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Of Blame Games
Stop. Let’s stop right there. Let’s have a moment of silence. Let’s take a moment to understand what is happening before pointing fingers or saying what’s wrong or right. A young man was killed by the mob; a wanted young man, part of a gang, and his mates now want revenge. But that isn’t the full story is it? There is a whole lot of things that have gotten us to where we are. One of which is the blame game.

Let’s stop because the too strong blame game will not bring any results. We need to critically look for a way forward soon and soon enough. We need answers not speculations. We need to come together not split further into antagonists and protagonists.

Of lost Youth, Drugs & Unemployment
What could have gone so wrong? Is it that we were raised in such a wrong way? Is it that our parents and leaders have failed us? Is it that we are too cool for planet earth? But no. We are all to blame. Parents, Teachers, Leaders, Peers…We have failed each other. We all have an equal role for we have brought ourselves down. Let’s not say there are no jobs. Let’s face it; jobs can be found. You just need to seriously look and TRY. Problem is, there are no jobs that we think we deserve. The problem is when we say, I have an education so I can’t, shouldn’t and wouldn’t ever be a shopkeeper or a tailor or anything else that appears minor in our eyes. Let’s accept that our youth have gotten the wrong idea of life and success. Let’s accept that this is the generation that watches macho violent movies and we forget those are but fiction that we forget the part ‘Don’t try this at home’. This is the generation that is sooo obsessed with ‘Being Someone’ such that any way to get to that is good enough. Drugs that are easily found by teenagers, how does that happen under our noses? How are we training our young ones to be steadfast and upright in such a century? How are we being role models to the youth such that they can be something in this life without harming others? Allah (S.W) says in Surat Ra’d: Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. Can we be the change first?

Of Tearful Mothers and Hurt Fathers
We can all agree on this; No parent ever wants to see their children lose their way, being in the wanted list or harming other people (Not unless the parent/s themselves are involved) So let’s not be too quick to say, ‘How did his/her parents let him become a goon like that? It must be that they were negligent.’ Okay maybe they are negligent. Maybe they failed at some point in their parenting. Yes maybe they should have brought forward their spoiled child for rehabilitation or for justice. Maybe they should have tried harder…but who are we to criticize when we haven’t even heard their side of story. How can we ever know how much they battled and wept for the children or they still do? Perhaps they also had some little hope for them to reform, maybe they didn’t want to give up praying just yet.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on what happened with Nabii Nuh when he was asked by Allah (S.W) to ask all the believers to leave with him on the ship as from the qur’an.: “And [Noah] said, “Embark therein; in the name of Allah is its course and its anchorage. Indeed, my Lord is Forgiving and Merciful.

And it sailed with them through waves like mountains, and Noah called to his son who was apart [from them], “O my son, come aboard with us and be not with the disbelievers.”

[But] he said, “I will take refuge on a mountain to protect me from the water.” [Noah] said, “There is no protector today from the decree of Allah , except for whom He gives mercy.” And the waves came between them, and he was among the drowned.

And the story goes on and he says:
“And Noah called to his Lord and said, “My Lord, indeed my son is of my family; and indeed, Your promise is true; and You are the most just of judges!”

He said, “O Noah, indeed he is not of your family; indeed, he is [one whose] work was other than righteous, so ask Me not for that about which you have no knowledge. Indeed, I advise you, lest you be among the ignorant.” (Ch 11:41-48 Quran)

Does that mean that Nabii Nuh failed as a parent? No. Or when Qabil killed Habil, did that make Adam (A.S) a bad parent? Some children are but tests to their parents and as much as some have contributed to their children’s ugly behaviours, some are nothing but helpless souls. We should be encouraging them to bring out their children for rehab instead of throwing off words to judge their parenting. We should join them in prayers for today it might be their child tomorrow might be yours. Yes, life is that scary.

Of misplaced priorities
Where is all our concentration? No, let’s be honest. What have we given our priority to? Hasn’t it been politics and what which politician did what or arguing over who is a better candidate? Hasn’t it always been on petty issues like what day was ‘real Eid’? Haven’t we put too much energy debating and roasting one another online over ridiculous issues like who holds a fake account and whose wife was seen where? For how long have these gangs been harassing different communities? Long enough to bring about call to action. I won’t discredit the efforts of some individuals and few leaders who’ve tried taming the situation but this should be something we all come together for; not with too much anger and remorse, but with wisdom, prayers and smart strategies.

Of unethical images and their widespread
Please people, it is wrong. It is so very wrong to publicly share photos of a dead individual especially when it shows his/her face or that makes him identifiable. It doesn’t matter if someone was a thief, a goon or a ninja assassin because when one dies, they just become a body. Those widespread photos won’t hurt him, but will hurt his loved ones who probably have no involvement in his/her actions. It is disturbing that you share those images even when you put a huge disclaimer that the photos are disturbing. I mean why are we so hungry to be the ones to spread some news? Please adapt the golden rule which says, ‘Do unto others as you would have done unto you’. Now maybe you are not a thief or a goon on the wanted list, but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want such disturbing photos of your brother or friend or even someone you know being spread after they die or killed or suicide or during an accident…whichever the case is. Give the dead their privacy and respect. Their judgement is now upon the Most High.

Of second chances
I’m just trying to imagine, what if one of the gang members really wants to surrender right now?? But then there is the wrath of the people awaiting him. Would he really surrender? Should he? Would you, if you were in his shoes? We say we really want to help our young ones and children, but are we ready to give them second chances? Can we accept them back and forgive them? Perhaps they need reassurance. Maybe not all, but even if one is ready to repent then that’s a win for a community.

Remember the story of Ghawrath bin al-Harith. When the Prophet received word that some of the tribes of Ghatafan were mobilizing an attack on Madinah, so he undertook a small expedition toward their territory but they fled before the Muslims arrival.

However, while the Prophet was resting under a tree, an enemy warrior by the name of Ghawrath ibn al-Harith, who had pledged to assassinate the Prophet, quietly took the Prophet’s sword as he slept and suddenly declared, “O Muhammad, who will save you from me?” The Prophet awoke and simply replied, “Allah.” Ghawrath inexplicably dropped the sword and the Prophet picked it up and asked, “Now, who will save you from me?”

Ghawrath was astonished and pleaded, “Be the better victor!”
The Prophet Muhammad forgave him. He asked Ghawrath whether he believed in the truth of Islam and Ghawrath replied, “No, but I promise not to fight you or aid those who fight you.” The Prophet let Ghawrath return to his tribe, whereupon Ghawrath said, “Verily, I have come from the best of people.” (Mustadarak al-Hakim, Sunan al-Bayhaqi, and Ibn Kathir in al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah). Food for thought.

Perhaps there is too much bitterness right now; of harmed individuals and robbed people. There are also revenge plots looming, God have mercy on us…
It is understandable why people would choose mob justice any time, but can we come together to sincerely help them, forgive them? Can we come together to make a special prayer for our lost youth? Can someone who knows how to go about this, arrange please? I mean, last time we had drought we came together to pray asking for rain alhamdulilah, why not do it again, for our brothers and children and future generations too? After all, it is only Allah who can grant guidance to people. Why can’t we have these many sheikhs come together with our leaders and parents for prayers and for a way forward?? To ensure that those who need rehabilitation are taken there?

May Allah guide us and our young ones and our children and protect us from all evil and bloodshed. Let us remember to pray for ourselves and our cities and communities frequently. Ameen.

 

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There are many people in this world who are successful, who have been successful, who know the taste of success yet just a few know the taste of progress, consistency and prosperity. You have become the doctor the always wanted to become now what next? You have always wanted to own your own business, now you do. Yes you have succeeded. But after that is there any progress? Is your dream bringing in goodies like you expected? You have passed university level with flying colours…but where is the job? It is therefore one thing to succeed and quite another to be blessed in what you do.

There is the famous saying that goes like, ‘it is the little things that matter.’ Yes, even in success, it is the little, small, tiny gestures of humanity, love and humility that keeps pushing us the ladder. Let me mention to you a few things that isn’t taught to us yet it should.

1.Your parents; they are your secret weapon, secret key to success of all kinds. Whether it is to pass your exams, get a job, get a promotion, get a good spouse, have a beautiful life here and the hereafter too…all lies in how you treat and deal with your parents. It may be something you don’t see directly; they are not the ones to literally grant you the promotion or miraculously make your exam results turn out great but it is all a matter of how pleased and happy they are with you. Yes, I mean it. Be a good child. Remember your parents all the time. Make them happy, not by showering them with money, but by giving them your quality time, by helping them, by loving them, by showing them that you care for them more than your phone or your corny girlfriend/boyfriend.

Have you ever seen an educated person with a good job yet is still miserable? Have you seen an intelligent, brilliant student yet they still struggle to pass? Well they could be having other troubles but trust me, when your parents are pleased with you, you will see how things will work out easily. You will see how God will shower you with blessings from all corners and you wonder how. Ever seen two siblings, one who has succeeded in their education and maybe is wealthy too yet the drop-out reaches a higher level of success and attainment of happiness? It doesn’t matter what your religion is, as a matter of fact, all faiths have always insisted about parents and how we should always be kind to them. So this is it. You want to succeed in this life and the next? Please your parents. Never underestimate their prayers for you or the smile that you put on their face. And by the way, the more difficult your parents are to please, the more blessed you become. Do it tirelessly. Help them sincerely with a lot of love. And when you do this, always put the intention that you want God to bless your life for your actions towards your parents. Try this out. I promise by God’s will, you will see a change in your life!

2.Your teachers, your lecturers, your tutors…you name it; they also play a big role to ensure your progress but only if you prove to them that you are worth it. Most of us when we get to high school level and university, we tend to believe that our teachers are useless. We mock them, give them ugly nicknames, judge them by how  they dress etc etc. It is usually all part of the ‘school fun’ as some would name it. But besides that all, your teacher deserves respect from you however mean, ugly, dirty, foolish, awkward they are. They deserve your respect for their title, ‘teacher’. You may not really get this but intelligence is not the secret to success trust me. Teachers are very observant and keen on every students’ behaviour. They appreciate hardworking students, humble and those who appreciate them too. Sometimes you may wonder why a teacher is close to a weak student in performance yet it is because this particular student is treating the teacher with respect and  appreciation. And this particular weak student is the same one you will meet years later driving a Mercedes and you remain mouth agape asking how!

Let me tell you how. The teacher saw the student’s potential plus the great respect, he ended up giving this student all the words of wisdom, the secret formulas, the way out of difficult situations, the empowerment he needed. And even years after this weak student has graduated, every single opportunity this teacher comes across, whom do you think will he contact? The arrogant intelligent student or the weak humble and hardworking student? I am not telling you to love them, talk to them 24/7, bring them gifts or visit them every weekend. I am saying, treat them well however stupid, mean, ugly they look. keep their contacts safely. Ask for their advise whenever you need it. Ask for help whenever you are stranded. Ask for their ideas, opinions and criticisms even after you are done with that level of education. Teachers appreciate being acknowledged by their students and I promise they will do the same for you. You will be the first person they call whenever a good opportunity arises. And this is one of the things I’ve never regretted. I have the phone numbers of different teachers from primary level to university. It has done nothing to me but good. You should try it!

3.Stop being narcissistic and believing that no one can do it better than you, that you are always right and that you   are your own mentor. Find inspiration from out there. There is always ALWAYS someone better than you in what you do or look or even think. So cut this drama of, ‘I am thee best.’ Sweetheart, thee best is definitely not you or anyone else. There is always going to be someone one step or ten steps ahead of you. Learn to be humble. Accept positive criticisms. Ask for help when stranded. Listen to other people’s opinions and thoughts. Learn from others. Accept your mistakes. Accept when someone else is right and not you. Seek and reach out to all kind of people. That is what makes the successful one become MORE progressive.

4.NEVER underestimate the dunderhead, the slow learner, the thick headed, the uneducated, the less educated than you are, the poor, the man seated on the street…just never underestimate anyone. We believe that education is not only the one that we learn and study in class, but there is the greater knowledge of life that none can comprehend better than these people who’ve known failure, hunger and struggle. The cobbler on the pavement of the street could give you a great idea about your business, your house help could have experience in something that you don’t, your child or younger ones could have brilliant thoughts that could help you. So always look out and listen keenly to anyone who has an idea, a thought, a suggestion, an opinion or criticisms. Never choose whom to listen to. Open up to everyone who can bring positive changes to your life. You don’t have to follow what everyone says but what do you lose if you listen to them all? All you have to do is listen then filter the important information and the unimportant, the great ideas from the lousy ones. There…did you lose anything? NO. So??

My friend, being successful is difficult, hard, a tough journey but being consistent and progressive is even tougher and it is by such small things in life that create the whole difference. So don’t just aim at being successful. Aim at being continuously successful; more success by the day.

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Personally, I consider young marriages the best thing ever. You are not too old to have fun, do all these crazy things young people do while dating and especially that you can have children at a good age and be able to get playful with them. Yet sometimes, for some people, this may not be the best option for them. Parents usually think differently; their focus is on seeing their children happy and settled. However, they take some things for granted when it comes to young marriages involving their children which thereafter costs not just one person but both parties and families. The following are some of the things parents should keep in mind when dealing with such issues:

1. If it is not a happy marriage then she/he is better off without it. Marriage is an entire life of commitment, patience, tolerance, humbleness, understanding and most importantly, love. If the lady or young man is not interested in the marriage then please do not force them into it. This is about their happiness; not about the parents or two families or the business that would prosper if the two families joined. This is your child’s life at stake here. As much as parents are to be respected since they are more experienced in life and they have the wisdom, don’t assume your child’s happiness is the same as what you would consider as yours. We are living in totally different times and our definitions of everything has changed. Please do not force your child. And even when you are right, then definitely there will come a time they will realize it and appreciate your words but still, do not force. The consequences of that can be tragic.

2. When a young man says he wants to get married, GET HIM MARRIED. Parents should stop denying their young men from getting married due to excuses like ‘he is studying’ or ‘you are too young’. We all know that most men are scared of commitments and we probably know it is because of the responsibilities that come with it but if a young man says he needs to get married then it is because he really NEEDS to get married. When you stop him, do keep in mind you have a share of all the evil this young man will do along the way until the time you think he is old enough. This would be happening well if parents tried to understand their son’s situation and accommodate his financial needs and for his wife whilst he settles down. It is not a bad thing if he is given such support because we all know what a young energetic man can do in this current world when he is denied a wife. There is pornography, rape, fornication etc etc. So which would you rather offer to your son? Financial support or a go-ahead to spread immorality in this already rotten world? Same applies with a lady; even if she is studying but asks for marriage then don’t automatically reject. Advise her, yes but don’t get rough lest she becomes rebellious. Such issues need mature talks rather than abusive ones. This doesn’t mean parents should let them get into marriage just because of intimacy for marriage is a lot more than that. It therefore depends on the young man involved. If he is known to be responsible then why not? If he still needs to be grow up then parents should be there to advise him and guide him before letting him take up the commitment.

3. When a young man says he is not ready to marry then do not force him into it. As much all parents fear for their children on the fitna around and wish for them to settle down as soon as possible, pushing him to get married is unsaid of. Ironic thing about families is that they will be quick to say, ‘get married son, we will support you do the wedding’ so they will contribute thousands and thousands for dowry and a huge wedding and then when the boy comes to borrow salt from their house, they will be the same people to say, ‘see he took responsibilities he couldn’t handle and now he just keeps borrowing here and there.’ Oh! Weren’t you the same people who pushed him to marry even when you knew he is not ready financially and even maybe psychologically? Nowadays we have so many ladies so miserable in their marriages and maybe even have children because her home is just like a lodging to her spouse. He only comes home for food and bed and nothing else. Why? Because the boy was pushed to marry yet he still fancies his bachelorhood life and he lacks maturity. If the young man can control himself then well and good; please let us not ruin ladies’ lives because of an immature being. Again, same applies to a lady.

4. There is nothing like ‘You are rejecting God’s blessing or rizq’. How many times, have we heard parents or other people talk of ‘wakataa rizki’. Truly, marriage is a blessing and there are so many ladies out there who wish that any man would knock on their doors but this doesn’t justify the pressure parents and relatives put on their children so as to get married. We all have to keep one important detail in mind: When God wants something to happen then it WILL happen whether we like it or not; and He knows it better. Therefore, people should stop misusing this statement. If it is one’s rizq then it will definitely happen. It is NOT their rizq that’s why they rejected and most importantly, it is because God did not will it to happen.

5.Coming to the consequences, there are some psychological effects of pushing children to get married. Some end up hating the whole idea of marriage while some go into marriage with an attitude. Where will the peace be found in such a home? The one forced will always be moody and temperamental and will always find faults in the spouse. Where is the happiness there? Some people are lucky that with time they were able to accept their spouse as they are and finally found the peace and joy… but for others it ends up being a miserable life which may end up in divorce. Parents should know that the pressure they exert on their children affects them deeply more than they can imagine. So please stop the psychological torture, blackmail and bullying. Please stop using words like ‘what if we die without seeing your wedding?’. Where is the belief in qadar (fate) here??

6. If someone is on a self-discovery journey then please respect that. Some people have issues; deep issues. Some have very low esteem. Some don’t love themselves. Some are broken. Some need to stand up from their fall. Some need self acceptance. The current generations have too much stress; which is such an unfortunate thing but nonetheless, we can’t close our eyes to these problems. Parents should help their children deal with their emotional problems before pushing them into marriage. How can someone love someone else before they know how to love themselves?

7. Personally, I really dislike when I hear families saying, ‘She is a wild girl, maybe he will be able to settle her down’ Same case with boys. So many times parents have married off their wild, hyper, immature children to partners with good profiles with the hope that they will change. As much as I understand the plight of the parents but this is unfair sometimes for they are using the girl/boy. It is no longer a marriage but rather a therapy. Not unless the other child involved is interested then this shouldn’t be okay at all. Most of the times, the one being used here is the one who ends up being miserable. How do you marry off your daughter to a drug addict just because he needs someone to change him? No one can change anyone except when they are willing so. Change is self driven.

8. Marriage is a beautiful thing really and parents, especially of the lady, should know that when their daughter is proposed then it is her life, her chastity and dignity that is in hand here. As much as you believe your daughter is priceless, do put into consideration how much damage you are causing by demanding high dowry rates or only accepting very rich men’s proposals. Yes money is important but not more important than your daughter’s happiness and dignity.

The old say, if you haven’t tasted marriage then you haven’t tasted the sweetest part of life. It’s a bond that can’t be compared to any other and for us, the Muslims, it can be your reason to go to jannah. So for the married couples, I hope you are doing it right 🙂 And for the parents, please be supportive to your young men and ladies; you are all they got! Because at the end of the day, a young man’s/woman’s perception about marriage is shaped by what they have seen from their parents. So parents have a big role to play in such matters coz you have been it and much as experiences may differ, you are familiar with the common denominators in marriage which might act as critical pointers as to how our children perceive of marriage.But when all is said and done, it is the role of parents to encourage their children to uphold the institution of marriage because negative forces exist and the event of falling into it is a real threat. May Allah protect us all and guide us on the right path.