacks a fundamental understanding about the basics of our religion. His eloquence and ignorance make him a danger to vulnerable children.

Please ask the masjid board to treat this situation with tact, wisdom, and confidentiality. Your father will be angry and deeply hurt if he finds out about your role in his potential dismissal. If the masjid board does not take action, then please ask for help from trustworthy scholars in your local area.

Marriage

“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.” [Qu’ran 17:23]

It is not obligatory for you to obey your father in his choice of bride for you. It is obligatory for you to treat him with respect and kindness.

Your father wants what is best for you, and in his mind, he feels that a ‘cultured’ bride will be better for you. If you choose someone who does not fit his criteria, then both of you must strive to win him over through patience and good character. I pray that Allah grants you tawfiq in this.

I strongly encourage you to complete this course – The Rights of Parents.

Please refer to the following links:

VIDEO: How To Develop Meaningful Relationships With Parents (Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Zahir Bacchus & Shaykh Rami Nsour)
Do I Have to Marry Someone Within My Caste to Please My Family?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

SeekersHub’s Reading List for Kids

As summer winds to a close, school is once again on the horizon. Parents can make the most of these last weeks of time at home by exposing their children to beautiful, inspiring literature that they may not come across in the classroom.

The problem with many children’s books today, however, is that they are often made to entertain rather than educate and may promote values that are at odds with Islamic morals. To address this issue, the language arts teachers at ILM Tree Homeschool Cooperative in Lafayette, California, have offered us a reading list of classical and contemporary children’s books that both delight and enlighten. Their message and book recommendations are below:

After years of reading children’s literature, the teachers at ILM Tree have assembled this list of recommended reading by grade, up to the end of junior high. Books were chosen primarily based on the values taught and the quality of the writing, but an effort was also made to ensure the ethnic diversity of the characters. Please note that, although these are books we love, we cannot expect a complete reflection of our worldview in books written by people of other faiths, so discussion is always recommended. Please make du’a for the children of the ummah struggling to hold onto their deen and for the compilers of this list. Jazak Allau khairan.

Chair for my Mother Vera Williams

Age 0 – Kindergarten:

1. The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown: Available as a picture book or a board book, the simple but poetic prose helps children connect to nature while lulling them to sleep.
2. The Hundredth Name by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim: This beautifully illustrated tale features a boy who turns to Allah in prayer out of care and concern for his camel.
3. Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell: A touching story that teaches about perseverance, patience and putting others before oneself.
4. A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams: A heartwarming story that teaches about a community coming together to help a neighbor in need; the protagonist is a little girl who looks out for her mother’s comfort.
5. Erandi’s Braids by Tomie dePaola: A valuable lesson about sacrifice and putting one’s own needs aside in order to help one’s mother.

 

A-Days-Work-Bunting-Eve

First Grade – Third Grade:

1. A Day’s Work by Eve Bunting: A heartwarming story about the importance of telling the truth and the value of honest labor.
2. Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik: Sweet stories about family life; the protagonist has exquisite adab (manners) when addressing his parents.
3. A Bargain for Frances by Russell Hoban: Teaches about fair play and not letting oneself be taken advantage of.
4. Sara Crewe by Frances Hodgson Burnett: In this book, readers will meet one of the most admirable characters in literature, who teaches us by example that one’s circumstances aren’t what make you a noble person; it’s how you respond to adversities in life that show us what you’re really made of.
5. The Stray by Dick King-Smith: A rare find: a story full of love and compassion for our elders.
6. The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich: Readers develop an understanding of Native American ways and compassion for the main character, a young girl who loses her little brother to smallpox.

 

When Wings Expand

Fourth Grade – Sixth Grade:

1. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park: A tale of patience, perseverance and selflessness set in 12th-century Korea.
2. When Wings Expand by Mehded Maryam Sinclair: A beautiful example of how a pious Muslim family copes with the loss of a loved one.
3. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder: There’s so much to learn in this classic tale of a pioneer family’s hard work, courage and compassion – but make sure also to explain that Native Americans would have a very different understanding of this history.
4. Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg: Simple poetic verse conveys the story of a young Haitian girl who, in the face of poverty and disaster, loves her family, learns from her mistakes and holds high aspirations to serve her community.
5. Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry: It is refreshing to see a young man shoulder the responsibility of running a ranch with a developing sense of taqwa (God-consciousness); an interesting discussion about perspective can be held because the family is both Catholic and Quaker, and the father is an American soldier serving in Iraq (for an older classic with a similar storyline, try Little Britches by Ralph Moody).

 

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

Seventh Grade – Eighth Grade:

1. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham: Readers learn about the American Revolution as they follow this true story of a young man whose life is an amazing example of perseverance and compassion.
2. Silver People by Margarita Engle: Evocative and emotional verse captures the voices and experiences of those affected by the building of the Panama Canal, including the segregated labor force, their overseers, the indigenous population, and even the plants and animals.
3. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor: Some great lessons about what effect your friendships have on your outcome in life; this Newbery Medal winner’s story is set in the South during the Great Depression and is told from the point-of-view of a nine-year-old African-American girl who is learning about racism for the first time in her life.
4. Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix: A heroic tale of friendship and courage which teaches about the history of immigration, labor practices, and the suffragette movement in the United States.
5. Zeitoun by David Eggers: An eye-opening true account of a Muslim man who, after New Orleans’ Hurricane Katrina, tried to save others’ lives and property until he was picked up by the police.
6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: Valuable lessons about polite manners, generosity towards others and respect towards elders. The second half of this book has some of the most beneficial marital advice a young woman could ever hope to read.

 

With editorial support from SeekersHub blogger, Nour Merza