Resisting The Urge To Compromise
Resisting The Urge To Compromise
The word Hikmah (wisdom) has been misinterpreted for too long. It means to approach the people in the best way possible, to act in the in most appropriate way taking that particular situation into account. It has never meant to give a false image of Islam for personal or community welfare. When Muslims are willing to compromise in all aspects of their life, we lose the favour of Allah, emit an image of weakness to our enemies, and lose that dignity in the sight of our Creator.
All praise is due to Allah, the Just, the Bestower, and peace and blessings upon our beloved and humble Prophet Muhammad. The most popular catch-cry of today's generation is the word "compromise". The weak consider it as harmless, the ignorant hold it as beneficial, and the astray count it as essential. Seems too powerful a conclusion, but that's the reality. In Islam, there is absolutely no room for compromise. There is no evidence that the Prophet (s.a.w) ever did so, nor did his companions, nor does the Qur'an provide scope for it. This stance also makes rational sense to those who sincerely dwell upon this topic. A person suffering from a heart condition will be foolish if he chose to consume half of the medicine prescribed, and then took sugar lollies as substitutes for the rest of the tablets. Who is he cheating? Not the doctor, who sought the best possible solution for his condition, nor the pharmacist, who supplied the medicine. The patient is the one at loss. Surely, Allah, in His Wisdom and Mercy chose Islam as the medicine for the ills of our society: the cancer of interest and woes of politics, the mistreatment of women and the division of society, the stinginess of man and his unsatiable desires.
There appears to be three main reasons why people will willingly compromise the elements of Islam, will choose those orders Allah has enforced us to follow according to their own desires, and substitute the rest with man-made systems.
1. "We are living in hard times, in a difficult society, and thus Allah permits us to compromise, because ( now wait for it)...' u;Islam is easy, not hard' ". A Hadith also quoted is that narrated by Aisha (r.a.a), who said that when the Prophet (s.a.w) had the choice between two actions, he chose the easiest course. True, Islam is easy to follow, but not to the extent that we are permitted to change the rules set by Allah for our own convenience. When asked what their proof is that we can compromise, they claim that our condition today is similar to that during the Makkan period of the Prophet's mission. We should bear patiently like he did then, and act as he did in those circumstance. The fallacy of this argument stands clear when we study the reasons why the Prophet (s.a.w) acted as he did back then, and how later on he acted differently. We are now living in the Madinah era, the era where the Qur'an was completed. The Makkan period could be seen as a temporary stage where the companions were trained and prepared in that special environment. But Islam was completed, finalised with the ayah:
"This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion."
Islam was then perfected, so by retracing our steps all the way back to the Makkan era is illogical. A cup full of fresh milk will be spoilt if only a drop of blood were to fall in it. Allah has never asked us to go beyond our capacity to please him , thus arguments such as "I must work in a Haram field because I have no choice" is an invalid argument. If our women must mix with men in the workplace, Allah never asked them to go to such extents. If we eat food which is declared Haram, don't expect automatic forgiveness, because no excuse remains. Where as most people use their own rationale to substantiate their weak claims, I have the Word of Allah:
"Such is Allah, your Lord in truth. So after the truth, what else can there be, save error" [S.10;V.32]
"It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error" [V.33, V.36]
Do you consider our current situation to be much worse than that suffered by the Prophet (s.a.w) and his companions, or the other prophets before him? Surely this is the same code enjoined upon the Prophet (s.a.w) and upon us. Yusuf (a.s) went through many tortures, but never compromised, but instead turned to his Creator: "O my Lord! Prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me"[S.12,V.33].
It was not in the nature of Yusuf, nor in any of the Prophets, nor in any of the righteous servants of Allah, to compromise in order to gain some worldly benefit. Yusuf preferred jail to falling for the lusts of women.
2. Another false argument is the apologetic one: "We want to show people a religion which is easy and doesn't require much effort, not to make people run away from Islam." In truth , people have been running to Islam because, when shown in its real light, Islam provides the solutions people have been seeking. They do not want a mixture of Islam with the Kufr they fled. Showing Islam in a "moderate" or "soft" light will only give the wrong image of an already perfect religion.
3. The third argument is that we must compromise in order to strengthen Islam. We must enter and join these institutions, join hands with the non-Muslims who are our partners in this life. This way, we can spread Islam, and live happily ever after. WRONG!!! Again, there is no proof in the Shariah for this view, but rather to the contrary. Surah al-Kafirun is a prime example of this: "Say: "Disbelievers! I do not worship what you worship nor do you worship what I worship. I shall never worship what you worship neither will you worship what I worship. You have your own religion and I have mine." Muhammad (s.a.w) declared his religion to be that of Ibrahim. The unbelievers thus argued that there was no reason for them to leave their own beliefs and take up that of Muhammads (s.a.w), seeing they were of the same religion. They sought to compromise with him, proposing that he should prostrate before their gods in exchange for them prostrating before Allah, and he could demand whatever he wanted from them. This Surah was revealed in an uncompromising tone, clearly dividing tawheed (monotheism) from shirk (polytheism), establishing a true criterion, allowing for no further wrangling. This wasn't the only situation. When the Prophet's uncles felt that he was getting too powerful, they tried to bribe him with the gifts of this world. They offered him the leadership of Makkah if that was what he desired, wealth if that was his purpose, the most charming wife if that was what pleased him, yet he refused all these, because he only desired that only the truth prevailed. Under such harsh and luring circumstances, he commented that if the sun were to be given in his right hand, and the moon in his left, never would he leave this cause until Allah will elevate it, or he would die striving for this cause. This was his prime opportunity; if it were in his nature to compromise, he could have accepted the leadership, secretly hid his true convictions, and later spread Islam after being confident and powerful enough. Rasulallah (s.a.w) was known as the Trustworthy. He was thus able to kindle the fire of Arab nationalism and would thus have united them. They would have responded gladly to his call, tired of their tribal warfares. Thereafter, he could free the Arab lands from the domination of the Romans and the Persians. He could have easily established an Arab state in this way, instead of bearing thirteen years of pain and torture. He could have made the people bow initially before his authority, then he could have used his position of authority to impose the belief in the unity of Allah, and bow before the True God. This was not what Allah desired though, and that is not Islam. Islam seeks the destruction of all forms of evil, through pure ways, not the manipulation of evil to reach a pure goal. This is not possible, nor permissible.
Even in a life or death situation, we are told of the rewards if we persevere and bear patiently. Ibrahim (a.s) chose to burn in the fire prepared by his own father, rather than to hide his religion, leave the area, and spread the Word of Allah.
Alhamdulillah, we are given all the necessities of life. We have enough money to purchase halal products and these are available everywhere, so we need not compromise in terms of our food. We can freely wear the required clothing asked by Allah, so we have no excuse not to. Our sisters need not mix in our universities or workplaces, because Allah never requested them to compromise Islamto gain worldly knowledge. We can choose our work, our partners, our lifestyle, yet we consider ourselves fighting some imaginary "Jihad" of the nafs. Indeed, you never initially had an excuse, and you certainly do not now, so stick to the path chosen by Allah, to all of it, for that is the only way we can dig ourselves from this rotten trough we have fallen in, because we prefer to attribute orders to Allah which He never asked for. "Say you (O Muhammad ): ' This is my way; I invite unto Allah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me with sure knowledge. And Glorified and Exalted be Allah. And I am not of the Mushrikun.' "[S.12,V.108] "And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not other paths, for they will separate you away from His path. This He has ordained for you that you may become pious."[S.6,V.153].
By: Ibrahim Abu Khalid
Heroic Deeds of Muslim Women
by: Syed Sulaiman Nadwi
The history of Islam abounds in scores of such gallant actions on the part of Muslim women, but, unfortunately, they are not commonly known. Prior to Islam, the Arab women used to accompany men to the battlefield. With their children, they remained behind the fighting lines and looked after the wounded soldiers, attended the horses, comforted their valiant husbands, roused their spirit by narrating the thrilling achievements of their ancestors, disarmed the dead soldiers of the enemy, rallied the panic-stricken fugitives, and guarded the prisoners. The famous poet of Arabia, 'Umar Bin Kulthum, recites in pride:"Behind our ranks are beautiful and whitefaced women; we are always afraid lest they should be insulted, and the enemy take possession of them. These women have taken oaths from their husbands to show gallantry in the field of battle. They accompany us, so that they may take possession of, and arrest, enemies' horses and armaments. These are the ladies of the family of Jashm b. Bakr, who not only possess beauty, but also have traditions both of family and religion. They look after our horses and they say, 'If you cannot protect us from the enemy you are not our husbands'."
Islam also maintained this tradition. Women always followed men in the Jihad. In the battle of Uhud, according to Bukhari, 'Ayesha (may God be pleased with her) carried a leather bag full of water to quench the thirst of wounded soldiers. She was helped in the task by Umm Salim and Umm Salit. The traditionist Abu Nayeem relates that in the battle of Khaibar, half a dozen women of Medina followed the marching army. The Prophet did not know of this and, when he was informed, he angrily asked them why they had come at all. They reverently answered that they had medicines with them, that they would nurse and dress the wounded, take out arrows from the bodies of the soldiers, and arrange for their rations. The Prophet allowed them to accompany the army, and, when Khaibar was conquered, he gave a share of the war booty to these women also. In a number of battles, Umm Salim and a few other ladies of the Ansar rendered similar service. Rabi, daughter of Muaz, along with other women, performed the duty of carrying the martyrs and the wounded from the battlefield of Uhud to Medina. Umm Raqida had a pavilion for the wounded, where she washed and dressed their wounds. Umm Zaid, Ashjiya, and five other ladies helped the Muslims during the battle of Khaibar, by working at spinning wheels. They picked up arrows from the field, and offered grain flour (Sattu) to the soldiers. Umm Attiya cooked for the Companions in seven battles.
Tabari writes of one occasion when the corpses of the Muslim soldiers lay in great numbers in the van. The group of men appointed for burying the martyrs commissioned women to look after the wounded. In the battles of Aghwath and Armath, fought in connection with that of Qadisiya, women and children dug graves. The battle of Qadisiya is described thus by a woman w o was present: "When the battle was over, we (women) rushed forward daringly to the battlefield with rods in our hands and picked up the wounded Muslim soldiers." The above incidents, however, not only testify to the religious zeal, national enthusiasm, and heroism of Muslim women, but also detail the various duties they were called upon to perform from time to time. They did not shirk the humble and unpleasant chores: the digging of graves and the procurement of rations for the army. Not only did the women nurse the wounded in the rear, they also brought in the casualties from the battlefield. Not content with urging men to take a firm stand, sometimes, they actually helped them by joining in the battle. In short, no task was too difficult or too unpleasant for them to attempt. If you examine the battles of the early period of Islamic history, you will find women engaged in these duties in the rear. The last mentioned services rendered by Muslim women require, however, some elaboration, and we will go into detail to show how nobly the weaker sex among the Muslims discharged this task. The mother of Anas b. Malik (the Prophet's servant), Umm Salim, usually accompanied the Prophet to the field. When Taleeb b. 'Umair adopted Islam and informed his mother of this, she said, "You have sided with the man who deserved the most. Would that I had the strength and the ability of man, I would protect him and fight for him."
In the battle of the Ditch, the Prophet and his Companions were fighting against the Jews, when Banu Quraiza advanced to the place where Muslim women and children had entrenched themselves. There were no soldiers to protect these women against Banu Quraiza. Meanwhile, a Jew chanced to appear near them. It was feared that the Jew might betray them to Banu Quraiza who would then attack at the earliest opportunity. Safia, the aunt of the Prophet, and the mother of Zubair, asked Hassan b. Thabit to kill the Jew. Seeing his hesitation, Safia herself climbed down with a pole of the pavilion in her hand and killed the Jew with it. This was the first heroic action, says the historian Ibn Athir, done by a, Muslim woman.
Easy Good Deeds
Taking the Revolution into Everyday
1. Think of Allah before you take any action. Make duah before everything- sleeping, eating, studying, driving...
2. Read the Qur'an in Arabic and the meaning every day- take the time out of your busy schedule to listen to Allah.
3. Become a serious student of this Deen. Try to make it to the next Islamic class, halaqah or meeting. Shock your friends, bring a notebook.
4. Evaluate yourself daily before going bed. Thank Allah for good deeds, repent to Him for your mistakes and sins.
5. Avoid looking at unlawful pictures, whether they be from television, magazines, or otherwise.
6. Study the history of Islam. Learn of the great scholars and warriors who died with Allah on their lips and Islam in their hearts. Strive to emulate them.
7. Spend some time listening to recitation of the Quran. Find reciters that you like, try Abu Bakr ash-Shaatri, al-Ghamdi, as-Sudais, al-Minshawi..
8. Encourage your non-practicing friends to come to Islamic events.
9. Hang out with other Muslims.
10. Talk to your non-Muslim friends about Islam. Have you taken the time to explain the basics to them?
11. Go to at least one convention/conference/camp a year.
12. Perform the sunnah and nawafil salahs as much as possible. Find time to pray extras, such as Salatud-Duhaa, Qiyaamul-layl, and Tahajjud.
13. Subscribe to a Muslim magazine.
14. Buy Islamic gear instead of the latest Tommy Hil, CK, Nike, or Adidas...
15. Take the time to understand what's going on in the Muslim world today. Do your part to get involved and help relief organizations.
16. Try to fast Mondays and Thursdays as of today.
17. Lower your gaze.
18. Start reading Qur'an after Salat-ul Fajr.
19. Go to bed early so that you can wake up far Salat-ul Fajr.
20. Keep yourself in a state of wudu' most of the time.
21. Really listen to speakers. Take their advice to heart, commit yourself to change.
22. Give yourself time alone, so that you can think about your life, your deeds, make dhikr.
23. Start giving sadaqah daily, no matter how little. Make it a habit like eating and drinking.
24. Spend more time reading Islamic books, especially the Seerah, Hadeeth, and Fiqh.
25. Associate with knowledgeable people, hafidh, qari', and other ulama. You might learn something.
26. Try to learn how to make dawah to non-muslims. It is an art requiring knowledge and diplomacy.
27. Watch as little television as possible. Seriously.
28. Go to the masjid.
29. Don't criticize if you dislike something- do your part to change it.
30. Stand up for right, forbid evil. Just say no to gheebah.
31. Avoid eating too much. Do not eat unless you are hungry and try not to fill your stomach
32. If you like to listen to music, replace them with nasheed, music with islamic lyrics or with Quranic recitation. (some examples: Whisper of Peace, Prayers of the Last Prophet, MYNA raps: the Next Level)
33. Buy Islamic videos, tapes, posters, books, clothes, support your Muslims brothers and sisters and make Islam a part of every aspect of your life.
34. If you meet any new Muslims, buddy up with them and make them feel like a part of your community.
35. Break out of your clique.
36. Keep three extra Qur'an translations and some literature in your home at all times. You never know when you'll find someone interested who wants to know more.
Khushu: The First Blessing to be Taken Away from People
"Successful indeed are the Believers, those who offer their Prayers with khushu’ (solemness and submissiveness)" Surah al-Muminon (The Believers 23:1-2)
Salah (prayer) is the greatest of the practical pillars of Islam, and khushu (concentration and humbleness) in prayer is the heart of your worship and your relationship with Allah. No wonder, when Shaitan, the enemy of Allah, vowed to mislead and tempt the children of Adam and said, ‘Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left’ [7:17], one of the plots he devised was to divert people from prayer by all possible means. Thus, he whispers to us during our Salah diverting our attention, depriving us of the joy, love, and sweetness of this worship, and diminishing our reward for it. Khushu, as important as it is, is easily lost and rarely observed, especially in our present times. According to Prophet Muhammad :Pbuh: , with the passage of time, “The first thing to be lifted up from this Ummah will be khushu, until you will see no one from among you who has it.” How to Achieve Khushu Remember that khushu, comes from the heart, and only its effects are manifested in the physical body. The various faculties follow the heart. So if one’s heart is corrupted by negligence or whispers from Shaitan, the worship of his body will also be corrupt. To perfect khushu in prayer, one should have a conscious fear of Allah, pray in a calm and collected manner, perform every act and movement with humility and full awareness of its significance, and take time to experience the serenity and tranquility. Ibn Kathir says: Khushu in prayer is achieved when a person empties their heart for it (prayer), focuses on it and prefers it over everything else. Only then do they find comfort and joy in it. This is also the cure to feeling lazy, since Allah says: "Verily it (the duty of prayer) is heavy, except on those who have khushu."
by Zakir Naik
If God is just, then why are some people born healthy while some are born with defects and are deaf and dumb, some people are born in rich families while others in poor families?
1. This life is a test for the hereafter. According to Surah Mulk Chapter-67 Verse-2 “He Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deed; And He is the Exalted in Might, oft-Forgiving.” (Al-Quran 67:2)
2. Allah tests different human beings in different ways. Every year the question paper in an examination keeps on changing. It does not remain the same. Similarly Allah tests different human beings in different ways. He gives health to some people while others are born with defects or are handicapped. To some people He gives wealth, while others are poor.
3.Judgement will be based upon the difficulty of the test. Depending upon what facilities and qualities Allah has provided to each human being, Allah will judge him accordingly. If the test is difficult, then Allah will be lenient while judging. If the test is simple, then Allah will not be lenient while judging. A poor person does not have to give Zakah. He gets full marks where Zakah is concerned. On the other hand, a rich person is supposed to give Zakah. Many rich people give much less than what they actually are supposed to give, thus getting less marks (or negative marks) where Zakah is concerned.
4.Human beings with congenital defects are a test for their parents. Many infants are born with congenital defects. Some are deaf and dumb, while others are handicapped. An infant is not responsible for his or her defect. In such cases, perhaps Allah is testing the parents, whether they yet have faith in Him after this misfortune. Allah says in the Quran in Surah Anfal, 8:28 "And know ye that your possession and your progeny are but a trial; and that it is Allah with whom lies your highest reward". (8:28)
A guide for young Muslims in their ‘Super-Muslim’ phase By Taha Ghayyur
"I have spent several sleepless nights praying to Allah to guide my parents," is what Karima, 15, once wrote. "My parents are so corrupt that I just hope they could make it to Paradise!" is how Tariq, 19, once vented his frustration over his parents’ in-Islamic practices. Perhaps in every home today, there is a Karima or Tariq, a youth who is concerned about their parents’ moral condition. This phenomenon involves a youth whom, perhaps not so long ago, Allah has blessed with His choicest guidance, and they are now struggling to revolutionize their life-style in the light of this new-found faith. In this energetic ‘Super-Muslim’ phase of our journey to Islam, we find two types of youth:
1. The model of Karima - who is constantly seeking Allah’s help in making her parents understand and live Islam; humble and sincere, but simply over-whelmed.
2. The example of Tariq - who is sincere in his relationship with Allah, striving to change himself for the better. In the process, however, he has become a bit arrogant; even though he desires his parents to change and reach Jannah (Paradise), due to his judgemental attitude, he is often frustrated and confrontational with his parents. The stress and grief a concerned Muslim youth experiences at the spiritual/moral/religious state of their parents is only natural. Inviting our culturally-oriented parents or elder siblings, closer to Allah is perhaps the most pains-taking and distressing task a young Muslim would have to undertake We must, however, persevere because we love our parents and would not want them to be among the ‘losers’ in the Hereafter. How could we rest in peace? They have spent their whole life caring for us at times when we were too young to even recognize and appreciate their patience and compassion towards us. At the same time, we could only do so much to help our parents change their lifestyle. After all, it is Allah who is ultimate changer of the hearts.
Before we embark on a ‘crusade to save’ our parents from the clutches of Hellfire, it is imperative that we take the following tips and words of wisdom into consideration:
1. Before anything else, thank Allah to have guided you and empowered you with the beautiful message of His Deen! Express your gratitude through Du'a, praying extra voluntary prayers (Nawafil), and helping those in need. As a result, your relationship with Allah will strengthen and your humility will increase. At the same time, ask yourself: "What and where would I be today, had Allah not blessed me with His Message and Mercy? What makes me feel that I am the only chosen one?" These questions should soften your heart and evoke greater sympathy towards your parents and elders.
2. Your Task: Simply convey the Message of Islam through your actions and counselling, while expressing your sincere love, obedience, care, and wisdom. It is ultimately their decision to choose or not to choose to come closer to Allah.
3. Avoid preaching to your parents: i.e. Help them realise their ‘opportunities for improvement’ through indirect, non-verbal, and non-confrontational means. Perhaps, by now you have begun growing a beard as a brother or have observed Hijab as a sister, memorized a few Arabic words and Hadiths, use phrases like ‘Insha'Allah’ in your conversation more often, and you are all puffed-up and well on your way to becoming a ‘Super-Muslim’. These dramatic changes in your appearance and style of speech may be shocking enough to your parents. So please, remember not to fire Quranic verses or Hadiths at your parents for the sake of preaching or argument. Parents do not want to listen to their children lecturing them on how and why they are wrong and sinful.
4. Emphasise: Strengthening relationship with Allah, through understanding and studying the Quran. Ultimately, after our death, it's our intimacy with Allah that really matters.
5. Adopt flexibility, give up rigidity: Using wisdom means, doing the right thing, at the right place, the right time. Often, due to our desire for the well-being of our parents, we become stubborn on our stand and expect our parents to follow it immediately. We fail to realize who we are speaking to and the age difference; etiquette and respect is disregarded in the name of ‘establishing the Truth’. How often we come across young Muslims making a great fuss over their parents celebrating birthdays (which is often part of family custom) to the extent that emotions run high, party is boycotted, and parents/elders are branded ‘ignorant’, ‘corrupt’, ‘people of innovations’…etc.
While such celebrations are not considered Islamic, we need to evaluate and set our priorities straight: What would you gain for your parent’s guidance by using such offensive language and by boycotting a function that is so dear to them? The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once advised his companions: "Make Islam and its affairs easy for people, and do not create hardships for them (through your behaviour and ignorance). Spread the glad tidings, and do not make people run away" (Sahih al-Bukhari). Sometimes, it may be better to remain flexible and silent in the heat of the moment. When things cool down, you can discuss the Islamic perspective in greater detail.
6. Change comes gradually: Let’s try not to pick the fruits before they are ripe. You can’t expect your mother to observe Hijab right after a two-day intense Islamic conference. Nor should you suppose your father praying 5 daily prayers on time the day after his friend took him to a Masjid! There are no ‘quick-fixes’ in the area of faith and guidance. However, parents do change over time, as they feel embarrassed to see their children striving hard to serve their parents and maintaining their Islamic identity. Parents would rarely admit their faults right away. Therefore, as a good Muslim, remain patient and let the change flow naturally, Allah Willing.
7. Help them distinguish between "Islam" and "Their Culture": It is indeed very challenging for parents, grown up in a certain Muslim culture, to realize the difference between Islamic values and their cultural practices. For instance, in the case of choosing marriage partners for their children, parents’ criteria are naturally more inclined towards cultural influences, than Islamic principles. Moreover, there are parents who believe that speaking the mother-tongue is a tenet of Islamic faith, an oft-debated issue among the elders and youth in the West. It is not necessarily the fault of parents; it's the way they were brought up and were taught Islam. You may work around this problem by occasionally bringing up in your casual family discussions the horrible consequences of those who follow the non-Islamic practices in your culture, such as mixed gathering of opposite genders at social events, pre-marital relationships, practice of interest (riba), immoral/obscene movies and music, etc. At the same time, do discuss an Islamic alternative as well, because mere criticism without any solutions is usually harmful. For e.g. suggest some Halal entertainment to replace cinema trips. Demonstrating Islam’s relevance to the contemporary social issue helps a great deal in orienting our parents’ thinking towards Islam.
8. Dealing with inferiority complex: Due to the sense of inferiority to the Western lifestyle in the sub-conscious of our parent's generation (since most of them have experienced and lived under prolonged western colonial rule in the past), it is difficult for them to understand how Islam could be 'modern or relevant enough' to face today's challenges. Too many parents, due to this inferiority-complex, any religious expression seems to be an obstacle in the way of financial and academic progress. Many elders still think Islam is just about rituals, dealing only with 'rewards and sins' in the next life, i.e. Islam has no constructive role to play in one's social, academic, personal, political, and economic spheres of life. This phenomenon explains why parents frequently encourage their kids to ‘enjoy life’ and ‘focus on your studies’ in the youth because ‘Islam and prayer are to be kept for the old age or to be practiced by the Maulvis or Shaykhs.’ It is precisely the fear of losing us to old-fashioned values that they make a great fuss over our one-hour of volunteer work at a food bank or attendance at a Quran study circle, while they may have no qualms about us hanging out at a mall or going on a school field trip. Be sensitive to their cultural baggage and help them clear this load by demonstrating Islam’s practicality in solving their problems, in the ever-changing modern world!
9. Fulfilling your parent’s dreams: How often do we hear our parents say, especially to those children showing signs of religious-orientation, "The only thing I want for you is good career and education. Once you are done your school and establish yourself financially, you may go ahead and spend as much time as you like calling humanity to Islam." While you may consider such wishes as insignificant, it is extremely essential to pay due attention to your parents' genuine desires, especially if you desire their reform. No doubt, most immigrant Muslim parents exhaust their time, energies, and finances to get their kids the best level of education. Learn to show some gratitude and concern. You cannot necessarily always fulfil their academic dreams for you by becoming either a doctor or engineer, but you can certainly excel in a professional field that you are passionate about and could specialize in. Why can’t you help them understand that being a practicing and Allah-conscious Muslim does not mean that you have to sacrifice your professional career? As an ambassador of Islam to your family, you have an added responsibility of proving to your parents that all their life-long efforts have been worth it. And what could be of greater joy to a parent to see their son or daughter a winner in BOTH worlds? Your ‘success’ in academic career and Islamic activism will Insha'Allah leave a profound imprint on their thinking, hearts, and perception of Islam.
10. Abu Hurairah’s Success Story: Keep obeying and serving your parents and be respectful: Obey them as long as they do not ask you to disobey Allah as the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) has advised us, "There is no obedience in the disobedience to the Creator". Abu Hurairah (radiAllahu anhu), a companion of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) who narrated the greatest number of Hadiths, would often become upset at his mother's stubbornness in rejecting the message of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam). Abu Hurairah (radiAllahu anhu) would engage in verbal confrontation with her because she constantly accused the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) of being a magician. One day he went to the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) and described his situation in pain, "O Messenger of Allah! I have always been trying to make my mother accept Islam, but she always refuses to accept it... But today, when I asked her to believe in Almighty Allah, she became extremely angry and started insulting and rebuking you, which I could not stand and tears began to flow from my eyes. O Messenger of Allah! Please pray to Allah that may He open the heart of my mother to Islam." Abu Hurairah has perhaps echoed the voices of many distressed religious youth today going through the ‘Super-Muslim’ phase. Interestingly, when the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) heard him, he warned Abu Hurairah of his negative attitude towards his mother and advised him to be kind to her, as Allah may soon open her heart to Islam. Then he prayed, "O Allah! Guide the mother of Abu Hurairah." As Abu Hurairah returned home that night, he realized her mother had just taken a bath and was ready to declare Shahadah, Alhamdulillah.
11. Maintain a light sense of humour: A pleasant environment and good sense of humour win many hearts and develop a healthy dialog. On the other hand, a negative and argumentative person often makes people hate himself/herself. Therefore, make an effort to keep Islamic discussions in the family positive and even entertaining if possible. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) was big on light, decent jokes that made others feel special and closer to him.
12. Spend quality time with your parents: It is strange that so many practicing Muslim brothers and sisters could hang out at Islamic events or simply chat over the phone with friends for hours, yet they have no time to spare for parents. Ever wonder why your parents don’t feel the need to listen to you and ‘your’ message any more? I remember a friend of mine, who was Masha'Allah always seen working hard at Islamic events over the entire weekends, once complained about the failure in Dawah efforts to his parents. I asked him a simple question: ‘When was the last time you sat with your parents, smiled to them, asked them about their day, health, and their worries?’ He immediately realized the root of the problem. Such an attitude indeed reminds us of the reality of Prophet’s (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) statement about the coming of the Day of Judgement: "A time will come when people will greet their friends warmly, and approach their parents with cold attitude" (Sahih al-Bukhari). With such minimal and formal contact with our parents, we can’t expect our ‘product’ to ‘sell’.
13. Biggest Mistake: Attacking your parents in front of other family members! Very often we loose our credibility by simply ridiculing, or even politely pointing out the mistakes of our parents in front of others. It only makes matters worse for your Da'wah and generates tension in the family. Perhaps we do it thinking if we discuss ‘the fault’ in other people's presence, our parents may decide to rectify themselves due to the embarrassment. However, in reality, exactly the opposite happens! Don't forget, in most cases, even if they realize their mistake, at that very moment they would make sure to defend their stand. Last thing your parents would want to do is to admit to their young ones that they were wrong and sinful! Best way is to develop a sincere and intimate relationship with them on personal level, in order to win their hearts and trust for Allah's sake. Refer to books on the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam)'s Method of Correcting Peoples' Mistakes.
14. Give a gift: When was the last time you presented a sincere gift to your parents? Are you aware of the Prophet Muhammad’s words, 'Exchange gifts to reinforce love and intimacy'? If your parents like reading books, give them a thought provoking and appealing book on Islam or on the purpose of life. Reading is one of the most effective ways of change. Reading makes a person evaluate, reflect on, and absorb the message. If they like watching or listening, there are a score of tapes available from the Islamic media today to assist you.
15. Be extra caring and concerned in their difficult times: such as illness, financial problems, depression, etc. This is the phase of life when they need you and are more willing to listen to you; they may finally come out of their superficial world of comfort and taste the reality. They would be willing to turn to an effective 'alternative'. In fact, most people change their lifestyles and beliefs around in the low phases of their lives. Your presence, physical help, and religious counselling in coping with hardship are crucial at this point. Remember, on the other hand, your insensitiveness and indifference to their trying situation, would haunt them for the rest of their lives. Don’t delay your service to them, until it’s too late. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) once warned us, 'May he be disgraced,' repeating it three times, 'who finds his parents, one or both, approaching old age, and he does not enter Paradise by serving them.' Perhaps you may even take this opportunity to make them think about the purpose of their life, the certainty of the uncertainty of death, and recommend them to turn to the Qur'an and Allah (awj) for help. People's hearts melt and are overcome with peace and tranquility as soon as they begin to understand the meaning of the Qur'an. As one revert to Islam once put it, "The most fascinating thing about the Qur'an is that as soon as you begin to read its message, you automatically begin to realize your mistakes". What more do you need?!
16. Have your meals together as a family, whenever possible: Sharing food together brings people's hearts together, coupled with Allah’s blessings. It is also perfect time for discussions. It’s a proven way of effective communication and of increasing affection.
17. Arrange an exquisite pot-luck get together: Organise a one-dish party, where all your close friends and their parents are invited. Make sure the parents have minimal involvement in cooking and logistics. Parents should come as guests, and you, the "religious" kids, should serve that evening! At first, your parents may laugh at the idea even. However, when they come together and see your love and dedication as a group, they cannot but help understand your desire for their guidance. Moreover, it will help them realize that their ‘kids are in safe hands’ and that they are ‘fun-loving’ people. It will give the parents a sense of belonging in a more religious setting.
18. Consult your parents’ religious friends: Sometimes finding a religious friend or relative of your parent, who has some influence on them, could also help. It's been observed that some people just change and return to Allah as soon as they find a good environment and a role model that they admire. If you know some friend of your father or mother, who is caring, social, and a practicing Muslim, you might want to request them to communicate with your parents more often and invite them to the social gatherings of the noble people.
19. A Simple Thank You: How often do you say simple 'Thank You' or 'Jazakallahu Khairan' to your parents for daily favours? And what about their perseverance in raising you as a good Muslim? Don’t forget, chances are, they are the first ones to have taught you 'La-ilaha illallah…' (There is no God but Allah), the first pillar of Islam that we claim to live by today. You owe them a big Jazaks, every breath of your life!
20. Involve parents in decision-making: When was the last time you consulted your parents regarding your academic goals? Did you ever update them on school grades (apart from the reason that the grades may be floating ‘below the C level’, hence not too impressive!)? Do you discuss with them the Islamic criteria that you wish to use in selecting your marriage partner? Simple acts of mutual consultation or 'Shura', gives everyone opportunity to ‘open up’, share, and listen. It also generates a sense of confidence and trust in parents.
21. Do not stress yourself out: We know even the Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) was warned by Allah in the Qur'an to not to be so distressed over the state of his beloved uncle, Abu Talib, after the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) had exhausted all the efforts to remind him about Allah's message, promises, and punishment. In fact, in Surah Al-Kahf 18:6, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala says, "Perhaps, you would kill yourself (O Muhammad) in grief (and concern) over their footsteps (for their turning away from Allah), because they do not believe in this narration." Remember Allah's words: "O you who Believe, seek help through Patience (Sabr) and Prayer (Salah). God is with those who are patient." (al Baqarah 2:153). Have you been praying the Salah (daily prayers) regularly yourself?
22. Don't give up saying Du'a: Sincere Du'a (supplication) to Allah can change many things. Therefore, make Du'a as your primary tool in helping your parents come closer to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala.Source: Young Muslims Canada
Have you ever noticed a drop of water? You know the type I am talking about – picture it. It is the kind that drips out of the faucet, drop by drop. It is the same one that seems so loud that it echoes as it hits the porcelain and is magnified a million times louder than it actually is when you can’t sleep in the middle of the night. Did you ever pay close attention to how it trickles down? Or, have you ever wondered where it went and how far it may have traveled? I know it is a little weird, but I have spent some serious time thinking about it; probably one of those nights I spend counting sheep. Just imagine it for a minute, I mean really think about that single little drop of water and the journey it would take all the way down the drain.
What would be the destination point, where would it end up? How large would the accumulated drops be at the end of the line or what effect would it have on the world around it once it got where it was going? Our decisions in life are a lot like that single drop of water. Each thing we decide to do eventually trickles down into a gathering pool, or it hits something and has an effect on it. When we make decisions that we know in our hearts are wrong, or make choices even though we have doubts, it produces a trickle-down effect on our Iman and on the world around us.
Wabisa ibn M’abad narrated the following Hadeeth: “I came to the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, and he said, ‘You have come to ask about righteousness?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels tranquil and the heart feels tranquil, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in the soul and moves to and from in the breast even though people again and again have given you their legal opinion (in its favor).'” (Ad-Darimi)
Deep down inside, we know what is right and what is wrong; but sometimes we still choose the wrong thing. Everyone does; we all make bad decisions sometimes. But we do not have to let it continue, we can do something about it.
Ibn Abbas related that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, “Allah has pardoned for me my people for (their) mistakes and (their) forgetfulness and for what they have done under duress.” (Ibn Majah and Baihaqi)
Your Creator rescues our souls and forgives! He is, after all, the Most Merciful. Sometimes, we forget about that, especially when we make bad decisions. Or, maybe it is because we have made a lot of bad decisions. Some people may even feel like they have done too many terrible things they have gone past the point of no return – like there is no chance for change; they constantly chant their mantra: “What’s the use at this point?” But it is never too late, and we should never EVER feel hopeless. There is always a way out because Allah’s Mercy, Generosity, Love and Forgiveness are endless…. for everyone. He, subhanahu wa ta’ala, provides each of us with ample opportunities to redeem ourselves from our bad deeds and our stupid mistakes, to right our wrongs and to make better choices, with even the simplest of actions.
Abu Hurairah reported Allah’s Messenger, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, as saying, “If anyone extols Allah after every salah thirty-three times, and praises Allah thirty-three times, and declares His Greatness thirty-three times, ninety0nine times in all, and says to complete a hundred: ‘There is no god but Allah, having no partner with Him, to Him belongs sovereignty and to Him is praise due, and He is Potent over everything.’ His sins will be forgiven even if they are as abundant as the foam of the sea.” (Muslim)
So do not let your dreams of an everlasting Jannah trickle down the drain drop by drop, slowly cutting away at your Iman. Turn off the negatives at the source by fixing the leaks where they start. Make the change now, because even the hardest stone will eventually show a sign of wear after the trickle-down effect has taken its toll, and the damage will be visible to all. And just think…it all started with only one drop.