The book of Allah SWT is a book of guidance. It is not merely a book for someone for a particular stage in their life but in actual fact, lessons and guidance for anyone at any stage of their lives.
Today’s topic is on Youth and there are numerous lessons to be derived from the book of Allah SWT. One of the main lessons can be derived from the Sura we all endeavour to read on Fridays and from that sura the imam mentioned ayat 13 which is translated to say:
We relate to you ˹O Prophet˺ their story in truth. They were youths who truly believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance.
Dear brothers, there are many lessons to be taken from just this ayat alone but we will try and outline some in today’s reminder. Alongside this ayat, the imam also mentioned of a hadith of the Prophet SAWS in which he said:
There are seven whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the Day when there is no shade except His Shade: a just ruler; a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic; a man whose heart is attached to the mosques; two men who love each other for Allah’s sake, meeting for that and parting upon that; a man who is called by a woman of beauty and position [for illegal intercourse], but he says: ‘I fear Allah’, a man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity; and a man who remembered Allah in private and so his eyes shed tears.
Dear brothers, from this we hear of the youth who grew up in the worship of Allah SWT being one of these chosen seven. We pray that we fall into the shade on the Day insh’Allah but for today’s reminder, how to we encourage our youth in a time when it is increasingly difficult.
This reminder concludes with 3 points to ponder and reflect so that we may be able to benefit practically from todays reminder.
- Do not apply the experiences of yourself growing up to the youth of today. Dear brothers, you need to adapt your lessons, teaching methods and relationship to the time and place you are raising your children. We are not in Kurdistan or Pakistan, nor are we in a time where it was easy to make distinction between the practices of Muslims and non-Muslims. We are living in a time and place where the lines between right and wrong are blurred even for us so imagine how confusing it is to the youth. Therefore take this into account when raising them.
- The youth are very good at recognizing hypocrisy -even if they don’t call you out on it. What this means, dear brothers is, you need to practice what you preach. The madrassahs may be closed but are you spending time with them daily listening to them recite Quran? Are you spending time with them daily giving commentary on Quran? You don’t need to be a scholar to do this. The internet has resources on this in abundance, spend time as a family watching a commentary on a Sura and discuss as a family. Remember, the best lessons for them will come from seeing their elders do the same.
- Encourage love for their deen first. Encourage love for Allah SWT first. Encourage love for the Prophet SAWS first. The time to talk about what is allowed and what is not is a discussion which comes after the love for their faith is instilled into their hearts. Use the lessons of the Quran to illustrate the love Allah SWT has for us. Use the lessons from the life of the Prophet SAWS to illustrate the love he had for us. It will make them want to be better Muslims, not because it’s something they should do, but actually from wanting to reciprocate that love back to Allah SWT.
Dear brothers, this past year has rendered the world on a pause. For many it’s a testing time, but we can also make it a time of blessing in which we connect with our youth and have them connect with their religion. Let’s use some of todays reminder in helping us achieve that.Read More
Allah SWT has given children rights over their parents just as the parents have rights over their children.
In the past reminders have been on the rights of parents but with a bigger than average attendance of the youth today, it’s worth reminding the parents that children also have a right in Islam that the parents must uphold.
The first and foremost thing we ought to remind ourselves is that children are gifts from Allah SWT. Even with modern science where it is at today, nothing can compare to the miracle of childbirth and Allah SWT reminds us of this in the 72nd ayat of Sura An-Nahl which is translated to say:
And Allah has made for you from yourselves mates and has made for you from your mates sons and grandchildren and has provided for you from the good things. Then in falsehood do they believe and in the favor of Allah they disbelieve?
We are being reminded by Allah SWT that nothing is without His permission. This is evident in those who struggle to conceive. The imam also referenced the 49th ayat of Sura Ash-Shura which is translated to say:
To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; He creates what he wills. He gives to whom He wills female [children], and He gives to whom He wills males.
Dear brothers and sisters, if we know that our children are gifts from Allah SWT then surely we ought to ensure that we take care of that gift. We give one another presents all the time and if we were to disregard that present, especially in front of the person who gave it to us, wouldn’t that be something to be embarrassed of?
And so, with our children, we must be mindful and adhere to their rights so that we are grateful for the gifts that they are to us.
And so this reminder has 10 rights that children have from their parents or guardians which will be covered today.
- To be good and decent yourself. Children do not listen, they follow. This is shown in countless studies and so if we want our children to be a certain way then the best way to achieve this is to be that person ourselves. For example, we cannot expect them to love Salah if we are not praying ourselves.
- To name them well. The name we give our children is important. Choose Islamic names as the meaning of the name has an effect on the child.
- To give them good upbringing. We all want the best for our children but with this point we need to understand that a good upbringing isn’t about money or stuff. Good upbringing is about dedicating time and effort in your children such as family games and trips.
- To encourage learning and education. Dear brothers and sisters, our ummah is famous for this aspect of our deen. Let us continue that tradition and make learning not just for the school and madrassah but part of our home environment. Dedicate time daily to reading or learning something.
- To be good to them when young, help them when mature. There is a hadith in relation to this point which is translated to say:
“The child is the master for seven years; and a slave for seven years and a vizier for seven years; so if he grows into a good character within 21 years, well and good; otherwise leave him alone because you have discharged your responsibility before Allah.”
The meaning of this from scholars is that for the first seven, we play with them, the next seven we train and teach the child and beyond 14, we give them the guidance to make the right choices themselves.
Dear brothers and sisters, we must give the children their due. Don’t be overstrict with them or spoil them but we mindful of what level they are at and be with them accordingly.
- To be fair to all children equally. This is important in larger families as it is easy to compare children with one another. Dear brothers and sisters, we are not raising clones. Each child is different and with different strengths and weaknesses. It is our responsibility to recognize that and treat each child according to their individual traits.
- To help them make the right decisions in life, including marriage. This comes back to the earlier point of being advisors to our children after the age of fourteen. Even after society deems them adults, we need to remember that responsibility lies with us to advise them and be there for them. The first step to that is to be able to listen to them, empathise with them and refrain from judging them because that is not our place to do, we risk alienating them if we talk down to them. The key here is to remind yourself that you were once in that position and so approach them as friends when they are older in life.
- To help them get married. From financial help to advise on picking the right spouse, we need to ensure that they are married as soon as they are able to in order to prevent them from deviating from the right path. Society has plenty of alternatives to marriage which will tempt and so we need to be mindful of that and work with our children to get them married, despite the fear we all feel as parents with the idea of our children leaving us after marriage.
- To spend on them if they are poor. Children bring their own rizq with them and we need to be mindful that we do not forgo their rights in terms of the financial support they need – whether it is education, clothing or something else that contributes to their growth into the next generation of our Ummah.
- And finally, to do duaa for them. Dear brothers and sisters, this point is obvious but worth mentioning anyway that the dua of the parents, especially the mother is one of the most powerful forces in this world. Do not short-change your children and forgo their right on you praying for them. Their parents dua has the potential to impact their every facet of their lives for the better.
Dear brothers and sisters, our children may stretch our patience at times but we are blessed to have each and every one of them. Let us take today’s khutba as a reminder that we will be held accountable for the way in which we raise them.Read More
The imam reminded us of the 23rd ayat of Sura Al-Isra which is translated to say:
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.
Dear brothers and sisters, being devoted and humble to our parents is the minimum that is required of us. However, practically we are required to do far more than just the minimum as this duty is held in the highest regard and importance by Allah SWT.
We are obliged to keep their care in our thoughts and to look after each and every of their needs, especially as they get older in life. It is only when we are at that stage in our lives that we will truly appreciate the love, kindness and care that we receive from our own children but of course, by that time it will be too late for most of us to do the same for our parents.
By analysing this ayat we can see that we need to hold them in the highest regard. So, let’s compare this to people that society holds in high regard.
It may be that your boss, someone who does your career appraisal is held in a high regard for some. It may be that your teacher who marks your assessments is held in a high regard. These are people who you would not dream of showing any type of attitude to because you know the worldly implications of such an act.
However, some of us are at a risk of failing the individuals that should be held in even a higher regard than that. Our parents have a direct influence, not only in our success in this life but especially on our success in the next life.
As a result, how we behave with them should surpass the level of dignity and respect shown to any other relations in our personal or professional lives.
We conclude this weeks reminder with 3 practical examples of how we can manifest this sentiment in our behaviour towards our parents:
Firstly, we ought to make an effort in our interaction with them. Dear brothers and sisters, we need to remind ourselves that parents in older age may feel sensitive to their age, to their usefulness. Once upon a time, they provided us with everything we needed. As great as this was for us, it was also a great source of pleasure for them to provide and so when we become self-sufficient, it has an adverse reaction in making them feel less useful or important.
We ought to make it an effort to compensate for this. Ask them for their advice. Even in things that you may not need it for. Make them feel useful and important. Involve them in your decisions just like how you relied on them in the past. Follow this with etiquettes such as listening to them, letting them finish what they are saying to you and relaying to them any advice you find useful.
Secondly, we ought to make their happiness a personal goal for ourselves. It should not be a secondary thought to what we are doing in life, but instead should be part of our master plan of living life whilst they are still with us.
The imam reminded us of a hadith in relation to this point in which the Prophet SAWS said:
“Allah’s pleasure results from the parent’s pleasure, and Allah’s displeasure results from the parent’s displeasure.
Dear brothers and sisters, it is true that often we are faced with parents who become eccentric in their old age. Often viewpoints and attitudes will differ. It may be a challenge to keep them happy and some would argue a mission impossible.
However, all of us have had a time where we have had to work with people we don’t agree with. Whether its work, study or elsewhere, we learn to adapt and utilise our best traits to work keeping those people on the right side of us.
Parents are a key to our success. Our attitude ought to be one of persistence. We ought to work and to adapt and to strive to get them to be happy and to keep them that way. The ease or difficulty with which we achieve this is our test from Allah SWT and we should be mindful of this.
And lastly, what we ought to do for them when they are no longer with us. This part is split into 3 points:
- Supplicate for them. The imam reminded us of a hadith in relation to this in which the Prophet SAWS said:
“When a man dies all his good deeds come to an end except three: Ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge and a righteous son who prays for him”
- Perform any acts of worship they may have missed. Obligatory acts such as missed prayers, fasts or even Hajj can be done.
- Give charity on their behalf. The imam mentioned a hadith in relation to this which is translated to say:
The mother of one of the companions of the Prophet SAWS died in his absence. He said: “O Allah’s Messenger SAWS, my mother died in my absence , will it be of any benefit for her if I give charity on her behalf? The Prophet SAWS said “Yes”. He said “I make you a witness that I gave my garden called Makhraf in charity on her behalf.”
Dear brothers and sisters, our parents were once our world due to the dependency we had on them. Let us not forget that as we get older, they may not be such a source of dependency in this world but instead have been promoted from being our world only to our next life.
Islam came to strengthen the ties between individuals within the community, young or old, poor or rich, educated or not, to ensure that the muslim community is connected from all sides and is a standard to be followed.
Dear Brothers and sisters in Islam, from the great attributes that Islam has brought, is for the youngsters to respect their elders, and for the youngsters to realise the status of their elders, and not to exceed this verbally or physically.
This is the Sharia that Islam has brought to us, teaching us to respect other Muslims especially those older than themselves, and the elders should have mercy on the youngsters, and look after them, and to be soft with them. These exchanges ensures respect between the members of the community and keep a strong Islamic ethos between the community members.
It is important that we give each person the respect they deserve, and not to ignore status, as the prophet peace and blessings be upon him said:
He is not from amongst us who does not have mercy on our youngsters and respect our elders.
The imam reminded us of ayat 54 of Sura Ar-Rum in which it is translated to say:
It is Allah Who has created you in a state of helplessness as a baby, then gave you strength to come out of helplessness in youth, then after strength again helplessness and grey hair in old age. He creates whatever He wills and it is He Who is the All-knowing, the Almighty.
Dear brothers and sisters, if we analyse this ayat we see a powerful lesson for us all, regardless of age. Our vigour and strength that comes from being youthful will not last forever and we will also belong to that group of people who will need help, support as well as honour and respect.
And so, this reminder concludes with two sets of practical advice. The first advice is for the parents, on how we ought to be with our children. This is summarized in 5 tips for Islamic parenting:
- Embrace the uniqueness of each child. By this it means that it is for us as parents to understand the unique characteristics and behaviour of our children. Therefore we need to work with their personalities and provide them with the guidance, nurturing and support they need to fulfil the potential that Allah SWT has bestowed them with.
- Embed the love and power of Allah SWT in them. Instill in them the facts of life from an early age. The fact that nothing happens without the will of Allah SWT. That everything comes from asking of Him. That duas are part and parcel of existence in this life and that nothing comes without the permission of Allah SWT in our lives.
- Establish the extreme importance of prayer. We know salah to be important but it needs to become a family event in the home so that those who are young get to experience the salah even if it means sitting quietly at salah time for the older children.
- Engage in beneficial activities with them. This is key to maintaining a relationship with them as they reach adolescence. Activities you can participate with them in such as swimming, walks in the park and cycling. Don’t fall into the trap of the electronic babysitter, ie the phones, computers and television as they will take their attention away from the family as is being seen now in society.
- Family meetings and meal times. Family meetings should be conducted where every member gets to have their say on what is important to them and what is troubling them. These should be done in a fair, open nature so that each member can speak without fear of being told off. Let each member take turns in chairing the meeting so that everyone gets experience in leading the meeting, presentation skills, communication skills and skills on resolving issues.
Alongside these tips comes the second set of practical advice and this part is summarized in 5 tips that we can employ to honour our parents.
- Helping them in their day to day chores. Often it may be the case that they are struggling to come to terms with their own limitations in old age. The head is willing, even if the body is not. As children we need to recognise when this is happening and offer to help, even when it is not being asked of us.
- Speaking to them with a greater degree of politeness. As they get older they become more sensitive to the tone, speed and language of voice that is being used to speak to them. Hence be mindful of this so that their feelings are spared and they don’t feel hurt after speaking to their children.
- Ignore their harshness. Often it is the case that they are coming to terms with the hardship of their age and time. As a result it may play on them and they become harsh in their conduct with others. We need to recognise that this is our test and not theirs. Respond to their harshness with kindness understanding and love because as our parents they have earnt it regardless of the harshness they may show now.
- Follow their advice. We live in a time and place where the internet has replaced the wisdom of parents and so children don’t come to the parents for advice. Besides the obvious argument that the internet is also full of bad advice, it is worth remembering that the advice that come from parents comes with 2 important points that are often overlooked. Firstly, their advice is laden with love and you can’t get that from anywhere else. Secondly, their advice comes with the wisdom from Allah SWT. What this means, and it’s important to remember, is that even if the advice is not the one you’d opt for, the fact that you are going with that advice over your own, means you are obeying your parents over your own self and thus Allah SWT, who controls your destiny and your future, is now part of that equation. Surely a most powerful argument for following their advice.
- Looking after their needs. Whether this be financial through ensuring they are comfortable in later life to sociological such as making sure they engage in continued relations with their friends and relatives, we have a responsibility to make sure that they do not feel vulnerable or isolated in later life.
Dear brothers and sisters, remember, with all things in life, it is finely balanced and the right of the children and the rights of the parents are both important and should not be overlooked. By following the advice of todays reminder we can contribute to the well-being of our family as well as set an example in a fragmented society on how the family unit ought to be established.Read More
This week’s khutba was on maintaining relationships or bonds with relatives
Maintaining relationships with relatives increases connection and love between family, and removes hatred and jealousy from each other, and allows for relatives to care for each other and to look after each other.
The act of maintaining relationships comes in many forms, from smiling and being happy by seeing each other, to being soft when dealing with each other, to helping those in need within family, and to try and be the first to aid each other in any situation.
It is also about giving each other gifts, and to forgive any mistakes, and to not find each other’s faults or making them bigger than it is. It is also by being fair to each other and to do supplications and dua for your family to be successful in this world and next.
This is related in a hadith of the Prophet SAWS in which he said:
“He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him be hospitable to his guest;
Dear brothers and sisters, the bond between relations has a great status, and its rights are many, and it’s enough to say that if you maintain this bond then Allah SWT will maintain the bond with Him, by his mercy and bounties, and whoever cuts it then Allah SWT will cut it from Him.
This point is relayed in the Quran in Surat Muhammed ayat 22 and 23 which is translated to say:
So would you perhaps, if you turned away, cause corruption on earth and sever your [ties of] relationship?
Those [who do so] are the ones that Allah has cursed, so He deafened them and blinded their vision.
Dear brothers and sisters, here we can see the importance of maintaining ties with one’s relations as the punishment of those who do not is clearly stated within the ayats of the Quran.
There is no difference of opinion about the importance of maintaining relationships with family, and cutting ties is of big sins. However, we need to implement practical lessons in order to avoid being guilty of this sin and so this reminder concludes with 5 tips we can all do to achieve this.
- Visiting them. This is especially true in the time in which we live as our relationships have become virtual thanks to Facebook etc. However, this cannot replace in-person interaction which is what is needed for a healthy relationship with others.
- Helping them. Whether this is practically by helping elders with basic things, to offering sincere advice to others. This is particularly important as we live in a materialistic and competitive time in which jealous and envy is rife amongst some. As Muslims we must set the standard here and wish only the best for others from the heart and thus allowing this feeling to manifest into good advice for others.
- Forgive and pardon others. As Muslims we need to be of thick skin. Ours is not the manner of holding grudges and so if we have been wronged by others, we ought to forgive for the sake of Allah SWT in the hope that He in turn shows mercy to us. This is conveyed in the following hadith in which the the Prophet SAWS said:
“The person who perfectly maintains the ties of kinship is not the one who does it because he gets recompensed by his relatives (for being kind and good to them), but the one who truly maintains the bonds of kinship is the one who persists in doing so even though the latter has severed the ties of kinship with him”.
- Be charitable to one another. We are often told in khutbas on marriage that we ought to gift our spouses with presents often. However this is also applicable to all relationships as we ought to extend charity to all our relations. And charity begins with a smile dear brothers and sisters so there is no reason to not implement this. It also has it’s reward as the Messenger of Allah SAWS said
“Anyone who wants to have his provision expanded and his term of life prolonged should maintain ties of kinship.”
- Pray for one another. Dear brothers and sisters, our Ummah is one that is blessed with kinship and so let us observe this fact through active duas for one another. We have the means to do this already through social media. Lets use technology to communicate our duas and to request it from one another as it is our right to do so from our fellow brothers and sisters.
Dear brothers and sisters, we are experiencing more and more as the world changes that relationships are at risk of becoming strained. Technology in particular is proving to be a catalyst for this. However, we can also use that to keep in touch, plan face to face meetings and to share worries and to pray for one another. By displaying this mercy towards one another we can only hope that Allah SWT graces us with that same level of mercy upon our return to Him.Read More